• Wed, Apr 6 2011

8 Ingredients to Never Put In Your Smoothies

Not to be a grouch, but I have a real problem with the word “smoothie.” It’s simply an aesthetic issue. I don’t like it when adults adopt cutesy, kiddie-esque words (other offenders on my list include foodie, veggie, and potty). That said, I’ve got no problem with how smoothies taste (if they’re good, that is) or how nutritious they can be (if they’re well-made). We just need to come up with a more appropriate way to refer to them. Smooth thang? Milkshake’s healthy country cousin? Smoothshake? SmoothStuff?

Now, let it be known that I respectfully disagree with Blisstree’s resident nutritionist and Fearless Foodtrainer, Lauren Slayton (@foodtrainers), about a few health-related topics. (I like airline food; she thinks processed meat substitutes are unhealthier than actual meat. She doesn’t mind the term “smoothie”; it makes my skin crawl.) But she and I do gel on one thing that’s relevant today: There are certain ingredients that you simply shouldn’t add to your SmoothShake (see? I’m so going to make it a thing); otherwise you may as well visit your local ice cream parlor and have them whir you up an actual full-fat milkshake.

I asked Lauren for her personal take on the concept of smoothies, and here’s what she had to say:

I love smoothies. I own the Vitamix. I’m sure my friends are sick of hearing about my prolific smoothie-making and I don’t blame them. My clients, knowing I have a fondness for an obsession with smoothies always ask, “What can I get at the smoothie stand?” My enthusiasm deflates as those corner or mall smoothie places aren’t just about fruit and ice — danger in the form of sugar lurks everywere. My basic smoothie formula goes like this: One cup frozen organic fruit, one source of protein (see gallery), an innocuous liquid (ditto), spices, herbs (basil is great), or zest for added flavor. Plus a green for extra credit.

See, I knew my issue with the word “smoothie” wasn’t unfounded! Turns out, smoothies can be dangerous! Or at least, significantly devoid of nutritional value. (And notice how many times Lauren actually used the word “smoothie,” just to annoy me?) Regardless, here’s our gallery of eight ingredients never to put in your smoothies, until we think up a much cooler name for them.

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  • Diana

    Blisstree is obsessed with smoothies. Smoothie. Smoothie. Smoothie. Yeah it’s an awful word, you’re right.

  • Geetha

    Yes! My smoothies pass the test (I put a tad of unsweetened, organic almond butter in some of the smoothie recipes I make at home). I am also grossed out by the sugar bomb smoothies that come in bottles and are sold out there– I would rather just have ice cream.

    http://tryingforbliss.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/the-miracle-known-as-the-green-smoothie/

    • Briana Rognlin

      Your recipes look great, Geetha! I’m a fan of putting greens in my smoothies, too, but sometimes I skip kale because it makes them too chewy (and the whole point is that we don’t want to chew). Do you have any tricks for making them a little less tough? I was thinking of just juicing them instead of putting in the whole vegetable…

      Thanks for sharing!
      Briana (Blisstree’s Deputy Editor)

  • Jennifer

    Too much fruit, really? With all the things wrong with the American diet, too much fruit isn’t what I would hone in on.

    • Christina

      I was just thinking about the same thing. If you’re restricting the amount of fruit you eat for fear of gaining weight, it’s not healthy anymore. Ever heard of anyone who gained morbid amounts of weight or died because of eating too much fruit?

  • caoimhe

    SMOOTHIE…*in a creepy voice* smoothie.. smoothie…

  • Geetha

    Thanks Briana!

    I think a high speed blender helps pulverize those suckers. Also batches help as well– before I got my Vitamix, I used to blend the greens and water first to make a smooth puree–then I would add my frozen and fresh fruit. Also, I find that adding either almond milk or a banana tends to make the texture creamier then just water. Another option is to try the more tender types of kale like red vs dinosaur or lacinato.

    I love the green juice idea as well–I bet it would work great–I have a Breville on my wish list :-)

    • Briana Rognlin

      Oooh, nice. Thanks for the tips!

      I just got a Hurom Slow Juicer for Christmas and really, really like it. I haven’t tried a Breville, though. I have a Vitamix (I know, I’m a lucky girl) so I’ll try blending the greens and water first. And I definitely agree; frozen bananas are the best thing you could do for a smoothie. Or at least I’m really into them lately. Thanks again!

  • me

    How about fruitshake or fruitsmooth? “Smoothshake” is a stupid name if you ask me because most shakes are smooth.

  • fugu

    NEVER put juice or ice in a smoothie! If you do you’ve got a watered down juice/fruit drink. They should always be made of whole fruit flash and shouldn’t contain anything to dilute them. If you want to know what should be in a smoothie just look for ‘innocent smoothies” and check the ingredients.

  • Lauren Slayton

    I wanted to chime in on the fruit topic. While fruit would never top my list of things we should cut down in our diets, we need to look at what we’re eating. Two cups of fruit makes a smoothie that’s plenty of calories for a breakfast meal or snack. Despite fiber and antioxidants in fruit, when I see people with a 32oz smoothie thinking they are doing something great for themselves I worry. Americans are notorious for putting a health halo on certain foods: olive oil, fruit, nuts and then overdoing it. Even if a food is heathy I think we can eat in in a reasonable way. So we’re not saying avoid fruit we’re saying keep an eye on it.

  • Jessica L Caneal

    I was with you on this post until you said that whey protein was a good choice. It’s not. I actually do not believe that any protein powder is a good choice, unless you have special needs or you are a super athlete undergoing especially strenuous workouts. But whey protein is seriously bad for you. Read “The China Study”, and steer clear of the dairy products.

  • http://www.sandradubrov.com Sandra Dubrov

    What a great twist on the smoothie subject! I must admit that I am green smoothie addict and you’ve touched upon most of my smoothie pet peeves.

    Briana, if you blanch your greens before you blend, they melt right in. So yummy!

  • diana

    SMOOOOOOOTHIIEEEEEEEEE, doesnt the word roll off your tounge? its so smooooothhhh. like a smooootttthhhhieeee.

  • Cherelle

    I make my smoothie… I mean smoothshake with various frozen fruits (because I don’t feel like cutting fresh fruit) and either plain yogurt and a little honey or lowfat french vanilla yogurt. That’s it.

  • Carol

    I own a vitamix and make mine with fruits and vegatables and know a friend who has been using veg and uses fruit and has lost weight. So am going to try that. Right now I have one with carrots and cucumbers , celary and it is good.

  • Miles Hennis

    So where’s the 8 things that the title suggests?

    Miles
    http://www.mileshennis.com

  • Winnie

    lol @ “Mamba moose” hahaha…