Smoothies – You Need Them In Your Life

Fuelling your Day Ahead

waking upWhen you wake up in the morning, you have gone quite a few hours without eating. What you eat and drink at this point in the day is critical in determining how the rest of your day will go.

You may not think that breakfast is important to you, with regard to your energy levels and cognitive function throughout the day, but I’m willing to bet that this is because you are either a habitual breakfast avoider, or you don’t get the right stuff into your system when you do.

A coffee and a donut just don’t cut it.

Even if you think you’re fine without breakfast, that’s excellent news, because imagine what you’d be capable of with a good fuel-up first thing in the morning.

Maybe you don’t like to eat just after you have woken up, perhaps you don’t have time to fix something healthy because you’ve got the kids to get ready for school, or you’re just a rusher in the morning and need to get in the car, on the bus, metro, or whatever else.

That’s all fine, because there isn’t a scenario that can’t be solved with smoothies. All of the usual excuses – valid or not – for being a breakfast no-show can be turned around with the whirr of a blade.

Fuel Endure Recover

cardioIf you’re an active person then there’s even more reason to start getting into smoothies, but really the Fuel-Endure-Recover philosophy can be applied to any day that you need to function at your best, whether it’s power, endurance, concentration or motivation you need.

No matter what your level of activity during a day (and I hope there’s quite a bit), there’s a smoothie that can help you get ready for it, get through it, and get over it.

We’ll get into why liquidizing food is a good idea in a second, but you might be put off straight away by the thought that you will have to go out and spend a ton of money on a blender…

Do I Need a Fancy Blender?

smoothiesThe short answer is – No.

You will no doubt have heard of the top-end brands of blenders like Vitamix or BlendTec, and be thinking ‘I’m not spending that much just to make a few smoothies every week.’

Well, don’t worry because the type of blender I’m going to demonstrate most of the smoothies on this website can be bought for less than $40. So, why does anyone get a super expensive blender?

A Vitamix, for example, is so powerful it can be literally measured in horsepower! Power has certain advantages where blending is concerned: tougher foods require more of it to truly liquidize them. In some cases, this can make it more pleasant to drink and makes it quicker to digest, and also absorb more of the nutrients.

Yes, in a perfect world, everyone would have a super powerful blender, but the difference they make is not worth breaking the bank if the cost is too much at the moment.

You may want to graduate to one after a while, and there may be times that I will use one to demonstrate something particular, but I have purposely avoided ‘needing’ one so that I can show you it’s possible to be a smoothie maker on a low budget.

Why Are Smoothies a Good Idea?

I’ve touched on a couple of the reasons in the previous sections, but I’ll add and expand on those.

Nutrient Density

You can fulfill many of your daily requirements for Vitamins, Minerals and the Macro Nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fat), which would be impossible by making a solid breakfast

Digestion and Absorption

A liquid meal is broken down much easier and faster than solid food, meaning you get the benefit a lot sooner.

Bio-Availability

When you smash the solid material that makes up a food’s structure, you can force the release of a lot more of the nutrients that might otherwise make it through your system locked up and purged as waste.

Time Saving

You’ve noticed the words like quick, easy, fast that I keep associating with smoothies. You might think you don’t have time to make anything, but trust me (and we will time one or two of them for this purpose) you can blitz out a drinkable breakfast in the shake of a dancing bear’s skirt.

Light Breakfast

For those people with an aversion to eating a lot at breakfast, drinking is way easier to cope with

They are NOT Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is basically taking the good parts of fruit, throwing them away and then leaving you with the sugar to drink. They might even add sugar and other flavouring compounds. When you blend fruit, it keeps the tasty juicy stuff but also the very important fibre and other nutrients normally discarded by the juice makers

Weight Loss

If losing some excess baggage is your goal then you will have a much better chance by incorporating a meal replacement smoothie every day.

This can be because you can take on more nutritional value in less calories. Also, there are even ingredients you can use which can induce a direct thermogenic fat-burning effect.

I’m not sure we need any more benefits to smoothies actually. If you’re not sold at this point, you’re never going to be.

So Should I Just Blend Everything?

crunchy walnutsNot at all, that’s not what this is about. There are some people who are built to go full-bore at something, and I’m going to say that liquidizing every meal is not a good idea. Sure, a smoothie a day, or even two, is a great way of boosting your nutritional needs, but keep it at that.

Don’t start replacing every meal with a smoothie, if for no other reason than it will make you sick of them after a while.

There’s a definite mood-boosting factor to biting, chewing and crunching solid food and I would consider my life a nightmare if I had to live without those sensory experiences, not to mention the fact that it’s probably the better way to really taste your food.

So remember, keep a balanced outlook on this and you can’t really go wrong.

Here’s a couple to have a go at in the meantime, and we’ll try and get some more recipes on here:

  1. Fuel Smoothie – The Mochana
  2. Recover Smoothie – The Provacana

Modafy – Nootropic Supplement Review

our purchase of modafyModafy is a nootropic formula from the UK company, Nooblend. We’ve been getting more and more interest in cognitive enhancers, nootropics and sensory ingredients of late.

This one comes with some solid numbers on the recipe front and promises great results in terms of mental clarity, focus and concentration. We received our bottle in what seemed like no time, and we are based in North America.

The first ingredient to catch the eye is Alpha GPC. If you’ve read a few articles on this site then you may have already discovered our profound love for this ingredient.

It seems to have beneficial effects for people with nearly every goal, but from a cognitive function standpoint it really shines.

Modafy contains a large dose of Alpha GPC!

Benefits of Modafy

neuron firing Nootropic compounds can differ quite significantly from one to another with respect to the recipe. As such, the benefits can also vary.

With Modafy, the manufacturers have included stimulants which are intended to boost its short term function.

They have also included some longer term ingredients, making Modafy a short term booster of concentration and mental focus, but also a medium-long term brain health enhancer.

Noted benefits include:

  • Heightened Clarity and Focus
  • Increased Mental Processing Speeds
  • Reduced Stress Levels
  • Improved Problem Solving
  • Increased Neurogenesis (creation of new neurons)
  • Improved Mood and Sense of Vitality

MODAFY: Quality, Solid, Effective Nootropic

modafy brainOur hats go off to Nooblend for making a nootropic which will actually make a difference to the user.

What an inclusion of Alpha GPC!! One of the best ingredients at the moment for a number of reasons, chiefly for sharpening your mind.

The other ingredients are present in powerful doses too.

Shipping was fast and reliable for us, and the MODAFY MATCHA as a free bonus on the 3 pack is like having a whole bonus supplement.

Modafy is highly recommended.

Click here to visit the product page

How Does Modafy Work?

modafy The formula contains a selection of ingredients that work in different ways to improve brain function.

i) Acetycholine and Neurotransmitter Increase – neurotransmitters are the key players with respect to speed of thought transfer and internal messaging. Increase their numbers and you’re basically boosting your RAM.

ii) Stress Reduction and Mood Boost – there isn’t enough room on the internet to tell you how important reducing stress is. For the mind, body and everything in between. And if the source of stress can’t be removed – which would be the best option but we can’t always just put the workload down – then something which combats the symptoms of stress on a physiological level is the next best thing.

If that isn’t enough then Modafy contains ingredients which help improve your mood. There’s a lot to be said for feeling good and positive; you will get a lot more done that way.

iii) Stimulation/Psychostimulation – it might seem slightly counterintuitive to have stimulants alongside stress reducers but Modafy has the pairing of them just right to take advantage of the stimulants’ benefits to cognition and focus, whilst taking the edge off the ‘spike’ with other compounds, allowing for a smooth, long lasting, stimulation.

iv) Nerve Growth and Neurogenesis – the birth of new brain cells and neurons is what keep our minds young and powerful. Including ingredients which accelerate the process is what makes a supplement a true nootropic. This one contains one of the best; Lion’s Mane.

v) Protection from Damage – another staple of a well defined nootropic product; protection from antioxidants and free radicals are another way to keep your brain in mint condition.

The combination of these effects, stimulated by the chosen ingredients adds up to a quality experience.

Key Ingredients

Here are the ingredients with their inclusion rates:

Ingredient Weight (mg)
Alpha GPC 400
Guarana 300
L-Theanine 300
Phosphatidylserine 170
Lion’s Mane 150
COQ10 50

The inclusion weights are very good. Dosage is often put second to design and marketing but Nooblend have struck a great balance with Modafy and let the strength of the formula speak for itself.

Side Effects and Health Issues

doc femalePeople unused to stimulants might want to start with a half dose, and lay off the coffee.

Guarana is a natural source of quality caffeine but more than one cup of coffee will add to the caffeine input and start to nullify its effects.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid these kinds of products and only take the supplements recommended for pregnancy.

Also, anyone with a medical condition, or taking other medication should consult their doctor before taking Modafy or similar supplements.

Purchasing Options and Considerations

modafy plus matchaModafy comes in singular or 2/3 bottle bundles and you get more out of it if you go with the top one of course.

Our philosophy has always been that a supplement should be taken for about 3 months before cycling off it, so the 3 bottles deals always make sense.

FREE MATCHA – If you purchase the 2 or 3 bottle package then it will come with some free Modify Matcha which has even more Alpha GPC and L-Theanine in it, plus some DMAE for good measure.

FREE SHIPPING – And, if you get the top package you’ll be getting it delivered for free no matter where you live in the world.

The Bottom Line

MODAFY is a clinically dosed, well formulated, powerful nootropic product. We are only too happy to recommend it to anyone looking to get razor sharp and on the ball!

Click here to view the special offers now

Treats that Help You Train

bench press and spotter There are a few small luxuries that people on a quest for a great physique – whether it’s more muscle, less fat, or both – can indulge in that may actually help them achieve it.

There’s a deluge of information which swamps your screen when you search for healthy diet tips and clean recipes online. There is a lot less when you search for treats you can eat or drink without it spoiling your regimen.

In fact, there are quite a few articles for recipes using this protein powder, that type of soya bean, this vegetable or that ‘replacement-for-the-real-thing’ that tastes ‘delicious’ in lieu of the actual food you want to stuff your face with!

This article is not about replacements and making do with the substitute that doesn’t taste the same. It’s about the real deal treat, and whether it can in some way help your physical performance in some way.

Living Ultra Clean Ain’t Easy

broccoliLiving on a clean and healthy diet is rewarding in so many ways. Some people take to it like a duck to water and don’t look back.

The best examples of people that can do that are those who decide to ‘straighten out’ their life from a history of alcohol, smoking and whatever else.

They find they are so much happier and feel so much better that there is no going back after the transformation. The most extreme examples become extreme athletes (e.g. Rich Roll the Ultraman).

Other examples include professional athletes, nutrition experts and fitness models, all of whom tend to have to live the ultra-squeaky clean life, by virtue of their chosen field. However, it is by no means easy for these people to stay so rigidly dedicated.

A person not driven by profession or desperation is even more likely to stray from the righteous path and find themselves all to often elbow deep in the cookie jar. That’s because the effort involved in always preparing clean meals (and eating them) is occasionally/often a steep climb to a summit that isn’t always that awesome when you get there.

Take one of those grim looking green smoothies, for example. Sure they can taste okay, or even good – with the right ingredients – but if you have one of those to look forward to as your breakfast, or even your dessert replacement, it can wear a bit thin.

Yes, there’s a load of evidence to suggest you can alter your stomach flora over time so you might start to actually crave the grim green smoothie, but chocolate was invented for a reason, and that reason is taste.

And, it’s also the main inspiration for this article, because whether you agree with the first few paragraphs or not, many people find clean-living tough sometimes, so it’s nice to know that even some of the decadent things we crave can also help our road to physical improvement.

Dark Chocolate

dark chocWho doesn’t like dark chocolate? Crazy people, am I right!?

Just kidding, it’s not for everyone (I personally like it but prefer milk chocolate. Boy do I find diets hard!). However, if you do love the high percentage rich cocoa stuff then there is good news.

Recent research supports the long-standing evidence that dark chocolate is not only good for you, but additionally that it can help you reduce your oxygen cost during exercise and even act as an ergogenic aid for moderate intensity exercise.

Source: Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cyclingRishikesh Kankesh Patel, James Brouner and Owen Spendiff (link opens in new window).

Let’s break that down a little. The first statement that it’s good for you refers to the flavanols in dark chocolate which can help rid the body of free radicals, as an antioxidant.

The ‘helping you during exercise’ part is a finding of this new research which highlights DC’s ability to increase the bioavailability and bioactivity of Nitric Oxide, which can decrease the oxygen cost during moderate level exercise. This in turn means your oxygen usage is more efficient and you can therefore go for longer.

Nitric Oxide (NO) should ping a bodybuilder’s radar as well, as NO is a natural vasodilator, allowing for more blood, nutrients and oxygen to get to the working muscles.

Ergogenic aids are basically those which can enhance physical performance, thereby maximizing results from it. The results of the scientific studies reveal that for short duration moderate intensity exercise, dark chocolate may be an ergogenic aid.

How Much DC Though?

They used 40 grams in this test. That’s not bad at all for a treat. Just to be clear though, they did the test in comparison with white chocolate, which did nothing for performance.

So in this case, you have to make sure it’s the dark stuff.

Coffee

coffee drinking girlOkay, so it’s known that caffeine helps with energy levels and is present in nearly every energy drink available, as well as coffee of course, but a lot of research seems to indicate that taking caffeine is the best way, and that drinking it as a beverage is ineffectual in comparison.

Not so, according to some research, which actually tested caffeine (supplemental) and caffeine in coffee side by side, using decaf and placebo as controls.

During the test, triathletes and cyclists were observed. Exercise intensity, carbohydrate and fat oxidation, performance times and average power, were so similar between caffeine (coffee) and caffeine (supplement) that there was no statistically significant difference found.

Source: The Metabolic and Performance Effects of Caffeine Compared to Coffee during Endurance Exercise – Adrian B. Hodgson, Rebecca K. Randell, and Asker E. Jeukendrup (link opens in new window)

What about a caramel latte with three sugars and full fat whipped cream with a donut on the side?

Err…no! That’s like a million calories.

But don’t be afraid to get a nice cup of joe on your way to the gym. Just don’t do max-HR sprint sets after an extra large espresso because I won’t be held accountable for what happens!

Jelly Beans

jelly beans I was totally against high GI sugar being combined with exercise until my friend’s nutritionalist – his NUTRITIONALIST – told him to have 10 jelly beans and a cookie after weight training.

Annoyed after hearing it, I went home and checked up on the science. And with a bit of poetic license where the cookie was involved, the jelly beans certainly seemed to hold some weight.

Source: Jelly Beans Among Supplements To Be Studied For Effectiveness In Improving Exercise Performance And Warding Off Fatigue After Exercise – University Of California, Davis – Health System (link opens in new window)

After intense weight training, one of the most efficient ways to slow catabolism and give your liver and insulin something better to do than pillage your muscle for glucose, is to let them play with some sugar.

In fact, a bit of high GI (Glycemic Index; high refers to the speed at which the sugar enters blood stream) food is ideal for restoring blood sugar levels and speeding the process of anabolism along. Yes, we train to break muscle down (catabolism) in order for it to grow back stronger (anabolism and hypertrophy) but there’s no harm in helping it along.

There seems to be only two times a day when high GI sugar is useful like this: immediately after waking up, and immediately after moderate to intense exercise. At both times we are effectively in a state of malnourishment and you may be breaking down muscle as a source of energy.

How many jelly beans?

I like rules of thumb rather than getting the scales out and being anal about it. And I still refer back to my buddy’s consultant and say something like between 10 and 20 jelly beans is a good guideline.

And if you want to replace 10 jbs with a cookie, then go right ahead, but blame that poor anonymous nutritionalist if it adds some grab-handles to your waistline, not me, are we clear?

Good luck.

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