One of the questions I get asked most about clean eating is what I have for breakfast and/or what I put in my smoothie.
Before I even get into the ingredients though, I want to preface this by saying that I before I switched to a cleaner diet, I used to eat any of the following for breakfast:
-Fast food breakfast (like Chick-Fil-A minis & hash browns or a Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit)
-Cereal (not the healthy kind, the sugary kind)
Do you see a trend here?
Basically, I ate pretty much the opposite of what you should be eating. Either I was loading myself up on carbs and sugar, or worse, I would skip breakfast altogether and make my body essentially "fast" for 18 hours until I finally got around to having lunch.
I rarely ate an egg or sausage. If I did have any type of meat, it was usually fatty, salty bacon and there was certainly never a fruit or vegetable in sight.
Just so you know where I was coming from.
Fast forward to now, where every day (yes, EVERY day), I have a protein smoothie for breakfast and that's it.
Now before you click away from this page, I urge you to keep reading. Cuz what I'm trying to tell you, is something pretty amazing happens when you feed your body the way it's supposed to be fed.
Your tastes actually change.
Your body actually starts craving things like fruits, veggies and nutrients that you aren't exactly getting in a chocolate frosted donut.
Yep. Now, not only do I feel weird if I do skip my shake and try to have something else (like a fried egg w/ turkey sausage or maybe a protein bar if I'm running late somewhere), but I usually end up making one anyway later in the day, because my body literally craves it.
And it's not just breakfast that's changed. If I ever managed to get around to the salad bar in my pre-clean eating days, I would usually fill my little container with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, croutons and ranch dressing (I'm sorry but that actually makes me laugh now that I thought that was a "salad"). These days, I usually load up the mixed greens/spinach with tomatoes, mushrooms, beets, carrots, black beans, boiled egg, grilled chicken, some nuts or seeds and a balsamic vinaigrette. And ya know what? It's delicious!!
But I digress... back to the smoothie.
So for all of you that have been asking me (and those of you that haven't), here is what I put in my smoothie everyday so that it tastes good, gives me the nutrients that I need AND keeps me full until lunchtime (in fact, way longer than if I do eat an egg and turkey sausage).
Are you surprised yet? I know I was a little weirded out the first time I read a smoothie recipe with avocado in it. The only thing I had really had avocado in up to that point was guacamole, and I knew I didn't want to drink that for breakfast. But once I tried it, I saw why others were using it. It gives the smoothie an amazing creamy texture and you really can't taste it at all. But one of the best benefits is that it is high in oleic acid (a healthy fat) which reduces inflammation and helps you to feel full longer. Plus they're loaded with fiber, antioxidants and potassium, but are not high in sugar, so they make a much better choice than bananas! I usually use one whole avocado, but keep in mind, the bigger the avocado, the thicker/creamier your shake will be!
Since my blood sugar level is pretty sensitive from dealing with adrenal fatigue, I try to keep it as stable as possible, with no big dips or spikes. So it's important to also choose fruits that have a low glycemic load. Berries are a great choice, especially strawberries, which are my number one choice. I also use blueberries, always making sure either way, that they are organic. I also like to buy frozen berries so they serve a dual purpose of flavoring the smoothie, but also making it cold without having to use ice. This is easier on my blender and won't make my shake watery! Just be sure if you buy frozen fruit, to make sure there is no sugar added. And use as little or as many as you like!
3. almond butter
Even though I don't always use this ingredient, it's one of my favorites. (In fact, once in awhile, when I want to "treat" myself a little, I'll do a strawberry-banana-almond butter smoothie, YUM!) It's another good fat, it's high in protein and it gives lots of yummy flavor. I'm not very exact about how much I use... just a couple kitchen spoonfuls will do!
4. protein powder
Now, I could write a whole separate blog post on protein powders (in fact, maybe I will!) because there are SO many different kinds out there. Whey, soy, hemp, rice, pea, flavored, unflavored... it can be a little overwhelming to say the least. So having tried a LOT of different kinds, I have settled on one that I really like - Vega One. It is packed with so much good stuff, it's actually called a "nutritional shake," meaning you could drink it just mixed with water or milk. Or you can also use it as a protein powder in your smoothie like I do. Each serving (1 scoop) has 20g of protein, 6 servings of greens (so important since most of us don't eat enough veggies!) and 1.5g of omega-3's, as well as fiber, antioxidants and 1 billion probiotics. But perhaps the most important part... it TASTES GOOD! In fact, they have a bunch of different flavors, although I usually prefer the french vanilla. And to top it off, it's sweetened with stevia (a natural sweetener) instead of sugar!
5. Maca powder
This is actually a fairly recent ingredient that I've started adding within the last year. Maca is a plant from Peru that is used naturally for all sorts of ailments including chronic fatigue, memory problems, depression, female hormone imbalance and for increasing energy and stamina. Having some hormonal imbalances and painful periods thanks to the adrenal fatigue, I started adding it to combat those issues, but the added boost to my immune system is a bonus! I add one teaspoon of this to my smoothie every day.
6. Coconut oil
Now before you think "eeewww.... oil in my smoothie??", let me explain. If you don't know what coconut oil is, it's pretty much like a wonder product. Seriously. You can use it for everything from cooking to conditioning your hair. It's not a liquid like you would traditionally think of when you hear the word "oil." But instead comes in a solid white chunk. It may sound weird or even look weird when you first go to use it, but trust me. It's amazing. The reason I put it in my smoothie is because it has wonderful benefits for the digestive tract. Basically, it will keep things moving like they're supposed to. But I can't just sit and eat a chunk of coconut oil (strangely enough, lots of people do!), so I just toss it in my smoothie so I get all the benefits without even tasting it. (Note: It actually smells and probably tastes quite good to those who like coconut... I've just never been a fan.) I usually add 1 to 2 tablespoons of this to my shake every day.
7. Non-Dairy Milk
Lastly and most obviously, the final thing I add to my smoothie is milk! But I do not use dairy milk. For one, I haven't really been a fan of its taste/texture since childhood. But also, the majority of people don't digest dairy products well, even if they've never been diagnosed with an actual allergy. It is just very difficult on our digestive systems. So instead, I choose a "gentler" (and in my opinion, tastier) option like almond milk or coconut milk. I always am sure to choose the unsweetened variety and will usually get either original (no flavor) or vanilla. Yes, you can get both in unsweetened! (**TIP: If you want a super smooth consistency, try the coconut milk that comes in a can - you can find it in the Asian food section of the grocery store.) There's no real measurement for the milk - since it's based on how big of a smoothie you want and how many ingredients you've used, so just eyeball it! But remember... if you use an avocado, you'll want to add a little extra milk so it doesn't get too thick!
how to drink it...
I'm pretty sure you know how to drink a shake. But I thought I would also share with you a couple products that I like to drink my smoothie IN and WITH. First, the cup:
I like the Blender Bottle because it is made of BPA-free plastic, has a lid with a drinking spout and it comes with a shaker ball that I can use when I am running short on time and just mix my protein powder with almond milk right in the cup.
Then for straws... I like the glass straws from GlassDharma (sorry I am not including a pic, but it's hard to photograph a clear, glass straw...). They come in different widths and heights and mine came with a handy little cleaning brush so can make sure you get all the gunk out when you wash it. But most importantly, no nasty plastic chemicals for me and no trash build up for the earth! ;)
This is just my signature, "standby" shake that I make everyday. But I've got lots of other combinations and seasonal flavor recipes that I've concocted as well, that will all be included in my upcoming e-course, DeClutter, DeTox, DeStress, launching in February 2016.
To stay up to date on the latest course updates and news (yes, there will be special bundles, bonuses and giveaways in the weeks ahead!), click the button below and instantly get your copy of the DeClutter, DeTox, DeStress cheatsheet that will give you a quick overview of important tips for cleaning up your home, your body and your life!
Until next time, keep your worries tiny and your dreams BIG!