Who has enough time to make an effort to live a healthy life? Errr...
It takes effort and commitment to live a healthy lifestyle, but the result is worth it. Afterall, what is the use of all the money in the world and the most loving friends and family if you are sick?
Simple Healthy Tips Series explain what I do for myself and family to gradually live a healthier lifestyle by choice. We are typical two-income middle class family, I am a typical wife and mother of a toddler who works full-time outside the home. Time and resources are limited, yet overtime I have found tips and tricks that enable us to eat healthier, be more active, and get sick less. I explain simple, tried and tested methods that do not take much time nor money, do not take a 180 degree, drastic changes in lifestyle or eating habit. The result is not instant, but it is proven to work well overtime. Here I will share with you real tips from real woman, real family, real people.
I had always want to eat more fruit and veggies. The problem is: I hate eating them. I don't like the taste, and I find the process of eating fruit too time consuming because I don't enjoy the process. If I did eat fruit and veggies in my lunch or dinner, it would be in a very small amount. Even that would take effort from me. Not to mention the debate whether or not cooked vegetables have lost their nutrients in the cooking process.
Anyhow, I finally opted for a method suitable for busy, lazy, no-fan-of-fruit-and-veggie me, to ensure that at least Hubby and I get some of my daily dose of needed fruit and green first thing in the morning. (Hubby eats fruit and veggies OK, but even he has benefited from this method, as well)
How to consume it?
I drink the smoothies first thing in the morning when our stomach is still empty, to ensure maximum absorbtion to our digestive system.
What about breakfast?
I wait for at least 30 minutes before eating anything else, including drinking milk. The only other acceptable intake during the waiting period is plain water. In the meantime, I make our bed, have a shower, get ready, put on my makeup, etc. Sometimes I will not eat anything until I reach my office. Then I drink a glass of milk and have a little bite for breakfast. Hubby usually drinks his smoothie before leaving for work, then have breakfast when he reaches the office, because he has an hour commute.
Why smoothie and not juice?
My definition of smoothie here means you drink the whole fruit and veggie but in liquid form, not just the squeezed juice. That way, not only you will get the important nutrients and vitamin from the fruit and veggie, but also the fiber with all the benefit and goodness. We all know fiber is beneficial for digestion and metabolism.
What makes the smoothie?
I'm still trying to gradually add more greens to my smoothie, but I'm not a hardcore. Honestly, the fruit tasted so much better than the greens, and since my goal is to consume the smoothie on a daily basis, I don't want to go overboard and plunge too much vegetables into the concoction and make the taste horrendous that I would end up throwing it away because I can't make myself drinking it.
My most common smoothie ingredients for two people (Hubby and me) are the following:
- WATER: 1 cup of water
- GREEN: 1-2 handfuls of greens. Any greens will do: watercress, spinach, rommaine lettuce, cucumbers, pokchoy, kale, whatever you happen to have or purchase in your last grocery trip. Add the greens first before the fruit, so they will be fully chopped.
- RED: 3-4 tomatoes and 1/2-1 carrot, depend on size. I ALWAYS include tomatoes because they are cheap, available all year in the tropics, loaded with nutrients, and they have a lot of juice that makes the smoothie not too thick. I add carrots for extra vitamin and betacarotene.
- FRUIT: Any fruit or fruit combination that you like. This will change according to season. I usually add fuji apple or pear, because they are available all year round. Sometimes I would add pineapple, dragon fruit, star fruit, rose apple, watermelon, whatever fruit that is in season and are available for cheaper price in the market.
- SECRET INGREDIENT: 1/2-1 ripe banana, depends on the size. Banana is the secret that makes the smoothie taste nice and delicious. I found that adding ripe banana to the concoction somehow ties up all the ingredients and taste of both fruit and green together nicely, that I can stand drinking even spinach in my smoothie. The taste of the banana somehow covers up the green taste. I don't know how it works, I just know it does. Before adding banana to my smoothie, I cannot bear adding more than a few leaves of watercress to the concoction, because it tasted abominable! After finding out this little trick, I could add 1-2 handful of greens. The odd thing is, I don't like to eat banana, but I always put some in my smoothie for the taste.
- Add greens before the fruit, so the green will be chopped off to the max.
- Don't pursue fancy, exotic fruit like those at the expensive juice bar. Your goal is to have a daily intake of fruit and greens, not to post fancy recipe on blogs or picture on Instagram. Normally, fruit is much more expensive than greens, so be wise when making your grocery trip. Think seasonally. Buy whatever fruit that is in season, because they are usually fresher and cheaper. Buy local fruit if you can, they are most likely newer and fresher and traveled less (therefore use less gasoline for shipping and transportation) from the plantation to reach your grocery store.
- Add banana, even if you don't like banana. Trust me, the banana will make the smoothie taste delicious, and that's why you won't mind having greens in your beverage, because the taste of the banana camouflages the yucky green taste. If you don't live in the tropics like I do, and have difficulty finding banana all year round, add some sweet fruit like apple or pear to cover the green taste.
You will need a blender like Vitamix or something similar to make your smoothie. I use Madato brand, which was a gift from my parents. It's an expensive brand, but totally worth the money. The blade and motor are so strong I don't need to chop the ingredients into small pieces, it's very easy to clean, and it's still doing very well after more than two years of daily usage.
Ideally, you want to drink the smoothie fresh out of the blender, but let's get real. Not many of us can commit to wake up earlier every morning to prepare the smoothie for the whole family, every single morning, on a regular basis. I make my smoothie the night before and chill it in airtight bottles in the refrigerator, so I can drink it first thing in the morning.
- If the taste is still yucky to you, chill it or add some ice. The smoothie taste so much better cold, whether chilled or iced.
- You can double the portion, chill one part, and freeze the other part for the day after. Thus, you only need to make the smoothie once every two nights.
- Don't keep the smoothie for more than two days, they will loose most of its benefit and potency in your fridge. Some ingredients will turn poisonous and too acid.
- Even if your have very good blender, try to chop your ingredients to relatively small pieces. The blade will last longer. Think of it as an investment.
What's the result?
I am not a strong, robust person. I used to get sick once every month or every other month. Since I started drinking fruit and veggie juice on a daily basis, I got sick less, like once a year, like normal people. My parents are doing even better. They have been drinking this daily for five years, they are both over seventy years old, and they never caught a cold during these five years. Not once.
What about beauty?
Well, I hope I can tell you that I have perfect skin now after starting this habit, but I don't! My skin condition improved, yes, but not drastically. I still have blemishes and redness and occasional pimple, but I can tell that my skin feels more supple. Anyhow, my goal is health, more than beauty. Besides, I always have my foundation and concealer to cover up my imperfection, haha!
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies: