Liquid Atonement

Well, today was not a banner day for nutritional quality. At lunch, I was unfairly peer pressured into eating a super delicious greasy deep dish cheese pizza.** And then, I ate a piece of the leftovers later in the afternoon! I think I might have been hypnotized at that point. After all that hard work last week, by early evening I was feeling some remorse. Especially when I went to input my calories so far for the day into my calorie counter. So, I decided to make my workout a little bit more intense than usual, focusing especially on extra core exercises. That helped a little. But I still didn’t feel like I wanted to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

**Okay, when I say unfair peer pressure I might mean casual suggestion….

The only problem with not eating anything else for the rest of the day was that I didn’t want my only nutrients coming from cooked canned tomatoes and the banana I ate for breakfast. Thus, I decided to turn to my old stand-by, the smoothie. I knew that it would give me more vitamins and nutrients, and might serve to counteract the bad things I put into my system with that Achilles’ heel, the pizza. Plus, I thought I could probably use several cleansing ingredients that might make me feel less greasy. And, even though I really wasn’t hungry, I knew my body (or my brain at least) would expect to have some dinner. Therefore, the smoothie was just the trick. I wanted to make it as packed as possible with macro and micro nutrients, so I tried to find ingredients that would compliment each other for tastiness and also would go well with the several “add-ons” I planned to use. The result was not necessarily an attractive mixture, but it did taste pretty dang delicious.

Never judge a smoothie by its color.

The smoothie consists of mango, fresh peach, frozen peach, banana, mango-peach flavored fish oil, vegan protein powder, kale, coconut water and chia seeds. In other words, it is nutrient DENSE! It has approximately 18 grams each of fiber, 20 grams of protein, plus crazy amounts of a lot of different vitamins and minerals, including significant amounts of vitamins E and K, niacin, potassium, iron and bank-breaking amounts of vitamins A and C. I will be honest, this smoothie is high in calories (600)…but it is so nutritious and so filling, I think it totally makes up for it, personally. Especially for a post-workout meal. Of course, that is assuming you drink the whole thing. There’s a lot going on, so drinking half and giving the other half to someone else or having the rest later would totally work! (Just keep in mind, they say you should drink smoothies and juice within 24 hours for the best nutrient retention.)

I should point out that whipping up this smoothie is not a spur of the moment activity. I like to use frozen banana and frozen kale, both of which need at least an hour in the freezer (more is better). The frozen banana adds a creaminess that you’d get from ice cream or frozen yogurt smoothies in a cafe. The kale is nice because it sort of disintegrates when blended frozen, so you don’t get much taste of it that way, while the nutrients stay in tact. I got that idea from a lady at the organic market and she was totally right! It’s a great move. So if you’re planning on having this smoothie, go ahead and put these two items in the freezer ahead of time. Like, at bedtime for a breakfast smoothie or before you go to the gym for a post-workout smoothie.

(protein powder not pictured)

Another caveat is that the fish oil is a pretty specific product. I was convinced to try it by a guy doing marketing inside Whole Foods. At first, I thought, this guy is literally trying to sell me snake oil, like it’s 1850 and I’m some dumb villager. But it tastes delicious and is a full day’s dose of fish oil, which is specifically recommended if you have joint issues. Since I injure myself fairly regularly, I thought it was a good investment. It is Barlean’s brand Omega Swirl, and ended up being totally worth the money because I’ve been using it in yogurt and smoothies several times a week since I bought it. For today’s purposes though, I’m sure if you skipped it, this smoothie would be fine (and probably mostly the same).

So, if I haven’t managed to scare you away yet, here is the recipe:

Mango-Peach Super Smoothie

Serves 2

  • 1 Large Mango
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peaches
  • 1 Medium Peach
  • 1 Banana, Sliced, Frozen
  • 1 Cup Kale, Chopped, Frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon Peach-Mango Fish Oil (Barlean’s Omega Swirl)
  • 1 Scoop (or tbl) Vegan Protein Powder (I use Jarrow, not flavored)
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Water (Plain, not flavored)
  • 1/2 Cup Ice
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

Place everything except chia seeds in blender, blend on high until kale is mostly disintegrated and everything is liquified. You can add more ice or coconut water depending on how you like the consistency. Pour into a glass and add the chia seeds, mixing well. Enjoy!

I realize I post a fair amount about smoothies. But, even after several months they are still a staple in my diet. Especially for days like today, when I want to get as many nutrients as possible while still being kind to my body after a hard day of processing delicious Chicago-style pizza. They are still the best method I’ve found for consolidating important nutritional elements. And even when they look a little bit sketchy, they are almost always super tasty, which should also be a goal for any food preparation!

PS I found this fantastic website,, which provides a great database for daily vitamin and mineral goals and what foods have what quantities. I’m definitely bookmarking it for future frequent use!


Dieting is Hard

Well, last week was not as successful as the previous ones have been. It wasn’t necessarily unsuccessful, I don’t think I gained weight, specifically, but I certainly didn’t make any progress either. I don’t think I ate more calories than normal, I wasn’t going crazy on my portions or snacking all day, but I also wasn’t as conscious of grains, dairy and sugar as I am supposed to be.

It all started with my bad mood and subsequent pity pizza on Monday. Well, the bad mood really never ended, and neither did the pizza. I still had six pieces left after lunch on Monday, and I felt obligated to eat it. I paid for it, after all. Thus, pizza everyday during the week. The first night, I made a really nice green smoothie for dinner, because I was so unsatisfied with eating pizza during the day. The other days, there was a noticeable decline in my ratio of vegetables to non-veggies. For instance, Friday night I used a curry that came from a jar (granted a locally produced jar but, still it’s not homemade) and even though I paired it with a huge pile of fruit and vegetables, I also paired it with mahi that had been rolled in coconut that I bought from the Fresh Market counter (delicious, but not the point!). I’m not sure what they used to make the coconut stick but I’d wager it wasn’t spinach juice. Is spinach juice even sticky? The point is, my goal was to try hard to avoid processed or complex foods. I want things basic. Vegetables, fruits, the occasional beans and nuts, less occasional fish. Essentially I want to be able to survive in the Hunger Games if I ever end up a teenager in the post-apocalyptic future.

Maybe my goal is too lofty, but I don’t think it is. First of all, it’s been working. People are commenting on my visible weight loss. Second, the fact is, it’s a goal and I want to continue to try to reach it, even if it isn’t exactly possible. Right now I think I have gotten too complacent. The first few weeks were so exciting. I was making big changes and exploring this change in lifestyle was so fun and new. But now the thrill is largely gone, and the lifestyle is less new and more monotonous. Things like taking a half hour to chop fruit for a juice in the morning, where I used to grab a sugar-filled yogurt and granola bar, are less invigorating than they were in the beginning.

Part of the problem is that I was feeling really down in the dumps this week. Without getting into it too much, I’ve been job hunting , which is a terrible process always. But at the same time, maybe that’s not really it. I’m not sure. Am I feeling low because I’m not eating as well, or am I eating worse because I’m feeling low? I’m inclined to think they feed off of each other. (Pun absolutely intended.)

Thus, a solution. I need to find a reason to stop with complacency. I need to re-rev. Maybe just writing this blog entry will do the trick. Maybe trying on some jeans that still don’t fit but fit better than they did two months ago. I have been thinking about doing another 10 day cleanse. I was planning on waiting until I hit the 60 day mark, but maybe I should do it sooner.

Or maybe I can just change my attitude. Part of the reason I’m here in the first place is that I have always used eating as a way to make myself feel better. But, isn’t that exactly what I’ve been doing by eating healthy? I’ve felt my most lively and clear-headed in years the last few weeks. Maybe I just need to hold onto that. Maybe the lifestyle change isn’t as complete as I thought it was, because stress-binging on junk food is still my default first response. But a good healthy concoction is always going to make me feel better because it is what my body needs, physically. But also, making it is an accomplishment. Pressing “order now” at is not.

So that’s what I’ll try first. Will power and the possibility of self-satisfaction. Plus, honestly I really do still like juice.


PS: The smoothie I made Monday night was quite successful. I didn’t have a lot of groceries left, so I just threw whatever into it. Turns out my leftovers go well together!

Also, we still don’t have a blender, but we broke out the food processor. A blender would be better, because it would be smoother, but the FP worked in a pinch.

Green Tea Green Smoothie

Fair warning: This recipe makes a ton of smoothie so either be starving or share it. Or cut the recipe in half, but I hate using less than a whole avocado because they turn so quickly once opened.

Green Tea Green Smoothie

  • 1 Small Avocado
  • 1 handful Kale (maybe 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 handfuls Spinach (maybe 3/4-1 cup)
  • 1 Small Gala Apple
  • 1 Navel Orange
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 Lime
  • 1 1/2 inches Ginger
  • 12 Ounces Kombucha Green Tea (with 1 Packet Stevia)

I recommend blending the kale, spinach, ginger and carrots a little on their own first, then adding the fruit and tea after. Make sure the Green Tea has cooled to room temperature. Give it a little longer to blend than you normally would. Of course, if you are using a real blender instead of my basic food processor it might not be as much of an issue. The whole thing tastes pretty good. The tea goes well with the greens and ginger, and the stevia and apple really are great for sweetening it up. The avocado is a perfect substitute for yogurt to make it creamy. I will definitely make this again.

Accidental Liquid Diet

So I made it through Week 1 of my cleansing process! I feel great! Not only because I accomplished a goal that was a seriously lofty challenge but also physically, I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. The headaches went away all together a couple of days ago.

I did a pretty good job of sticking to the plan of following some of the Whole Living recipes and making up my own recipes with the list of Cleanse-Friendly foods. My favorite new thing is to make smoothies. I don’t have a blender at my house, but I’ve been visiting my parents and I could make a smoothie everyday.

Some Favorite Smoothie Concoctions:

Orange-Berry Smoothie
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 2 Oranges
  • 2 cups frozen berries (Whole Foods & the local chain both had an organic blend)


  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 Mango
  • 1/2 Banana

Tropical Fruit & Strawberry

  • Half a pineapple (& the juice)
  • Juice from 2 Clementines
  • 1 Mango
  • 1 1/2 Bananas
  • 1 package frozen strawberries (approx 2-2 1/2 cups)

Yellow Smoothie

  • 2 Bananas
  • 1/2 a pineapple (& the juice)
  • 1 Mango
  • Juice from 2-3 Clementines

Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup Pineapple (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups Mango (chopped)
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 inch Ginger (chopped)
  • 1 Stalk Celery
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple juice (or however much is available)
  • Water as needed (maybe 1 cup?)

I was telling a friend about these smoothies and she asked how I got them to the consistency I wanted without adding juice, yogurt, ice or water (usually). Really, it’s trial and error. And, really I do add some fresh squeezed OJ to it, and in the veggie one there is some water. But seriously it’s just a matter of knowing what fruit serves what purpose. Bananas will help give it a creamier effect. Pineapple adds juice (and some sweetness). Mango adds sweetness (and some juice). The berries thicken it, I think, and since they’re cold they add to that sort of frozen treat experience people are looking for in a smoothie. So yep. I guess maybe I am a scientist after all because that’s chemistry folks!

All of these recipes make more than 1 serving, but for instance I was being in decisive about dinner one night and so I just made a big batch of smoothie and had probably 3 servings as my evening meal. I realize this is not an ideal technique for all dieters, but on a cleanse, where you want to get a lot of fruit, especially berries and citrus, I thought it would be okay. I haven’t noticed any adverse effects, anyway. And it was definitely filling.

I also am still into making regular juice. I’ve been making a lot of grapefruit juice, which should be considered its own superfood since it is delicious and has a variety of health benefits. I mean, just look how enticing:

Grapefruit Juice

I generally use a manual juicer to squeeze 3 grapefruits. The sweeter ones taste better but so far I can’t figure out how to tell which ones will be sweeter. Maybe the softer ones? I don’t know. I’m not a scientist, ok? Anyway, here’s a fun tip! I like to save the leftover pulp to eat as a snack later on. It looks kind of weird but tastes good and is pretty filling.

So at this point I was going to also write about all the awesome soups I have made as a part of this cleanse but I think I’ll save that. I’m really happy with the way it’s going though. Week 2 incorporates legumes and fish back into the diet. I wasn’t sure I wanted to jump right into eating fish again, so for today I mostly stuck with a Week 1 diet, but incorporated some lentils. I’ve said this before, and it’s probably obvious based on the subject of this post, but I definitely want to continue incorporating juice, smoothies and other liquids into the diet because it is easy and healthy.

Week 1 was such a success, I’m excited to see what Week 2 has in store!