You are what you drink
Smoothies, juices and herbal teas are not only tasty and easy to make, but a great way to cut your intake of fizzy drinks, caffeine and alcohol
Today’s busy schedules make convenience food a necessity for many of us. But if you’re worried that a wealth of ready meals means you’re not hitting your five-a-day target for fruit and veg, then juices and smoothies could be the answer. They’re easy to make, bursting with nutrients, and only take minutes to make.
Gillian loves herbal teas for their soothing, healing and revitalising properties. And these fabulous natural concoctions are easy to make. You can grow your own herbs in the garden or even in a window box. Alternatively, you can buy the dried leaves from specialist herbal shops. But for a really easy life, simply pop into your local health shop or supermarket for herbal teabags. There are many herbal teas available, and they all have various health benefits. Try these – they’re Gillian’s favourites!
Could it be easier? Simply go out and pick a handful of young dandelion leaves. Pour two cups of boiling water over them and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Strain the tea and drink while it’s warm. Dandelion is a fab liver cleanser and great for eliminating toxins from the body.
Gillian’s top tea. It’s loaded with minerals and iron and you’ll feel totally energised after just one cup. Nettle tea is a great system cleanser – two to three cups a day will get your bowels moving. And what’s more – it’s fantastic for relieving symptoms of common allergies, particularly hayfever.
If you’re feeling on edge or you’re stressed at work, this tea can calm your nerves and helps to induce sleep. Traditionally used to treat colds, aid digestion and ease headaches, linden flower tea has a particularly pleasant aroma – and tastes absolutely delicious.
Peppermint tea is refreshing, energising and soothing for the stomach. If you want the real thing, buy a small mint plant from a supermarket or local garden centre, snip off some leaves, pop them in a cup and pour over boiling water. Allow to brew for a few minutes. The taste is divine!
GILLIAN’S JUICE RECIPES
For each recipe, just push the produce through the juicer nozzle, then pour into a tall glass and serve
• 4 apples, roughly chopped
• Sprinkle of cinnamon, to garnish
Note: Pectin – the soluble fibre found in apples is thought to effective at lowering cholesterol.
A really easy juice, you can either put the grapefruit through a juicer or use a citrus press.
• 2 whole red grapefruits, roughly chopped or halved
Note: Phytochemicals and antioxidants found in grapefruit help fight disease and infection.
• 6 carrots, trimmed
• 1-2 apples, roughly chopped
• 1cm piece fresh root ginger
Note: Carrots are rich in betacarotene, which is good for the immune system as well as for general skin and eye health.
Cool as a cucumber
This is a great skin revitaliser! It’s also incredibly easy to make due to the high water content of cucumber which makes them natural for juicing.
• 1 cucumber, halved lengthways
• 2 celery sticks, trimmed
• 1cm piece fresh root ginger (optional)
Get Juicy Juices
If you feel tired or unwell, Gillian suggests you make a glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice. Try to get into the habit of drinking three to four glasses of fresh juice each week. If you’re going to make juice regularly, you’ll need to invest in a juicer. But, in the short term, a food processor or liquidiser will do the job. Gillian says, ‘When you buy organic, there’s no need to peel, so think how much time you’ll save. I’m a great advocate of leaving the skin on for its nutritional benefits. This can apply even when the fruit and veg are juiced, so make sure you leave it on before putting them through the juicer. Whether you buy organic or non-organic produce, wash and scrub the skin thoroughly, and for non-organic fruit and vegetables, it’s best to peel.’ Fruits with a low water content, such as bananas and strawberries, are not as suitable for juicing and are better broken down in a blender and then combined with the juice. Fruits with a high water content, such as watermelons, citrus fruits, apples, pears and grapes, are great for juicing. You can keep the cost of your juices down by taking advantage of seasonal fruits. For example, strawberries are a lot cheaper in summer, while cranberries and mandarins are real winter bargains.
GILLIAN’S SMOOTHIE RECIPES
Pick one or two of Gillian’s favourite superfoods, listed below, to add to a smoothie:
Barley grass powder
Bee pollen granules
Wild blue green algae
• 3 ripe pears, cored and roughly chopped
• 2 apples, cored and roughly chopped (slightly warmed so they will blend easily)
• 3 apricots, stoned
• 1tsp liquid algae
Blend until smooth and creamy then serve.
Note: Pear is a great source of vitamin C and copper – both antioxidant nutrients that help protect cells in the body from oxygen-related damage caused by free radicals.
This is a fantastic juice-smoothie combination – great for detox days! It’s absolutely delicious, and full of essential ‘thinny’ fats.
• 6 carrots, trimmed
• 1 apple, cored and roughly chopped
• 1 soft avocado, peeled, stoned and roughly chopped
• 10 basil leaves
• 1 lemon wedge
Push the carrots and apple through a juicer. Blend the juice with avocado and basil leaves. Squeeze a dash of lemon onto the smoothie and serve.
Note: Lemon has a high vitamin C content that helps absorb iron. It’s a great gas-buster too!
• 1 large mango, peeled, stoned, and roughly chopped
• 2 bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
• Choice of superfood (as listed above)
• 1 handful each of blueberries and raspberries, to serve
Blend the mango, bananas and choice of superfood until smooth and creamy. Put the blueberries and raspberries in a tall glass, reserving a few raspberries.
Pour the smoothie over the berries and serve garnished with the reserved raspberries.
Note: Mango has impressive levels of disease-fighting carotenoids, vitamin A, folate, potassium and fibre.
Vitamin C cocktail
Until you’ve tasted this one, you haven’t lived!
• 1 pineapple, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 handfuls strawberries, hulled
• 1 handful gooseberries, blueberries or raspberries, to serve
Blend the pineapple chunks and strawberries until smooth and creamy. Put your choice of berries in a tall glass. Pour the smoothie over the berries and serve.
Note: Pineapple is an excellent source of manganese, thiamine and riboflavin, which are all important for energy production.
If you’ve ever watched You Are What You Eat, you’ll know Gillian insists her ‘victims’ start the day on a smoothie. They’re so easy to throw together (just pop the ingredients in a blender), they fill you up, are easy to digest and taste luscious. And you can be as creative as you like – experiment and have fun with them. Smoothies can be thick and full-bodied, almost like a yoghurt, or they can be thinned down with water or a watery fruit. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra taste. Smoothies are the perfect introduction to healthy eating. We love this mango and orange one from The Big J.
Smoothie Smile, from The Big J, £1.39. Stockists – 0870 242 1102 www.thebigj.com. Low-cal, low fat and high energy, they make a wonderful breakfast, light meal or snack
Many people are choosing healthier lifestyles and that means adopting healthy drinking habits. Research suggests that moderate amounts of red wine can be beneficial to health and alcohol-free wine has all the benefits and none of the side effects of alcohol. Alcohol-free drinks give you the chance to enjoy a tipple while keeping within healthy limits. Visit The Alcohol-Free Shop at www.alcoholfree.co.uk for the UK’s widest range of alternatives to alcohol online.
Stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables and you can blend your own juices, nutritional smoothies or homemade soups in next to no time. There are two types of blender – handheld versions are good for stirring liquid or puréeing vegetables in a saucepan, while upright blenders are ideal for making smoothies and delicious icy drinks.
Below: Morphy Richards Hand Blender, £24.95 and right, Philips Pro Aluminium Blender, £69.95. Both available from John Lewis stores.