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
Fermented foods: living probiotics to help keep you healthy
plastic lid (not necessary, but if you're going to do this often, the regular metal lids will corrode from the acid)
any spices or herbs you like (peppercorns, cardaway seeds, dill, basil, bay leaf, chilli)
1 small cabbage leaf - if you have one.
Place vegetables and any spices/herbs you're using in the mason jar right up to the bottom of the neck, there should be about 1 inch of space to the top.
Stir the salt and water together until dissolved.
Pour the salt water over the vegetables until it reaches just below the top of the jar. There should be about 1/2 inch of room left.
Fold a small cabbage leaf and press it down on top of the vegetables so that it keeps the vegetables submerged in the salt water. This isn't necessary, but helps make sure the vegetables are submerged. Feel free to skip this step if you don't have cabbage on hand.
Close the lid on the jar tightly and place the jars out of direct sunlight in a relatively moderate temperature (68°F-75°F degrees – 20°C-24°C).
You will start to see some bubbling around day 2 or so. After day 2, over a sink (in case it leaks/drips), gently loosen the lids to let some of the gas escape once or twice a day.
The vegetables are ready anywhere from day 4-10. The longer they sit, the more tangy they'll be. Taste them starting on day 4 to figure out your preference. I like them best around day 5 or 6.
Once you decide they're the level of sourness you're looking for, place the the jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for “months and months” as the Happy Pear lads say (not that they'll last that long!),
Cooking vegan has been a fun exploration for me since starting this blog a couple of years ago. I started it as a kitchen experiment, wanting to give myself encouragement to stay on a vegan diet, and share my research with others. What I uncovered was that, unless you are cooking vegan with a focus on right nutrients and health, you can easily make yourself sick. This is true, whether you commit to cooking vegan or not.
Recently one of my excellent Twitter followers sent me a message that said,
“@AllVeganFoods you should publish a cookery page as you are queen of all things delicious. quit the #nhs love and focus on #vegan.”
First off, thank you so much, @MartinStill1, for naming me “Queen of All Things Delicious.” I'm thrilled that others enjoy the recipes I publish as much as I enjoy researching and testing them. And yes, I promise to keep giving more!
Yet, I want to express to the world why I also focus on health. Too many ex-vegans out there blame the vegan diet for their health woes. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie who speak out about how a vegan diet “almost killed her” beg to have the question asked, well, exactly what were you stuffing yourself with in the first place? While I do not believe that Dr. Mercola tells the whole story.
Cooking vegan or not, pay attention to essential nutrients
Meat and vegetarian diets can still be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals for the body. Here below is an excerpt from a post on The Full Helping that makes this point well:
The vast majority of women I’ve worked with who had a bad experience with veganism in the past simply were not eating enough variety and caloric density to supply their bodies’ needs; they also frequently paired veganism with other drastic and overnight dietary changes (giving up certain food allergens, or going 100% raw). The overall effect was a devastatingly restrictive pattern of eating. I have absolute respect for anyone who has followed a well balanced vegan diet and found it wanting, but I know from experience that many people who try veganism and fail to thrive simply haven’t bothered to modify the lifestyle to suit their own needs. Any new way of eating involves guesswork, patience, and trial and error: you figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and you modify it until you feel great.
This is actually why I so admire my buddy Brendan: many of you may be surprised to hear that Brendan’s first run with veganism was a big flop! He was tired, sluggish, and hungry all the time. Rather than decide right away that veganism itself was to blame, Brendan studied nutrition carefully and identified precisely what was lacking in his diet. In his case the culprits were, among a few other things, iron and Omega-3 fatty acids. As soon as he took care to find vegan sources of these nutrients, he found his own best health, and the rest is history. [Read the whole post here]
The bottom line is, whether you are cooking vegan, vegetarian or otherwise, know the essential ingredients that keep you in optimum health, so you can continue to support the whys of cooking vegan, in optimal health. And yes, Martin, I promise to live up to the compliment, “Queen of All Things Delicious,” with many more recipes to come!
We are living in a pretty cool world now. We don't have to take anybody's word for anything. Take, for example, the argument that a vegan lifestyle is deficient and you will get sick if you don't eat meat. If you're doctors aren't vegan, they may give you that same argument. I bet plenty of ex-vegans in the past believed this one, because there just was not enough research done to find out exactly what the deficiencies were.
Vegan doctors understand about B-12 vitamin deficiencies, among other things
Here's a brief explanation about B-12 deficiencies in the video below, and why it's so important:
FullyRawKristina says that B-12 is only found in organic, nutrient-rich soil grown vegetables. She also points out that, before taking supplements, get checked first to see if you have the deficiency. You may be fine! Of course, it never hurts to get a blood test to make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need. For busy lifestyles that don't have time to prepare foods everyday, nutritional supplements can give the extra support you need.
Vegan doctors may know better
I don't know if it's true, and I don't want to diss any doctor who has taken the Hippocratic oath. Yet if you want to stay true to yourself and your vegan lifestyle choices, you may want to check out vegan doctors and healthcare, if these services are in your area. Here are a couple of resources that may help:
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.