I went shopping yesterday “for a frock,” as they say on “Downton Abbey,” and was a bit shocked at my appearance in the mirror.
Well. Golly, that’s why none of my pants are fitting.
It’s funny, when you’re happy and busy and focusing on many other things besides your appearance, it’s easy for things to slide. It’s not a matter of weight or even inches, but that I recognize this as a sign of what I’ve been doing and not doing.
Grazing on this and that throughout the day, such as potato chips and chocolate chips, and being rescued from cooking in an unfinished kitchen by Costco meals and cheap restaurant food.
What I’ve not been doing is eating a diet heavy in vegetables and non-sugary items.
The result is, well, what’s in the mirror.
My health and my happiness can be very much helped by reining this in now. Best to not let these habits set in as we move into the holidays when willpower is strained to its utmost.
Thankfully, I have a blender. If you don’t have a Ninja or a decently powered blender, get thee one. A blender truly is the key to getting a healthy dose of veggies into your diet easily and quickly.
“Green Kitchen Smoothies” comes from one of my favorite cookbook-writing couples, David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl of the blog Green Kitchen Stories. Their recipes are simple, flavorful and packed with all sorts of veggies and goodness. The book is pretty, too, with Frenkiel’s lovely photography.
Cleaning up my act has never tasted so good.
Recipes to try include Goodnight Smoothie, Blueberry Power Smoothie, Goji, Mango & Turmeric Smoothie, Green Gazpacho Smoothie and Virgin Mary Hangover Cure.
Don’t miss the smoothie bowls in this book. These things are all over Pinterest, but none do them better than Green Kitchen. And don’t worry about nut milk or nut butter ingredients, they help with these, too. Taking it one step further, they even offer a tasty cracker recipe for using up all that nut pulp. There are tips on developing your own killer smoothie and also recipes for dessert smoothies (of course) so my sweet tooth needn’t feel neglected. Hello, Rosehip “Affogato” with Crumbled “Amaretti.”
Blueberry Power post-training smoothie
Serves 2 or 1 large serving
Focusing on fueling your muscles after strength training is almost as important as the workout itself, because it helps your muscles to recover and grow. The body needs a combination of carbohydrates and proteins right after exercise and this smoothie has got those covered. A protein smoothie doesn’t sound very sexy, but this drink actually tastes a lot like a bottled blueberry pie. You can use any protein powder you wish, but look for a high-quality one with only a few pure ingredients. You can always ask your local health food store for advice.
1 ripe banana, peeled
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons nut butter
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon whey protein powder (or other protein powder)
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup almond milk (or unsweetened milk of choice)
Roughly chop the banana and add it to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend on a high speed until completely smooth. Pour into two medium-sized glasses and serve, or store in a large airtight glass bottle to pack into your gym bag.
Green Goodness bowl
Serves 2 or 1 large serving
Frozen vegetables are not exactly the choicest of ingredients, as much of their texture is lost when they are thawed. But they are perfect in smoothies as they are often cheaper, available all year round and make them thicker than fresh vegetables do. In this smoothie bowl, the sweet flavor of the pear and dates balances out the savory taste of the vegetables just beautifully. The avocado adds creaminess, while the ginger, lime and coconut water provide a fresh twist. I add algae or grass powders to my bowl as they provide extra nutrients and have a stunning deep green color. Beware, though, as they can become overpowering in flavor. Start with just ½ teaspoon and then add more if you prefer.
1 medium-sized ripe pear, seeds removed
½ ripe avocado, stone removed
½ cup frozen broccoli florets
¾ cup frozen spinach
2 to 4 soft dates, pitted
½ to 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (or ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground ginger)
½ to 1 teaspoon spirulina powder (or chlorella, wheatgrass or barley grass)
1 cup coconut water (or milk of choice)
juice of ½ lime
For the topping: Pistachio nuts, finely chopped, toasted raw buckwheat*, desiccated coconut, hemp seeds or bee pollen, finely chopped green kiwi fruit, the mashed pulp of a passion fruit or golden kiwi fruit, edible flowers are optional.
Roughly chop the pear and add it to a blender along with the flesh of the avocado and the rest of the ingredients. Blend on a high speed until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the sweetness and spiciness to your liking by adding more dates or ginger if necessary, as well as more spirulina if you prefer. Pour into two small bowls or a large one. Finish with a sprinkling of the nuts, buckwheat, coconut and seeds, as well as the fruit and flowers, and serve.
* Toast raw (greenish) buckwheat in a dry frying panon a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until golden. If you have a sweet tooth, try adding a drizzle of pure maple syrup to the pan. You can also buy sprouted and dehydrated crunchy buckwheat in health food stores.
Recipes and photography excerpted from “Green Kitchen Smoothies: Healthy and Colorful Smoothies for Every Day” by Luise Vindahl and David Frenkiel, published by Hardie Grant Books, $19.99 hardcover.