Ripe Peach Smoothies

At the NYC Greenmarket  farmers’ market in Boro Park, Brooklyn, last Thursday, there were plenty of “customers” for the free smoothies and gazpacho we handed out. The tree-ripened peaches were at the height of summer perfection. I’d been really looking forward to sharing this post with you, but didn’t want to publish until after you had a chance to taste the samples at the market.

For some people, the occasional or targeted-use of home-made smoothies are a great way to get essential nutrients, especially fiber, enzymes and water-soluble vitamins into the body. They can be a good choice if you are in fairly good health to begin with or if you’re a picky eater who isn’t getting the nutrition you need. They are great for children, especially those with sensory disorders and swallowing difficulties.

You can start with a blank-slate smoothie, which is based on the seasonal fruits that are best for your personal nutritional needs, and build from there.

You don’t really need to add any sweetener if the fruit you are using is as ripe as it should be. The great thing about bananas is that they ripen beautifully at home, but they aren’t suitable if you have certain health issues that are characterized as “damp” in TCM. If you add a touch of cinnamon it heightens the sweetness of the fruit without adding calories or sugar. There is solid evidence that cinnamon can help bring blood sugar levels to the normal range in both diabetics and the general population.

Many recipes for smoothies or shakes call for milk (both dairy and nut or soy milk). Many people (including children), simply cannot tolerate the heavily processed milk generally available today. There is an ever-expanding body of evidence that says that soy products should be restricted and only used occasionally. I never was a fan of soy milk, it too, produces phlegm. Rice milk and almond milk also should be used only occasionally (I don’t think hemp milk should be used at all, except by very frail individuals who need a rich source of Omega 6 fatty acids). In a later post I’ll teach you how to make healthy “milks” from various whole foods.

If you find you (or your children) suffer frequently from sinus infections, earaches, colds and congestion milk (and many other dairy products  as well as soy and other non-dairy milks, and even whey) might be the culprit. If you want to add calcium (and protein) to your smoothie, try adding two tablespoons tahini or almond butter.

Another popular ingredient is citrus fruit juices, especially orange juice. Processed orange juice can also produce phlegm and if drunk frequently, intolerance, even allergy, may develop. Without the fiber of the pulp and the bio-flavanoids in the pitch, strained, bottled or packaged orange juice or products containing it are not necessarily a good choice for most people. If you love oranges, eat an orange.

It’s important to make smoothies with real foods. Store-bought smoothies often contain sweeteners and artificial forms of vitamins and minerals. Many contain whey or soy protein, both of which are not suitable for everyone (soy especially). Like most processed foods, these can produce acidosis and inflammation in the body over time.

If time and convenience are a factor for you, make a double batch of homemade smoothies and freeze in cups or baggies. They keep for up to two weeks. I’ve been making them for a few years for husband’s on-the-go breakfast so invested in some good quality bottles with built-in sippy straws. I defrost the smoothies overnight in the fridge and remind husband to bring them to room temperature before drinking—ice cold foods inhibit the digestion and should only be consumed as occasional treats.

Smoothies can be customized to suit your nutritional needs. You can add various green powders, essential fatty acids, and other quality supplements as needed for your body type and health goals. I have literally dozens of recipes I’ve customized for clients.

We handed out two ridiculously simple versions of ripe peach smoothies at the farmers’ market. We chose peaches that were tree ripened, even a bit over-ripe, verging on rotten. These not only have the most intense flavor but also contain the highest levels of anti-oxidants. You can use nectarines or any other ripe fruit that’s available.

HJC Peach and Banana Smoothie

2-3 ripe peaches, washed, pitted and quartered (peel if not using organic peaches)

1 very ripe banana

Cold water to process

1 teaspoon raw honey, stevia or raw agave, optional (if you have a problem with your cholesterol or triglyceride levels, skip the agave)

1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Blend fruit and water until smooth. Add honey/agave and cinnamon if using. Stir in and blend again until mixed.

HJC Coconut Peach Smoothie

2-3 ripe peaches, washed, pitted and quartered (peel if not using organic peaches)

1/4 cup coconut butter (I use Artisana raw coconut butter*)

Cold water to process

1 teaspoon raw honey, stevia or raw agave, optional (if you have a problem with your cholesterol or triglyceride levels, skip the agave)

1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Blend fruit and water until smooth. Add honey/agave and cinnamon if using. Stir in and blend again until mixed.

Makes 2 large servings.

Note: I’ll be at the Boro Park Greenmarket again in October, G-d willing, for apple, turnip, and winter squash season. We’ll be demonstrating more easy-to-make seasonal recipes. Samples are free (and kosher).

*Full disclosure: I’ve been using Artisana raw coconut butter as a special ingredient in desserts and smoothies for a few years—it was a vital ingredient in my husband’s weight-loss plan, despite the high calorie content. It contains medium-chain saturated fats and is a satisfying replacement for many rich foods, especially when someone is transitioning off a diet containing large amounts of animal products.  Recently, at my request, Artisana sent me complimentary samples of their products, including the coconut butter I used in the smoothies at the Greenmarket. P.S. Everyone loved the rich taste.

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