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A lot of people start the day with a smoothie. Therapeutic smoothies can also be a great alternative when you need a late afternoon pick me up. But sometimes smoothies end up being loaded with sugar or they don’t contain a whole lot of wholesome ingredients.
In functional medicine, we believe food is not merely calories, but is medicine. We can use food as a therapeutic tool turn on and off certain signals at the cellular level thereby impacting our overall health.
It’s always a great idea to have several recipes to use and there are lots of recipes on the internet. I like to get creative and experiment with different ingredients. It’s a good idea to work with the leftovers you have in your refrigerator.
You do need a good quality blender. I personally own a Vitamix.
(Image Therapeutic smoothie- source IFM Toolkit)
So let’s dive into how to make a therapeutic smoothie:
Step 1 -(Optional) Base Liquids
To make a base liquid steep a herbal tea for about 10-15 minutes. Let it cool for about 20 minutes. another alternative is to add an ice cube. You can store the unused portion in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.
Here are some examples of herbal tea brands
- Good earth
You can start by adding 4-6 ounces of a base liquid to the bottom of your blender.
Step 2- Unsweetened juice
Add 2-4 ounces of unsweetened chilled juice. Some examples of juices to use are:
- Pomegranate juice
- Dark cherry juice
- Beet juice
- Purple grape juice
Step 3 Fruits and/or Vegetables
When it comes to fruit, pay attention to the serving size. Avoid sweetened or processed fruit. Add 1/2 cup of fresh (preferably organic) fruit. Here are some examples of fruit to include in your therapeutic smoothie.
- Berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
Next, add 1-2 cups of leafy vegetables
I don’t think you can go wrong with vegetables. Here are some to try:
- Dark leafy vegetables like kale, chard, spinach
Step 4 -Protein
There are a variety of protein powders on the market. I recommend getting a good quality protein powder.
- Plant-based protein
- Hemp protein
- Whey powder
- Yogurt or kefir
- Soy powder
- Nut butter or powder (flour)- almond, cashew,
- Medical grade protein powder (obtain from your functional health practitioner)
Step 5- Seeds
Next, add a 1-2 teaspoons of any one of these seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
Seeds are a great source of healthy fat as well as fiber.
Step 6- Optional fats and oils
- MCT oil (1 tablespoon)
- Coconut milk (3 tablespoons)
Step 7 – Top up with 1/4 cup of ice
Blend until all your ingredients. I usually start on low and gradually increase the speed for the first minute and then take it up to high speed for an additional minute.
Pour into a glass and enjoy!