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Which Smoothie is Better?

Smoothies are all the rage lately.
From smoothie bars, to bottled smoothie-like drinks, to fruit and veggie smoothies and protein shakes alike, everyone seems to be getting their smoothie on. As a personal trainer, I hear people talk about their newest favorite smoothie as if it changes as often as their crossfit WOD.
Smoothies are a fantastic way to combine hard-core nutrients in a creamy, almost decadent way. With all the variations on this deliciously versitle drink, many people are confused as to which smoothies are better. The two most commonly compared smoothies are the green fuit and veggie smoothie versus the protein powder smoothie. So which one is better?
Smoothies, if done right, are super dense nutrient-packed, flavor-filled drinks that will satisfy your mind and body. Some smoothies are laden with sugar and use highly processed and pasturized fruit and vegetable juices, which really have no nutritional value. The majority of protein powders on the market today are also highly processed, contain fillers and dyes, and include animal by-products. Making sure the smoothies you consume actually contain whole foods, and are free from chemicals and additional sugar, is vitally important. So, given that you are actually drinking a “real” smoothie, let's take a look at which smoothie reigns supreme.
Fresh vegetable and fruit smoothies are one of my favorite things in life. Yes, those super green concoctions you see many people enjoy from their reusable clear straw cups are indeed delicious and well worth the hype. Taking a high volume of fresh (organic if possible) dark leafy greens that are dense in the healing and detoxifying properties of chlorophyll and blending them with more super foods, like greens, algaes, lemon juice, fruit, and more vegetables is fantastic for the health of your body. Not only are you consuming more nutrients in a single drink than you would potentially be able to consume all day by eating all of this whole, but because you have broken the cellular walls of the produce down in the blending process, your digestive system is able to easily process and utilize the nutrients that you have given it. These types of smoothies are hydrating, detoxifying, and contain loads of protein and fiber. After just two sips of a dark green fresh-tasting smoothie, my energy level skyrockets.

Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes:
1 hand-full spinach
1 hand-full supergreen mix or romaine
3 celery stalks
1 cucumber
1-3 tsp Spirulina or Chlorella
2-4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 apple
1 orange
Raw coconut water

Additional water to thin, if needed

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender, like a Vitamix. It will stay good in the refridgerator for up to 3 days, or you can freeze some to have on hand when in a pinch. A fresh green smoothie makes for fantastic pre-workout fuel, post-workout recovery, a quick snack, or a simple breakfast. In my opinion, the green smoothie is ultimate in nutrition.
So what about the protien powder smoothie? First, let's be clear that a well-varied plant-based diet contains enough protein for any body in any stage of life; from infants to seniors and everyone in between. Supplementing with a protein powder is not necessary. However, I fully understand the convenience that a smoothie brings, especially when trying to consume a dense amount of nutrition in low volumes. I personally love a good protein smoothie, especially when I've been extremely active. Just like the quality of ingredients going into a green smoothie, the quality of protein powder you choose is extremely important. The majority of protein powders are highly refined, and contain fillers and extra sugars.What you choose to add to your protein shake is also important. When you mix whey protein powder with cow's milk, then add peanut butter (another inflammatory), with a handful of fast-digesting fruit,it is pouring liquid cement into your digestive system, setting the inflammatory response in your body into overdrive.
There are some protein powders that are of good quality, are easily digestible, and are of a high availability rate; meaning you will utilize most of the protein you are taking in. Among them are products from Sun Warrior, Garden of Life, and Vega. All of these companies use high quality ingredients. Sun Warrior and Garden of Life also use raw ingredients which have not been heated to temperatures higher than 118 degrees, keeping the nutrients in tact. Products from these companies include variations with added greens and superfood nutrients, making for an even more intense nutrient boost.
My favorite protein smoothie is a scoop of Sun Warrior Plus Chocolate protein powder with Ormus Greens (an added superfood green powder supplement) with coconut milk and a frozen banana. Delicious!
So the questions still remains: Which is better; the green smoothie or the protein powder smoothie? I definitely lean toward the green smoothie. The amount of fiber, antioxidants, protein, detoxifiers, and natural enzymes cannot be beat.Once I started drinking a green smoothie, my body craved it daily. I do love protein smoothies, but limit them to just three or four times a week. They work great as a meal replacement if I need something a little heavier than the green smoothie, or as a quick and nutritious snack. You can enjoy both types and fit them into your lifestyle as you see fit. Listen to your body. It will tell you exactly what it needs.
Replacing processed, nutrient-depleted foods with raw, organic whole foods will boost your energy levels, helping you to achieve more and get through your crossfit workouts with Sol Crossfit. Try the above smoothie recipes and here’s Cheers to your health!

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