Smoothies are delicious

I can’t believe it’s not a milkshake (source)

I love smoothies.  For at least the past 5 years, maybe longer, I have had them as my breakfast before work.  I’ll also have them for breakfast at least one of my weekend days (the other is usually reserved for something delicious like oatmeal, cream of wheat, eggs etc).  I’m also on a constant quest for making them as healthy as possible while still being tasty. The ingredients have varied throughout the years but the constants have always been frozen fruit (blueberries are my go to but sometimes I switch it out to bananas or strawberries), protein powder, fiber supplement (I have IBS which is a long story I’ll save for another post),  and milk.  Just that mixture alone is good but in the past year I’ve been experimenting with additions that make them even healthier. 

My garden

The first change has been the addition of spinach.  It’s such an easy way to sneak in greens and good source of fiber, folic acid, vitamin K and iron.  Plus, you can’t even taste it (even though Chris swears he can).  In the summer I have a big garden and grow tons of greens including spinach along with swiss chard and kale.  So when all those greens are fresh and just in my backyard I’ll dump those in too. 

I’ve also tested out adding chia seeds which provide additional benefits like fiber, omega – 3/6 fatty acids, protein etc as well as Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed Meal which also provides omega – 3 fatty acids and fiber. The problem with these is the texture.  I absolutely could not handle the chia seeds.  I spent the rest of the day picking them out of my teeth.  No matter how many benefits they have, I just couldn’t handle the seeds.  So now I reserve them for my oatmeal only. They bake up nicely in there and you don’t have to deal with the texture thing.  The flaxseed meal on the other hand, is fine.  Doesn’t leave any weird seeds or textures but they it makes the smoothie cups a pain in the butt to clean.  There is always residue that takes forever to get off the sides.  So for now, I’ve kept these two additions out take some fish oil vitamins instead. 
I love anything with bananas (source)

Protein powder – in my quest to be healthier and eat less processed foods I’ve been playing around with the best natural option for protein.  For the longest time I used the vanilla flavor Muscle Milk protein powder from Costco.  Price-wise it was the way to go.  But it contains aspartame which is not good for you.  Plus, I’d read an article that said it also had trace amounts of arsenic (also known as rat poison). So yeah, didn’t really want to continue putting that in my body.  So in all my research I found a great post from Peas and Thank you on natural protein powder.  Basically the natural options include rice, pea, hemp, soy and custom blends.  I’ve now tried almost all of these options.  Hemp is gross.  Tastes too nutty and that flavor just doesn’t blend well with.  I’ve heard too many bad things about soy so I just try to avoid that in general and all the pea protein blends I’ve had taste too fruity.  Like the ones I’ve found usually have pea protein plus other veggie/fruit proteins like cranberry and such.  Just too fruity tasting.  So far, the one I’ve liked the best is rice protein, neutral flavor and blends pretty well (little chalky but I can deal with that).  My favorite is Sun Warrior raw vegan in Vanilla.  Except that it has stevia and I hate stevia.  Leaves a really gross taste in my mouth so I don’t think I’ll be buying anymore of this.  They do have a natural flavor which I’ve tried (they give out samples, just email them) but I’m just not sure if I could deal with a sort of chalky texture plus no flavor.   Next up I’m going to try a custom blend from True Protein with pea and rice and a natural unsweetened vanilla flavor which hopefully will not have stevia in it.  I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Pumpkin smoothie.  Made it pretty much every day in November. (Source)

Because I’ve been playing around with the protein powders I’ve also started subbing in greek yogurt for some additional protein.  Love doing that but I get the “plain” flavor so it’s a little sour.  To fix that, I’ve added in some honey which helps but I’m still not sold. So I started playing around with milks and have found that using unsweetened vanilla almond milk helps take away some of the bite of the greek yogurt.  You lose the calcium and protein from the milk but gain some taste so I’m ok with it.  

Wow, long post.  Apparently I have a lot to say about smoothies :)
Here are some great links to smoothie recipes on my Pinterest BoardDashing Dish probably has the best out there as far as low in calories but high on taste.  Seriously amazing.  Definitely check them out.


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