Tag Archives: Smoothies

Stress and the Digestive System

We have all suffered from stress at some point in our lives whether due to exams, work, a bereavement, an illness, children, divorce, financial troubles or other. Most of us when under stress instead of finding ways to relax tend to have more coffee, fizzy drinks and sweets to keep us going. When you are stressed the digestive system tends to shut down and you are not assimilating any nutrients. Therefore it is best to eat very light small meals through out the day.

Coffee, cortisol and stress

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands which is released in response to a person being afraid or stressed. In a ‘fight or flight’ situation in the old days the cortisol would be utilised as the person either fought or ran for their lives. Nowadays unfortunately we seem to be more and more stressed and cortisol is not utilised and too much remains in the body. Today we sit at our desk drinking coffee to keep going producing more cortisol and not exercising to get rid of it. Cortisol levels are high in the mornings and lower at night. It regulates blood pressure, helps the body to utilise glucose for energy. It sends a message to the liver to release stored glycogen to fuel the muscles and the brain. However too much stored in the body can result in weight gain, depression, mental illness, impaired memory and brain function. This is why too much coffee when stressed is not a good idea.

Juicing

Juicing is good for quick absorption of nutrients. It takes 15 minutes for the nutrients from a juice to hit the blood stream. This is very good in people that have digestive issues, are suffering  from an illness and their digestion is compromised. It is also good for people that are stressed as stress places a strain on the digestive system.  Juicing is also good as it includes raw foods packed full of enzymes that are lost during cooking. Juicing places less of a strain on the liver. Ideally fruit and vegetable juices should not be mixed together. Apples and carrots are the exception. Since a juice is very quick in hitting the blood stream it is important not to use too much fruit as this can cause a spike in sugar levels. Vegetable juices are best for people suffering from blood sugar problems. Fruit juices are high in sugar and can also cause weight gain as juicing removes the fibre.

Removing the fibre is what makes juices easier to be absorbed as your digestive system does not have to work hard to absorb the nutrients. Also in a juice you can pack larger quantities of vegetables than you would be able to eat. This means you are able to get more nutrients from a glass of juice.

Foods not to eat and foods to eat

Red meat should be avoided as it is hard to digest. Avoid all stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and all fizzy drinks. These will put pressure on the adrenal glands. Reduce your intake of refined white carbohydrates like white pasta, bread and all cakes and biscuits. Stay away from all dairy. No rich sauces.

Cook everything fresh from scratch. No ready made meals. You want to eat foods that are easier to digest like soups, sweet potatoes mashed, steamed fish and vegetables. Include more ginger, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, dandelion greens, broccoli, bananas, tofu, quinoa, millet, spelt, lentils, chickpeas, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, flax and chia seeds, oily fish like wild salmon and sardines. Try to eat everything baked, grilled or steamed. If you are particularly stressed I would recommend smoothies, juices and soups as these are probably the best foods when highly stressed.

Include more super foods into your diet like wheatgrass shots, barley grass and spirulina. Wheatgrass shots should be taken on their own. barley grass and spirulina you can add to smoothies.

I hope the above has helped. If you would like a bespoke nutritional and lifestyle plan please email me or purchase my online initial consultation.

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Smoothies vs Juicing: Which One Is Better For You?

This is a question I often get asked by my clients. Both smoothies and juices are more popular than ever with everyone going on juice cleanses and detoxes. Which one is better for you? Both offer benefits in different ways. Here below I explain the differences.

Juicing

Juicing is good for quick absorption of nutrients. It takes 15 minutes for the nutrients from a juice to hit the blood stream. This is very good in people that have digestive issues, are suffering  from an illness and their digestion is compromised. It is also good for people that are stressed as stress places a strain on the digestive system.  Juicing is also good as it includes raw foods packed full of enzymes that are lost during cooking. Juicing places less of a strain on the liver. Ideally fruit and vegetable juices should not be mixed together. Apples and carrots are the exception. Since a juice is very quick in hitting the blood stream it is important not to use too much fruit as this can cause a spike in sugar levels. Vegetable juices are best for people suffering from blood sugar problems. Fruit juices are high in sugar and can also cause weight gain as juicing removes the fibre.

Removing the fibre is what makes juices easier to be absorbed as your digestive system does not have to work hard to absorb the nutrients. Also in a juice you can pack larger quantities of vegetables than you would be able to eat. This means you are able to get more nutrients from a glass of juice.

It is important to remember that fibre in your diet is important so if you tend to have lots of juices remember to also eat your greens.

Smoothies

Smoothies are fantastic especially in the morning as they are super quick to prepare. You just throw everything into a blender and blend away. You can really include all sorts of goodies in your smoothie. You can add chia seeds, nut butters, oats, superfood powders like spirulina and wheatgrass, protein powders. The list goes on.

The fibre in a smoothie releases nutrients into the blood stream slowly balancing blood sugar levels avoiding spikes. You pack in less fruit and vegetables into a smoothie but smoothies are more filling keeping you fuller for longer. A juice can leave you feeling hungry.

With both juices and smoothies it is important to drink them within 15 minutes so the nutrients to do not get destroyed.

I hope this helps and keep enjoying both your smoothies and juices.

Cleansing Green Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to start the day and a super green smoothie is the best to cleanse and alkalise the body. Smoothies are also the secret to beautiful skin. It is so important to include plenty of greens into your diet and a smoothie is one of the best and quickest ways to great health!

Ingredients

1 celery stalk chopped

1/4 of a cucumber peeled and chopped

1 apple peeled and cored

Juice of 1 lemon

a small piece of ginger (ginger has a very strong taste so start with a small amount)

2 romaine leaves chopped

5 kale leaves chopped

1/2 a tablespoon of flax seeds

coconut water

Bee pollen for the topping

Optional

1 scoop of Neil’s Yard Super Greens Complex

Wash all the ingredients thoroughly and place in a blender and blend until smooth. You can add ice, this makes it taste better. Pour into a glass, top with bee pollen and enjoy!

Spirulina Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie recipe this week is packed full of goodness. It has spirulina which is a blue green algae very rich in protein and minerals. it is perfect after a tough workout.

Ingredients

1 frozen banana

a handful of spinach

2 broccoli florets

1 teaspoon of spirulina

1/2 an avocado

1 tablespoon of chia and flaxseeds

2 tablespoons of cashew butter

almond milk

For the topping

Strawberries and blueberries

bee pollen

Remove the skin and stone from the avocado and place in the blender together with the rest of the ingredients. Blend till creamy. The less liquid you put in it the creamier it will be. Serve in a bowl with the strawberries, blueberries and bee pollen. Enjoy!

Avocado Smoothie

A green smoothie every morning really is the best way to start the day. In just a month you will see clearer skin and feel so much better with an abundance of energy. Smoothies are also a quick, easy and fun way to incorporate more greens in your daily diet.  Avocados are rich in vitamin E which is great for the skin, heart and fighting free radicals.

Ingredients

A handful of kale

1 small avocado

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 cup of coconut water (you can add more to adjust the consistency)

1 – 2 red apples depending on how sweet you like it

A handful of cashew nuts

1 tsp of spirulina

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

Optional

I scoop of Vanilla Sun warrior protein powder or hemp protein powder if after an intense workout.

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. That simple. Add ice if you wish. I like to drink all my smoothies and drinks in general at room temperature, as it is healthier and my teeth are very sensitive to anything cold. Enjoy!