Green(ish) smoothies

I’ve been working from home since January, trying to make a go of my online dating consultation business full time. (PLEASE send my info to your single friends if you think they could use a hand! Referrals are my number one source of business.) Working from home has SO many wonderful advantages, but I thought one would be that it would make me eat healthier. Boy, was I wrong!

I’m normally a very hungry person, and between boredom, stress, and I guess just timing at work, I’m always acutely aware of when it’s lunchtime at a normal office job. Sometimes I’d have a big project or be engrossed in a deadline and I wouldn’t eat until an unhealthily late hour, or I’d stay late well past a smart dinner time. But for the most part, I ate regularly at normal intervals that didn’t make my metabolism crazy.

At home, I’m a menace. Grant and I are sharing our car and attempting to stave off the purchase of a second vehicle until we have kids someday. So I’m sometimes driving him to work or to the bus stop, grabbing a latte, mocha, or chai, and then not consuming anything else for breakfast. And then I don’t realize it’s Food O’Clock until about 3 PM, when I’m DYING and my entire metabolism is screaming at me and I need to lie down and can’t imagine getting back to work because my blood sugar is crashing so hard. (I exaggerate a little, but not much; I’m an idiot who forgets to eat.) I don’t think this is one of those healthy things where I lose weight; I think my body goes into starvation mode and starts conserving anything that touches my lips as fat. So it’s not like I devised a brilliant breakfast-free stratagem here! I need to eat.

More and more, the thing I wind up eating to chill myself out is one of these:

Mmm mmm purpley goodness!

 

Yeah, that’s a “green” smoothie. Only yesterday’s is more like brownish-purple because I included lots of blueberries. In fact, all this contains is filtered water, ice cubes, two lemons, half a bunch of Italian (flat) parsley, and about half a cup of blueberries.

Here’s today’s, which was a third a bunch of Italian parsley, a few (five?) big leaves of green kale, a large Braeburn apple, and two small lemons, plus ice cubes and filtered water:

Frothy goodness!

One of my tips for making more nutritional smoothes is that you should generally blend up as much of the fibrous parts of veggies as you can, in addition to the part you’d normally eat. So for kale and parlsey, this means you don’t discard the stems (though you can trim the very end bits off if they’re scuzzy). And for lemons, you cut them like this:

IMG_3940

Actually, you can be even less aggressive than I was. I just accidentally cut through to the pulpy part, but an ideally butchered lemon would be opaque pale white with all zest removed but no juicy bits poking through if you know what I mean. I first learned of green smoothies from Green for Life by my mom’s pal Victoria Boutenko. Victoria posited that you could even eat leafy parts like carrot tops and other veggie greens that usually get discarded in our country. I’ve tried it but never with a proper blender, which makes a HUGE difference; so I can’t attest to the carrot top thing (nor the Carrot Top thing, if we’re honest) but I bet it’d be lovely.

Here are my prep tips for an awesome green smoothie that won’t gross you out:

  • Include ice cubes. Both in the blend and in the glass you drink from. I find that green smoothies are WAY less ick-inducing when they’re really cold! I also often use some frozen berries both for fiber and flavor, and they have the side benefit of chilling things down a bit.
  • Use a Vitamix. You just have to. You’ll never get truly smooth-ish smoothies with a regular blender. See if you can find a used one on Craigslist or at a yard sale; my mom did this for me and saved hundreds!
  • Add more water than you think you need. You may want to make your smoothie more concentrated, but more water makes it blend more easily and heck, it keeps you hydrated!
  • Don’t use powders/boosts/etc. Just don’t. There’s a place for that crap, but in my opinion it’s not in a smoothie like this. The ingredients in what I’m describing are so pure and healthy that they shouldn’t need a helping hand from some chalky powder that’s just going to diminish your final product.
  • Start on Low, wait until all the bulky bits have been grabbed and are starting to spin in the slushy form, and then kick it up to high. If you need to, use the blending stick to poke your produce through the hole in the lid (I KNOW; that’s what she said). Poke as much as necessary, but be careful because liquid can spew out around the poking stick once everything is blending properly. I don’t even want to hear the jokes that might come from this.
  • Consume rapidly, ideally within a couple hours. They get gross if you leave them, even refrigerated. And they start to taste really different and not in a good way.
  • Stir before you sip! I like to use these metal spoon straws, which are also excellent for many a melty dessert. (I definitely don’t just eat kale, after all!)
  • Rinse your equipment right after. Even our badass dishwasher can have trouble getting dried smoothie-blend-bits from the inside of our glasses, blender carafe, and reusable straws if I don’t stay on top of the rinsing. Which just looks super gross to the next person who uses that item. So be diligent!

I’ve been doing much better home-food-wise ever since I got back on the green smoothie train. I know they look scary, but I urge you to give them a try! Heck, come over and I’ll make you one. :)

Humans love wheatgrass too!

A bunch of my coworkers have been sick lately, and I started to feel like I was coming down with something last Thursday and Friday. I was very determined not to let myself fall ill yet again this year, as I had had quite enough illness with that bout of mono that caused me to temporarily lose my job, thankyouverymuch. So I went on an Immunity Quest.

I had Grant buy me FOUR shots of wheatgrass juice from Jamba Juice on Friday afternoon, and then I got myself another four shots on Saturday and another four shots again today. And guess what? No sicky!

So I suppose our kitty is not the only wheatgrass fanatic in our household, after all. Maybe we’ll fight over it.

Plastic Sucks

Aaaah. I’ve been whining about how I hate plastic for ages, but finally, some hard evidence in agreement that hasn’t been inaccurately discredited by Snopes.com!*

A webcomic I read recently linked to this article, which I think all you Imaginary Readers plus everyone else in the world should read. Why? Well, mostly because even knee-jerk anti-plastic folks such as myself will actually learned things that we probably didn’t already know. And even though it fails to mention some other drawbacks of plastics – like, when you do burn it, it vastly escalates the air pollution and greenhouse gases we environmentalists are so concerned about, and that many plastics used for food-related purposes actually do leech scary toxins into the things we eat, no matter what shoddy journalism to the contrary claims.

Anyway. Read the article if you feel like it, feel enlightened, la la la. :) I’ve always been freaked out by plastic and the way its taste leeched into certain foods since I was a little kid, and that feeling hasn’t gone anywhere. Even if it turns out to be perfectly stafe, it’s still kind of gross in my opinion!

*Pet peeve of mine with Snopes.com – when they discredited the “microwaving in plastics” article here, they quoted less than half of what the interviewed professor had actually said – and neglected to mention that he in fact described the exact dangers of plastics with hot foods, recommended avoiding the very uses of these plastics with foods that Snopes was condoning, and stated specifically that for cooking, “Inert containers are best, for example heat-resistant glass, ceramics and good old stainless steel”. While bashing Snopes, I’d also like to point out that the good doctor did also say that there are some plastic-based toxins that are worrisome but are actually different than the ones mentioned in the admittedly stupid hoax email. I understand not wanting to perpetrate stupid hype-based hoaxes, but you make just as big a mistake by only reading the first two sentences of a scientists’s explanation.