Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29th, 2011 - Day 20 of 60

I thought I'd give my bile ducts a break today and make my post non-controversial.  Even thought I am on my 20th day of smoothies I am really not all that tempted by solid food (good food or junk food).  Yeah, I have a few twinges now and then, but they usually pass as quickly as they come.  I think having a full mental resolve going into this helped a great deal.  I knew I was going to do this and it was settled in my mind and my spirit.  I didn't give myself hard rules to follow and that flexibility may have helped as well.  The idea going in was 30 days of juice/smoothies and 30 days of raw vegan food.  That was flexible based on how it went each day, but that is the idea. After that is anyone's guess.  My smoothie regiment changes a little each day based on what is available and what comes to mind.  A few of you have asked about my smoothies so I thought I'd give you a brief overview of what I do each day.  For most of the regiment to this point I've made two batches per day.  I'd make a full batch in the morning which would make somewhere around five smoothies:  four for me and one for my wife (she is not doing this completely, just lending moral support.  She's awesome.)  One batch is really a tad more than 64 ounces, so some servings would be a bit more or less depending on how I poured them.  I'd then make another, maybe a bit smaller, batch for me to have one and my wife to have one.  I'd store the rest and then start cycling through them as needed.  Lately I've been doing one batch and having four a day.  I may or may not continue that way.   So, here is how I prefer to do my smoothies...

As you know by now I use a Vita-Mix.  I don't own stock in the company or work for them in any way.  I wish I did, though, as this product kicks serious butt.  I've had it for a few years and it has never let me down.  I use it very, very often.   I think this thing would juice a tugboat if you tried.  My local vegan restaurant uses the exact model I have for their smoothie bar.  It is a real workhorse.  There is also a model by Blendtec which I have heard much about.  Now, the first question is, can you do a smoothie with a standard kitchen blender?  If we are talking a fruit smoothie, I think that is not too much of an issue.  Obviously, everyone's blender is different and your mileage may vary.  If possible I would highly recommend a Vita-Mix.  It simply pulverizes everything (including seeds) and there are no chunks (unless you want them).  But, if you want to save up to get one first, I've purchased blenders at yard sales that did a pretty good job.  It can't hurt to try, right?  Now when it comes to veggies rather than fruits, and specifically greens, I am not sure how that will go in a blender.  Most blenders can't get greens and some veggies right.  You may have to first blend everything juicy into a nice liquid and then try small amounts of greens and veggies at a time.  Again, try it out and see.  It can't hurt.

I try to use a lot of greens.  I mean a LOT.  Greens are the thing.  Greens are the deal.  Greens are all that.  I'd recommend you mix up your greens to get the best balance of nutrients.  Don't just use spinach all the time.  Don't ever use Iceberg lettuce. :)  And, if your produce comes from your garden or the farmer's market, be sure to wash it well.  Some things are dirtier than others.  The dirt won't kill you, but it is not a pleasant texture.  Here is phase one:

What we have above is the large "wet blade" container FULL of the following: 2 cups of water as my liquid base, one quarter cup of hemp seed (Nutiva brand.  Anything works.), three handfuls of kale (mine is chopped to save room), one half a red pepper (I'd do a whole one but I'm out), three large Bok Choy leaves with stalks, and one large handful of spinach.  Can you imagine trying to chew all that?   Good grief my teeth would go on strike.  I know it seems like a lot of veg, but you'll see that it works out nicely.  Turn on the power (low/manual), adjust the blade speed as needed and get it choppped up fine, but not too much.

What you see above is the result of a mild burst from the Vita-Mix.  Just a few seconds to get it broken down.  That leaves me some room for some fruit:

Yikes!  She's stuffed again!  This time I have about a pound (one of those larger acrylic packages that are the next size up from a pint) of fresh strawberries.  You don't have to cut the tops off if you don't want to, but I do.  After that are two peaches and an apple.  Again, you can throw the apple in whole if you want (probably the peaches too, but why?) but seeds have trace amounts of toxins that don't interest me.  I'll tamp it down toward the bottom and give it another mild burst with the blade so it breaks up.

You'll notice that the vivid green color has been subdued from the red of the berries and the orange of the peaches.  We now have to use up the remaining space at the top.  I like to wait to see the amount of space I have left to determine where to go from here.

I like to finish off with some frozen fruit to make the smoothie cold and thick.  Today I decided on frozen bananas.  I also added some celery.   If you don't want to use frozen fruit, throw in some ice cubes if you want it cold.  You might consider making a smoothie and putting that into an ice cube tray and use that to make it cold and thick.  Now, the final phase is important!  Before putting in your frozen fruit I'd suggest first tasting the mixture.  If you think you could drink that down without making a face, then you can go with a moderately-sweet frozen fruit (maybe peaches).  If it is already too sweet, you might consider berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) as they are not too sweet.  They add nutrition without adding too much sweetness. Be warned!  Blackberry seeds and some raspberry seeds might need a longer mixing.  They are nasty buggers.  If your mixture tastes like battery acid and in need of serious sweetening, pineapple, cherries and bananas are good.  Now my mix wasn't too bad but I put in some bananas as there wasn't as much room left as I thought.  I buy double bananas most weeks and freeze half after they've ripened all the way (brown spotted). If I didn't put in the three stalks of celery (I usually add four stalks but ran out) I may have used a bag of frozen peaches or mangoes instead.  But, I have two fresh mangoes waiting to go in to tomorrow's mix and some fresh pineapple sitting in the refrigerator, so I opted for bananas.  Now, all that is left is to mix well on high speed for a bit and...

And... Tada!  The standard Frank Black smoothie that you've seen over these last weeks.  I've been doing green smoothies for many years, so the whole recipe vibe is easy.  I know what will work most of the time.  Sometimes you get a surprise if something is VERY fresh from my garden, but that is it.  I'll often add a few sprigs of parsley that I have growing outside.  One might consider adding whole flax seeds as well (but only in a Vita-Mix or Blendtec).  They can be kept in the freezer for a long time and purchased very cheaply at the health food store.  Another thing to consider adding is sprouts.  Sprouts are very nutritious and taste wonderful.  I would recommend you grow your own sprouts.  It is easy and is much cheaper than buying them.  Plus, you know they are fresh.  The day they are finished just throw in a bunch.  And, as you know, anything from my garden is fair game.  I like cucumbers in smoothies a lot and throw them in peel and all, but I peel those not from my garden or the farmer's market.

In the end, the only thing holding you back from a good smoothie experience is your imagination.  There are dozens of common fruits and vegetables that one can use easily in smoothies.  There are many additives to make them more nutritious and interesting.  You can put liquid or powdered vitamins in there if you take them.  You can even give yourself a naughty treat occasionally.  I made my own almond milk last year (it is a lot of work) and would mix it with raw cacao nibs, fresh vanilla bean pods, sweet dates and coconut.  Man... makes you want to slap yo' mama!  Just be sure you use a lot of veggies and particularly greens, along with the fruit.  I don't use much dairy, but some people like a bit of unsweetened yogurt.  It all works.

This is one man's way of doing things.  It isn't science and it isn't religion.  It is a little art, but art is subjective.  I know I love these things and it allows me to consume vastly higher quantities of fruits and vegetables than I would normally.  The added bonus is that "cooking time" is around fifteen minutes and clean-up is about five minutes, give or day.  My day's meals are made, stored and cleaned up in under thirty minutes.

My non-scientific observation is that this has helped me a great deal and I feel wonderful.  I'll continue on with green smoothies even when I start eating food that hasn't been pre-chewed for me.  This part of my diet is for pure nutrition.  Still, there is no reason I can't enjoy my medicine.

I am 30% through the 60 days.

Weight: 153.3 lbs.
Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed
"Yeah, Frank, they saw me earlier."

1 comment:

  1. Yum!! Looks great!

    I make my smoothies with a regular old blender basically the same way, but with a lot more prep beforehand (peeling, slicing, etc.). I covet a Vita-Mix but first must convince the rest of the family that it's worth the investment! Maybe if my blender were to break... Hmmm... (I got a new dishwasher this way.)