As revitalizing as juices and smoothies may be, drinking them becomes a bit of a problem when the temperature starts to drop during the fall, and our bodies start to crave more warming foods. Most juice bars these days sell smoothies made with frozen fruit that resemble ice creams, and juices made with lots of summer fruits and veggies like cucumbers, pineapples, and watermelon. Not very cold-weather-friendly, right?
The way I see it, we don’t need to stop having juices and smoothies in the fall or even in the winter. What we need is to adjust our drinks to the cooler seasons.
How do we do that?
First of all, start by choosing seasonal (and if possible local) ingredients. If you do this you can be certain that your drinks will support your health. Mother nature gives us the precise nutrients we need to thrive at each different season, in the form of the foods that naturally grow at that time. On the contrary, if we keep using cucumbers, coconut water, bananas, and pineapple no matter what the temperature is like outside, we can really stop calling these drinks “healthy” because they will not be supporting our health. We will be going against nature, and imbalance will follow sooner or later.
To know what’s in season all you have to do is go to the farmers market. Everything there will be local, fresh, and seasonal, and you can pick most of the ingredients for your juices and smoothies there. Some of my favorites during the fall include apples, pears, carrots, beets, fennel, and pomegranates. Here’s a nice list by Saveur showing you what else is usually in season around this time of the year. But I insist that you shop at your local farmers market because produce can vary quite a bit depending on where you are located.
Use Denser Plants
Another thing you could do is experiment with different liquid bases. During the summer it’s okay to use a lot of cucumbers, coconut water, or watermelon as the main ingredient of your healthy drinks, but these are so cooling that you should leave them behind when it gets cold out. Instead, try using other liquids like apple, orange, carrot, pomegranate, or cranberry juice. Another option is to use herbal teas or simply water. You may also want to use a nut or grain milk to make the drinks sturdier, and go ahead and warm it up before adding it if you feel like you could use some extra warmth.
Add A Dash of Spice
Which brings me to my next point…spices! Spices are such a gift of nature. They add flavor, natural sweetness, and heat! Just a little bit of cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg in your drinks, and they will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Consider Cooked Foods
Be open minded and don’t rule out cooked ingredients. Some stewed apples or pears, or even a little pumpkin or sweet potato purée will add texture and nutrients to your drinks and keep you energized for many hours. By the way, pears are one of the best fruits you can consume during the fall according to Chinese Medicine. They keep your body moist and prepare it for the harsh winter months to come.
When in Doubt, Choose Carrot
If you can only choose one juice for the season, make it an 12 ounce daily glass of carrot juice. This vegetable should really be considered a superfood because of its high vitamin and mineral content, and even those who are against juicing tend to agree that carrot juice is a panacea for nearly anything. It may make you look a little bit orange for a while if you overdo it, but in the winter this may be a positive as people will think you have a tan!