Sunday, March 10, 2013

it's not easy be(com)ing green

"You know what would make this kale smoothie better? Get rid of the kale."
-Tim, March 9, 2013

"I've added flax to my green smoothie. Now, all I need is a protein."
"Like a side of steak?"
-conversation between Tim and me, March 10, 2013*

Really unappealing but tasty, I swear.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about meeting with Heather, a cancer coach at the new survivorship centre. Her background is as a nutritionist and I have chosen to focus on that topic with her.

She's impressed on me the importance of making small SMART goals. I've chosen to focus on getting at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day for the next month (after which I will buy myself a small present, as directed by Heather).  I was sure it would be laughably easy.

It is not.

Heather also gave me some recipes and encouraged me to try them as a way of increasing my consumption of fruit and vegetables. I tried a version of one yesterday with kale, mango and mixed berries. It was delicious but the blender didn't do a great job with the kale, leaving chunks of it to get stuck between our teeth (see first quote from Tim, above).

After a wonderful conversation on Facebook (it seems that lots of people find the topic of making green smoothies to be of passionate interest), I decided to put the water in first and blend the kale before adding the fruit. A video on "How Your Blender Uses Physics to Make a Smoothie" posted by my friend Hélène, was fascinating and very helpful.

Today, I put water and the kale (more than yesterday) in first. This helped my blender to be much more effective. I added fruit gradually, until the bitterness of the kale was masked by the berries and mango. I also added a tablespoon of flax seed.

The result wasn't pretty but it did taste pretty good.

I also found out yesterday that my friends have very strong feelings about their smoothie-making appliances. It made me covet a new appliance but Tim has rightly suggested that I should wait until I have a proven commitment to smoothie-making.

I think I'll ask for a Nutribullet for Mothers' Day. Andrea and others rave about it and it is the cheapest of the lot. It's bound to be less labour intensive than what I'm currently doing (I have to keep removing the lid and stuffing the unblended bits down). Also, there probably shouldn't be a burning smell when I'm done blending.

I'd love to hear all your adventures and advice about smoothie making. Recipe advice would also be welcome, along with other suggestions (what do you use for protein, besides a side of steak?). Andrea shared a link to the Almost Raw Vegan, who has 50 recipes that look pretty good to me.

*I've just figured out that flax seed is a great source of protein. See how little I know?


Eco Mom said...

LOL that part about leaving out the kale was really funny! Reminded me of M once asking for vegetable soup without any vegetables in it! btw, I've found that it helps to chop up the leaves before blending them, and use only some of the water at first along with the fruit, to make a chutney-ish paste, and then top up with the rest of the liquid for another quick blend. Here's one of my favorite smoothie recipes: one (over)ripe banana, plus a handful of fresh young spinach - whizz it all together and thats it! :)

sassymonkey said...

I really like swiss chard in smoothies, though we normally just use spinach because it's just easier to buy a big container of baby spinach. We use a lot of frozen blueberries and raspberries in our smoothies, because we almost always have them. I also don't use recipes. I just plop stuff in. ;)

I'm no help with protein I'm afraid.

deb said...

I use my magic bullet BLENDER for my smoothies. LOVE it. Think they've come down in price a lot, too.

Catherine said...

Your post has me wondering whether I should buy a blender. Mentioning the idea to my husband - he has started laughing. But I'm always going on about kale chips. Maybe it's time for kale smoothies . . .

laurie said...

I have now made smoothies three days in a row, increasing the kale each time. I actually had to buy more kale today because I RAN OUT. How odd.
I start with water, add kale and do as Eco Mom says and make it into a chutney-like paste. Then I add the fruit and a little more water. Worked beautifully today, except that the smoothie was the most disgusting colour.

Anonymous said...

I've been using a hand-held immersion blender for my smoothies (usually fr berries, peanuts, ground flax, 2-3 large kale/collard leaves, and water or soy milk to thin). Works perfectly, and easy to clean up afterward, too.


Karlien said...

I am not even going to write down where I've seen something like that before....

Lene said...

Baby kale might be easier on your blender and not quite so bitter. And this book has good recipes

Now I feel the urge to drink lumpy green things. ;)

Maija Haavisto said...

My smoothies normally feature hemp protein powder (nutrient dense superfood and not too expensive), spirulina and/or moringa, berries, avocado, flax seed or flax oil and soy milk or homemade soy yoghurt. I sweeten with stevia and don't usually add fruit, as I have to eat pretty low-carb for breakfast. I also don't usually add greens besides the spirulina and/or moringa, but if I do, it's wild greens like nettle. Spinach and kale have their own good things (like octacosanol and betaine in spinach and those anticancer things in cruciferous veg), but still they don't compare to nettle.

Kale I prefer to eat as raw kale chips seasoned with chipotle and nutritional yeast flakes. A super tasty way to eat tons of kale. A dehydrator works best, but you can make them in the oven (both raw and non-raw).

Nancy's Point said...

It's funny I'm reading this today as my hubby's company is now in the whey processing business and he's planning to bring home a supply of this whey protein product for us to try in some smoothies... So far I have been completely unsuccessful in incorporating smoothies into my diet. My daughter drinks them all the time though. And I don't do well with green smoothies... just sayin'. How are things going for you at this point with all the "small" changes?

Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen said...

Love reading about your smoothie adventures! :) We use Blendtec and Vitamix blenders, which are pricey but so worth it if you make a lot of smoothies (and so much more). They blend everything perfectly. Hate having kale bits in our smoothies!

We love adding coconut oil (so many benefits) to help flavor and nourish. Also almonds/almond butter for protein and yumminess, banana to help sweeten, chia seeds (great healthy fats and protein!) and definitely some greens! But you're right - it has to taste good! We have a healthy but delish Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie from our book here:

laurie said...

There are two things I love about the smoothie post: The feeling that I am in this with so many people and all the great suggestions. Thank you!
And Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen bloggers: someone just sent me to you and I love your blog. So helpful and appealing.