Everyone in fire and rescue knows that sometimes we just don’t have time to eat. But that is only one reason to have a smoothie. As crazy as this sounds, I wouldn’t eat fruit or vegetables, other than corn and potatoes, for most of my life. (Yes, me, the supposed health nut.) Then I found smoothies.
A Little Of This, A Little Of That
At first I kept it simple: a little fruit, a little protein powder, and juice. I would grab smoothies with names such as “purple haze” or “sexy peach” at the gym after a workout. After awhile I got daring and started adding other stuff, making my own at home, or at the firehouse.
I slowly started adding vegetables. One of my favorite vegetables to add is yams. They add a sweetness to the smoothies. They should be raw and can easily be frozen for later. You can cut them yourself, or find them in some stores already cut. I have also added butternut squash for the same sweetness. Then I started adding zucchini, spinach and kale. I found you can even freeze them as well as the fruit. I usually buy fruit already frozen.
To make it easier you can make a big bowl of the mixture you want, separate it into freezer bags, then add the protein and juice later as you make the smoothie. I started adding yogurt for the probiotic benefits. I will probably never eat yogurt alone, but I do like the flavor it adds to the smoothie. I also add oatmeal, the quick cook kind.
So, as you can see, you can add anything you want to a smoothie. I have seen some who only add water, instead of juice. I now prefer to cut the juice in half with water. A friend of mine says she adds almond milk. You can add ice; however, I usually freeze all my fruit and vegetables so the smoothie doesn’t get watered down if I don’t get to drink it fast enough.
The ingredients are endless. Those are just some of the examples of what you can use. The ingredients are all in what you prefer. Other great ingredients include: coconut, mango, pineapple, peanut butter, chocolate, ginger, pears, lemon, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, flax seed, chia seeds, ginseng, honey, whey protein, and soy protein.
Making Smoothies At The Station
Your firehouse may have a blender, but you can buy single serving ones pretty cheaply to have your own. I took one on vacation with me recently, so I could continue with my daily smoothie. I usually take a bag of ingredients I have prepared to work, one for each shift of the tour. I toss them in the freezer and they are ready when I am.
The Benefits Of Smoothies
Smoothies give you a quick alternative when on the run. You may not get enough of your daily required nutrients, so adding some of them in one drink really helps. I initially started drinking them for the protein. I knew I didn’t get enough otherwise. With the added protein powder, it could be a meal replacement. I am not encouraging skipping a meal, but as I mentioned earlier, we don’t always have time to eat.
I used to have one only after a hard weight lifting workout, but now I have a smoothie once a day to get my daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. I am not fond of milkshakes, which is why I got a taste for the fruit.
Smoothies can be high in sugar, and even if it is natural sugar, it can be a bit too much; so cutting the juice with water, as mentioned before, really helps.
A friend recently sent me a couple recipes she makes for her and her family. I am going to include them here for you to try, just as she wrote them.
The Hulk (green)
1/2 cup yogurt (I always use plain but use what you got)
1 large cut up peach with juice
1 big handful of baby spinach leaves (or two)
1/2 cut up banana, fresh or frozen
1-2 tbsp local honey (optional)
Add a little water to make the consistency less thick if you would like.
Enjoy (my picky eater even liked this one).
1 orange peeled and broken into chunks (squeeze and use juice only if you don’t like pulp)
1-2 handfuls of organic baby spinach
1 tsp or more of all natural peanut butter
1-2 tbsp of pre-ground golden flax seed
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
Add cup or two or three of water then blend.
Energize! This one is always good before a workout!
And my favorite one from the ones I make:
If you haven’t tried them, you have no idea what you are missing. They are great!
What is your favorite smoothie to make? Please comment and share it with all of us.