How To Build The Perfect Smoothie
I love me a good smoothie. It's the perfect way to secretly jam in a ton of vegetables, protein and other imperative nutrients into your diet. If you know what you are doing you can whip one up in no time flat and take it with you on the go. I find that when I start the morning with so much goodness, things just seem better ~ more energy, increased focus and clarity, better digestion (things "flow" better if you know what I mean) and I often make healthier decicions as I jive throughout the rest of the day. I am a creature of habit (and perhaps a bit lazy), in which I always make the same exact alkaline smoothie...which is THIS one. It's habit, it's ritual and I make sure to have these ingredients in my fridge at all times...until this morning. I woke up craving my usual go-to smoothie only to remember that I had not been to the grocery store in over a week. What's a girl to do? Get inventive! It's actually really good for your bod to switch up foods and ingredients anyways. If you start with a solid base and build from there, I guarantee you will come up with a magical creation that will evoke your creative spirit and awaken you and your tastebuds...Pick a thickening base. "I'm all 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass, no treble..." To me a good smoothie is thick, not watery. Nut butters, yogurts (I like full fat, plain), chia seeds (soaked for about 10 minutes to thicken) or tofu are all good thickening agents. Starting with a good base sets the tone, and depending on your choice, can add a beautiful amount of healthy fats, probiotics and proteins to your diet.
Choose your liquid. To ensure a perfectly smooth smoothie, add no more than a cup of liquid ~ this will help to get things moving and equally mixed. Nut milks, coconut water and aloe juice are a few of my favorites. I add the liquid in last so that it coats everything. You can always add more, so start with less to ensure a good, creamy texture.
Add your veggies...green ones. This is legit one of the easiest ways to cram in your daily servings of green vegetables, so don't be shy! Spinach is always a trusty go-to because it doesn't have an overwhelming taste and is loaded with nutrients. Kale, beet greens, romaine, cucumber, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, chard, parsley, cilantro, basil...you name it. Use it, and use a hearty, hefty portion (like a few handfuls). Sidenote: put the greens in closer to the base of the blender. Sometimes these veggies are harder to grind up, and this will make it easier.
Get fruity. Again, a great way to get in your daily dose and add some sweetness to the mix. Very good for getting kids to drink up. Just make sure to go a bit lighter in this category because fruits are generally very sugary. Bananas, berries and mangos are a few of my favorites, but I also love to use alkaline fruits (they are not acidic in the body) like coconuts, lemons, limes and grapefruits. For the alkaline fruits, just make sure to cut away the skin and the pith or it will be super duper bitter, gritty tasting smoothie...and add them closest to the blade of the blender so they get really chopped up.
Give it a boost! Cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, hemp protein powder, flax seeds, chlorophyll, spirulina, coconut oil...all incredible powerhouses and superfoods and will give you and your smoothie the ultimate boost of amazingness. This is a great way to sneak in additional protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and all that jazz to keep you on your toes all day long. Just remember, with these ingredients a little goes a long way, so use rather sparingly ~ a tablespoon or two is generally all you need to get the party started.
Ice-ice-baby. There is nothing more disgusting than a warm smoothie, so I always like to add in a tray of ice cubes. Trust me. And of course, if you aren't going to gulp down your smoothie right away, refrigerate it.
Good tools! Having quality tools in the kitchen is key and will make your life much easier. Invest in a high end blender, it may be pricey but it really is worth it. I LOVE my Vitamix (duh) and also love the Blendtec. A good knife and cutting board will also be your best friends. Lastly, organic and local ingredients are the name of this game.
So, this morning, when I found myself staring into my fridge to come up with a yummy blended breakfast, I was able to use the above tips to create a delish smoothie that contained folic acid, protein, antioxidants, phytochemicals and a plethora of much needed vitamins ~ and it was super quick and easy to make (and drink!). See below:Ingredients (makes 2 large smoothies): - 2 cups organic broccoli (stems removed) - 1 head romaine - 3/4 cup strawberries - 2 extra ripe bananas - 1 cup organic, plain yogurt - 1 cup unsweetened almond milk - 2 tablespoons hemp protein powder - 2 tablespoons chlorophyll - 8 ice cubes
Directions: Wash your fruits and veggies real good. Add your greens (broccoli & romaine), then your fruits, yogurt and ice, and top it off with your almond milk, hemp protein and chlorophyll. Blend your little heart out. Add more liquid if needed. Pour into your favorite cup and enjoy!