Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Experimenting with Summer Shakes

The weather in the Northeast has been super super hot and humid.  I would say it feels more like I am living in Miami right now with high heat and short thunderstorms almost everyday. This climate is not my cup of tea. I'm a bit like Goldielocks and prefer it to be not too hot or not too cold.

There is however good reason for my preference. I'm sun and heat sensitive, both exacerbating my autoimmune symptoms. Basically, I wilt when I step outside so it has been indoors for me except early and late in the day when the temperatures are only in the 80s.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been craving tropical drinks during this tropical like weather. The problem is that I'm allergic to mangoes and bananas so instead I thought a cool berry concotion might hit the spot.

Now, I didn't follow an exact recipe and just taste tested as I went along.  I've always enjoyed making mixtures and improvising as I cook.  This time I added fresh blackberries, strawberries, blueberries (I only had a few in the fridge), a cup of ice, and a splash of black cherry juice. I included about two tablespoons of milk about half way through blending for smoother texture.  Almond or Coconut milk would be good substitutes.

I do sometimes feel deprived because my food allergies prevent me from eating and drinking many of my favorites.  So I am always excited when I experiment and make something new and delicious. It was definitely cool and refreshing. Maybe a little tart for some, but I wasn't in the mood for anything too sweet.

The best part is that it's super healthy with anti-inflammatory properties, low in calories, and very filling. Filling is important for me since I get hungry pretty frequently. These fruit shakes can work for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. It's also an easy way to make sure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables each day.  I tend to eat enough fruit, but sometimes I skimp in the vegetable category.  I've recently started using the CDC's fruit and vegetable calculator which tells you based on age, gender, and level of daily physical activity how many cups to have in a day. Click here to try it.

I think that this is just the beginning of my blending experiments.  I'd like to try adding vegetables and fruits together for my next round. I'm thinking apples, pears, spinach, and blueberries. The longer term question is whether my health-shake making might cause some improvement in how I feel.  I'm not expecting a miracle, but changes in my diet, like eliminating gluten, have made a large impact before.

As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

I would love to hear from others who are smoothie chefs about their favorite recipes and whether eating these smoothies and shakes have made a difference in any aspects of their health.


  1. One of our sons is working at a Pilates/smoothie bar spa. He's blending so many things, creating new healthy combos and has had me try lots.
    I really do see benefit from concoctions with spinach. Or Kale. (He says that while Kale is SO good for us it really does muck up the blender blades)
    He's made drinks heavy laden with Ginger because I've read that it is anti-inflammatory. It also is a mild sedative...so...drink with caution. Or just enjoy the lull.
    Oh- the spinach and blueberry is just awesome.

    1. These are great shake ideas! You're lucky that your son is an expert in making them. I've been eating lots of ginger to help me with nausea, but hadn't thought of adding it to shakes. It's funny that you mention that ginger can be a sedative because I find that it actually seems to increase my energy. Planning to try the blueberry and spinach this week. I love summer berry season. I will definitely need some ideas for winter shakes when the same produce isn't available. Keep me posted if you and your son come up with any other delicious mixtures.

  2. I LOVE my smoothies! I usually add greek yogurt, some type of fruit, ice cubes, honey, and spinach, with some type of juice added. I love that I can't taste the spinach so I get an extra helping of veggies without having to sit down and eat a salad. :o)

    1. Greek yogurt sounds like the perfect way to add better texture o the smoothies. I guess that's what differentiates the shake from the smoothie ;). Do you have any favorite juices that you recommend?

    2. I find that the yogurt added to my smoothies helps keep me full longer.

      I think one of my favorite juices is pineapple orange juice. I like to add it with coconut water (Which is very nutrient rich as well) and frozen pineapple or frozen mango. Yum!

      I've even found that my daughter will drink the smoothies with spinach in them, and she is uber picky about food. We call them "sneaky smoothies" since we can tell, by the color, that there is spinach or kale but you can't taste it.

      PS- Kale is good too. I find it has even less of a flavor than the minimal taste of the spinach. But it is a lot harder to blend into drinkable pieces. So you are much more cognizant that you have veggies in the smoothie. Where as, if you use spinach, you would never know if you put it in a solid cup with a lid.

    3. Love the term "sneaky smoothies". Seems like spinach is really the way to go. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

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