What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
I know when people say “liquid diet” they are talking booze, but I'm gonna take that phrase back and talk about smoothies.
I have a bit of a smoothie problem. I have at least one a day, and in the summer, sometimes I crave them up to three times daily. It's easy to sip a smoothie in the summer when it's hot hot hot, but even this past week, at a balmy 6 degrees, I have been sitting on my radiator, a scarf wrapped around my face, sipping a smoothie through a straw and shivering.
I love them for a few reasons. The first is that I have a major sweet tooth and their fruity goodness hits the spot, but also because I can use them as a vehicle to get more veggies, and other bizarre yet healthy edibles, into my diet. What kind of bizarre edibles? Let me list a few out for you.
Spirulina: Sea algae. This bright green powdered seaweed is bursting with B vitamins, which I need to hoard, since I am vegan. It also has protein, magnesium and iron, so it's great for anemics. I add a teaspoon to my smoothies and my oatmeal, and it has no flavor. However, it smells funky. To be honest, it smells like a load of cum. I was embarrassed for thinking this, but then I Googled it, and I am not alone. I love when my perversion is validated.
Cacao powder: Raw. Chocolate. This stuff is delicious, and full of good antioxidants, and also chocolate! But it's very bitter, so be sure you're adding it to an already sweet mix. If you can't find any raw cacao powder, pure cocoa powder will do. Hershey's has a good one.
Beets: Beets are a juicer's dream, but I like to toss a whole beet into my smoothie. It turns the concoction bright pink, and tastes sweet and earthy. If you don't like earthy, then just throw in half a beet. But I love earthy. Dirt. Make my drink taste like dirt, please.
Lettuce, kale or spinach: Same as the beets. If you have a high-powered blender (I have a Vitamix) it will pulverize greens, allowing you to enjoy a liquid salad. Unlike juice, which often tastes like a garden, if you do it right you can hide greens in your smoothies so you can't taste them at all. The trick is pairing them with enough sweet fruit.
For some, a green drink may be a little off putting. So let me spin it this way: Kale is an awesome source of magnesium, which dilates your blood vessels and allows more blood flow to important areas. I'm talking about your sexbits. Keep em juicy! Or not.
In college, I showed my very non-vegan roommate that adding 2 cups of spinach to her daily strawberry banana smoothie would not alter the taste, but would give her the superior feeling of eating a salad before 9 am. Plus, you know, good for you! Shove some fresh greens in there. You won't taste them! (Avoid really bitter greens like collards or Swiss chard. You WILL taste those.)
Nut butters: I put nut butter in basically every smoothie I make. It adds calories and a smidge of protein, and gives every smoothie a more complex, rich flavor. My favorite is peanut butter. I know these days everyone likes to get fancy with almond butter and cashew butter, but my inner child will never get over a tablespoon of peanut butter to the face. Also, nuts contain L-Arginine, an essential amino acid that aids the function of your sex organs by relaxing your blood vessels.
Avocado: If I don't add nut butter to my smoothies, then I most certainly add avocado, because I am always trying to get a dose of healthy fats in. Because I didn't put my ass on eating just kale. Aside from supporting a healthy weight, good fats contain the essential acids we need for high brain function, but also for optimum boning and the regulation of our ladybits and other organs. Women with low body weight -- no fat! -- stop menstruating.
Squash and sweet roots: Ew what, you're saying. Cooked (this is key!) root veggies such as sweet potatoes, or squash like canned pumpkin or kabocha, make seriously scrumptious smoothies -- especially in the fall. This is what I am sipping on in that mystery photo, above. I sprinkle some cinnamon in there and get down. And they are chock full of vitamin A, which is good for your skin, but also for your sex drive.
Vitamin A helps regulate the synthesis of progesterone, which is key for a raging sex drive. And as much as animal testing twists my panties all up, vitamin A deficiency has been shown to cause atrophy of the testicles and ovaries in male and female rats, leading to sterilization. Yikes! For the love of your testicles, please put some squash in your smoothies.
Beans: Weird, right? I'm into weird sometimes. I got this tip from 7 foot super athletic friend, Andrew. He puts cannellini beans in his smoothies because well, dude is 7 feet tall and needs all the calories he can get. But this awesome protein source is all natural -- way better than those processed powders you buy in the store. So throw a ½ cup of beans into your next blender brew. You won't taste them, but they will be creamy and delish.
Granulated coffee: A while back, I was heading down south for a wedding, and taking a 2 am Amtrak train. A night-owly girlfriend came over to hang while I waited until it was time to leave, and she was absolutely disgusted by what I was putting in my blender in order to keep me awake. It was a mix of granulated (instant) coffee and cacao for caffeine, beets for sweetness, bananas, spinach, spirulina, blueberries and nut milk. It looked like thick greenish purple sludge, but it tasted like mocha heaven and kept me energized for my journey.
As a vegan, I am constantly hearing the question “Where do you get your protein?” I know I get an adequate amount of that good stuff in my daily diet, but if I am replacing a meal with a smoothie, I like to make sure I am getting a protein hit. So I add a ¼ cup of silken tofu, which you can't taste at all, but it lends the smoothie a thick, viscous “yogurty” texture.
Here are a few of my favorite smoothie recipes. A few notes: First, they all call for nut milks, but if you do dairy, feel free to sub that in. Second, I have a high-powered blender, so I don't need a lot of liquid, and my smoothies are all very very thick. Milkshake like. If you want a thinner smoothie, or your blender can't handle it Kelis-style, I would double the amount of liquid I call for.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Smoothie — Serves 2 — Dessert! Or breakfast. Or lunch...
- 1 cup frozen cherries (not the tart kind)
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 frozen banana (it has to be frozen for the good milkshake texture)
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1.5 cups almond or hazelnut milk
Put everything in the blender and whip it up, pulsing a few times to make sure no chunks are left. Taste, and add more almond butter or cocoa powder if you like.
Mango Lassi — Serves 2
- 2 cups mango, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup kale
- 1 tsp spirulina
- ¼ cup silken tofu
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 2 cups vanilla soy milk
Pumpkin-Nut Smoothie -- Serves 2
This is seriously addicting if you like pumpkin pie.
- 2 bananas, frozen
- 1 1/2 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup of pureed pumpkin, canned or fresh
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 1 tbs peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
Throw that shit in a blender!
Red Velvet Smoothie — Serves 2
- 2 bananas, frozen
- 1 small beet
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Nutty Protein Shake — Serves 2 — Girrrrrl, where do you get your protein?
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup coconut milk. (From the can, not the Tetra Pak). You can use light, but I like the full fat version
- ¼ cup cannellini beans
- 3 tbs silken tofu
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Variation: Make it a mocha- Add 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 2 tsp granulated instant coffee.
Funky Fresh Smoothie — Serves 2 —This is what I got my college roomie hooked on.
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 tsp spirulina
- 1/2 cup 100% orange juice
- 1 cup vanilla soymilk
Optional: ½ avocado
OK, what weirdness do you put in your blender?
Zoe is still talking about what goes in her blender at @SexyTofuBlog.