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Now for the Exotics continued...

The trend nowadays is to transform smoothies into liquid vitamin pills.

Whey is a byproduct of cheesemaking. When the liquid left over after the cheese particles are removed is filtered and purified, it becomes a powder quite high in protein, but free of lactose and fat. Many athletes use it to build muscle.

Another popular smoothie-booster is wheatgrass. This is a powder made from the young wheat plant and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes. It is more of a veggie than a grain at this stage of development.

Not all smoothie lovers embrace the supernutrients approach. "This is garbage!" Sally Fallon, author of Eat Fat, Lose Fat and Nourishing Traditions, tells WebMD. "Smoothies need to be made of real food."

Fallon's rule of thumb is: Would you eat each ingredient by itself, on its own?

She also isn't a fan of raw veggies in smoothies, especially those in the broccoli and cauliflower (cruciferous) area.

Some people also add bee pollen to smoothies. "Use unprocessed honey instead," Fallon advises. (Honey should not be consumed for kids under age 1 because of the risk of botulism.)

Crocker thinks smoothies are a way to get healing herbs. Herbs can be powerful medicine, however, and you should study up on them first.

Smoothies as Therapy

Because smoothies are comforting and slide down easily, it is possible, if your doctor or nutritionist advises, to incorporate needed nutrients. If you are anemic, you might include iron-rich sea herbs, Crocker says. These include dulce and kelp. Beets and spinach are also possibilities.

For constipationconstipation, Crocker says don't turn to chemicals. Instead, eliminate bland, refined foods and add nuts, legumes, and psyllium powder to your one-glass meals. Prunes can also be good "smoothie-ized," as can rhubarb.

For weight control, spin up a smoothie at midday, rather than reaching for a bagel. Invent Your Own

Crocker recommends a smoothie a day. They can be a reasonable meal substitute.

Veggie smoothies can also be a nice aperitif. For a before dinner "cocktail" Crocker suggests zipping up some soy milk, celery, whole tomato, a pinch of fennel, curry powder, turmeric, and cumin, and making a nice "smoothie" dip or sauce. You can even chug it straight. Sip and savor.

Another nice lunch smoothie, she says, contains oranges, cooked carrots, orange juice, seedless red grapes, and some fresh ginger.

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