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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
  • Numi
  • Yogi
  • Tulsa

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)
  • Cherries
  • Pineapple
  • Apple
  • Banana


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
  • Avocado
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber

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!