I love juices and smoothies.  They are so refreshing and satisfying!  I especially LOVE Naked’s Green Machine. It’s just…perfection.  I’ve also loved Jamba Juice ever since I had my first Jamba smoothie in 1997 [OMG that was 15 years ago…]  However, that ish is not cheap!  AND they have ways of adding empty calories in the form of fruit sherbet and sugary juices/juice cocktail.

First off, let’s define “empty calories.”  We’ve all heard it and even used it, but what does it mean?  Food with empty calories offer calories (energy) but with no or extremely low nutrients.  Think table sugar, sodas, candy, cakes, alcohol, jam/jelly, fats, etc.  Not only do they take the place of nutrient dense foods, they also cause the body to tap into our stores of nutrients within our bodies to function normally.  That is why foods with “empty calories” can be dangerous when eaten with high regularity.

This definitely applies to juices and smoothies that are out there in the market.  They key is that there is a lot of ADDED SUGAR to these cool beverages.  Most juices have sugar added to them to enhance the taste and to extent self-life (sugar and salt are great preservatives!).  Read the food labels and ingredient list to ensure that there is NO ADDED SUGAR!  There are a lot of misconceptions about sugar:

“I have to cut back on sugar because it will make me fat”
“Stop eating candy or else you’ll get diabetes”
“Sugar is the devil”

Here’s the truth:

– Sugar doesn’t make you fat. High caloric intake (higher than your caloric output) makes you gain weight, which can come from any source of food.
– Sugar doesn’t give you diabetes. There are two types. Most of us are familiar with Type 2 which is adult onset and associated with obesity. In this situation our body’s insulin (glucose carrier) doesn’t respond well with the release of glucose in our blood after we eat OR the hormone receptors in our bodies are not communicating well with insulin to take glucose from insulin.
– Sugar is not the devil.

My point: just because fruits have sugar, it doesn’t mean that they are bad.  Fruits and vegetables offer great nutritional value as well.  Added sugar is not the same as natural sugars in fruits and vegetables

My recommendation is to make your own fruit and vegetable smoothies at home.  Yes, I said vegetable!  Instead of adding all those sugary fruit sherbets and juices, use frozen fruits and water.  Frozen fruits are packed with tons of nutrients like vitamins, and fiber!  Also keep an eye out to make sure there is no sugar added to the frozen fruits.  Generally, there isn’t but bring a critical eye when you’re grocery shopping.  I get all of mine from Trader Joe’s, all of which are pretty cheap $1.99 – $3.99 per 1 lb bag.  They add flavor, sweetness, and iciness (no need for crushing ice!). Win-Win-Win! It’s such a quick and easy way of getting your fruits and vegetables in on a daily basis!  You could also juice them if you want. However, I definitely encourage you to blend it all into a smoothie because you get fiber that will be lost if you use a juicer.  Smoothies are also great if your produce is on the verge of being too ripe and going to spoil. Blend it all up!  But be careful and avoid making a “kitchen sink” smoothie.  Choose a few fruits and vegetables to make a solidly delicious smoothie.

Here are two great smoothie recipes that I whipped up today!  Load all of your fruits/vegetables into your glass, fill it with water, dump the contents into a blender, pour, and enjoy!

Smoothie #1:  Berry Swirl 

– Strawberries
– Blueberries
– Mangoes
– Carrots
– Water/Milk

Smoothie #2: Lean and Green

– Apples
– Spinach
– Pineapple
– Bananas
– Water/Milk

Try these out or make your own creative mixtures!  If you’re more adventurous, add a higher ratio of vegetables to fruit like adding broccoli!  If you’re just absolutely awesomely insane, throw in some ground flax seed!

These are especially great as snacks like in the morning after your bowl of oatmeal.

Happy Drinking 🙂


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