The Inner Beauty of Green Smoothies

Let’s face it, not all food is pretty to look at.  I think that food bloggers must be more acutely aware of this than most, because ugly-looking food is almost guaranteed to result in ugly-looking pictures (especially if, like me, you have a hard enough time taking decent blog photos to begin with!).

That doesn’t stop me from taking the pictures though, especially when the subject is something that has so many wonderful nutritional qualities and benefits that it would be a terrible shame not to share it with my readers.

Today I’m sharing with you two not-so-pretty smoothies that nonetheless taste amazing and are amazing for you!

Both of these are technically green smoothies since they contain leafy greens, but neither of them actually came out of the blender with that attractive, vibrant green hue that you’d normally associate with a greenie.

1) Bananaberry Bliss Smoothie
Ingredients: 1-1.25 cup warm water (I find this thaws the fruit just slightly and makes blending easier), 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup frozen strawberry slices, 1/2 cup frozen peach slices, 1 cup fresh spinach.  Place the ingredients in the blender in order shown and give them a whirl.

This antioxidant powerhouse smoothie is only 173 calories, with no fat, 3g protein, and 8g fiber.  It also provides 10% of your RDA for iron, 5% calcium, 9% Vitamin E, 59% Vitamin A, and 40% Vitamin B6.  Note: I got these numbers by plugging the smoothie’s ingredients into a nutrition calculator.  Also, RDA varies from person to person, depending on your daily calorie needs.

But it’s not pretty.  Rather than the lovely purple-blue hue I had envisioned, I got more of a murky brownish-red with some strange frothiness going on up top:
Inner Beauty 002

2) Strawberry-Peach Samba Smoothie
Ingredients: 1-1 1/4 cup warm water, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, 1/2  cup frozen peach slices, 1/2 cup frozen rainbow chard (or substitute other fresh or frozen greens of choice).  Blend ’em up good.

The nutrition data for this smoothie shows 182 calories, no fat, 4g protein, and 8g fiber.  It also provides 16% RDA iron, 7% calcium, 3% Vitamin E, 115% Vitamin A, and 35% Vitamin B6.  See note above regarding nutrition info.

Yet again, on the outside it is pretty hideous.  It is green-ish, but more like the color of a muddy olive than of a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard.  In fact the photo makes it look better than it actually did in real life.
Inner Beauty 004Yeah, I’m still totally loving my homemade portable smoothie jar.  And yeah, the smoothie names are kinda cheesy but I like them so they stay 🙂

The moral of the story is that, as I hope the nutrition data above makes clear, these smoothies are full of beautiful ingredients, vitamins and minerals.  They also taste really, really good.  So who cares what they look like?   Starting the day off with one is a terrific move for your health and energy.   


Detox Delight

Earlier this week, I undertook my first ever juice cleanse.  It was a complimentary three-day cleanse that a company (who shall remain nameless) sent to me to review.  However, I am no longer going to review it, because the utter disorganization and ineptitude of the company (who messed up the order not once, not twice, but three times…including one time when I had to dump out the entire shipment of juice because it had gone bad) was so appalling that I cannot in good conscience recommend them to anyone.

BUT the cleanse itself was pretty rad, once I actually got to do it.  There was some pain involved, but only on the first day (and that was mainly because I started it the morning after a late night of drinking wine and eating peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets with H.  That’ll getcha every time.).  The rest of the time I felt pretty good, never too super-hungry or anything.

It was an interesting experience, certainly.  One big thing I took away from it was that I am way too obsessed with food and eating.  As in, constantly thinking about what I’m going to eat and when.  It was kind of nice to have everything just there, ready to go, with a schedule for when to have it.


Anyway, I finished the cleanse on Tuesday night, which meant that yesterday it was “back to normal.”  However, the cleanse came with some guidelines for the next day, which, as a total virgin cleanser, I followed pretty strictly out of fear of making my body go totally haywire.  The recommendations were:

“Start the day with a bottle of green juice or fresh fruit, followed by a small handful of raw nuts.  Have a salad for lunch and snack on raw veggies between meals. For dinner, have steamed veggies and a piece of tofu with some fruit for dessert.  Avoid processed foods, refined carbs, added sugar, and fake sugar.” [Editor’s note: this isn’t a direct quote.  I took liberties with grammar and punctuation to create whole, logical sentences.  Sorry, I edit and write for a living and I can’t just let these things go.]

Both yesterday and today (so far), I have done exactly that–started with a green juice from Whole Foods, snacked on raw soaked almonds for a morning snack, and enjoyed a delicious salad for lunch.  I suddenly feel like a total Detox maven.  First of all, check out my new toy:
Detox 005I have always wanted a mason jar with a handle and a straw top, but felt reluctant to pay the $31 plus shipping that they want to charge on Vegan Cuts for it (to be fair, their version does also include glass straws…but still). Well I found this mug for $1.99 at A.C. Moore and just cut a hole in the top with a knife and voila!  I now have my own juice/smoothie to-go mug.

I’m also feeling really good about last night’s dinner:Detox 003Grilled tofu (oil-free), steamed asparagus (with garlic) and Brussels sprouts, and a baked mashed sweet potato.  Plus lots of seasonings!

This was the largest quantity of solid food I had eaten in four days and boy did I feel full!  But also insanely nourished.  I’m planning on having a similar thing tonight.

I’ve obviously gotten a boost from all of the whole foods I’ve been eating (tofu being the most processed thing), but I realized this morning that I also have not had any caffeine or gluten for five days.  So much detox!  Basically I’m just feeling really good and really motivated.

On top of all of it, my weight loss and Ragnar training regimens are also progressing well.  As of yesterday I was down 9.2 lbs overall (although, obviously, coming off a cleanse…) and also able to pound out a 3-miler at a pace that is probably super-slow for most but very, very good for me.

It’s been an interesting week, for sure.  The key will be to see if I can keep it rolling through the weekend (which will include a baby shower as well as H’s birthday)…

Have you ever done a juice cleanse or detox?  Did you find it difficult to maintain the momentum afterwards?