SMOOTHIES 101: HIGHLIGHTS FROM MFW + CLASSPASS WORKSHOP
This post is dedicated to Julie and the team of lovely ladies at ClassPass who spent an hour talking health, wellness and all things smoothies with me a few weeks ago. I hope you enjoyed our time together as much as I did and I hope to blend with you again soon!
Smoothies, smoothie bowls, acai bowls and ALL the blended things continue to be popular staples on the health food scene. Why is everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Katie Couric to little ol' me such a big fan? Well I can't speak for the famous ladies, but below are the reasons I'm so obsessed.
POWERFUL BALANCED NUTRITION: Getting sufficient greens, fat, fiber and healthy carbohydrates at breakfast isn't exactly a no-brainer, am I right? I mean who has the time?! Before I started drinking smoothies, I really struggled with putting together balanced morning meals that kept me full until lunch. With the below formula, blending up a nutrient dense smoothie is pretty much the easiest way to pack loads of well-rounded nutrition and sustenance into one meal without having to overthink it.
DIGESTION: Because smoothies are blended, aka essentially pre-chewed, they are easy to digest and allow your body to assimilate nutrients almost effortlessly. That's a really nice break for a system that we typically overwork and overwhelm with poor eating habits (like not chewing nearly enough). Oh and PS: although it sounds bizarre, you still want to chew your smoothies a little bit to release enzymes important for processing food of any kind.
FAST & EASY: Tell me one other breakfast that takes 5 minutes or less and includes protein, fiber, multiple servings of veggies and healthy fats AND is free of the most common allergens? Come up with one and I'll do a free smoothie workshop at your place of work ;)
FLAVOR: The right combination of whole foods can achieve incredible flavors and textures. I actually crave smoothies for breakfast more than anything else!
EFFORTLESS: I used to eat almond butter out of the jar at 5:00 in the morning before leaving for work because I couldn't fathom thinking about breakfast so early. If you're strapped for time, short on sleep or lacking the desire to fuss over fancy meals, smoothies are a godsend.
DETOXIFICATION: Because smoothies require less energy to digest, that bod of yours can apply that saved energy into clean sweeping toxins from your system while still getting all the nutrients you need to sustain yourself for hours.
WHERE TO START: THE BASIC FORMULA
- Start with a CLEAN BASE such as water, unsweetened coconut water, coconut milk or unsweetened nut milk. Avoid fruit juices or any liquid loaded with sugar and/or additives.
- Next add a CLEAN PROTEIN. Nuts or pumpkin, sunflower or hemp seeds are great whole food options. If you're looking for a powder, my favorites are Nuzest chocolate flavored Clean Lean Protein (click here to visit their website and automatically get a MFW discount added to your cart) and Further Food Collagen (use code MISFITWELLNESS10 on their website for a MFW discount).
- Now add some HEALTHY FATS like avocado, nuts and seeds, coconut meat or coconut butter. If you're using nuts/seeds as your protein you may not need to add additional fats (see below).
- Toss in some FIBER like chia seeds or flax seeds.
- Don't forget a handful of GREENS like spinach (mildest) or kale (gettin a little earthy) or Swiss chard (down and dirty).
Curious about HOW MUCH to use of the above? Nutritional needs vary based on activity levels, age, metabolism, time between meals, weight/fitness goals and SO MUCH MORE so you might need to play around with quantities a bit to find what works for YOU. No idea where to start? Start with 1/2 the recommended serving size of protein, healthy fats, fruit, fiber and work up from there. Most of my recipes have about that amount so they're a great place to start experimenting!
TIPS & TRICKS
- Always on the run in the morning? Make your smoothie the night before and store in an air-tight container to grab and go in the morning.
- Don't have time to make breakfast everyday? Make a double batch a few times a week then eat 1/2 and freeze 1/2 for the next day. Defrost the frozen portion on the countertop for a few hours before you plan to eat it.
- Keep an eye on the quality of ingredients. Steer clear of salty processed nuts and use raw or dry-roasted unsalted instead. Shoot for organic produce when possible. Avoid using powders, "boosters," etc. that are highly processed or include any ingredients you don't know how to pronounce. If a protein powder has 73 processed ingredients, your body isn't going to know what to do with it any more than it knows what to do with Lucky Charms.
- Watch sugar content. To avoid flooding your body with excess fructose, skip sweetened bases and don't add more than 1 serving of fruit to your smoothie unless intense exercise or high levels of activity will follow consumption.
- Your body can only absorb 25 grams of protein at once, so no need to load up on powders and supplements! Often 1/2 the recommended serving size is sufficient!
READY TO STEP UP YOUR GAME?
Once you get the basic formula down and find a few combinations or recipes you love, start having fun with amping up the nutritional punch and harnessing the healing powers of food. A few ideas:
BOOST ENERGY with RAW CACAO (unprocessed form of chocolate)
BALANCE HORMONES with MACA powder (for for the gelatinized form which is easier to digest)
TAME INFLAMMATION with TURMERIC powder
SOOTH DIGESTION with GINGER
AID GUT, CELL & TISSUE REPAIR with COLLAGEN
LOWER BLOOD SUGAR levels with CINNAMON
SUPPORT THYROID HEALTH with BRAZIL NUTS
BOOST BRAIN FUNCTION & FIGHT INFLAMMATION with HEMP HEARTS and CHIA SEEDS
ALREADY AN EXPERT? TRY THIS NEXT
Raw spinach and kale additions are no-brainers, but are you ready to add SERIOUS volume, creaminess and nutrients to your smoothies without adding excess sugar or calories? Try magical veggie "bulking agents" like steamed then frozen:
- butternut squash
- kabocha squash
- delicata squash
TIP: Start with adding 1/2 cup of veggies and work up from there. I've found I can add up to 2 cups of veggies without funking up the taste if I use a combo of a few different kinds. Most of my recipes (including the one below) incorporate at least one of these veggies, so give it a try and let me know what you think!
RECIPE: BLACK FOREST ACAI BOWL
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- 1/2 C coconut water (plus more if needed)
- 1/2 frozen unsweetened acai pouch
- 1/2 C frozen pitted cherries (organic if possible)
- 1/2 C TJ’S frozen riced cauliflower (not watching sugar intake or don't have access to this? Omit & do a full cup of cherries)
- 1 Scoop Nuzest Chocolate Clean Lean Protein (Get a discount on their site with my code MISFITWELLNESS)
- 1 Scoop Further Food collagen (Get a discount on their site with my code MISFITWELLNESS10)
- 1 Tablespoon raw cacao
- 1 Tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 ripe pitted avocado
- 1/2 Tbsp chia
- Handful organic spinach
Add raw cacao nibs or a few shavings of dark chocolate if you're feeling naughty
Add a couple of frozen or fresh cherries for an extra pop of color and flavor.
- Chill a bowl while gathering ingredients.
- Put all ingredients (excluding optional toppers) into your high-speed blender. Blend on high until fully combined, smooth and creamy.
- No high-speed blender? Just add more coconut water or almond milk a little at a time until things start moving through the blades. It won't be quite as thick but it will still be delish!
- Pour smoothie into your chilled bowls and top with whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!