Several years ago I bought a book for my mother called the 150 Healthiest Foods on the Planet. Unfortunately, it did not have the effect on her that I had hoped for as she continues to ignore it.
However, after a while, I started to read it. In it, the author runs down 150 of what he considers to be the best foods for your body and it is hard to argue with his choices given the scientific studies and references he uses in the book.
However, this article is not a book review, it is about the knowledge I gained from it and how I put it to use. Shortly after reading through it, I begin to pick up some new things at the grocery and honestly, it was a lot of stuff I had never eaten in my life. Why the change?
Well, at some point in your life, you reach a point where you realize that you probably have fewer days ahead of you than you do behind you. That is a sobering thought but a useful one. It is never too late to do the right thing. That is advice for life on everything, not just eating right. And in my case, I decided it was time to start getting better nutrition in my body.
Still, there was the old problem I’d had all my life. I was a picky eater and not very fond of weird fruits and vegetables. Throughout my life I basically stuck to green beans, peas and black beans, with some occasional okra. That was about it.
However, after reading this book, I was determined to get some of the really good foods he referred to as super foods, or nutritional powerhouses, into my diet. I decided the best way to do it was to try to drink it rather than eat it.
I looked around online for a juicer but some of the reviews turned me off, even for some of the ones that were over a $100. I had owned a juicer 20 years ago and did that for a while, but it takes a lot of fruit and vegetables to get one large glass of juice. You end up spending a small fortune. And most of it was wasted as pulp that it spit out in a side container. I loved apple, orange and carrot juice, but it was too much money to continue for very long and it was a mess to clean up. So that experience actually set me back over a decade.
This time I decided I was just going to use a regular blender. I had seen ads for the Ninja and one called a Bullet but they seemed pricey so I opted for a basic $30 blender to see what I could get away with.
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It turns out that just about everything you can imagine can be liquefied in a normal blender.
There are things you can put in with it to help pulverize the fruits and vegetables like ice cubes or vitamin supplements. If you take any type of vitamin and it is one of those kinds that are almost as big as your nose, try juicing it. Trust me, it will work.
So I started out slow with some blueberries, bananas and about 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk. I added ice cubes while it was blending and it was delicious. That combination is as good as any shake you can buy in a restaurant, without the fat and calories.
There was no exact measurements going on here, I was simply eyeballing it. I would grab a handful of kale and spinach, sometimes more and go with it. At times however, the shake would turn out a little too green for my taste. It’s not that it tasted bad, but I needed something to make it taste a little better so I could keep it going.
There were times when I made shakes that were so bad that I just had to down it like I was funneling beer or doing a shot. I was determined not to waste what I had just made no matter how earthy it tasted.
However, through trial and error, I came up with a daily shake with what I consider to be the maximum amount of benefits to your body, while still being tasty.
How to Make a Healthy Smoothie
I begin with a colander in the sink because I wash everything. I don’t care if it says triple washed on the bag of spinach, I’m washing it again. I don’t just wash it off under water either, I pick it up with my hands and scrub it between my fingers. I do the same thing with kale.
If you can, buy organic of everything, however, sometimes that is not possible because the supermarket does not carry it or you simply cannot afford it. I understand that completely. After all, a small plastic container of organic baby spinach is $6 where I live and I can go through that in a week. Not a lot of money, but that is just one ingredient I use.
Next, I wash the blueberries and any other fruits I am putting into the blender first. Then I add the almond milk to get things lubricated in the blender, then I put the ice in last on top. If you put the ice in first, then the blender will simply churn away on it first and there will be nothing left to help pulverize the other ingredients.
There are other ingredients that I use on a daily basis which I will list below.
After everything is the blender I turn it on and usually leave the room because I hate that noise. I let it run at least 2 minutes but it is not really necessary. Afterwards if you follow my recipe below you will have a large glassful of nutritional goodness.
So here is what you need. Remember to wash everything that is washable first:
- Kale (large handful)
- Spinach (large handful)
- Flax seed mill (about a half a cup)
- Chia seeds (about 2 tbsp)
- Goji Berries (pinch off a few)
- Amino acids supplements (L-lysine, L-ornithine, arginine, general multi vitamin)
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of turmeric
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- Unsweetened almond milk (1 cup)
- Blueberries (1 cup)
- Vanilla Whey Isolate Protein (1 scoop)
- Organic Cacao Powder (1 tbsp)
- Plain Greek Yogurt (1 tbsp)
- Ice cubes (5 or 6)
If I don’t have any fruit such as berries around the house, I will use a banana as a last resort. Bananas blend well and taste great, but they have some of the highest sugar content of any fruit so I use them sparingly. But keep that in perspective. Bananas aren’t bad, just not as good as other fruit choices. But it is better to eat a banana than a Snickers bar.
This particular smoothie is very healthy and is low calorie. It is what I consider high volume food. You will feel very full after you drink it, some might even say a little bloated. However, it has less calories than a slice of cake but is packed with nutrition. Consider one of these smoothies as a meal replacement.
If you want to make it even lower in calories, skip the whey protein because that does have some sugar in it.
Occasionally I will pick up some kiwis, cherries, strawberries or mangos to add in to give it a different taste. However, be careful of how much fruit you add because it does have natural fructose in it and you do not want too much of that. I use the fruit to offset the green taste of the kale and spinach.
If the blender has trouble getting started, you may need to add a little bit of water to get it going but once it starts churning, all is good. The portions indicated above will fill over half of the blender meaning you will have enough for a large glass. If you do not want to drink it all at once, simple leave part of it in the blender and put it in the fridge.
When you are ready to drink the rest of it, just drop it back on the blender motor and churn it for about 10 seconds and it is good to go.
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