I’ve had a love/hate relationship with carbohydrates for the last couple of years, trying to figure out the “magic combination” that will give me the sustained energy I need without having unused carbs convert to fat–usually in my stomach. My first earnest effort was Atkins-esque, which pretty much eliminated all but 15 grams of sugars a day. Problem was, I was always exhausted. And after a strenuous yoga workout I’d have trouble having enough energy to get through the class, and I had to take 2-3 hour naps the following day while my body recovered. I was stubborn at first, but I finally realized what the fitness experts were right: Your body NEEDS carbs! But not every carb is created equal. That’s where the paleo lifestyle became attractive to me, and just made sense: fruits, veggies, lean meats and nuts. No rice, beans, potatoes (except yams and sweet potatoes), no processed foods, no refined sugars. Eating this way has put me in the best shape of my life at 41, and with four children ages 16, 10, 8 and 4.
Now I don’t worry so much about NATURAL carbohydrates I consume, because I usually have the most at the beginning of my day or before a workout. I don’t consume many carbs after 5 PM, because I’m the least active this time of day.
Since I don’t really like sitting down to a giant bowl of fruits and vegetables, I love smoothies in my Vitamix. I can consume an entire day’s recommendation of this stuff from a cup. What’s more, the protein and fiber that I consume keeps me feeling full for hours. The biggest mistake a lot of people make when making smoothies is keeping them fruit and veggie based without some sort of bulk like protein or fat, because your body will burn through those carbs and you’ll feel hungry too soon, which means you’ll be taking in more calories. I interchange protein powder and almond butter depending on the ingredients I’m using.
Greens are a really important addition to my smoothies because it supplies the fiber, Vitamins, detoxification components and micronutrients my body needs. I grow my own greens and pick from a variety of plants, because each one has a different benefit to my body.
In addition to greens, I also add seasonal fruits. It’s strawberry season here in Southern California so I can get an entire flat of fat, juicy strawberries and the local farmer’s market for just $5. I’m also growing my own strawberries, but they get eaten by the kids almost as fast as they come in. The Babster checks every morning to see if there one red enough to pick. I also have a blackberry bush, but well…same problem. Fruits add natural sweetness and more vitamins and antioxidants to the mix…all good.
Here’s how I make my ‘beauty’ smoothie’
The product I feature in the video is by Neocell, a company I’ve know about for about three years. They were how I discovered how collagen products were becoming part of the “beauty from the inside out” trend in natural products. I initially took the pills, but you have to take multiple pills throughout the day and I often forgot to do so. Then at this year’s Natural Products Expo, they unveiled a collagen product delivered in powder form that was effective with just one dose and tastes delicious without piling in unnecessary sugars. What I love about this formula is that they’ve added biotin, ALA, and hyaluronic acid–good for hair growth, good skin and strong nails. It also contains a healthy dose of Vitamin C.
CALORIES: 40, TOTAL FAT: 0gm, TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE: 1gm, SUGAR: 1gm, PROTEIN: 5gm, COLLAGEN TYPE 1 & 3: 5gm, VITAMIN C: 120mg, HYALURONIC ACID: 50mg, BIOTIN: 3000mcg, ALPHA LIPOIC ACID: 50mcg
Links to the products I mentioned
Got any smoothie recipes you’d like to share?