Thursday, March 19, 2009


If you are like our immediate branch of the family, you are not blessed with the best of digestive systems. Since the recent craze regarding Probiotics has appeared, I have given the Activia Yogurt a try. The fact is, that I hate yogurt. If I was going to make this a part of my lifestyle, I would have to find a way to get this stuff in me with the least possible resemblance to yogurt. I was eating the stuff plain in fruit flavors for a while, but rather unhappily. It really did do a good job for me.
I decided to try a variation based on what I had in my weight lifting days.
Just a note though: I do not like processed additives. I never tried to bulk up, even when I was built like a brick ----house. I liked natural sources of all my foods.
Smoothies were going to do the trick I hoped. I do not use a lot of milk. I have a natural aversion to milk much as my grandmother had. I opted to use a brand of diet soda. Waist Watchers has no caffeine, no NutraSweet and no Saccharine. They use Splenda instead. The brand tends to be on the less expensive side as well. I might have used a juice, but they tend to be extremely high in calories. Despite the bad name that sodas have, at least I was getting some water out of the deal, no sugar added, and enough liquid to make the blender do it's job. I generally mix this soda half and half with water as well.
I buy the frozen berries. It seems like an enormous investment to purchase the huge bags of berries in the frozen aisle, but a bag of strawberries at 9.99 and one of blueberries at 10.99 last for a couple of weeks at least. I think this is a modest expenditure for getting my fruit every day and to take the edge off my HATED yogurt. I invest in the two bags each time I run out. I tried frozen cherries one time, but I found them completely flavorless. Perhaps if I were just using cherries it would be OK.
Berries have tremendous antioxidant power. The natural cell damage that we have day to day is helped with the use of antioxidant rich foods. God knows that we are naturally beautiful in this family, every one of us, but this may make us even more young and beautiful! Just guess how old I am...go ahead, guess!
Blueberries and Strawberries are some of the richest sources we have for antioxidants, so I use them regularly. Cherries are another great source, possibly even better.
I hate bananas! I never include them, but if you can stand them, they are a good choice to include here. They also slightly thicken the resulting smoothie. They are also a great source of Potassium. Believe me, you do not want a Potassium IV, so keep eating bananas.

To make the smoothie:

Drop one to 1 1/4 cups of fresh or frozen fruit into a blender or food processor. Chill the fresh fruit well in the freezer if you want a nice cold smoothie. I do a few seconds in the microwave to soften the hard frozen berries slightly.

Add: one container of Activia Yogurt or a similar live culture yogurt.

Pour in: enough diet soda, orange juice, water or skim milk to get a nice blend in the machine and to fill up your desired glass.

Blend till smooth, pour out and serve.

Other additions:

Fresh or Crystallized ginger...blend well to break up fibers.
A couple of fresh mint leaves
A couple of Basil leaves
Dark melted or chopped chocolate. Find some that is high in cacao or even baking chocolate (all with low or no sugar added) for better health results.
Green tea in place of the other liquids
Minced chili pepper(an acquired taste but so good for you, especially combined with the chocolate)
Do not forget that Avocado is a fruit!
Rum or brandy- Try a dark tequila with the chocolate and chili.
Steamed vegetables or even a complete Gazpacho(perhaps this would be best with an unflavored yogurt.)
A raw egg- Be very careful here. If you trust your extremely fresh eggs, go ahead. We drank Egg Nog for centuries without thinking about it. There is always a chance of Salmonella. You may be able to purchase powdered egg white in a health food store or even in a cake decorating store where they use it for Royal Icing.
Peanut butter(Natural and unsweetened if possible)
Nuts- you may find a gritty texture if this is not perfectly blended in.
Almond milk or marzipan(There will be sugar in the marzipan)(look for a recipe on line for almond milk)
WHITE beans- A nearly flavorless souce of protein, but be sure to drain and rinse first. Keep the volume low to keep them disguised in the other flavors.
cottage cheese or Ricotta

You might even experiment with this poured into a large shallow container and frozen. Mash or whip the contents every twenty minutes or so to break up ice crystals for a few hours. Serve as a dessert on a hot day! Even the Gazpacho version in a bowl with a drizzle of thinned sour cream and thinned Guacamole would be great as an appetizer on a very hot day. Drizzle from a fine tipped plastic container like a smaller version of a mustard or honey bottle.

A note from Janice Crossen:

I make my husband a smoothie every morning with blueberry flavored sugar free green tea, whey protein powder, half frozen banana and lots of frozen blueberries. I also add some flax and psyllium husks.

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