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green drinks

Green drinks are even healthier with sustainable Malaysian palm oil

Green drinks are a quick and popular way to increase your intake of nutrient-dense vegetables. Unfortunately, the flavor can make this healthy drink hard to swallow. Chef Gerard Viverito partnered with nutrition myth buster Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS to make a green drink with a sweet, smooth taste that is even healthier for you than your standard vegetable smoothie. Their secret? They sweeten it with a small amount of Truvia, and add sustainable Malaysian palm oil to round out the bitterness and deliver a creamy mouth feel.

Bowden was recently featured in a U.S News and World Report article about fats and sugars in the American diet. The article cited research that showed why sugars, not fats, should be on your watch list. Bowden said, “I think fat has been terribly maligned unfairly. Its reputation has been demonized, especially saturated fat. And I think we really need to reclaim the importance of fat in our diet. Fat is not what makes us fat. It is not what makes us obese or diabetic or gives us heart disease. It’s much more sugar that’s the real demon in the American diet.”

Viverito agreed and stressed sugar’s addictive qualities. “We keep consuming it and trying to find more of it to satiate ourselves,” he said. Bowden added, “There’s good research showing that rats will actually become more addicted to sugar than they will to cocaine. So this is a very, very serious problem in our diet.”

Ultra Potent Green Drinks

They turned their attention to green drinks, popularized for their nutrients. Viverito prepared a smoothie with chard, celery, cucumber, broccoli and cilantro. They both agreed its bitter taste would make it unappealing to most kids. Viverito explained that the bitterness is caused by the alkaloids in some vegetables. “Alkaloids in nature are poison, and most people instantly are repulsed by it, so they go to sweet.”

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Bowden provided a healthy solution. “One of the least harmful sweeteners I know of is Truvia (erythritol). It’s a sugar alcohol, and has no glycemic impact, which means it doesn’t raise your blood sugar. There’s nothing artificial in it that’s bad for you.”

To increase the absorption of nutrients and add creaminess, Bowden and Viverito also suggest adding one tablespoon of sustainable Malaysian palm oil. Viverito said, “It’s red. It’s got all its natural carotenoids in there. It’s full of vitamin A and vitamin E tocotrienols. It has great buttery flavor, a nice mouth feel and is cholesterol-neutral. This is the equivalent to me, as a chef, to using olive oil.”

“I’m a big fan of palm oil,” Bowden said. “Palm oil is one of those fats that was demonized unfairly. People think it’s not sustainable. People think because it’s a saturated fat, that it’s therefore not heart healthy which is not true in any manner, shape or form.”

Bowden explained that sustainable Malaysian palm oil is good for the heart and brain. “The tocotrienols, which are part of vitamin E that are found in there, are actually protective of the brain after a stroke.”

Viverito compared his super-nutritious green drink to bullet-proof coffee, the trendy drink in which healthy fats are added to America’s favorite morning beverage. Bowden enjoyed another glass of the green drink and commented, “That is absolutely smooth, not too sweet, doesn’t feel bitter, and it’s so nutrient dense. That is some great stuff.”

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