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It's the start of the new year and everyone is trying to keep themselves on track with their new healthy goals for 2016. Smoothies are definitely a big part of the health movement, and if you are trying to detox, go vegan, lose weight, or just plain be healthier, it's likely that smoothies on are your list to try out. I am right there with you! This year, with a renewed vigor for keeping my body healthy, I decided I was going to get serious about my smoothie making and really try harder to have breakfast every morning.
I'm not a breakfast eater
This has been one of my hardest habits to break. I am the kind of person who finds themselves hungry closer to 11 am, and nauseated when I do try to eat a big fare with the family on the weekends. As a mom, businesswoman, homeschool teacher, and pet parent, I find myself extremely busy the moment my feet touch the ground and I leave my bed for the day. I always tell myself that I don't have enough time and that I am not hungry, but this year I vowed I would change that with healthy smoothies for breakfast! Imagine my excitement when Blendtec sent me their Blendtec Designer 725 with the Twister jar just in time to help me achieve my goals for 2016.
The blender that I am talking about today, came from the good folks at Blendtec (You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter). I was generously given the Blendtec Designer 725 with the Twister jar to review, but my opinions are my own! I will only share with you products that I myself love and use personally!
Making a tasty smoothie is harder than it sounds
I'll be the first to admit that my first attempts at making the ultimate green smoothie, turned out a little greener than I had wanted...like make your face turn green because I put too many different ingredients into my blender and thought that I could hide the flavors together. Note to self...throwing every healthy thing you own into the blender, (kinda the way you used to mix all the sodas together as a kid) doesn't make for the tastiest smoothie. It may sound easy, but with pretty much a million different combinations to choose from, you'll soon find that there's more to this smoothie thing than just pressing a button! Luckily for you, after making all sorts of mistakes and learning to make the perfect smoothie, I have put together my Top 5 Tips for the Perfect Smoothie, just to make your life easier and keep your smoothies amazing tasting!
5 Awesome Tips for the Perfect Smoothie
1. Layer your smoothie in the right order
You can't actually just throw all your smoothie ingredients into your blender haphazardly and blend. Many times, this way of blending will lead to smoothies that aren't totally smooth, powders that aren't mixed all the way in, and even blending of all of your ingredients. For best results, you should always add your smoothie ingredients into your smoothie in this order:
- Liquids - putting these on the bottom helps get the blades moving when the blender is turned on, encouraging solids to liquefy more evenly.
- Powders/Herbs - Powdered ingredients, such as protein powders, spices, ground herbs, superfood powders, cacao, and more; are added second so that they are covered enough to mix in evenly, and not fly up into the lid of the blender.
- Soft Fruit/Veggies - Soft fruits such as bananas, avocados, and cucumbers can all lend a smooth texture to the smoothie and also helps hold the powders down, so that they are not flung up into the lid of the blender when blending.
- Ice/Frozen Fruits - The frozen ingredients should go on the very top to help the blender pull all the other ingredients down into the blades for smooth blending.
If you have a personal blender, like the Nutribullet, (that you fill and then turn upside down when attaching to the motor) reverse the order and put the ice in first.
2. Choose only the best ingredients and clean them thoroughly
It's important to try and get your ingredients at the peak of freshness, This means, if possible, you try to get your organically grown fruits and veggies locally. It's important that you choose organically grown ingredients, but if you are not able to, shopping with EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists can be helpful to maximize shopping experience. Whether organically grown or not, it is extremely important that you wash all of your fruits and vegetables before use in your smoothies. All fruits and veggies carry with them soil, bacteria, and even pesticide residue. I like to wash my produce using a drop of castile soap, before preparing to add them to my smoothies!
3. Upgrade your smoothies with healthy additions
If I listed off all of the many ingredients you could add to your smoothie to upgrade your vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, etc. I would have a SUPER long post! While the list is endless, there are some staple extras that I like to sneak into my smoothies for nutritional benefit:
- Super Seeds: Flax, Chia, & Hemp - Rich in fiber, omegas, fatty acids, antioxidants, and more; it's super easy to add these powerhouse superfoods to all of your smoothies! None of them change the flavor either!
- Coconut oil - I am always looking for more ways to get coconut oil into my diet. Every Hippy knows that coconut oil is the first step down the healthy hippy rabbit hole. Adding coconut oil to your smoothies is a great way to easily get it into your daily routine!
- Herbs & Spices - Some of my favorite herbs that I like to take daily, make great additions to your smoothies. You can slip in immune boosting herbs, adaptogens, and more. You can also use herbs and spices such as peppermint, ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, citrus zest, etc. for flavor as well as for their medicinal purposes.
- Probiotics - Who has time to take all of these supplements every single day? I like to add probiotics to my smoothies to maximize the healing benefits to my body. You can either use your liquid probiotics in place of some or all of the liquids in a recipe, or you can add your probiotic pills to your smoothie. I like to use Kura Grass-Fed protein smoothie powder because they not only contain all sorts of great vitamins and minerals, but also probiotics too!
- Veggies - Smoothies are a great way to include more veggies into your daily diet! I always throw a handful of spinach, kale, and other greens into my smoothies. You can also make savory veggie-based smoothies. I like to make a salsa smoothie that I love enjoying! Who needs chips to eat your salsa? Not me! Those are just vessels to carry the salsa to your mouth! lol
4. Soak ingredients for the smoothest texture and better nutrient absorption
For best absorption of nutrients with nuts, seeds, and grains, you should soak them before use. According to the Blender Girl, in her book The Blender Girl Smoothies: 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo-Friendly Recipes:
"Soaking raw nuts, seeds, and grains before use neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, unlocks the food's full nutrient potential, makes proteins more available, and activates live enzymes. Hydrated nuts, seeds. and dried fruits liquefy more completely."
It's easy to soak your nuts, seeds, and grains! To soak them the quick way, simple cover with boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain, discard the soaking liquid, and rinse your nuts/seeds/grains (This method is quick, but with the heat of the water, it does lose some of the nutrients in the process). To soak them the slow way, cover with water and add a dash of salt and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice if you don't have the ACV) and soak for 8-24 hours. Discard the soaking liquid and rinse.
5. Have the right blender
You may not realize it, but quality of blender makes a HUGE difference on quality of smoothness in your smoothie! I hadn't realized it until I made my first smoothie with my Blendtec Designer 725. I was seriously shocked by how smooth my Blendtec blender got my smoothies EVERY SINGLE TIME. I hadn't realized that I had settled for my semi-smooth smoothie with my last blender, and can't imagine going back after learning what I was missing with my old blender. There are really only 2 blenders in this high-end category, that are capable of getting your smoothies this smooth, with every blend.
The blender that can do it all, and then some
I honestly never realized just how many things you can make with the help of a Blendtec blender until it came in the mail and I began sifting through the MANY awesome recipes they have on their site. I didn't just make smoothies with this awesome blender, I successfully made homemade cranberry sauce, coconut milk whipped cream, salsa, whole juice, pineapple mango sorbet, strawberry vanilla almond milk ice cream, homemade personal pizza dough, almond/coconut milk, Almond butter, and more! I am constantly finding new ways to cook using this blender and excitedly trying them out!
What I think of this blender
This blender is by far the most awesome blender that I have ever used. EVER! I am extremely happy with the ease of use with the touch of a button. The Blendtec Designer 725 has 6 pre-programmed settings (Smoothie, Salsa, Ice Cream, Whole Juice, Hot Soup, and Clean) that requires only that you put your ingredients into the blender and press a button. The next thing you know, your Blendtec blender has done all the work for you! I also really LOVE the Twister jar. It made blending thicker items like almond butter and ice cream, super easy to blend without having to stop and swipe the sides of the jar every so often. Now that I have used a top tier blender, capable of so much more, I don't think I can ever go back! You'll find me making ice cream and sorbets all summer long, now that I have this awesome blender! I can't wait! One of my other favorite perks to this blender is the "clean" button! Add a drop or two of dish soap into the blender, cover with warm/hot water, put the lid on and press the "clean" button! I love anything that takes some of the hassle of cleaning out of my life! Seriously, this blender is a life changer!