Health and Fitness

Detox that holiday meal! The Everything Smoothie to the rescue

The “Everything” Smoothie, for training, recovery, meal replacement and weight management.

So, here we all are.  Still burping up the taste of that rich holiday meal and its residual leftovers, knowing that sooner or later we’re going to have to detox all that mess out and get our fitness and nutrition game back on the rails for 2013.  Here’s a powerhouse smoothie recipe to help out.

Whatever you need, it’s all here.   Meal replacement.  Nutritional supplements.  Workout recovery drink.  Protein shake.  Antioxidant  boost.  Detox formula.  Weight-loss aid/Appetite suppressant.  Vegan-friendly, gluten-free and soy-free option.

I know what you’re thinking.  That it must taste like crap.  Au contraire.  (I’m a foodie, so in my book “not delicious” = a colossal waste of my time, energy and consumed calories.)

After more than a year of trial and error, I finally perfected a breakfast smoothie recipe that not only fueled my workouts and recovery periods, but which satisfied all my other exacting (plant-based) dietary and weight management needs.  And my insatiable appetite for all things chocolate.

Know that my whole-food, no-junk, maximum-flavor standards are pretty high, so this is probably the cleanest, tastiest, nutritionally-dense and antioxidant-rich smoothie formula you’ll find anywhere.  (If you don’t agree, send me your version and I’ll do a comparison test.)  At around 400 calories (1 c. fruit option), 31 grams of protein and 54 grams of carbs, it’s ideal for training,  a great weight management tool and keeps me feeling full for up to 5 hours.  Note:  If you’re obsessed with carbs (I am not) you can always omit the fruit and knock off 30 grams, so long as you and I are in agreement that you will not hold me responsible for the resulting “Meh” flavor.

Either way, here’s what you get per serving, at a minimum:  50% daily intake of vitamins and minerals, 3 servings of greens, 6 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of Omega-3 (the same as 2-3 servings of salmon), 1 billion CFU of probiotics (the same as 1 cup of yogurt), and 3+ cups of antioxidants (same as 3+ cups blueberries).  I’m sure we’d all agree that it’s preferable to take in all our nutrients by eating the whole foods themselves, but let’s face it:  with today’s hectic lifestyles (and modern food production being what it is), few of us are able to actually do it on a daily basis, to the extent necessary to cover all our nutritional bases.  I know that’s the case with me, and this is where supplementation via this smoothie has not only helped me to close a gap in my diet, but allowed me to toss out all my other expensive vitamins.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to choke down 3 or more cups of kale or collard greens a day, trying to get it all in.  (It’s a nice goal, but not going to happen.)

While I don’t have space here to detail the smoothie’s full nutritional profile, trust me when I tell you it’s comprehensive.  Read the labels yourself, and then add up the time and energy you’d invest trying to cobble together your RDA from various sources, or money you’d otherwise spend on vitamin supplements, weight loss formulas, other healthy meal options and, of course, expensive lattes and designer coffees for energy “pick-me-ups,” made necessary by the fact that you’re not taking in the proper balance of nutrients to begin with.  And finally, while you’re at it, please don’t forget to calculate all those hidden “backend” costs $$$ associated with an impaired immune system and deficient diet.  (Illness, medical expenses, et al.)  So yes, while some of the smoothie ingredients aren’t cheap, it’s a hell of a lot less costly than debilitating illness and poor health.  And I believe in paying my money on the front end (preventative) rather than the considerably more painful back end (curative).

INGREDIENTS:  Use a high-powered blender to mix the following into a smooth milkshake-like consistency:

This recipe obviously won’t be an option for someone with a nut allergy (sorry!)  and  unfortunately, I now know too much to be comfortable recommending other market substitutions such as dairy, rice or soy milks.  (By the way, also tried swapping out water for the almond milk, and it tasted heinous.)  But hey, you do you.  Understand that I’m only a layman sharing what worked for me, and helped me to lose and keep off 25lbs, exercise more effectively, build lean muscle mass, and boost my own immunity.  In all cases, I urge you to do your own research, consider whatever may be your unique dietary or health needs, and consult your own healthcare professionals before deciding on substitutions, or whether to adopt this recipe.   As always, take what you can use, and discard the rest.  For those of you who DO try it (or tweak it to come up with your own custom formula), report back with the results.  Enjoy!

* Note: I usually opt to boost mine with an additional teaspoon each of maca powder or superfruit powder (goji, pomegranate, acai), but the base Vega One formula already  includes trace amounts of these antioxidants, so this is totally optional.   And it goes without saying that if you’re not a fan of chocolate, you might want to make other arrangements.  By that, I mean skipping the recipe altogether, as the only reason I spent so much time tweaking this formula to death was to indulge my culinary fantasies of drinking a chocolate bomb milkshake for breakfast every day.   And yes, since I know someone will point it out, I’m aware they make Silk brand almond milk in dark chocolate flavor.  (Come on. Don’t you think that was my FIRST idea?)  Tried it, and yes, it was a positively sublime experience.  But after mulling it over and crunching the numbers,  I ultimately rejected it because I was determined to keep the overall sugar gram content, and caloric count, as low as possible.  Plus, I found that I could get the shake plenty choco-yummy with the pure cacao powder, which has *0* grams of sugar.  Even this chocoholic has her limits.

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