Adding fat to your smoothie will, of course, add some calories. But healthy fats offer up more than that – you can also pick up some vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and fibre along the way.
Seeds like flax, hemp, chia or sunflower seeds add a bit of texture to your smoothie, and give a little boost of minerals (especially copper and zinc) and omega-3 fatty acids.
Nut butters such as almond, walnut or pistachio, also contribute zinc and copper, along with some protein and fibre, too.
Avocado adds a silky-smooth add-in to smoothies, and provides the same healthy fats found in olive oil along with some vitamin E.
Your smoothie might taste just fine as it is, but if – like me – you’re in the habit of having them every day, it’s nice to change up the flavours to keep things interesting. Aside from changing the flavour of my actual shake powder (don’t forget we have many flavours for you to try: chocolate, cookies & cream, strawberry, cappuccino to name a few) and playing around with different fruit and vegetable add-ins what often takes my shakes over the top is the extra flavour boost I get from adding herbs, spices, extracts and other natural flavours.
Spices – try a dash of sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or clove, or add some spicy heat with ginger or even a dash of white pepper. Since they’re plant products, spices also contribute phytonutrients and antioxidants, too.
Herbs may not be something you’ve thought about adding to your smoothie, but there are plenty of herbs that work really well. Try mint, rosemary, thyme or basil – but don’t stop there! I know people who love fresh parsley or fresh cilantro in their smoothies, too.
Extracts and Zest – a little fresh lemon or orange zest adds a bright, fresh flavour to your smoothie, and there are some healthy oils in citrus peel, too. I also like to keep all kinds of extracts on hand – like pure vanilla, almond, coconut and peppermint for an extra flavour boost.
If you have trouble working enough fruits and vegetables into your day, adding them to your smoothies can be an easy way to boost your intake.
Fruits: Personally I find the best way to use fruits in a smoothie is to freeze them first. Especially in the summer months when it is so hot. But of course fresh fruits are just as delicious! Aside from the typical berries or bananas, you might try mixing it up with less-typical fruits like kiwi, pomegranate seeds, guava or melon. I love adding frozen watermelon or frozen mango to my shake. And, believe it or not, our strawberry shake mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice is quite delicious.
Vegetables: These are a little trickier if you’re not used to trendy smoothies! Try things like cooked carrots, pumpkin, beets or butternut squash in small quantities. These are great smoothie boosters because they’re mildly sweet without being too obtrusive. Baby greens – like baby spinach – are also mild in flavour and make you feel super healthy because they turn your shake green. Kale and wheatgrass as great ad-ins too if you can stomach the taste. But seriously, rather don’t put things in your shake that will make you not want to drink it. It’s not worth having to fight with your mind about whether or not kale tastes a little bit like blood. Rather stick to the things that make you happy to have your shake!
If you have high calorie needs or are trying to gain weight, high-calorie extras in your smoothie can really help. The trick is to add healthy nutrition along with the calorie boost. So maybe let’s not add ice cream or maple syrup or anything like that, ok?
Rolled oats – a scoop of quick-cooking rolled oats can add 100 calories or more, along with soluble fibre and a little extra protein, too.
Avocado and nut butters – add half of an avocado or a heaping spoonful of nut butter to your shake and you can boost the calories by 100 or more. Peanut butter is an option too but try to stick with the salt and sugar free versions (Woolies makes a great one, just fyi)
Dried Fruits or 100% Juices – because their calories are so concentrated, fruit juices and dried fruits are discouraged for those who are trying to lose weight, but that’s precisely why they make such a great add-in for those who are trying to gain. Try 100% orange, carrot or pineapple juice, or toss in a handful of dried apricots, peaches, cherries, dates or raisins.
Nut Powder – Use a food processor (Nutribullet is champion for this task) and make yourself some nut powder. Mix a bunch of nuts and seeds of your choice (pumpkin, linseed, sesame seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds) and then blend them into a powder. Keep the powder in your fridge and add them to your shake as needed. Drink up quick! (you don’t want that powder to go slimy!)
Some smoothie add-ins do double duty – they not only add flavour and nutrition, but also help with your digestive system.
Aloe vera juice adds a mild sweet flavour to your shake and helps support nutrient absorption in your digestive tract. (ask us about our Herbal Aloe beverage if you are not already taking it)
Yogurt contains probiotics – so-called “good” bacteria that help support digestive health. If you’re feeling extra adventurous you can also try amasi.
Ginger and Peppermint are both known to aid the digestive process.
Chia seeds are a very rich source of soluble fibre, which supports the growth of the good bacteria in your intestines.
Linseed is a gentle on the digestive system and also contain omega oils that are great for your brain, skin, and hair. But if you’re going to add linseed to your shake you might want to drink it up really quickly because if you let it stand for too long those seeds are going to get slimy!
You may have noticed that I’m a fan of yoga. I’m no guru, of course. Or, yogi, for that matter. I’m naturally bendy so that’s a plus but I’m not particularly strong so yoga tends to beat me often. The strength will improve as I keep it up. The thing is though, if there were no benefits to yoga other than the stress relief that I get from the practice, that would be enough. There are, however, numerous benefits to maintaining a regular yoga practice. The conscientious among us might notice even the smallest of benefits after each session. It is always good to take stock of how you are feeling before and after your practice, and keep these niggles in mind as inspiration to continue.
Here are just 3 great benefits to establishing a regular practice:
1. Improved flexibility
It takes a surprisingly short amount of time to notice a vast improvement in your flexibility once you start practicing yoga. Touching your toes may seem like an impossibility today, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an inevitability. This flexibility will in turn go a long way to alleviating pains that arise from tight joints and muscle tension.
2. Build Muscle
Yoga combines muscle building with flexibility which leads to strong, toned muscles (which look beautiful) coupled with the health benefits of having stronger muscles. such as better protection against ailments like arthritis and back pain.
3. Better Posture
There’s something commanding about a good posture, and yoga can help you get one. Aside from the aesthetics, though, an improved posture may very well lead to improved health all round. A bad posture can, for instance, cause that feeling of constant fatigue. Improving your posture can also help with muscle and joint pain.
I think we probably all have our little ways of coping when our slow-paced hearts butt heads with this fast-paced world, but personally I’m a huge fan of chamomile tea, lavender baths with real sprigs of lavender, and tHerbalife’s Tang Kuei. Some folks run marathons and lift heavy things and do many many squats. We all have an idea of what works for us, but sometimes we just need a little something extra.
Here are some simple ideas for you to try:
1.) Hit the pool
It’s summer time here in South Africa and summer should never go to waste. Slip into your bathing suit and take yourself off for a little float. Forget the manic race to improve your length time (or whatever) and just take a few moments to float. Face up. Eyes closed. Slow breathing. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?
A Swedish study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that floating in water triggers the body’s relaxation response, helping lower stress-hormone levels. Even better, nearly 80 percent of the subjects showed improvements such as feeling less tense and depressed. ~ Shape
2. Listen to music
One thing we all got right as teenagers was the fact that music does wonders for that happiness thing that we’re all chasing. Remember back in the days when you weren’t able to go a day without listening to your favourite tunes? Go back there! Listen to music that uplifts you. Listen to music that makes you want to dance. Listen to music that makes you want to sing. And crank up that volume!
3. Cuddle your pet
Studies show that stroking an animal helps to significantly lower tension. It seems like such an insignificant act, but from personal experience I would have to admit that there has been a huge increase in my own personal happiness since I invited a couple of rescue animals to live in my home. (Just remember: when it comes to pets ADOPT DON’T SHOP!)
Do you have an simple stress relieving techniques that you would like to share?
Ah, Sleep! There’s nothing quite like a good deep sleep to leave you feeling refreshed and ready to start your day. As little as two consecutive nights of bad sleep can leave you feeling groggy and irritable, but good sleep has far more benefits than the otherwise obvious. Sure, a good night’s sleep sets you up for a less grumpy day, and it might help keep those pesky bags-under-the-eye at bay, but good sleep is also worth so much more.
Here are just a few reasons for you to consider a slightly earlier bedtime:
Healthy Brain Function
A good night’s sleep goes a long way to keeping your brain functioning at optimum levels. Sleep prepares you mentally to face the next day and ultimately allows you the capacity to make decisions, solve problems, and cope with change.
Lack of sleep can lead to various mental ailments such as stress and depression. Bad sleeping patterns can also lead to difficulty with focus and concentration, which can in turn lead to struggles that ultimately lead to stress and more lack of sleep. Staying out of this vicious cycle is exceptionally important to your sunny disposition.
You body performs all sorts of healing functions while you sleep. The heart and blood vessels especially benefit from a good night’s sleep, lowering your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Good sleep plays a vital role in the way your immune system works. Compromised sleep may result in your immune systems response going off kilter, which will lead to your body struggle to fight off even the simplest of colds.
Appetite & Obesity
A good night’s sleep helps to maintain the balance between hunger and satiation hormones. Bad sleeping patterns may cause you to feel unnecessarily hungry all the time. Regular lack of sleep is also known to increase the risk of obesity.