Are you making smoothie mistakes?
Most people who make smoothies make so many mistakes that, in the end, the smoothie is not particularly healthy.
Freshly made green smoothies can be very healthy for you, if they contain the correct ingredients in the correct ratios.
A green smoothie is:
- a thick, blended drink that has the consistency of a milkshake
- made from fresh, healthy ingredients – particularly vegetables.
You can learn how to use your blender to become leaner, stronger, and healthier – especially if you avoid these four common smoothie mistakes.
1. Adding Too Much Fruit
Tossing too much fruit into the blender is among the biggest smoothie mistakes.
Too much fructose – the sugar within fruit – inside the human body is not a good thing. Yes, fruit is good for you, but only intermittently and in relatively small amounts.
Remember, a fasting glucose level between 100 to 125 is considered pre-diabetes.
Look at the lab report from your last annual physical with your medical doctor. Was it approaching 100? Is it past 100?
If so, you want to be careful about ingesting too many simple carbs, including fruit. Also, there has been some indication in recent research that cancer cells may feed on fructose (see sources below this article).
2. Not Adding Enough Healthy Fats
Not adding enough of the right kind of fat is among the most common smoothie mistakes.
Tossing some clean fats into your blender can help prevent your green smoothies from creating blood-sugar spikes.
Fat, as a general rule, creates more of a sustained energy than does peak-then-crash carbs.
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3. Adding Too Much Yogurt or Whey Protein
Adding a lot of dairy into the blender is also among the most common smoothie mistakes.
I have nothing against dairy. I am not a vegan (I eat small amounts of free range, grass-fed meats and organic clarified butter) but I do not believe most people need dairy in their green smoothies. There is enough quality calcium and protein in the other plant-based ingredients.
Unless you are a serious athlete, consider allowing plants to do the work in your smoothie – no animal products needed.
As someone who exercised for hours each day, I had whey protein every day in my 20s and 30s. But as I got into my 40s and 50s and started to eat better, I found that the macronutrients I received from plants was often preferable, and so I stopped adding whey powder to my smoothies and – speaking personally – I felt (and looked) better as a result.
4. Having the Same Ingredients Every Time
Not switching up the ingredients is among the biggest smoothie mistakes.
It’s helpful to create a broad nutrient profile with your smoothies. If you keep having the same ingredients every time, then – nutrient-wise – your highs will get higher and your lows will get lower.
Several ingredients are fantastic for you when used intermittently, but potentially poisonous if used relentlessly.
For example, men over 40 can get too much iron if they overdo it for too long on the spinach. It can be quite serious.
Also, selenium from brazil nuts is great for you. Unless you have too much.
Also, some people are sensitive to oxalates (the compound that plants contain to protect themselves from pests) and get kidney stones and other complications.
All of these challenges can be avoided more easily if you rotate your ingredients. Here are some examples of ingredients you can rotate:
Spices put the flavor into life!
Spices are not only flavorful but many also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
My favorites for green smoothies are turmeric, ginger, blue-green algae, and sometime cayenne.
Coconut flour, full-fat unsweetened coconut milk, shredded coconut – any of these can taste great in a smoothie.
Exotic superfoods can infuse your smoothies with super nutrition. Foods such as goji berries, maca, mangosteen, tree mushroom powder, shilajit, and mesquite can add a welcomed dimension to the flavor of your shake, while providing a restorative effect to your body. Results may vary. Ask your doctor first.
My favorite seeds are raw sprouted pumpkin, chia, and flax. As a source of protein, seeds are exceptional.
My favorite nuts to toss into the blender are brazil nuts, almonds, or pecans. Brazil nuts are naturally high in selenium (so high in fact that you probably only need to add one or two brazil nut per person, and even then you don’t need them every single day).
By the way, I’m not a big fan of peanuts (they have a lovely flavor, but many people are sensitive to the mold inside peanuts, and besides, there are so many other fantastic nuts to choose from).
As you eventually move into advanced smoothie-making, you might want to experiment with soaking, sprouting, and rinsing your nuts before adding them to your blender. Some believe this helps make the nuts even more beneficial to the human body.
Lemons or Limes
Man-oh-man, do I love freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice. If you told me I had to go to a deserted island and could only take a few foods with me, lemons or limes would definitely be among the foods on that short list. Lemon and lime juice give smoothies the perfect amount of zing! Only a very small amount is needed.
The beauty of smoothies (and the genius of owning a great blender) is that it makes it simple to sneak in those extra servings of vegetables into your daily diet.
Some of my favorite vegetables to add are broccoli, cucumber, celery, and sometimes red bell pepper.
Sometimes I hear from people who want to gain weight. If you happen to be one of those rare people who is looking to put more lean mass onto your frame, you might consider adding avocado. Avocado adds healthy fat and gives the smoothie a richer texture.
Dark, Leafy Greens
These vegetables are so nutritious and fantastic for you, that they deserve their own category. I like kale, chard, spinach and parsley. I usually have a different one each day – if I think my body is low in iron, then I add a lot; if I think my body is a bit high in iron then I only add a little. I sometimes add cilantro, too.
When I first started making fresh smoothies, I added lots of fruit, like frozen banana chunks.
Years later, my taste buds evolved, and now (miracle of miracles) I find I don’t need as much sweets in my diet.
Today, I mostly stick to a little fresh lime juice. But once in a while I will add berries instead for their beneficial antioxidants.
Ice does something important to the texture of a smoothie: it helps make it more like a milkshake (and less like soup).
Facts about the Smoothie Lifestyle
- smoothies became popular in the USA in the late 60s when ice cream vendors and health food stores began selling them
- it’s thought that the ’60s resurgence of vegetarianism lead to searching for new ways to consume vegetables
- the smoothie is a descendent of pureed fruit drinks which originated in Brazil
- commercial mainstream smoothies usually contain factory-farmed dairy products but there are actually many other options for a liquid base such as almond milk, pineapple juice, or good old fashioned water
- smoothies are popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine
The Art and Science of Making a Great Blended Drink and Avoiding Common Smoothie Mistakes
A Green Smoothie has its name because it’s, well, green. The key ingredient is raw, dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach or kale because of their rich nutritional value.
If you’re not used to eating these veggies you might find the taste peculiar at first. Don’t worry, that’s what the fruit is for. Using more fruit in the beginning is a great way to sweeten the taste with natural ingredients.
You also might be interested in sweetening your glass a bit more by adding a half-teaspoon of honey. You can lower that amount when you’re further into your smoothie adventure and your taste buds begin to evolve to appreciate flavors that are less sweet.
When finding a fruit and veg balance think in terms of ratios:
- a good beginners ratio is 50% fruit and 50% veggies
- when you’re a pro you’ll want 90% veggies and only 10% fruit
The only way you’ll know your starting-balance is to play around with the mix, find what ratio gives you the most pleasure, and move toward more veg at your own pace.
I’m at a point now where I enjoy having my morning smoothie with almost no fruit at all.
Once you start to notice how energizing and fulfilling these miracle drinks are you’ll be craving them on a daily basis.
Freshly made green smoothies are life-improving. A good smoothie will give you sustained energy, a leaner waist, and a healthier body.
When a green smoothie is made properly, it is refreshing, filling, and astoundingly delicious – and can help you to feel better than you have ever felt before.
Vegetables have an uncanny ability to help make the human body become stronger and shed belly fat. Smoothies are a clever say to sneak more vegetables into your weekly menu (my free book provides handy tips to help you immediately improve the taste and quality of your smoothies and protein shakes).
Use Smoothies to Get More Vegetables into Your Diet
We often hear that the recommended amount of vegetables is five servings a day, but the truly health-conscious know that five servings is just the minimum.
Though fruit is helpful to the human body when consumed in small amounts, vegetables are sometimes best when consumed in larger amounts – this is why the common phrase “fruits and veg” is misleading. Fruits and vegetables are two very different things, and the body requires dramatically different amounts.
Too much fruit leads to too much fructose, which can create problems.
Vegetables, on the other hand, can be extremely healthy for the human body. Among the best ways to pack-in as much vegetable nutrition as possible is with a daily green smoothie, freshly made from raw foods.
Simply put, a smoothie is a blended beverage with a thick, milkshake-like consistency made up mostly of fruit and vegetables.
Throw some produce and a few other interesting ingredients into the blender in the correct ratios – and in a minute or two you’ll have an energizing health drink that’s as filling as a meal.
“I’ve always been a no-breakfast person. But what I didn’t realize was that skipping breakfast only made me lethargic and lazy all day long. And I’d eat a whole lot more at lunch than I would have otherwise! So, when I came across Dane’s smoothie recipes, I decided to give them a shot. Only one week in and I already feel much more energetic than I have in the last ten years. And I also tend to eat less lunch which is great to control weight. I plan to start smoothies for lunch too. Slim waistline, here I come!” — Rabab Kahn, Editor / Bertelsmann Foundation
Of course, finding the right mix of fruit and veg can sound daunting, but blending is actually an easy and fun experience that could (and probably will) improve your life for the better.
Many people in our modern culture eat cold cereal or toast for breakfast, hamburgers for lunch, and burritos or pizza for dinner. A freshly made green smoothie is almost certainly a better choice than any of those meals.
All you need is a positive attitude, a sense of adventure, a willingness to experiment with new ingredients and a decision to avoid the common smoothie mistakes.
Eating Your Way To A Better Life
Imagine a time earlier in your life when you felt your very best. You were happy and healthy, and your body was trim, strong, and flexible. You were humming with energy!
Hold that in your mind for a moment: remember the physical sensation of feeling lean, enthusiastic and energized. And now imagine feeling one hundred times better than that.
For each person, a solution can be created to provide a robust physical and emotional health to help offset many of the typical factors of aging that plague many people in modern society.
- how important is it to you to become increasingly fit, lean, flexible and energized?
- how important is it for you to experience daily joy and zest?
- 20 years from now, will you bound out of bed each morning with enthusiasm?
What If the Healthiest Version of You Hasn’t Happened Yet?
What if – even though you’re older now – your peak health is ahead of you instead of behind you?
What if you could look and feel better than you ever have before?
Research has revealed that there are success strategies that can help you to make small daily changes that will increase your physical energy, creating a lifetime of health and joy.
Healthier Tomorrow than Today
Most of the people who make smoothies, make the most common smoothie mistakes. Most people become heavier and more bloated with each passing year.
The reality, however, is that each of us has an opportunity to become fitter and leaner with each passing year.
If you have a specific, well-prepared strategy, you can look and feel better physically and emotionally as you age. Your life can get better with each year of living.
Do you have a strategy in place for aging successfully?
It’s tempting to postpone thinking about getting older until another time when you’re “less busy,” but the best time to take action is in the present – not only for yourself, but also for the people you love.
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“What if I’m under the age of 50?”
In truth, it’s never too soon to get a jump on your healthy aging strategy. If you happen to be under the age of 50, it’s never too early to begin seeing the journey of your own life as purposeful and numinous. Get a jump on your health now. It will make things that much easier as you age, because the longer you have a sub-optimal habit, the harder it can be to break it.
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The reason that it works so effectively is that it provides a more holistic approach to healthy aging by helping you to achieve a full circle of wellness (not just wellness in one particular aspect of your life only).
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Utilizing these principles of Success Psychology and the Longevity Lifestyle ensures that your new, positive habits will “stick” (instead of having you start out with good intentions and then falling back into the same old habits).
I’ve found that, above all else, there is no universal panacea. Even if you avoid these smoothie mistakes, I cannot offer you a promise of lifelong high energy. I wish I could. What I can do is steer you toward a number of proven good choices and good habits that make all the difference in one’s quality and quantity of life.
My passion in life is synthesizing my research and providing you with real shortcuts to extreme health; in other words, bringing you the latest in evidenced-based research on healthy living, as well as helpful tips on fitness, nutrition, social connecting, and improving personal productivity.
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