Saturday, May 10, 2014

Green Smoothie

I have a love-hate relationship with breakfast.

I love coffee. And breakfast food (all of them). And lingering at the breakfast table reading the news or blogs or Facebook. Sipping a second cup of coffee. The smell of bacon cooking. "Dippy" eggs. Day drinking (oh, that's brunch. but still...). You get it. I love it.

But I hate waking up early enough to eat a real breakfast on a school day. Especially in the Winter when my bed is so warm and the kitchen floor is so cold. So. For years, breakfast and I only really saw each other two days a week. And that's no way to treat something you love.

When I started living the basement-cubicle-life, I rekindled my romance with breakfast when I discovered my building cafeteria. Sure, it's powdered eggs and so-so pre-frozen sausage eaten in front of my computer screen. I mean nothing to write home about. But better than eating air, which is what I had been doing... Still, let's be honest, it was a poor substitute for a lover...

So I decided I needed something better. For my health and for my sanity. But it had to be quick and portable. Something that didn't require a lot of logistics in the morning, could be prepared after only a partial cup of coffee (so no chopping!), and could be carried from bedroom to bathroom and back while I completed my morning routine. So, basically, it had to be a liquid. Which meant it had to be a smoothie.

Thankfully, I have a Ninja Kitchen System. So I knew it would be a snap to get some nutrients into my body before 10 AM without so much burden that I quit trying after the first week. And spoiler alert: it really is super easy.

I started paying closer attention to my dairy consumption a few months back, after a particularly brutal allergic reaction. And I've always been leery of too much soy. So my first objective was to hunt down an egg-based protein powder. Surprisingly, GNC didn't have anything of note. So I grabbed this one at my local Whole Foods. I bought the smallest bag, in case it tasted like dirt, and was pleasantly surprised by how well it mixed up into the smoothies.

My second objective was to ensure I got enough fat. Over the Winter I ate a lot of fruit and potato, probably in an effort to self-soothe during the cold dark months. So with the changing weather, I'm prioritizing high-quality protein and healthy fats to get my body back to being fully fat-adapted (Summertime bodies in the Summertime, and all that). The natural choice for a healthy-fat-laced liquid is coconut milk. But if you want your smoothie to mix well, you need to thin it out with water (or use a carton coconut milk - but note: the carton kind is not Whole30 approved).

Then I started looking around for fruit and vegetables to make the smoothie taste like something but preferably not salad. My first attempt had 1/2 a banana (13 g. carbohydrates for those of you counting along at home) and a huge handful of spinach. The banana masked the spinach and I was filled with vitality all week.

My second version kept the 1/2 banana and added a 1/2 cup of raspberries. They're in season now so it seemed like a good option. The taste was great! At first, I left out the spinach because red + green = grayish brown and unappetizing. But there was no taste-based reason to skip out on the nutrients, so I added it back in.

My third attempt doubled down on fat-adaptatation by removing the 1/2 banana and replacing it with 1/2 an avocado. It was super tasty, like a creamy guacamole, but almost impossible to drink through a straw. So before weeks-end, I was back to banana.

After a few weeks of watching me post pictures of "baby UFO vomit" (thanks Terry) to my Facebook account, my little sister decided to jump on the smoothie train. LittleSister is allergic to banana so she had to be more creative. To date she's had great success with frozen blueberries, diced watermelon, and spinach. And when she runs out of fresh watermelon, she replaces it with shredded coconut (do I come from a brilliant family or what!?).

And that's that.

My abs are poppin', I have tons of energy, and the flavor combinations are basically endless. So, I can pretty-well see this basic formulation carrying me through the Summer.

What are your favorite smoothie flavors?

Green Smoothie

Yes. That is an Athleta bag as background.
I'm an equal-opportunity shopper when it comes to expensive workout attire.


4 ice cubes
1 scoop egg white protein
1 huge handful spinach
1/2 cup canned coconut milk + 1/2 cup water
      OR 1 cup carton coconut milk + 2 tablespoons coconut butter (for the fat)
Fruit of your choice (to the fill line)


Combine all ingredients in your blender (I use my Nutri Ninja cups because less dishes). Enjoy.
Makes 1 serving.

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