Since I bought a Vitamix last fall, smoothies have become a regular part of my diet. I love them because I can mix up a big batch, store extras in mason jars in the fridge, then take it with me for a fresh, healthy snack when I’m in a rush later in the day or the next day. (I don’t think I’ll ever be someone for whom a smoothie is a meal-substitute, no matter how substantial the ingredients are that I use to make it.)
My typical approach is to start with about a cup of milk and a cup of plain yogurt, pack in a bunch of greens (usually kale, sometimes spinach), then blend this up until the greens are pureed. Next I add whatever fruit (mostly frozen) I have on-hand and strikes my fancy. My favorite combination is apple, peach, and mango but I frequently stray from this and use bananas, berries, cherries, and grapes. I taste it and add more fruit until it seems about right to me. Sometimes I use too much frozen fruit and have to add more milk, sometimes it’s too thin and I toss in a little more frozen fruit.
The problem with this approach (if you can call it a problem) is that I almost always wind up with a nearly-full 2-litre pitcher by the time I’m done. I love smoothies, but since my husband won’t go near them (unless they involve chocolate), this sometimes leads to waste. So, I’ve started looking at recipes and am trying to be better about sticking to reasonable portion-sizes.
Yesterday I found Runner’s World link to an anti-inflammatory smoothie that looked really good. Since injury has been a big part of my life over the past two months, I’ve been looking into how food and other habits can facilitate recovery. This morning I had a strength session with my trainer. When I got home I used the anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe as a basis for my post-workout smoothie.
The changes I made were pretty minimal: I added two scoops of (unflavored) whey protein powder since I’d been strength training, I used (organic) lemon juice from a jar instead of fresh lemon juice, I substituted cows milk for the suggested almond or coconut milk, and increased the amount of berries. Since I wanted my smoothie thicker and colder (and since I didn’t use coconut milk, which I think would have been great) I used some coconut milk that I’d frozen a while back in an ice-cube tray instead of ice to thicken it up. (I also had used my Vitamix to grind up fresh ginger, then froze it into tablespoon-sized portions, so I was all set for that in the recipe.)
If you don’t like fresh ginger, you won’t like this – the flavor of it is strong (in contrast I didn’t notice the turmeric at all), but that was one of the things I loved about it: the sweetness from the fruit with a nice zing of fresh ginger.
(The directions are for a Vitamix, but you can use whatever blender you have as long as it can handle frozen fruit and ice cubes.)
Place in your wet container in the order listed:
- 1 cup milk (cow’s milk or milk of your choice)
- 1 cup chopped kale, tightly packed
- 2 tsp. ground flax seed or chia seeds (I used a mixture of both)
- 2 scoops unflavored whey protein powder (0ptional)
Turn Vitamix on, starting on low, quickly increasing the speed to 10, then high. Blend until the greens and protein powder (if using) are well blended with the milk (about 20-30 seconds). Then add (in order):
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 Tbsp. fresh, chopped ginger
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 cup diced pineapple (fresh or frozen – I used frozen)
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen – I used frozen)
- Ice (if desired – it can also be added later). I used 5 frozen coconut milk cubes instead of ice
Turn Vitamix on low, increasing to 10 then high. Use your tamper to ensure that everything is blended well. This will make about 2 16-ounce servings.