Some people say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, but I've also heard 28 days. Since I'm stubborn and a slow learner, I'm giving myself a month to establish a new habit. This blog will document each month's habits. Please join me!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Month in review

One last smoothie recipe for the month.  This is adapted from Nourishing Meals.  
Minty Ginger Peach Smoothie

2 peaches
1 nectarine
1 cucumber
3 mint sprigs
1 cup chopped kale
2 T. flax seeds
1/2" piece of ginger
1 cup water

The mint and ginger made this a refreshing smoothie. 

This is the last day of my Green Smoothie habit. although I certainly didn't have a smoothie every day, my green smoothie consumption was much greater than it had been prior, so I'd say it was a success in that respect.  Because of the high water content, the timing of the consumption was kind of tricky sometimes, if you know what I mean.

I was hoping for some noticeable changes in energy levels or weight, but no luck. I didn't change my eating habits other than adding the smoothies, and I already ate  pretty healthy, so that may be the reason.  As mentioned in an earlier post, when I had my smoothie as an afternoon snack, it seemed to cut down on my evening snacking, so maybe if I'd done that more consistently, I would have seen some weight loss.  I'll keep experimenting.  

Bottom line: I'll definitely continue with green smoothies. Psychologically, I feel better when I have one, knowing that I'm filling my body with all kinds of nutrients.  Plus, a lot of them taste really good.  I am thrilled to have discovered savory smoothies with their lower sugar content and ability to conquer salt cravings. 

Join  next month for daily exercise. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Day 25

I woke up yesterday and decided to make it an 80% raw food day.  Kind of like a mini-cleanse.   After a bit of poking around on the internet, I found some sites that actually had one-day cleanses such as Wicked Good Travel and Kimberly Snyder.   I didn't follow these completely, but still managed 80% raw food for the day.

The day started with my usual latte which has 1 cup of 1% milk.   Then I had 16 oz of kombucha tea followed by my green smoothie.  BTW, if anyone needs a kombucha scoby, let me know.  Mine is huge and needs to be separated.

Breakfast Green Smoothie 

1 cup water
2 peaches
1 very ripe banana
2 T. flax seeds
a few dashes of cinnamon
1 medjool date
1 cup chopped kale

I rarely put kale in a smoothie, but the cinnamon and date made it palatable.  Before adding the flax seeds, I poured half the smoothie into a pint jar to save for later.  I wasn't sure what the flax seeds would do and didn't want to have to choke down a gelatinous glob.  Unlike previous times when I had a smoothie as my only breakfast, this one stuck with me.  Maybe it was the flax seeds?   Anyway, this served as my breakfast and lunch.

Snack was an apple and 2 big naturally fermented dill pickles. 

For dinner I made a salad with one big cucumber, one big tomato, 1/4 avocado, chopped basil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt.  It was good, but I should have used 1/2 an avocado instead.  I got hungry pretty quickly.  So, I had some raw pumpkin seeds and air popped popcorn.

I entered all of this in my Lose It ap and this is the nutritional breakdown of my day.

Calorie 1113
Fat 22.6 g (17%)
Carbs 217.3 (72%)
Fiber 41.3 g
Sugars 104g
Protein 34.8 g (11%)

I was surprised how much protein there was in addition to the 8 g from the milk.

I felt pretty good all day and woke up with energy ready to tackle the day today.  Sleeping in an extra couple hours didn't hurt either.

I'm seriously considering going 80% raw for the rest of the month.  It would be a good way to super charge my system as we get ready for a new school year.  I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

September Habit -- Daily Exercise

Next month's habit is daily exercise and I would LOVE to have others join me for motivation, inspiration and maybe even friendly competition.  Who's in?

For me, the parameters are:
  • Minimum 15 minutes/day
  • Exercise can be anywhere from walking the dog, to using the elliptical, working out with a DVD or On Demand show, weights, etc.  In other words, it doesn't matter what it is, as long as it happens.  
  • It must be dedicated exercise.  Going to Costco and pushing the massively heavy cart all over the store doesn't count. Yes, it burns calories, but that kind of rationalization is a slippery slope for my creative excuse making. 
  • No excuses! Rain, shine, sore muscles, too busy, don't "feel like it" are not valid. 

BTW, I will not be posting pictures of myself in exercise clothes. 

Green Smoothie Habit -- Day 22 -- Making it a meal

Today's green smoothie was my breakfast and I wanted it to stick with me for a while.  I'm sipping it now, so we'll see how it goes. This recipe is adapted from The Yummy Life. 

Green Berry Blast Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1 peach
1 1/2 c. chopped beet greens (thus the red colored "green" smoothie)
1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 vanilla whole milk yogurt
2 T. ground flax seeds
1 1/2 c. water
1 medjool date

This is a fiber and nutrient packed smoothie with more than 10 g. fiber, over 100% DV for Vitamin C and K, 50% of Vitamin A and lots of calcium.  It's a little short on protein, but with my morning latte (hey, I'm in the Northwest so I'm required by law to have fancy coffee drinks) I get more protein. 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Days 20 & 21 -- Sweet and Savory

The last two green smoothies have been home runs.  Maybe it was the simplicity of the ingredients.  Maybe it was because I was listening to my body and what it wanted at the moment.  Who knows. 
 Anyway, yesterday's was a savory smoothie which I made using the leftover stuff that was in my blender after making pesto and then adding a couple of tomatoes and chard.

Day 20 -- Pesto Smoothie

The recipe for the pesto was:
3 cups basil
slice of lemon
2 cloves garlic
handful of almonds
1/2 Tbsp salt
enough olive oil to mix it up

After scooping the pesto out of the blender jar, to the stuff that was left in the jar I added
2 tomatoes
3 chard leaves

It was good!  I was having a salt craving and this helped satisfy it. 

You'll notice that there's no Parmesan or any other cheese in my pesto.  Hubbie is allergic to most cheeses, so I found a vegan recipe that we all like.  Normally I use walnuts for their omega-3 power, but was out, so substituted almonds. 

Day 21 -- Watermelon Peach Green Smoothie

This one was easy and very good.

1-2 cups watermelon chunks
1 peach
several leaves of butter lettuce

That was it.  Nothing else.  It made one glassful of deliciousness and took the edge off my sweet craving.  Granted, these are both very sweet fruits, but this comes in at under 150 calories, zero fat and assorted nutrients.  A classic chocolate candy bar from Pennsylvania is over 200 calories and 13 grams of fat.  This is not to say that a smoothie will always take care of a chocolate craving, but it's a good start.

I'm not losing any weight and my energy level isn't improved, but a couple of things have been interesting.

Night time snacking is less frequent when I have a smoothie in the afternoon.  My dinner portions are smaller too.  I'll continue with afternoon smoothies, which may lead to a couple pounds of weight loss.

Monthly symptoms  OK, maybe this was coincidence, but I didn't get the usual headache that I get around "that time" of the month.  I also didn't notice as many PMS symptoms.  There is some evidence indicating that Vitamin K helps alleviate PMS, etc. 

This makes me wonder if green smoothies have individualized benefits based on what's lacking in a person's diet.  Since I already ate reasonably well and had a couple green smoothies a week prior to this month, maybe  the overall effect on my is less.  On someone who rarely ate fruits and vegetables, the results may be totally different. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Day 19 -- Too many beets

Today I doubled the beets in my green smoothie.  Umm, there's definitely such a thing as too many beets for my taste.  Fortunately, I was able to mask the flavor with more fruit.
I started with 1 cup of kombucha, about 1/3 papaya, 1/2 beet, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 2 sorrel leaves and 3 chard leaves.  Much too beety for me.  So, this is the final recipe which was pretty good.

1 cup kombucha
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 papaya
1 peach
1/2 beet
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 sorrel leaves
2 chard leaves
a few shakes of cinnamon
2 dates

Made 4 cups.

As you can see, it's a vibrant non-green color :-)  There really are greens in it, but the beets stole the show. 


Friday, August 17, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Beets are ok

I don't like beets but we keep getting them in our CSA.    They're really good for you and have detoxing abilities, if a bunch of websites are to be believed..  So, now that I am able to use my kitchen and don't have the excuse of cream  colored, easily stained tile in the bathroom, I had to use some of them.  A couple nights ago I made a raw beet salad that was pretty good and yesterday I added a 1/4 of a beet to my smoothie and I couldn't taste it. 

Day 16 -- Beetiful green smoothie

1 cup coconut milk
handful fresh raspberries
3 big chard leaves
1/4 beet
1 cup frozen mixed berries
2 dates
dash of cardamom

I'm beginning to think that the dates and a little spice are the secret to successful smoothies.  They offset a lot of the "green" flavor.  If you have any other techniques for yummifying green smoothies, please post them in the comments.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Middle of the month

Wow, things have been busy around here and I haven't posted.  I've managed my green smoothies most days, but there were a couple of smoothie-less days.  It's probably not a coincidence that I ate a lot more junk those days.

Today's smoothie was really good.  It included

very ripe banana
1/2 bag frozen pineapple
about a cup of vanilla yogurt
several chard leaves

I'm not noticing many changes  in energy or sleeping or weight.  Oh well.  It's still really good for me.

I'll try and be more consistent in my posts from here on out.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Days 8 & 9 -- Pulling out the stopwatch

Confession time:  I'm a total geek.  Not necessarily in the traditional sense, but I do weird things like time how long it takes to do daily chores.  Mostly I do that so I can convince myself that folding that $%@*&^ basket of laundry really won't take that long.  I hate folding laundry. I don't mind washing it but resist folding it...but I digress. 

Anyway, I timed how long it took me to make my smoothie today.  This is from the time I opened the refrigerator to the time I took my first sip. It was a whopping 7 minutes 55 seconds.  That includes going to the garage refrigerator to get some ingredients that were buried under other stuff and responding to a text from my husband.  Peeling the papaya took the majority of the time.

But, before I tell you about today's smoothie, let's look at yesterday's.    It was another savory one.

Day 8  Green Smoothie Habit
1 cup kombucha tea
2 tomatoes
1 small zucchini
1/2 bunch bok choi
1 celery top
spoonful of chia seeds

It was quite acidic between the tomatoes and kombucha, which was good because I had it as an afternoon snack and had been craving something salty. 

Day 9 Tropical Green Smoothie

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2 papaya
1 banana
3 leaves chard

Today's smoothie was a fruit one based on  The Raw Family's 15 Green Smoothies in 3 Minutes video

I'm more than a week into my new habit and overall it's going well.  I feel like I'm waking up more easily  and my energy level seems pretty good.  I keep forgetting to weigh myself, but I don't think there's much change which is a bummer.   Of course that might be because of the blackberry cobbler a couple nights ago and the brownies last night. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Days 6-7

One reason I'm blogging about my green smoothie habit is that it keeps me motivated.  With house guests and remodel issues, I could easily have skipped a day or two.  The external accountability clearly works to keep me going.

Day 6 -- Savory Cilantro smoothie

1 cup kombucha tea
2 tomatoes
2 big handfuls cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 leaves chard
big handul of spring greens
dash of salt
a couple drops of chipotle hot sauce
1/2 cup cottage cheese

This was surprisingly good.  I'd gotten a lot of cilantro and tomatoes in our CSA box and had been wanting to try a savory smoothie.  This tasted kind of like blended salsa and because of the cottage cheese, it stuck with me for several hours.

Day 7 -- Mixed fruit smoothie

2 oranges
2 nectarines
3 plums
1 banana
2 big handfuls of beet greens
bag of frozen strawberries

This made a very thick smoothie, which others in my family like.  We had this with our dinner and it was pretty good.  My husband said there were too many beet greens and had a weird after taste. I didn't notice it, but I'm more accustomed to greens in smoothies. 

I haven't made today's smoothie yet.  We're out of fruit, so it'll probably be another savory one.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit --Day 4 & 5

It's been a busy couple of days with extra kiddos in the house and lots of fun activities.  These two recipes were ones we shared for dinner, so I didn't get my usual dosage, but it was still better than nothing.

Day 4 -- Sorrel Green Smoothie
1 cup plain yogurt
plums -- several little Italian ones
frozen pineapple
frozen strawberries
big handful of sorrel
approx 1 TBSP of honey to off-set the tartness of the plain yogurt and sorrel

We got sorrel in our CSA box, and this was a fun way to use it.  It also makes delicious pesto. Just substitute sorrel for basil and it's a quick topping for fish or chicken. 

Day 5 -- Produce Drawer Green Smoothie

This was empty out the produce drawer day.

1 orange
1 apple
plums (we got 7 pints in our CSA box)
entire bag of frozen mixed berries
lots and lots of beet greens -- turned the smoothie dark purple.  One little guest had a lovely purple mustache. 

Everyone loved this smoothie, so I think my underhanded attempt to get extra leafy goodness into them worked. 


Friday, August 3, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Day 3 -- Green Smoothie Nutrition

One of the primary reasons that I'm getting into the green smoothie habit is that they are packed with nutrients.  The Harvard School of Public Health recommends 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  That comes out to at least 2 cups of fruit and  2 1/2 cups of vegetables.  The caveat is that 2 cups of raw greens counts as one cup of veges. 

So if my smoothie has at least 1-2 servings of fruit and at least 2 servings of vegetables, it's a pretty easy way to meet my daily requirements.  And it tastes good too -- at least most of the time. 

According to the USDA, one cup of raw greens such as spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, or beet greens contains
  • less than 10 calories
  • more than 1 gram of fiber -- good for feeling full and helping the whole digestive process
  • more than 40% of your RDA for Vitamin A -- antioxidant, immune boosting, fantastic for pregnant and nursing mothers, and a whole lot more
  • Vitamin C -- immune system, cardiovascular and maybe even wrinkle reduction
  • A TON  of Vitamin K -- almost 200% of your RDA  -- in addition to helping blood clot and strengthening bones, there's some information that claims it helps reduce PMS.  I don't know if this is true, but wouldn't that be great!?
  • Calcium -- some claim it's more easily absorbed than the calcium in milk.  I have no idea what's accurate, but it doesn't hurt to make sure
  • and a multitude of other vitamins and minerals

Today's Mojito Green Smoothie

Mojitos are one of my favorite cocktails and this was a pretty good rendition of one.

1-2 cups water
2 Fuji apples
juice of one lime -- approx 3 TBSP
Sprig of mint which had approx 8 leaves on it
4 large leaves of Swiss Chard -- 3-4 cups packed
2 dates

This works out to about six servings of fruits and vegetables.  

Energy level is pretty good today.  Now I have to leave my house because the final coat of the kitchen floor finish is being applied.  Stinky!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Green Smoothie Habit -- Day 2 -- Peachs & Cream Pie

Oh my goodness, today's smoothie was outstanding!  It tasted like dessert in a glass and was a fabulous start to an otherwise frustrating morning (Sears' appliance installation department is a disaster!).  In fact, this is one of the best smoothies I've ever made.  I added a container of Greek yogurt in hopes that it would stick with me longer than yesterday's did.

Today's  Peaches & Cream Pie "green" smoothie

1 1/2 cup water
6 oz container of greek yogurt -- Trader Joe's
2 nectarines
two big handfuls of beet greens
2 medjool dates
dash of cinnamon

 I blended it and this is the "green" smoothie that emerged.

There was enough red in the beet greens so that it doesn't look green at all.  This is a good way to sneak greens into smoothies without anyone knowing they're there.

Dates are a natural sweetener  to offset tart fruit or yogurt.  It's about the same amount of carbs as sugar or honey, but has fiber which is always good. The cinnamon was a nice touch and added some depth of flavor.  The Trader Joe's Honey Greek Yogurt has 14 g of protein, 13 g of sugar and 120 calories. If I'd used my Vanilla Spirutein powder, it would have been 14 g of protein, 8 g of sugar and 99 calories.  In spite of a few more calories, I prefer the yogurt's healthy bacteria and I believe it's closer to its original form that protein powder is.  Plus, there's no gritty texture. 

If the rest of this month's smoothies are even close to this tasty, I'm going to be one happy gal!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Month of Green Smoothies -- Day 1

If you've never heard of or tried a green smoothie, you should.   It's just like any other smoothie with the addition of leafy greens such as spinach, chard, kale, etc.  Milder greens such as spinach and chard don't alter the flavor much at all although kale and other stronger greens can be a more difficult flavor adjustment. 

Daily green smoothies are my first Monthly Habit because they're tasty (usually) and extremely nutritious.  I've been drinking them sporadically for a few years, and want to make them a part of my daily routine.  Drinking coffee every morning is a super easy, so why not drink a smoothie each day.

During this month I'll be tracking my weight, energy level and assessing any other physical changes.  

The basic green smoothie recipe that I'll be following is 
  • 1-2 cups liquid -- water, juice, watery fruit, coconut water, kombucha tea, etc. -- if you prefer a thicker consistency, use ice cubes in place of some or all of the liquid. You can also use way less liquid.  I just happen to like it almost watery. 
  • a couple pieces or cups of fruit -- some or all can be frozen if you want it colder and/or thicker
  • a couple big handfuls of greens -- probably 2-4 cups

Today's green smoothie
This habit will start with a very basic recipe.  I'll make them more interesting as we go along.

2 c water -- should have used less since I had the orange
1 orange
2 bananas -- started with one but the smoothie was too bland
4 gigantic chard leaves

Put everything in the blender.  I generally start with the fruit with the highest water content and top it off with the greens because it seems to blend best for me this way.  If I'm using frozen fruit, that goes on top of everything.

Push go and blend it all up.  Honestly, it was a bit bland and I should have used less water.  This batch made about 4 cups of green smoothie.  Drinking a quart of liquid in one sitting isn't my thing, so I spread it out over a couple of hours. 

My vital stats:
Weight -- Ha! Did you think I was going to post my weight on the internet for the whole world to see?  Not a chance!  I'm at a pretty healthy weight, but would like to be 10 lbs lighter so I'll post any changes I see.

Energy -- I feel great.  But, today I'm excited about my new venture, so it's probably not a valid assessment.

UPDATE:  A lot of people say that their green smoothies make them feel full for hours.  I was hungry within a couple of hours.  I'll try adding something else to tomorrow's smoothie.

One thing you should know is that I don't have a kitchen right now.  It's in the process of being remodeled (an amazingly loooong process, I might add) so my refrigerator is in the dining room and my food prep area is in the spare bathroom.  So, it's not as convenient as being able grab stuff from the fridge, put it in the sink to wash and then cut and blend it up.  My point?  These are so easy to make, other than a loss of power, there's no excuse not to make them.

Come on back tomorrow and I'll show you a new green smoothie creation. 

Please note that I'm not a nutritionist, physician or any other kind of professional who is trained in nutrition and I'm not providing nutritional advice.   This is just my experience and something I want to try. So, take my experience for what it's worth.  Since your body is different from mine, you may have different results. 

If you want to join me in this green smoothie experiment, leave a comment below.  Even if you're reading this post later this month, year, decade, if I'm still maintaining this blog, I'd love to support you.