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Not that smooth

Both of my sisters are into the smoothie for breakfast thing--grinding up a bunch of otherwise not-well-liked vegetables with some fruit and nuts and rice milk and drinking it down to start the day with a big nutrient boost. So I decided to try it today.

I went to the farmer's market and got some stuff.

a cutting board with a carrot, a beet, some hazelnuts, some blackberries, some chopped kale and a knife

A beet (including greens), hazelnuts, fish oil, kale, coconut milk, half a peach, blackberries...I left out the carrot and added some honey. Whrr-whrr-whrr went the blender. Whir some more. Add more coconut milk. More high speed whirring.

A tall glass containing a thick, brownish smoothie, with a green straw stuck in it

The result tasted considerably better than it looked--somewhat sweet and acidic, a bit "green"--and I can overlook the ugly color caused mostly by blackberries. But I honestly don't think I could choke one of these down daily, especially not first thing in the morning. It's lumpy and thick, which prevents the guzzling that would make it at least go by quickly. It was kind of a chore.

Do people really do this every day? In the absence of an expensive blender, how?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
executrix
Aug. 11th, 2013 09:17 pm (UTC)
You could kind of work up to it by taking the fish oil in capsules and using a mild green like parsley? Oddly enough I made a pretty good carrot-containing smoothie in a Plain Old Cheap blender--would have been better if I'd cut the carrots into smaller pieces first though. And you could buy carrot juice and take advantage of *their* juicer.
emeraldsedai
Aug. 11th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
Strangely enough, the fish oil didn't seem to be a problem, unless it was thickening the whole mixture in a way I'm not aware a tablespoon of oil can do. But getting all the substance down to guzzle-able form--well, it would have taken the whole liter of coconut milk, I think.

Maybe it's that simple: just use half the vegetable matter and twice the liquid.

And yeah, a plain old cheap blender is all I've got to work with, and no great impetus to save for a Vita-Mix. I don't need another appliance.

I have to say, a couple of hours after downing that gloppy sucker, I feel pretty good!
donutsweeper
Aug. 11th, 2013 10:11 pm (UTC)
I make fruit smoothies sometimes- a combination of frozen banana, and a berry or other fruit (usually strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peach, mango, whatever was on sale and I washed/chopped/froze), some plain yogurt and then apple or orange juice.

I have a cheap blender and find that starting with the juice helps- I don't measure, but a good sploosh of juice and then whir it with the fruit (adding more fruit and juice as needed to keep it whirring without sounding like it's about to die) and then add a scoop or two of yogurt, whir it a bit more and done. Adding enough of the juice (which you could switch out with the coconut milk I suppose) is the key I've found.
emeraldsedai
Aug. 11th, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I've had deliciously happy results with fruit and yogurt--I mean, how can you go wrong with fresh berries, a couple of ice cubes and some delicious dairy? Here I'm sort of trying to shy away from the dairy, and shy towards the leafy greens that I have a hard time making room for in my daily appetite. And the greens are what seemed to lend so much, um, bulk to the mixture.

But definitely more liquid would help the medicine go down.
donutsweeper
Aug. 11th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
As another suggestion- frozen bananas are awesome. They can be used in place of both sweeteners and ice.

(Have you ever tried frozen banana 'ice cream'- peel and freeze a very ripe banana (just put it in a bag of any sort, you can wash and reuse the bag). Slice and then mash, add a splash of regular/almond/whatever milk if desired and blend in some peanut/almond butter/nutella if desired. It basically becomes the consistency of soft serve ice cream)
emeraldsedai
Aug. 11th, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
I could do frozen bananas, I think. I'm not a huge banana fan--in fact, I know I'm potassium-deficient if I actually want one--but I like the idea of making banana chunks the ice cubes. Because this whole thing would probably be much better if it were much colder.

Thanks for the suggestion.
executrix
Aug. 11th, 2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about this (sure beats work!) and perhaps you can achieve your objective by alternative savory and sweet smoothies.

Personally I adore V-8 juice (and they sell it low-sodium if that's a concern). Think gazpacho or Virgin Mary: pour some V-8 or tomato juice into the blender. Maybe squeeze in juice of a lemon or lime. Now add greens--perhaps parsley, mint, scallions, watercress, spinach as a warm-up for kale, which *is* kind of hard-core. Cayenne, ginger, turmeric, and horseradish are all supposed to have health-promoting properties.

The function of ice cubes in smoothies is primarily to thicken them, so if it's too thick, just start with really cold ingredients and use less/no ice. Or add some water or broth--you can keep a tetrapak of beef or vegetable or chicken broth in the fridge and use it as a diluent.

Sweet smoothies are a lot easier. All the cool vegan kids seem to go a ton on soaked raw cashews--I'd try soaking some overnight and adding them to juice and fruit as a thickener and protein ingredient. No dairy! Protein!

I like really, really thick smoothies so I've been known to chuck in some raw oatmeal; there's a South American soft drink made with oatmeal and lots of cinnamon (which is also supposed to be health-promoting and good for controlling blood sugar).
emeraldsedai
Aug. 11th, 2013 11:27 pm (UTC)
There's a soft drink made with oatmeal? Wow.

I like the more savory idea, frankly. I don't really need a lot of fruit--it's a huge glycemic hit no matter how you blend it. Mint and parsley and green onions sounds kind of lovely. And ginger in particular is always good on the stomach.

But the more I think about this, the more I realize that it's about a) being like my sisters, which I emphatically am not, and b) trying to eat more kale for reasons that I can't actually vouch for. I eat lots of other cabbage-family vegetables quite happily in their solid form. Maybe I'm trying too hard. Wouldn't be the first time!

Possibly once I'm retired, and actually at home in the morning at the hour when my appetite wakes up (generally two hours after the rest of me), I can dig deeply into smoothie art and science. Of course, then it will be January and I imagine that a liter of ice-cold chunky fruity goodness might not sound quite as lovely as it does in August.
executrix
Aug. 11th, 2013 11:41 pm (UTC)
How Does it Know?
If you can stand the damn thing whirring at you (not a given) you can make the smoothie first thing, pack it in a thermos, and drink it at your desk two hours later when you actually fancy some food. I usually eat breakfast after I've checked my e-mail, read and saved articles from a variety of publications, and gotten a start on whatever nonsense I'm writing that day.

If it's a vegetable-soup-sort-of-thing, you can pour it into a saucepan, warm it up, and pour it into a thermos rinsed out with hot water.

Also, you can buy an extra ice cube tray, and freeze cubes of leftover cooked vegetables. (Immersion blenders are great for turning 1/4 of a saucepan full of cooked vegetables into vegetable puree.) For savory smoothies, add some Mystery Ice Cubes! Or, y'know, just throw some frozen peas as-is into the blender.
starfishchick
Aug. 12th, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about trying smoothies as a way to Actually Eat Breakfast (which I don't do most days, because I hate eating in the morning until I've been up for a couple of hours - by which time I'm at work).
emeraldsedai
Aug. 13th, 2013 03:53 am (UTC)
I'm the same way. My appetite wakes up two hours after the rest of me. I feel best when I start my eating day between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. I've accepted it as my natural rhythm.

They don't have blenders at work, and I'm not going to bring one in, so for that and a couple of other reasons, a breakfast smoothie is probably a non-starter for me. It was worth a try, though!
layne67
Aug. 15th, 2013 06:48 am (UTC)
Uhm, did you add a lot of the coconut milk? Coconut milk isn't really ... healthy, is it?
emeraldsedai
Aug. 15th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
Depends on how you feel about coconut oil and its saturated fats, I guess. Coconut "milk" is just another nut milk in the row with almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk, rice milk, etc., etc. A cup of the stuff has 4 grams of saturated fat, whence virtually all of its 45 calories.

I was sort of trying to get away from dairy, but the commercial nut milks on the shelf have a list of ingredients as long as my arm, which never bodes well. One practitioner suggests making your own (soak raw nuts, grind, filter...) but OMG I have to draw the line somewhere and that's on the other side of it right now.

In any event, I've decided that smoothies for breakfast are probably not right for me.
layne67
Aug. 16th, 2013 03:05 am (UTC)
Hmmm, I wonder if your coconut milk is the same as what we call santan ie the liquid that you got when you grate the meat of the coconut and squeeze the liquid out. It's the mainstay of almost every dish in our cooking here and it makes things so much more delicious but everyone is saying that it's not healthy! I have santan almost everyday lol, mostly as the gravy of almost everything - the veges, fish, chicken, meat, and also in desserts - cendol is my absolute favourite!
emeraldsedai
Aug. 16th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
It sounds very similar. I bought mine in a 1-litre carton at the supermarket and it has some additives, but I think it must be aiming for the same result as thin coconut milk made the old-fashioned way.

I understand that coconut oil is very beneficial, especially if you have candida or fungal problems. This article seems to support that idea.
layne67
Aug. 16th, 2013 03:50 am (UTC)
Is the oil the same as the milk? I love having coconut milk in my dishes but I always, always feel guilty about having it. I usually try to make is as dilute as possible but it's not as tasty as thick coconut milk. But now it seems that I can stop feeling guilty about it!
emeraldsedai
Aug. 16th, 2013 03:53 am (UTC)
Well, from what I understand, almost all the calories in the milk come from fat, so even thin coconut milk, though it doesn't have many calories, contains coconut oil.

I love the stuff--been baking and cooking with it instead of butter. It's delicious and wonderful.
layne67
Aug. 16th, 2013 03:57 am (UTC)
And over here we're told to try to replace it with substitutes as much as possible! You know, this is good news for me, because it's hard for us to go without it. My favourite foods are absolutely laden with it :)
emeraldsedai
Aug. 16th, 2013 04:03 am (UTC)
All this time, for some reason, I've imagined you in Canada. Apparently I was half a world off!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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