There’s one thing all of us can agree on: We’re looking forward to enjoying our favorite holiday foods in the coming weeks— and we don’t want to “pay” for indulging in our sister’s crumbly good sugar cookies or taking an extra dollop of Aunt Ida’s famous gravy by restricting ourselves to rice cakes and carrots between celebrations.
Sure there are salads, but who has time to make them amid all the hustle and bustle of this time of year? “Everyone thinks, to lose weight, you’ve got to eat a salad, and there’s a reason for that. Salads do work, but they’re hard to do,” Mehmet Oz, M .D., told his audience on The Dr. Oz Show.
That’s why Dr. Oz developed his five-ingredient Veggie Flush Smoothie: to help women too busy for salad-making to break free from rabbit food. The potent blend of raw spinach, cucumber, celery, lemon, and pear in the drink floods the body with a variety of potent digestion-healing and hunger-dampening compounds. “You may not believe this,” Dr. Oz told his audience as they sipped his creation, “but that one glass that you’re holding in your hand is enough veggies for the entire day.”
Dr. Oz’s smoothie is loaded with belly-flattening digestive enzymes. These naturally occurring compounds, which are typically produced in the gut, work with digestive fluid to break down the foods we eat. But experts report that 80 percent of women over 40 don’t make enough digestive enzymes, so food arrives in the intestines only partially digested. The result is akin to serving a huge meal to the bad bacteria in the gut, says Dr. Oz. “Those bacteria release gas, and voilá— your intestines become distended, you feel overly full and crampy, and your pants don’t fit.” Drinking the smoothie restores those enzymes and eliminates uncomfortable bloat and gas.
The sweet sip heals the body’s slimming systems. “The liver and pancreas are capable of making enzymes, so they often act as a backup for the gut. But when we tax those organs consistently, they become sluggish and unable to perform other functions,” explains Michelle Schoffro Cook, Ph.D., author of 60 Seconds to Slim ($6.39, Amazon). “The break the pancreas and liver catch from processing smoothies — instead of whole foods— allows them to focus on other metabolic tasks, including fat burning, detoxification, and blood-sugar regulation.” Indeed, Spanish studies show that dieters who increase their enzyme intake lose 2.5 times more fat than those who don’t.
The Veggie Flush Smoothie also eliminates hunger and cravings. That’s because spinach is a rich source of thylakoids, a hunger-dampening plant compound. “Thylakoids prompt the body to produce more of the hormones that help reduce food intake,” explains Frank Greenway, M .D., chief medical officer at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Indeed, getting a regular dose of thylakoids— which are released only when the leafy greens take a trip through a blender— dialed down hunger enough to help women in one study lose 42 percent more weight than those who didn’t geta regular daily dose of thylakoids.
Best of all: You don’t have to skip your holiday favorites to get results. “I don’t want you to replace meals. I want this to be added to meals,” Dr. Oz has said. That means you can enjoy holiday treats like pumpkin pie, cookies, and cheesy potatoes— and still watch the pounds melt away!
Improved digestion and struggle-free slimming are just the beginning. In one survey of more than 500 people who switched to a diet loaded with enzyme-rich foods and smoothies, 91 percent reported feeling a greater sense of wellbeing, and 82 percent said they experienced improvements in memory and creativity. “I immediately had more energy,” raves 61-year-old D. Marcia Jones, who lost 185 pounds by adding green smoothies to her daily diet. “Over time, I was even able to get off my blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Now I have no health problem s, and I’m in control of my life!” Ready to start your transform ation? Read on for the simple smoothie recipe and expert tips to jump-start your slimdown.
The Veggie Flush Smoothie
Drinking the Veggie Flush Smoothie has helped thousands of women feel their best and get slim. “This is designed to decrease your bloat, burn fat and shrink your stomach in just one month,” Mehmet Oz, M .D., told his TV audience. Indeed, sipping just one of these super-powered smoothies each day makes dropping pounds virtually effortless— even as you enjoy your favorite holiday foods.
Though one smoothie a day is all you need to experience the healing and slimming benefits, Dr. Oz encouraged his viewers to reach for the Veggie Flush Smoothie as a healthy snack as well. “I want you to feel free to have a veggie flush drink all day long,” he said on The Dr. Oz Show. “This is important— especially for the many women out there who say they’re hungry continually.”
To optimize the benefits, natural health expert Michelle Schoffro Cook, Ph.D., recommends drinking the Veggie Flush on an empty stomach. “Enzyme-rich drinks like this are especially powerful on an empty stomach so they can go through our digestive system quickly and not be bogged down by other foods that are being digested,” she explains. And for your speediest slimdown ever, incorporate these simple success strategies:
Enjoy fats at breakfast. “A growing body of evidence suggests that a reduced-calorie diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids can help control blood sugar, trim belly fat and even visceral fat,” Dr. Oz has said. That’s why he recommends eating avocados, olives, nuts and seeds at breakfast. It’s a smart strategy, says integrative health expert Tasneem Bhatia, M .D., author of Super Woman Rx ($16.36, Amazon): “Eating healthy fats in the morning helps regulate appetite all day.” To get the benefits, cook eggs in olive oil, spread half an avocado on a slice of toast or sprinkle 1⁄4 cup of almonds, walnuts or macadamia nuts on oatmeal or yogurt.
Combine fruit and fiber at lunch. Dr. Oz recommends combining soluble fiber-rich berries with insoluble fiber-rich sulfurous veggies, like Brussels sprouts and kale. “The beautiful part of this as a doctor is that you are actually tricking your digestive system, because when you combine those different kinds of fibers, it speeds up the transit time. That food moves through your body,” he told his audience. Additionally, both berries and sulfurous veggies contain plenty of digestion-healing enzymes, while the sulfur compounds also support toxin elimination. A delicious suggestion: Toss baby kale with fresh cranberries, walnuts, and feta cheese. Close the kitchen after dinner.
“When you take your last bite of food at night, you’re not going to eat again until the next day, 12 hours later,” Dr. Oz instructed his audience. “This is what a lot of weight lifters and bodybuilders and models and actresses use… It lets your body relax for half the day to process whatever you put in there.” Indeed, researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that overweight women who practiced this strategy daily lost 50% more fat than those on a traditional calorie-restricted diet.
Go for real sugar. Many women reach for artificial sweeteners in an effort to cut sugar, but Duke University research shows that these faux sugars decrease the number of beneficial bugs in the gut by up to 67 percent, and separate research from the Weizmann Institute of Science revealed that having fewer beneficial bugs dampens the body’s production of digestive enzymes. “Be on the lookout for artificial sweeteners, and when possible, steer clear of them,” Dr. Oz has suggested. For a healthier alternative, consider switching to agave nectar or stevia, both of which deliver sweetness without side effects.
Veggie Flush Smoothie Recipe
Though the recipe contains just five ingredients, they must be blended in a specific order to optimally release all of the slimming nutrients. “You don’t need a juicer,” Dr. Oz told his audience. “You just need a blender.”
To make one serving (about 2 cups) of Dr. Oz’s Veggie Flush, blend 1 cup of spinach with 1 cup of water until fully incorporated—this releases the appetite-suppressing compounds in spinach. Then add half a diced, unpeeled cucumber and 1 diced celery stalk; blend. Once smooth, add half a diced, unpeeled pear and 2 Tbs. of lemon juice; blend again. Thin with additional water, if desired.
Tip: Women FIRST spoke to suggested doubling the recipe and storing half, covered, in the refrigerator for a midday snack.
The 3 Add-ins That Will Help You Slim Faster
Sipping Dr. Oz’s Veggie Flush Smoothie daily heals the digestive system and dials back hunger to make weight loss effortless. For an extra boost, add one of these picks, which deliver delicious flavors and slimming perks
Intense cravings? Add Avocado
The monounsaturated fatty acids in these gem s can cut your risk of blood-sugar dips— and the cravings they trigger — in half for up to four hours, say UCLA researchers. Add 1⁄4 of an avocado to get the benefits. Bonus: It’ll also make your smoothie super creamy.
Low energy? Add Mango
Blending 1 cup of this tropical fruit (fresh or frozen) into a smoothie energizes a weary thyroid, easing fatigue and supercharging weight loss in as little as a week. Researchers credit the fruit’s polyphenols for its gland-healing benefits.
Aches and pains? Add Turmeric
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, eases inflammation to reduce muscle and joint stiffness by 73 percent. Add 2 tsp. of the golden spice to your smoothie to get the perks without changing the sip’s flavor.
This story originally appeared in our sister print magazine, First for Women.