Nope, I’m not referring to the colon cleanse again. This post is all about smoothies. One smoothie, really. The one I invented! It actually tastes really good and is a great vessel for supplements. Erin and I have had it for breakfast almost every weekday for nearly a year and somehow we don’t get sick of it. It makes a nice breakfast because it’s quick to prepare and you can take it to go. So enough with the hype, here it is:
Blueberry Smoothie Recipe
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (or about 20 grams of protein)
- 2 handfuls frozen blueberries
- 1 Tbsp flaxseed oil (Udo’s oil blend is my favorite)
- 2 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree. Simple, right?
[UPDATE: We now add a few tablespoons ground flaxseed powder (for whole-food goodness), a half teaspoon ground cinnamon (for antioxidants and digestion), and Udo's Wholesome Fast Food (for greens, fiber, and digestive aids).]
But not so fast; there are countless possible variations. Although the original recipe uses all blueberries, you really can substitute any frozen fruit. We’ve tried raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, and even mangos. You can find these bags of frozen fruit in the “pie filling” part of the frozen section of the grocery store. Our favorite blend is blueberries, blackberries, and cherries. The great thing about all these berries is that they are loaded with antioxidants (and who doesn’t want more of that hot nutritional buzzword?), and for whatever reason we just never eat fresh berries. Some other changes we’ve tried: Adding 1 oz acai juice or goji juice (more antioxidants but a little pricey), mixing in some fresh fruit, and adding additional supplements like glutamine (for workout recovery).
Tropicana has come out with a new orange juice called Trop 50 which has half of the sugar of regular orange juice but no artificial sweeteners. The secret is not more water but rather the extract of the stevia plant, which is natural and sweeter than sugar. So we’ve been using that and it tastes the same.
Soy vs. Dairy
Regular yogurt and whey protein don’t exactly jive with the 10-Day Challenge’s no-dairy restriction, so I’ve had to make some easy soy-substitutions. Soy yogurt is a little runnier than regular yogurt but makes almost no difference in the smoothie other than not having the good sour taste that regular yogurt does. You can get it at a natural foods store; most supermarkets don’t seem to have it. We had been using Vitamin Shoppe-brand whey protein, the one sweetened with Splenda, not Aminogen (the Aminogen one is wretched in the smoothie). I’ve had to switch to Vitamin Shoppe soy protein, which in addition to not being a milk product contains many fewer unnatural ingredients than what we had been using. It doesn’t taste quite as good since it’s unsweetened, and it’s a little grittier in the smoothie. Stick with the vanilla whey if you aren’t concerned about milk products or artificial ingredients.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Finally, the flaxseed oil is included solely for nutritional purposes, primarily the Omega-3 fatty acids. The optimal ratio of dietary Omega-6′s to Omega-3′s is around 2:1, while the ratio in the normal Western diet is something like 15:1. So getting lots of Omega-3′s is crucial. One other easy way to do this is to substitute canola oil for olive oil in your cooking (olive oil is great in comparison to butter and many other oils, but its EFA ratio is relatively high). If you already consume a lot of Omega-3′s (by eating a lot of fish, for example) and don’t need much more, you may want to halve the amount of oil in the smoothie or not use it at all, since there is an upper limit to how much is healthy. If you’re going to use and it haven’t before, just keep it refrigerated and don’t use it for cooking. Heat ruins it.
By the way, just in case you have visions of cashing in on my lack of a disclaimer, here it is: I’m not a doctor so talk to yours before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise program!
I hope you try this smoothie and let me know what you think. And I have last night’s dinner to post so check back soon. And to all who have taken the time to check out this new blog, thanks!