Don’t get me wrong, I have of course tried smoothies long before now, but I have never been convinced that they are an appropriate food source. I say this as someone who particularly enjoys a hearty breakfast. That said, we’re all busy bees and I do like it when I can find an easy and convenient way to be healthy and shave a few minutes off life’s necessities at the same time as feeling as good as humanly possible.
For the most part I have found that making one’s own smoothies is a nice idea, much in the same way that I would like to emulate a number of Green Goddess style insta-lifestyles, but in reality, it’s a faff. It never tastes right, and I end up with a lot of green pulp in the sink.
On the other hand, store bought options like the recently disgraced Naked smoothies just don’t have the consistency to be anything other than really, really thick juice… and as it turns out, they contain waaaaaaay more sugar than you would like to think. Thus kind of defeating their own purpose, unless you just like them for the taste, in which case it’s a completely different conversation altogether.
So what seems to have been happening, rather happily, is a proliferation of healthy lunch options, particularly in cities, and notably in London. It’s no longer a choice between bread and more bread. Pret now has vegetarian branches, which is not synonymous with being healthy but an indicator of breadth and variety. Pod, Itsu, Planet Organic and a catalogue of others have also made their way into the market.
Fresh smoothies are now also overtaking their pre-prepared counterparts. Hand over your cup of broccoli and spinach and they spin it in front of you with apple juice or coconut water. Fresh salads, fresh herbal teas and raw, sugar free snacks and bites are also available, all of which make it easier to feel good in a stressful, fast moving, busy city that echoes a way of life all over the West.
While a lot of these things often seem like marketing gimmicks in a supremely commercial culture, where the shift seems to be happening is in increasing transparency when it comes to products and service. You only need to take a peek at Tripadvisor to realise that the 21st century consumer does not hold back when it comes to airing an opinion.
If you’re not doing something ethically then you can rest assured someone will put it on Twitter sooner or later. So as it happens, we can thank social media for more than simply giving rise to such joys as Kim Kardashian and Perez Hilton.
What’s rather wonderful about these places, is that they make it easy (if sometimes a little pricey) to access real health foods, in this instance, smoothies and juices. You get a literal flavour for what they can be like when done properly – inspiration to go home and tackle your food processor armed with handfuls of broccoli again.
Of course, the places that do them particularly well, and where you can really learn about the nutritional content of specific recipes are health spas. Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Essex has a wonderful menu that’s curated by their in-house Naturopath, with many ingredients coming from their own gardens for example. On the other hand, Grayshott Health Spa’s nutrition therapist Stephanie Moore has a wealth of advice and information for visitors, which she tirelessly puts into their menu.
So following a girly lunch recently catching up with Elle magazine and trying once again to like a green smoothie and think of it as a viable food option, I had a revelation. It WAS a valid option! I felt supercharged after my ultra smug lunch, and ready to take on my next meeting with newfound energy.
Newly inspired to create my own smoothies, I no longer see them as some kind of cruel and unusual punishment (mind you, nor do I see them as a diet I have to rigorously stick to every day). I just rather liked it and am happy to add it to the repertoire.
So all hail the smoothie, and congratulations to the mass market for finding a way to make them accessible as well as enjoyable. After all, life’s far too short not to enjoy your liquid diet.
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