Sunday, February 26, 2012

To Get Naked, or Not to Get Naked?

Don't get naked.

By all means, take your clothes off if you must, but don't buy into Naked Juice.

Let's pick it apart.

Interesting.... there's 140 calories listed in the 'Quick Stats'.
Too bad that's for half the bottle.
In reality, there's 280 calories per bottle.
Hey, that's the same amount as a Snickers... which also contains the same amount of protein as a Naked juice: 4 grams.
Only, a Naked juice has 28 more grams of sugar. That's almost six teaspoons more.
Snickers might provide their remaining calories from fat... but I know which one will keep me full for longer, and at the same caloric investment, I might as well go for the more substantial one.
Highest calorie chocolate bar commercially available: 1. Naked Juice: 0.

Now let's check out the....

Wow! There are 2 3/4 apples inside? 
Wait, look at the first ingredient on the list below.... that says apple JUICE. 
None of the fiber, all of the sugar. 
In fact, the "Goodness Inside" ought to be showing little cartons of Apple Juicy Juice, because that's the main ingredient in the Green Machine. 
Wait, look back at the bottle. 
The broccoli and apple are equal in size... that means there must be a lot of broccoli in there, too, right?

 Well, Naked Juice was kind enough to list the amounts of broccoli and other greens in a bottle of Green Machine. 
So, how much broccoli is actually in there? I mean, there's a huge floret on the bottle. It must be in there somewhere. 
The answer is 100 mg. That's .1 gram of broccoli. 
Check it out below.


Look at how supportive they are, encouraging you to drink up all those greens.
Don't get me wrong, all of these foods are incredibly healthy. 'Superfoods', as they're fondly called.
But, there's 2.25 grams of them inside.
 Yes, I took it upon myself to do some advanced mathematics and add up the totals.
In every bottle, there are 56 grams of sugar, and 2.25 g of green vegetables. 
In perspective, a small paperclip weighs approximately 1 gram.
You are consuming 2.25 small paperclips worth of greens per bottle of Green Machine.

This beverage has also been pasteurized. Many people overlook the little blurb in the corner of juice containers that read, "This product has been gently pasteurized". Heating juice to a high enough temperature to kill all the potentially harmful bacteria inside isn't necessarily a good move, though. Pasteurization is far from discriminating... it kills the good along with the bad. 

The government claims that pasteurization isn't harmful to the nutrients in a product, but the government also considers pizza a serving of vegetables in public school cafeterias. Until the individuals who make these claims sever their ties with the companies who make these products... I remain a skeptic. In fact, many companies have resorted to fortifying their juices with additives. Skepticism increased.

 One thing that's not up for debate, however, is that the fresher the beverage is, the better.

So how do we redeem ourselves from faux-health-drink-that's-actually-a-subsidiary-of-PepsiCo purgatory, you ask?
Well, you could go eat a Snickers. Just kidding.
In reality, green shakes are a great idea... they just shouldn't contain more sugar than a soda.
(Yes, Naked's Green Machine has 14 more grams of sugar than a Coke.)

Inspired by the oh-so-trendy green drink, but wholly aware of its faults, I came up with a homemade one. This version, however, is actually healthy.

It contains a total of 19 grams of sugar (that's 2/3 less sugar in a Green Machine) and 14 grams of protein (more than 3x the protein in a Green Machine). This Green, Mean Protein Machine is high in fiber and calcium, while a Naked Green Machine contains 0% fiber and 4% calcium per bottle. So keep it fresh, and more importantly, keep it real. Enjoy.

Green, Mean Protein Machine Base:
- 1 large frozen banana, chopped
- 1 GIANT handful of spinach, don't get skimpy
- 6 ice cubes
- 1 tbsp flax, chia or hemp seeds
- 3/4 C almond milk
- 1/4 C Trader Joe's vanilla help protein powder, or your protein powder of choice

Blend the banana, spinach, seeds, and ice until no large chunks remain. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. You now have a greens-packed, high protein smoothie that's high in iron, vitamin A, C, E, & D, and provides around 300 calories that don't come purely from sugar (satiety: increased!)

It's delicious as is... but then again, why not add in something else nutritious (and tasty)?

Here are some of my favorite combinations:
* 1 tbsp peanut butter, or 2 tbsp Better Than Peanut Butter + a pinch of cinnamon
* 1 tbsp cocoa powder.
* A big handful of berries. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries all work well.
*Add a superfood! I'm not saying you have to to hunt down spirulina, wheat grass, or cacao nibs, but if you have them on hand or want to take your breakfast to the next level of enlightenment, blending them into a smoothie is a great way to start.
* For a drink with texture, try blending in a tbsp of coconut or a handful of your favorite nut.

Do you have a favorite shake ingredient? Feel free to share below!