Here’s the deal: lots of people think smoothies are stupid and or scary. The colors can be off-putting and the texture frightening. My beach week crew is no exception. Everyone would be chowing down on bacon, monkey bread, or breakfast casserole (recipes to come) and laugh at me for making a smoothie. Then I started
giving forcing them to taste it and, well, we ran out of spinach.
One of the best things about smoothies is the way they simplify your life. Studies show we make about 200 food decisions a day. Having a smoothie breakfast routine means it’s one less thing you have to think about in the morning.
In my line of work, I see the consequences of following the standard American diet. Trust me, a lifetime of processed food will catch up with you. The more you stick to Michael Pollen’s “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” philosophy, the better. Your telomeres, which are markers of aging, will thank you.
You don’t really need a recipe, just some guidelines.
- Don’t put more in than you could reasonably eat. Try to imagine all that food on a plate.
- Use some leafy greens: You know you are not going to eat enough greens today. Frozen spinach works fine as long as you run your blender long enough – there is a risk of cold spinach globs if you rush this. The really good thing about frozen spinach is there is no space-hogging-slowly-melting-weird-smelling container of wilted spinach staring at you, reminding you that you have failed, again, at using the spinach before it goes bad.
- Bananas in any capacity fix a whole host of flavor mistakes. A half of banana will do. I freeze bananas with the peels on and just slice it off before tossing into the blender.
- Pick your add-ins* (if you use any at all) thoughtfully and experiment with. Pay attention to calories. Throwing in a tablespoon or 2 of flaxseed, wheat germ, chia seeds, coconut oil, peanut butter, maca powder, hemp powder, hydrolyzed collagen*, or any other protein powder increases the calories quickly.
Blueberry Banana Smoothie
- 1/2 - 3/4 c frozen spinach or 1 - 2 big handfuls of fresh
- 1/2 c blueberries fresh or frozen
- 1/2 - 1 whole banana fresh or frozen
- 1/2 - 3/4 c liquid water, milk of your choice
- 1 - 2 T chia seeds optional
- 1 - 2 T flaxseed optional
- 1 - 2 T wheatgerm optional
- 1 - 2 T collagen powder optional
- 1 - 2 T maca powder optional
- 1 - 2 T hemp powder optional
- Throw it all in a blender and blitz. Most blenders do better if there's some liquid near the blades.
*I’m not advocating one specific add-in over another nor do I think you need any of them. Mostly, what you need is to not eat the doughnut or the processed breakfast sandwich from wherever. A smoothie is an easy way to pack in a lot of nutrition with very little hassle.
*Tim Ferris has a podcast where he interviewed Rhonda Patrick, who has a Ph.D. in biomedical science. She quoted a study where ingested collagen was tagged and researchers were able to prove it actually got deposited in the study participant’s joints. She buys this brand, so that’s what I got. I need to knock back a few more smoothies before I can weigh in on whether or not it helps with old-person-exercise-induced knee pain. Vegans and vegetarians beware: this is made from Kosher beef.