Health and Fitness

Health: My Skinny Secret is a “Mud Shake.”

I’ve been threatening for months now to give all of you the recipes of my ‘magic shakes’ that I put into my beloved Vitamix each day. But before I give it up, I have to give a little back story:

After the birth of my fourth child, who was born extremely premature at 27 weeks, the stress of her hospitalization and the death of my father all in the same month was so much I could hardly bear it. But unlike most, I’m the type that doesn’t like to eat when stressed. But I knew I had to have the proper nutrition so I could give the little lumpkin good breast milk, so since I didn’t have an appetite, I just drank my food. Nutritional shakes with added fat for the extra calories I needed were pretty much my diet for the three months the babster was in the hospital. By the by, she’s totally unscathed from the whole experience, but I’m still on the happy pills.





This is now. She's the garden gnome in the middle.

I learned a few things while on my liquid diet that I’ve kept since I regained my love of greasy cheese burgers: protein powder + greens = my high school body back. Well, almost back. I was 121 lbs as a high school senior, and I’m now 125. Tomato, tomotto. But since I like actual food, and clearly my children need the fat, I’ve managed to successfully combine a liquid diet with eating like a normal person.

Too Busy to Eat

Usually during the day, I don’t have time to make meals for myself. I’m too busy making eggs, sausage, waffles, whatever before the kids get to school, and then it’s a mad dash to the computer. I’m hungry, but busy. But I know that if I don’t eat, my body will think it’s starving and the pounds will stick. So that’s where the ‘mud shakes’ come in. The hubster gave them that name because, well, with all the stuff I put in them, at first blush, they could actually pass for mud.

But, they don’t taste like mud, and that’s the important part, right?

I have two shake recipes. One is so I can get all my daily fruits and vegetables in (I really don’t like eating them, so I drink them) and the other is to feed my chocolate addiction. Both contain 15-20 grams of protein or more, which is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT ingredient if you’re working out and trying to lose weight–without the LEAN protein, your body can’t properly develop the muscles that burn the fat, that help you lose weight. Get it? The second most important thing is the fiber, which keeps you full for hours and staves off the munchies. For me, being hungry is annoying when I’m working, so I like not having to think about it.

Fruit/Veggie Shake

2 scoops whey or vegetable protein powder (right now I’m using Juvo, which is a protein with other good stuff in it. See the ingredients here.

one organic apple

handful of frozen organic strawberries

handful of frozen organic blueberries

1-2 handfuls of organic kale, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard or basically anything green and leafy

1/2 cup skim milk

Liquid vitamin

one scoop MSM powder (by the way, this helps your hair grow stronger and longer)

one tablespoon flax or chia seeds

one organic carrot

one banana

handful of ice

I put it all in my magical Vitamix and voilà–breakfast. I can tweet, comment on the blog, do an interview all while getting 1/3 of my daily alloted calories.

(I often improvise the veggies with whatever I have on hand and what’s in season, but you don’t always know how it going to taste in the end. )

The Chocolate Delight

one scoop Amazing Grass (Chocolate)

one scoop CLICK

handful of spinach

6-8 ounces non-fat chocolate milk

handful of ice

Put it in the Vitamix and…bliss.

The benefits of “drinking your food” are great…it’s easier for you to digest and the nutrients are immediately available. I eat like this during the day, and have some actual food snacks, like hummus, olives and garlic on toasted naan bread, and 1/4 cup of raw almonds and raisins.

Eating like this, along with pilates, yoga or the barre method has helped me get this stomach…

...after onetwothreeFOUR kids.

…After onetwothreefour kids. (This shot HAS NOT been photoshopped.). Before I started this regimen, I was as heavy as 143, at only 5’2 feet tall, with borderline high blood pressure.

At night, I cook and eat what my hubby and kids like. Mostly the hubster, because the kids could eat hot dogs and Cheetos every night if I let them.

One thing to keep in mind: as you age, you need less calories. In fact, most Americans eat weigh (pun and homophone intended) too much anyweigh.

Here’s two books I recommend reading if you’re getting serious about weight loss. I’m not a fan of diets, because as soon as you’re off the weight comes back plus extra. The name will fool you, but “The New Sonoma Diet” is a great entre to the Mediterranean diet we all should be eating in the first place, and “Nutrition at Your Fingertips,” which is a great reference guide for the foods you’re supposed to be eating but probably aren’t.

Last warning: You might want to stock up on some Beano, because if your body isn’t used to all the fiber at once, you might pass out by a whiff of your own flatulence. But don’t worry–it’s (usually) temporary.

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