Ever tried a Liquid Purple Dream or a Sweet Neon Doom? If not, you simply haven't lived.

Frothy fruit and vegetable concoctions with elaborate names are becoming increasingly popular as we seek healthy alternatives to canned fizzy drinks and sugary fruit squashes.

Smoothies are marvellous medleys of crushed and freshly-squeezed fruit with an optional dollop of yoghurt.

So, instead of asking: "Would you like tea or coffee?", you now say: "Here is something I whizzed up earlier."

They are a useful way of supplying vitamins, minerals and other immune-boosting factors.

Create a gourmet experience using fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables within minutes. All that matters is that they are creamy, tasty and nutritious.

And although the world of shakes and smoothies sounds relentlessly upbeat, it is also horrifyingly good for you and impossible to resist.

In fact, one wonders how we coped before the invention of electrical kitchen equipment.

Before you get started, here are some ground rules:

One: The first ingredient you need is a bit of attitude. View the fruit bowl on your table as your health provider, the vegetables in your kitchen as a cure for all ailments.

You will also require a bin or compost heap to dump any lingering lethargy or residual cynicism.

Two: All fruit and vegetables should be raw, fresh and clean. Remove seeds and peel (except if organically grown) and cut into chunks. Hard produce (apples, carrots beetroot) should be juiced in an inexpensive juicer. Softer items (berries, mangoes) can be blended in a blender or food processor.

Three: Start off with the simple stuff. Put soft fruit such as a banana, strawberries or peaches with some live yoghurt and honey into a blender and whiz until smooth. Next, add liquids such as milk or fruit juice until you have the desired consistency. A few raisins, flaxseeds and a tablespoon of rolled oats make this recipe the ideal breakfast in a glass.

Four: Develop your own distinctive brand of colourful cocktails and swap recipes with silly names.

Unusual combinations for the brave include cucumber, mint and kiwi or even avocado, chilli and ginger.

For some mouthwatering smoothie ideas, read the Little Book Of Drinks by juice company Innocent (ISBN 1-845115-726-0).

Five: Fibre is broken down and extracted during juicing which releases even more trapped nutrients. But as fibre remains an important part of your diet, you still need to eat fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.

The fibrous pulp left behind in the juice machine can be added to casseroles or stews.

Always clean your equipment thoroughly straight after making your juice to avoid a plague of fruit flies.

Six: If you fancy a taster session before you start to DIY, try the sensational new range of smoothies by Innocent, made from 100 per cent pure, crushed fruit, fresh yoghurt and honey without additives or concentrated juices.

They are guaranteed to leave you shaken and stirred.

For nearest stockists, call 0208 600 3939 or visit www.innocentdrinks.co.uk