Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Super Healthy Smoothie

Google the word Smoothie and youll get dozens of pages of website listings claiming to have just the information you need to start a new healthy lifestyle. Although the Smoothie has been around for decades, over the past couple years it has really taken off in popularity. You see the ingredients front and center at all the grocery and big box stores. From Chia Seeds to Protein Powder, suddenly these things that we were not all that familiar with are anywhere you shop.

A few months ago we were staying with friends and I was introduced to this delicious new breakfast habit that now I cannot seem to live without. For one thing, it was so easy. Most of the ingredients came right out of the freezer, adding in any fresh produce ripe and ready to use from the counter. If you didnt use the counter produce in time, cut and freeze it for another day’s Smoothie. Even the kale was chopped and frozen. Freezing all these ingredients was a new idea to me, but it is the key to making the daily creation of your Smoothie so simple and easy. Of course, you need a Magic Bullet for ease of preparing your single servings each day. 

There are books and websites that will provide you with hundreds of recipes and nutrition information on the endless supply of ingredients you can use, but you will also want something you love to taste. Here is the recipe that I currently use each morning:

    Fill the Bullet with about 2-3 of chopped frozen kale
    Add about 2 of water
    Two handfuls of assorted frozen (or fresh) berries: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
    One half fresh (or frozen) sliced banana
    One teaspoon of PB2 powder
    One teaspoon of Chia seeds
    One teaspoons of Flax seeds
    Blend and drink. Makes one large glass of delicious. I like my Smoothies kind thick so I use a little less water than some might.

The only ingredient on my current list that can over ripen are the bananas. If I dont use all the bananas in time, I slice them and freeze for another day. Now Im a newbie at this so I anticipate my recipe will be changing regularly over time as I explore this new drink. I adopted this one I use from my friend. I have since collected many other ingredients in my freezer that I occasionally use, such as pineapple, peaches, and mango. I would imagine the development of the perfect Smoothie can kind of take many years.

I love a habit that is so effortless to maintain and at the same time tastes so good. You also feel good about doing it. What could be a better start to your day than a handful of kale and berries? Now dont just settle for my recipe, do some experimenting on your own. You definitely want to create something that you look forward to drinking. When you explore the various recipes out there, you’ll see that some are obviously meal substitutes drinks, while others are designed to simply add more fruits and vegetables to your day. Protein powder or other high-protein ingredients such as whole milk, eggs, yogurt, or seeds help keep you satisfied for longer periods of time.

Another friend recently told me about some superfoods that she adds to her Smoothie. I thought I would give some of them a try. One is Maca, which claims to provide energy and increase memory retention. Another is Acai, which is loaded with antioxidants. One other she currently uses are Goji Berries, which helps eyesight, boosts the immune system, and promotes longevity. Do these special ingredients really work? I cannot say for sure. My friend swears by them and reports an obvious change when she is eating them. In doing my own research, numerous books and websites also claim these ingredients to be extremely beneficial. But that is the beauty of the Smoothie. Ill try these out and see what I think. If I do not feel any benefit, Ill try something else. The wonderful thing is that you feel good about the journey and you learn about taking better care of yourself.

Other foods that are commonly used in smoothies are cucumber, avocado, apple, coconut, jicama, celery, spinach, beets, almond milk, orange, yogurt - the list goes on and on. So go ahead, google Smoothie and see what you find. Head to your local grocery store and explore the produce department in a whole new way. If you end up loving this habit half as much as I do, youll be starting out your days with a refreshing custom-blend Smoothie.

-Christine Schiltz
Owner & Catering Director
Lake Elmo Inn Event Center