Monday, May 14, 2012

Smooth(ie) Operator

Another reason I love this time of year and its abundant produce? Smoothies on a regular basis. It just feels indulgent and naughty having what basically tastes like a fruity milkshake as the start to my day (or a smaller one as a mid-afternoon snack). I stopped drinking actual juice when I started my whole foods diet (7-ish years ago), because I want the benefit of the whole fruit. This fits the bill.

This batch was blueberry, strawberry (fresh and frozen),  cantaloupe, vanilla yogurt and flax. I love the reusable straws we found :-)

My smoothie rules are basically that there are no smoothie rules, but there are a couple of tricks I like to employ for maximum taste and benefit.

First: I use whatever fresh fruit is on-hand, but the base is always frozen fruit (whether commercially frozen or just leftover fresh fruit that got chunked and frozen). This eliminates the need for ice that just waters everything down. If you're buying frozen, check the ingredients. It should just be fruit, no sugar added.

Second: If it's a meal, I add a little booster. This is usually a teaspoon-ish of flax meal or psyllium husk powder (plain- no extra junk added). You'll note each of these things is milled. It's tough to digest otherwise. WARNING: If using psyllium husks, drink a LOT of water in addition to the smoothie or you will end up with stomach cramps. It will make you full and satisfy you longer, though, when used properly.

Third: If you have an immersion blender, this is an excellent time to use it. Why mess up a whole blender?

So, my smoothies are simple:
  • Fruit: at least half frozen
  • Half a banana- optional (You can freeze the other half for another smoothie. It will look brown, but will be camouflaged by other fruit and taste completely fine)
  • Yogurt (plain or flavored- whatever you prefer). If you don't eat dairy, you could easily substitute soy yogurt or leave it out entirely (I would up the banana to a whole one in this case, for texture)
  • Flax meal or psyllium husk powder- optional (In a pinch I've used oat bran, but it can get gritty)
  • Get creative (or not): fresh spinach or kale, fresh mint, cucumbers (unwaxed), whatever your little taste buds and body desire! If you've never tried it, basil tastes amazing with strawberries, but I've yet to taste a fruit that didn't go well with mint.

I usually start with all of the frozen fruit and yogurt and build from there. If you blend the frozen stuff first, it makes room in the blender cup to add the fresh stuff and any other additives you like.


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