Beyond the smoothie

by Marlies Dekkers

Smoothies are great, but whole fruits and vegetables are the real deal. Here’s why.

I love my mother, but what she used to do to vegetables –cook them till they were grey and slimey – was a crime. And fresh fruit? Canned peaches, if we were lucky. I can’t blame her; such was life in the Seventies in a working class environment. As a result however, getting my daily intake of fruit and vegetables didn’t come natural to me…. till I discovered smoothies! Drinking them, I learned to appreciate beautiful fresh flavors; I finally learned to love vegetables and fruit! But since then, I’ve moved on..

You see, although juice contains plenty of nutrients and vitamins, you won’t get the amount of the fiber that you find in whole fruit or vegetables. When you juice, you leave behing the pulp and skin in the machine, which is where most of the fiber content is located. Fiber’s health benefits include supporting digestion, controlling blood sugar and lowering cholesterol. Fiber also helps you feel full longer, which is a nice bonus if you’re watching your weight.

And then there’s the sugar content. Due to the fiber in whole fruit and vegetables, your body absorbs the natural sugars more slowly; therefore, you’re less likely to experience a spike in your blood sugar level, followed by the symptons of a so called ‘sugar crash’: headache, fatigue, anxiety.

Yes, juices are wonderful, and a good smoothie can taste like life itself, but I prefer to see them as a special treat. Nowadays, I get my daily nutrients and vitamins from whole fruits and vegetables, and I feel great!

So instead of giving you yet another green smoothie recipe, I present to you: Marlies’ Veggie Medley!

Recipe
I start the week with a fridge filled with veggies. Come Friday, I have quite a bit of leftovers; a single beet, two potatoes, that kind of stuff. This is a delicious way to get rid of them:
Preheat the oven to about 200 Celcius and arrange leftover vegetables in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. (I use a nice round roasting pan) Think of peeled carrots, thick slices of sweet potato or some juicy red peppers. Anything goes! Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I like to add some dried herbs like rosemary or thyme at this stage. Toss well. Bake for about an hour, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula. If you like, you can sprinkle with some fresh parsley or coriander. Serve hot and enjoy!

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