Gabrielle Newman tell us how to make the perfect smoothie full of nutrition rich ingredients to help us get through the day.
Preparing healthy food that ticks all of the nutritional boxes can be difficult when you’re constantly on the go. While the Mediterranean-style diet is always my top recommendation, I understand that there are some days where you simply don’t have the time.
Gabrielle has a BHSc (Nutritional Medicine), and is the Nutritionist and Recipe Developer for The Fast 800.
She has a special interest in weight management, hormonal and metabolic health. Her love of food stems from her previous career as a short-order cook.
For the most part, grab-and-go snacks are often packed with sugar, making them high in carbohydrates, and low in vitamins and minerals. Protein shakes may sound like a healthier option but the main shakes on the market aren’t that great, either.
The team and I at The Fast 800 wanted to stand out from the crowd and align our nutritional shakes to the principles we stand for, The Mediterranean Diet.
Fibre: Why is it so important?
Fibre can be separated into two main types: soluble and insoluble, both of which have important roles in gut health and motility. Soluble fibre attracts water forming a gel, protecting the gastrointestinal tract.
Soluble fibre aids digestion and helps to reduce blood sugar levels, which can assist in reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Whereas insoluble fibre remains rigid and acts like a brush in the digestive tract helping to add bulk to stools. Insoluble fibre helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and helps to prevent constipation.
Both types of fibre are vital for digestive health and should be consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet. The Fast 800 shakes contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, something we refused to sacrifice in the making of the product.
The shakes we’ve created are different to market counterparts. Like The Mediterranean Diet, the shakes are made with real food, providing protein, healthy fats and fibre. The fibre content is almost a third of your daily requirements due to some powerhouse ingredients: almond flour; coconut flour; and flax seeds.
So, they do have texture but it’s what makes them filling and reflective of the best bits of a Mediterranean diet, especially their high fibre content.
Almond flour: almonds pack an enormous punch of benefits with a very worthy nutrient profile. They can help manage blood sugar levels and have been recognised to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Almonds are also high in magnesium, vitamin E and B2 and have a low glycemic index, which gives you a sustained release of energy from the slow release of sugar into your bloodstream.
Flax: flax seeds (or linseeds), like almonds, are loaded with nutrients. Their digestive benefits have connected them to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.3 Flax seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibre as well as plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, meaning they’re especially beneficial for vegetarians and vegans. Flax seeds are one of the richest dietary sources of lignans, which are high in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are compounds commonly found in plants; they reduce the levels of glucose in your blood and subsequently have been connected to a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome.
Coconut flour – coconut flour has been scientifically recognised to improve digestion, heart health and blood sugar stability. As a healthy fat, they are a great addition to a Mediterranean-style diet as they show similar benefits by promoting insulin sensitivity and fat loss. Unlike other saturated fats that are chemically made up from long-chain triglycerides LCTs, coconut flour is made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which benefit brain function and heart health.6 They are also a fantastic source of plant-based iron, which is a common deficiency amongst the global population.
So what else should I throw in?
Blend it up: pop your shake into a blender, or use a stick blender if you have one. If you’re not enjoying the texture, this can be a great way to change that.
Experiment with liquid amounts: everyone has a different preference, our Health Coaches included, and we’ve found that the right amount of water varies from person to person. Use more or less than the recommended guidance and find what works for you.
Use unsweetened almond milk: unsweetened almond milk is low in calories, carbohydrates and sugar, so won’t make a huge difference to the nutritional values of your shake. Some people love the taste and texture of their shake when they swap water for almond milk.
Add frozen fruit: there’s no harm in adding a couple of frozen berries to your shake and they’re absolutely delicious and fairly low in calories and sugar! Pop them in the blender and blitz.
Cold isn’t the only option: Switch it up and enjoy your shakes warm. Hot chocolate is a firm favourite in The Fast 800 office, however this is likely to be one of the healthiest hot choccies you’ve ever had!
Add some spice: depending on your base flavour, adding a little cinnamon, chilli, ground ginger or turmeric can really enhance the flavour profile without adding calories.