Blending the Good and Bad of Smoothies 

There were drips of yogurt and a couple frozen blueberries on the floor. The counter was full of dirty dishes. Whey dust seemed to be all over my hands.

I had made my first smoothie, for breakfast no less, and it was delicious.

Now, I’ve never been one to spend a lot of time making breakfast. A bowl of cereal topped with a cut-up banana was good enough. Long gone are the breakfasts of bacon and eggs or pancakes I grew up with. So, when one of my nephews raved about the benefits of smoothies after his less-than-stellar doctor visit, I was intrigued and now follow his recipe.

If you sat down for breakfast and faced a plate piled with spinach, whey (protein powder), grapes, yogurt, a nectarine, a banana, a mix of other fruit and a side of ice cubes you might run for a bowl of cereal instead.

But when the ingredients are blended, they make a tasty smoothie good for two servings – one for me at breakfast and one for Catherine at lunch. She still prefers her oatmeal squares cereal for breakfast.

A Smoothie Introduction

I was first introduced to smoothies at a former job many years ago. One of my colleagues demonstrated how to make a vegetable smoothie. The process looked gross and time consuming. But it was amazing how good it tasted. If I could just get someone to make them for me. Since I knew that wasn’t going to happen, I forgot about it.

Now there are smoothies of every sort, made from all sorts of fruit, vegetables and dietary supplements. You may not care much for kale, broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, celery and beets. But if you tasted a smoothie made from some or even all of these ingredients, you might like it. The natural sugars in these ingredients preclude the need for added sugar which immediately makes them a healthier choice.

There was certainly nothing like today’s smoothies when I was a kid, at least at our house where we didn’t even have a blender. We would have laughed at the notion that a bunch of stuff mixed together, especially things we didn’t like, could taste good.

When we finally got a blender, I think at an auction, it was used mostly for chocolate malts. And nothing, not even great tasting fruit smoothies, would ever taste as good as a chocolate malt, especially if you listened to my brother Dave, the King Midas of Chocolate. He wouldn’t have wanted a smoothie if he knew what was in them. Back then he stopped drinking root beer when he found out what its ingredient are.

Smoothie Sailing

After my first introduction to smoothies I didn’t hear much talk of them until I saw a guy making breakfast smoothies for passengers on a cruise. I thought, are you kidding? I finally get to go on a cruise and I’m offered a smoothie? No thanks. I might be on this cruise for my mental health but not my physical health. I’m having bacon, eggs, hash browns and whatever other grease-soaked items are on the menu. I supposed there were some fit passengers who spent the entire trip working out and drinking smoothies. Well, good for them.

But here I am now, a fan of smoothies. I’ve only tried a few moderations to the recipe I’ve been using. I alternate the frozen fruit, choosing blueberries one day, strawberries the next, then maybe mixed fruit. Frozen fruit helps keep the smoothie cold and improves the consistency. I always add a banana, and a peach or nectarine when in season. At my nephew’s suggestion, I now add some spirulina, a deep green powder with internet-touted, near-miracle properties. You could look it up.

One of the ingredients that’s most important to me in smoothies is ice. It calls for a cup of icebut I add more. That’s because the ground up ice makes it a lot more refreshing. The drawback is that the ice melts, even just sitting in the fridge, so by the time Catherine drinks hers at lunch, it’s not as good, in my opinion. It’s too frothy and foamy. I tried making smoothie freeze pops. They were a failure but I might try again.

Shortly after starting to make smoothies, Catherine bought me a book on smoothies from the magazine rack at the grocery store. It’s loaded with perfectly placed photos of tasty-looking smoothies of every kind. There were no photos of the mess of making them.

Some recipes call for ingredients like coconut, soy and almond milk, mostly for dietary reasons but sometimes for (claimed) flavor. Trying almond milk is now off my bucket list. Each recipe lists the “start to finish” time. Most were about 10 or 15 minutes. They don’t include cleanup time or the time it can take if you slice and freeze your own fruit.

Almost everything in the book looked delicious. But it’s a process to make these things. Now, if someone made them for me, I’d be a bigger fan. But there’s no hope of that ever happening in this household.

For now, though, I have a smoothie recipe that works and can experiment with to make it even smoothier.