A smoothie diet has become my go-to remedy when I have not been eating well or want to do an effective detox. If one thing this Covid-19 lockdown has shown me, is how I rely on my daily smoothie to steer me towards wholesome food choices the rest of the day. I don't know about you, but when I got laid off back in March 2020 due to the pandemic, I started baking. I baked, I ate, and I did not make my daily smoothie that I used to take to work every morning. Combine that with some sofa lounging and there I was five weeks later and 10 lbs. heavier. Now I'm not a fan of using the d-word, but if a smoothie diet – or even simply drinking a smoothie as a meal replacement – can melt away the excess weight, I'm all for it.
Sharing the smoothie diet plan
So now it's summer, I'm back to work, and I've let go of the excess weight, thanks to the smoothie diet plan. I've also changed the way I drink smoothies, so I can receive optimum goodness without the sugar spike. Why, you may ask, would anyone have a sugar spike in a smoothie that you don't add sugar to?
If you let your blender do all the work that your mouth would normally do to break down food, it stands to reason that you are flooding your body with calories it can't assimilate all at the same time. This revelation does not mean that a smoothie diet is bad. Dr. Michael Gregor explains how smoothies work in the body in the video below:
Here are a few of the main points that Dr. Gregor makes in the video:
Juices are the only reason that you have a higher blood sugar spike, so we don't want to drink fruit juice, right? We're on whole foods so you know if you just drink juice you throw away all the fiber.
“But smoothies, right, you blend it all together so you have a whole food, right? But the reason they have a higher sugar spike in your bloodstream drinking a smoothie than just actually eating all the fruit, like in a bowl, is not because of the the liquid versus solid. It's the speed of consumption. If you have a big bowl of fruit and you had a green smoothie like well the kale and all that, right? How long it would take you – like awhile – to chew it to get through that
But a smoothie, you pop a straw in, I mean you can suck it down like 60 seconds. That's the only difference. So you just sip your smoothie. Like, how long would it take me to eat the fruit I just made, 20 minutes? Okay well I will sip this smoothie over the next 20 minutes and that's what you do, and then the same blood sugar. You actually absorb more nutrition because you can never chew that good and you're blending up all the stuff, breaking all those cell walls, getting all that wonderful nutrition into your body.
Judging by all the fiber products on the market, we know that fiber is important in our diets. Dr. Gregor explains that when we simply drink juice, we miss out on the polyphenol phytonutrients, the most important components of plant foods. By most estimates, up to 80 percent of these polyphenols are actually attached to the fiber. So, when we juice a carrot or other vegetable or fruit, we throw away the pulp. We away all those polyphenol phytonutrients that are attached to the fiber.
Dr Gregor goes on to say:
If they're attached to the fiber, what good are they to us? Ah, they're good bacteria. When that fiber gets down to our gut, our gut bacteria in our colon eat the fiber and release the polyphenols that get absorbed into our system, circulates through our body, gets up to our brain, helps our eyesight, all those sorts of other things.
And so, you're missing out on all that nutrition that's attached to the fiber when you throw it away. Now if you juice your carrot and then take the pulp, put it back in the juice fine make carrot cake, something, just don't throw it away.
Smoothie diet basics
Knowing how important whole foods are, I hardly ever drink juice anymore. I do love smoothies, nevertheless, so I throw my favorite plant-based goodies into the blender. Many smoothie recipes suggest adding some juice or nut milk. But following the advice above i don't want to overwhelm my smoothie diet with unnecessary ingredients, so I always choose water as the liquid base. This is my personal choice. I'd rather eat nuts than drink them with out the fiber goodness.
Here is my basic outline for smoothies:
2-3 helpings of greens – a scoop of your favorite greens powder and greens other than leafy may be included, such as cucumbers and celery.
1-2 helpings of fruit – I usually add berries and one more, like mango, banana or dates
water – add a cup, more or less to your own liking, or water + ice.
herbs – a thumbnail of ginger, a tsp. of cinnamon, a pinch of fennel seeds, or try different favorites for flavor.
flaxseeds – a staple for vegans, throwing it in the smoothie diet is an easy way to get your daily tablespoon of flaxseed nutrition.
Join us in the smoothie diet challenge!
Are you looking for a quick solution to start feeling better and dropping excess weight? If you're looking for a complete life transformation over the next three weeks, then you’re in the right place! Whether you need to lose the last 5-10 lbs or you want to get rid of 40lbs or more, this will work for you. This diet is extremely flexible so even though this program is 21 days you can continue using it for as along as you want to lose as much weight as you want!
Fermented foods are strong allies in our goals to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Fermented foods – and I’m not talking the alcoholic drink type – are bursting with probiotics that help feed a healthy digestive tract. Yet the probiotics that flourish in the fermentation process are delicate, and have a long road to travel from the barrel to our stomachs. We want to protect that journey as much as we can, so these living bacteria may live on in our guts.
Just walk away from the fermented drinks
Quick-witted companies these days are producing ‘probiotic-rich’ fermented drinks, non-dairy yogurts, and other single-serve, on-the-run so-called healthy boosts (more like profit boosts). The advertising for kombucha, nut yogurts and other fermented treats are attractive. Hate to break it to you, but all the sugar added to these convenient treats nullify the benefits that come from fermented foods and fermented drinks.
If you still want to buy these products, at least check the ingredients and watch for refined sugar. Sugar in a refined form is simply not helpful for good body maintenance (and it may not even be vegan).
Want a quick probiotic drink? Put a tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar into water, a smoothie, or other beverage. Well, okay, it may not be exactly probiotic. But ACV does contain good bacteria that can contribute to gut health. Do this one to three times a day and you’ll feel the benefits. Don't overdo it, though, in case your body is sensitive.
My introduction to the health benefits of fermented foods
When I lived in Japan, my friends delighted in teaching me how to cook Japanese style. They all had their own particular family ways to make miso soup, and I practiced diligently. The number one common and crucial factor I remembered from all of those lessons is:
never boil the miso.
You do not want to kill all the good bacteria, my friends would say. At that time, an aha moment about fermented foods came to me that, I believe, many of us here in the West have overlooked. We’ve been boiling, frying and roasting the probiotics out of our foods.
Growing up at my house and at every house I ate, vegetables were boiled to mush. If they were still crisp, back they went onto the stove. Sauerkraut came out of cans – already an assault on healthy microbes – and then thrown into a pot with a chopped up apple to cut the bitter edge of the fermented cabbage. If any bacteria survived the can, they were doomed to be boiled alive.
The ignorance I grew up with in regards to a healthy diet was breathtaking.
I learned a valuable lesson about preserving the integrity of food from my Japanese cooking buddies. I ate a lot of kimchi, Korean spicy pickled cabbage, while there, too. After returning to the States, I reintroduced sauerkraut – pretty much kimchi without the hot pepper – to my diet in a healthier, more robust way: no more boiling.
I can laugh nowadays about the food beliefs I was raised with. Boiled was the only cabbage recipe in the house. The closest I got to raw was the coleslaw from KFC, which was loaded with sugar. I still remember the first time I ate a cold salad of shredded raw cabbage with a dressing. Fermentation moves this delicious, versatile vegetable from a healthy food to a super-nutrient boost.
Buy or make your own fermented foods
Personally, I can't be bothered taking probiotics in pill form. I want to know I'm eating live goodness. If you buy fermented foods like sauerkraut, the brands found in the produce refrigerated section will be fresher and filled with many more gut-pleasing microbes than in jars or cans. Making your own is easy, and here is a simple recipe for you.
Dave and Steve from The Happy Pear demonstrate a quick and easy basic recipe for any fermented vegetable of your choice. The lactic acid process explained in the video is a recipe with simply salt and water – no animals involved.
In The Happy Pear’s video, the pickled veggies start at 02:22
Photo source:Fermented vegetable jar by Kim Daniels on Unsplash
23 Vegan men telling about how they became vegan and why.
“I decided to become a vegetarian when I was in my teens. At the time I was doing it because of my love for animals, but also for a girl. Of course. I have continued to stay with it out of my great respect for animals, though. Any form of animal abuse is pretty upsetting to me.”
“When people ask me why I don’t eat meat or any other animal products, I say, ‘Because they are unhealthy and they are the product of a violent and inhumane industry.’”
Read and see the pictures at: www.buzzfeed.com Photo credit: Michael Dorn (I cannot find a link to him, if you know please let me know thanks)
I didn't turn to a vegan diet cold turkey. I turned to a vegan diet out of necessity. I was vegetarian for many years. Yet I suffered from severe heartburn and reflux. It was BAD. At times, I felt like I was having a heart attack, and the pain was so unbearable that I thought I was going to die! Yes, it was as bad as that. Medication didn't help. So I decided to eat alkaline food only. To my surprise, I was able to cure the heartburn and reflux by switching to a 100% plant based diet. I also started to sleep better. Last but not least, I was able to do proper hikes again. I happily transitioned to a vegan diet.
Because of all the pain and nausea, it was an easy choice for me. I started to focus on my health only. Because I felt so sick, I was happy enough if I managed to cook vegan and alkaline food for myself.
I know transitioning to a vegan diet is not easy for many people - yes, including myself. So, I made this list of 10 tips for a healthy transition to a vegan diet for you. I know these tips helped me, and I hope you find them useful, too. Enjoy.
When you empty your kitchen of unhealthy food choices, it's easer to focus on healthy eating choices. Go through all your cupboards and fridge and get rid of everything that's processed or not 100% plant based.
Foods in unopned packages can be donated to your local street kitchen. Everything else goes in the garbage bin.
2. Stock up your kitchen
Time to go shopping: buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables - this is a given. Here are items I always keep stocked in my cupboard:
Beans - any will do, like lentils and chickpeas - I prefer dried over canned.
Grains - I look for non-gluten types like quinoa and rice
Nuts and seeds (flaxseed is #1 in my book)
Miso (fermented beans)
Vegetable stock (not necessary)
Nutritional yeast (not necessary)
Herbs, whatever is in season
3. Baby steps
Start slowly. My suggestion is that you add foods to your diet and not remove any, to begin with. Start by eating a salad before lunch for a week, then expand to a salad before lunch and before dinner for seven days. When you eat a salad before your meal, you will, without thinking about it, eat less. In the following week, eat 50 percent less junky food per meal. Into the third week, keep cutting down until you eliminate 75 percent of the junk. Finally, by the end of a month's time, remove everything that's not plant based.
4. Eat what you like
If you don't like kale now, then you will not like kale when you transion to a vegan diet. Eat the fruits and veggies you like. And try new varieties to find new favorites.
5. Cut down on processed foods
Processed foods are bad for us, because they make us addicted to fat, sugar and salt. If you buy a lot of prepared meals, start cooking for yourself. Prepping your own lunch is easy, and you can find many videos online for creating easy vegan lunches. A few videos are added at the end of this post.
Drop the softdrinks. It's time to drink water when you are thirsty and not drink sugar. A beer or wine occationally - vegan of course - and with a meal is a nice treat, if you drink. You can find out if your favorites are vegan here.
6. Know your food.
Most of the commercial vegan products on the market such as fake burgers, meatballs, and cheese are processed foods and not healthy. Think saturated fat and excessive amino acids: these foods are often packed with highly refined oils, flours, sugars, and salts. Therefore, it's better to indulge in these foods only once in a while. The good thing is, our bodies get addicted to what we eat most of. Be prepared! Your body will soon prefer fresh foods to processed. It's pretty aweome when your body craves healthy vegan diet options, not junk.
7. Make you meals easy and fun.
Unless your hobby is cooking or you are a chef, I recommend you find easy and fast recipes. It's easy to make your meals more exciting and fun, through online videos, posts, and vegan communities. I like to find vegan cookbooks to pore through.
8. Give up dairy
Now is the time to give up dairy, if you're serious about a vegan diet. There are growing varieties of plant milks on the market. There are also vegan cheeses and dressings. During the transition period it can be good to buy those, but I do not recommended continuing to consume a lot as they are also processed. I have added a homemade cheese recipe at the end of this post.
I did a smoothie diet challenge, and now all the greens goodness is a part of my morning routine. Overnight oats is a great thing to eat, in the summer fresh fruit and bread. Quinoa bowls is another fun thing to try. If you are stuck on bread or muffins still, try making your own plant-based quick breads or muffins tht are easy to freeze and take out a serving at time as you need it.
10. Go easy on yourself.
You ate something non-vegan? don't beat yourself up, just go back to your vegan diet immediately. Nothing bad happened, you are human. After my reflux was healed and I could eat "normal" again, I planned cheat meals, at the beginning once a week. Now I barely cheat more than once a month, if that. Remeber you are on a journey, not a race, but do remember to get some kind of exercise regularly.
Here's an easy cheesy recipe for you:
Vegan cashew cheese
1 cup of soaked cashew nuts
2 teaspoon lemon juice
60 ml / 3-4 Tblsp. water
salt & pepper to taste
Pulse everything but the water - add the water little by little as needed.
Are you thinking about changing your diets? Do you see the rise of veganism and do not understand the reasons why some people choose to go vegan? While changing to a different diet could be a personal choice and has no specific reason, here are five top reasons why to switch to veganism.
Animal rights Many vegans attribute the change in their diet to counteract animal cruelty and as an opposition to killing animals for food. This is becoming more relevant recently as industrialised food production has reduced animals to basic confined objects in very crowded spaces and some harsh and inhumane conditions. There is also the simple reason that animals are living being and should not be exploited and killed for human consumption.
Environmental concerns Raising cattle and other animals primarily for food production produces a high level of methane gas that has very severe environmental ramifications. In addition to that, raising animals for meat and dairy production requires the clear cut of large areas of land not only to raise the animals but to also to produce their feed. Furthermore, hormones and antibiotics are introduced into animals and therefore into the ecosystem.
Philosophical and ideological concerns For many the choice to adopt veganism is based on philosophical or ideological reasons associated to a change in lifestyle. For some it is animal right, for other it is to feel at peace with nature and all its inhabitants.
Health concerns Many people decide to switch to a vegan diet for health reasons. There has been some research to show that vegan diets are linked to better health, lower chance of getting lung and colorectal cancers and even a noticeable reduction in cardiovascular diseases. Plant-based foods also have a higher concentration of vitamins and antioxidants that are essential for a healthy and fresh looking skin. Furthermore, the body requires less energy to digest vegetables and legumes which makes you feel healthier and more energetic.
Cleaner and less processed foods If you stick to wholesome products and cook for yourself you avoid a lot of chemicals and non-healthy ingredients that are usually added to meats and processed foods. While fertilizers and other chemicals can be used to grow vegetables, they do not get absorbed by your body in the same way and certainly do not accumulate as they would when eaten by animals that are higher on the food chain.
There is a common assumption that people who are on a vegan diet don’t get enough nutrients to be professional athletes or have an advanced level of physical activity. This assumption is actually based on the recurrent habit of famous athletes to go on a plant-based diet but switching back to eating meat, which reinforces the message that it is not good for your health.
However, athletes like Brendan Brazier are a living example of how this switch is completely possible to have a high fitness level on a plant-based diet.
Why is it difficult to be a vegan athlete? The difficulty of this issue lies primarily in switching to a vegan diet. It is difficult especially that most vegetables and legumes generally have higher percentages of carbs and lower percentages of protein and hence the same quantity of food gives the recipient less nutrients and energy. Furthermore, you can be getting lower levels of calcium and sodium that are crucially important for athletes. Those deficiencies are at the root of three major problems.
• Constant feeling of hunger: this is often the result of low protein and dietary fats. Our bodies need essential fats that are usually gained from dairy and other animal product but are more difficult to get from vegetables. • Muscles cramps: this is usually the result of low calcium and sodium levels, two minerals that vegans tend to have a deficiency in. • Low energy: this can be due to the lack of iron and other minerals. Hard physical activity depletes iron and can cause anemia.
What should an athlete do to address those problems? While this can be a challenge, it is certainly a solvable problem despite the need for some persistence. • Constant feeling of hunger: make sure to eat protein at every meal and for snacks. Other important ingredients include nuts and seeds oil that can help get all the essential oils and fats that the body needs. • Muscle cramps: start adding salt to one or two meals each day to compensate for the loss of sodium and as for calcium it is important that you start eating almonds, bananas and green vegetables on almost every meal to compensate for the loss. Try supplements if you need to. • Low energy: can be fought by eating beans, nuts and dried fruits that are high in iron. It is also a good practice to regularly your iron levels.