You are what you eat. What would YOU like to be?
― Julie Murphy
In addition to fruit water and coconut water kefir, I’ve been drinking some other delicious, healthy beverages that can be made at home, found at health food stores, or ordered at most veggie restaurants: fruit smoothies, vegetable juices, and coconuts.
As much as I’m a proponent of these healthy drinks, it’s no secret that juice, smoothies, and cleanses have developed into an unnecessary craze over the past few years: juice alone is currently a “$5 billion industry, projected to grow by 4 to 8 percent a year,” meaning that most of the advertisements and products surrounding juice and other healthy drinks are based on money-making motives, as opposed what’s best for our personal health. Making healthy choices about food and drink requires mindfulness, critical thinking, and questioning the intentions behind products.
Even so, fruit smoothies and juices can be extremely nutritious — easily digested and packed with vitamins, these liquid superfoods are great for breakfast, a healthy snack, or a colorful addition to a dinner party.
1. Fruit smoothies
Sugar-free and filled with any goodness we choose, fruit smoothies can be a healthy person’s greatest weapon against fatigue, illness, and bland-tasting drinks. I’ve perfected my smoothie: coconut (both water and meat), mangoes, and pineapple — my sweet, yellow concoction of energy.
I’ll talk about the numerous virtues of coconuts below, but mangoes also contain numerous healthy benefits in their own right: they help prevent cancer, improve our skin, promote good eyesight, and lower cholesterol.
A healthy outside starts from the inside. – Robert Urich
If we don’t have easy access to coconuts, or they’re not our thing, use fresh, filtered water instead to increase the smoothie’s viscosity. Ice made from filtered water works well, too. While the possible combinations are endless, a few other tried-and-true favorites include: mangoes and blueberries, mixed berries and bananas, or beetroot, passion fruit, and papaya.
Blueberries are another superfood that are thought to improve short-term memory, prevent certain types of cancer, and help us during the aging process.
If we want our smoothies to pack even more punch, we can add nuts, avocados, flax seeds, or chia seeds for extra protein and essential fats. Or, add these items as a crunchy snack on the side. Coconut milk is another good idea for creating a thick, creamy consistency with added sweetness — a luscious, healthy dessert. To dress up the glasses, or if we’re serving these drinks at a dinner party, we can include these beautiful ice cubes made from fruit and filtered water.
2. Vegetable juice
Beetroot, carrot, apple, and celery: this combination is an energetic amalgamation of vitamins and nutrients that tastes refreshing and fuels our bodies. Sugar-free, the apple and beets give it just enough sweetness. Pop in some ice cubes made from filtered water, along with a sustainable bamboo straw, and we create a beautiful, bright drink that’s both eco-friendly and nutritionally mindful.
Beetroot juice is particularly healthy, replete with anti-oxidants. Some positive effects include keeping our hearts healthy, reducing our risk of osteoporosis, reducing cholesterol, fighting anemia and fatigue, and slowing down the progression of dementia.
I always feel brighter when I drink beetroot juice in the morning. It’s also fun to play around with veggie-fruit combinations — apple, carrot, and pineapple for a super-sweet infusion; or orange, carrot, and beet for a deeply nutritious blend of warm colors. These juices also work well in a party setting: just ask everyone to bring some fresh vegetables, and throw a delicious, healthy juicing party.
3. Coconut water and meat
One of my favorite things to eat and drink are coconuts. This amazing fruit is truly multi-purpose when it comes to helping our bodies. From divine coconut oil products to straight-up coconut water, most parts of the coconut are healthy in one way or another. Purchasing a fresh one and eating the meat inside is a luxury moment that I happily treasure with gratitude.
They also come with a slew of healthy benefits: they naturally boost energy, help maintain a healthy weight, reduce cravings, assist with digestion, and pack fiber into your daily diet.
Making healthy drinks work for us
Depending on where we live, fruits and veggies can be expensive. Investing in a juicer or blender gives us control over which produce we choose to use to liquefy: for example, if apples and carrots are cheapest in our area, we can find ways to make this combination work for us, and still get the benefits that juicing provides. Saving up to purchase a blender; choosing in-season, less expensive produce; or buying add-ons (flax seeds, etc.) in bulk can help to lower cost.
As America, and the world at large, continue to deal with destructive economic disparity, we need to persevere with making mindful choices: doing the best that we can to give ourselves the proper self-care that we deserve in our respective financial and lifestyle circumstances is one of our jobs as humans. Thinking outside-the-box, being creative, and having a sense of irrepressible optimism all come into play here, allowing us to create a healthy playground in which to try new ideas, and reach further through self-determination.
The greatest wealth is health.