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Breakfast Smoothies

I haven’t written for ages as once again I was consumed by covid-based thoughts (a similar vein to Dr Malcolm Kendrick if you want to check out his blog), yet wanting to write about food…. However as spring comes into bloom the cold fog in my brain is lifting and new food ideas are springing to mind. This year, this has been helped along by the new discovery of an independent supermarket near my daughter’s school; one of those treasure trove places you are more likely to find on a remote Greek island, where I want to buy one of everything (just to try) and all the tomatoes (because they are so darn good you can smell them as you walk in). Definitely a REAL FOOD place. I have discovered the delights of potato flour, urid dahl, kabanos and multiple ways with pickled vegetables (not to mention brine kept cheese!)… but as I am still new to a lot of them, and they are not maybe the most commonly available food stuffs, I will write instead about smoothies.

Smoothies have become my new ‘best friend of the early morning’. My daughter’s new school regime requires us to leave the house rather earlier than we are used to, and she is in no fit state to concoct herself the type of breakfast (or eat it before leaving) that is needed to sustain her through all the dance and drama she is doing. A protein filled smoothie however, with a tiny bit of preplanning, and a chewable oat bar on the side does the job rather well. She can drink it in the car or on the train, on route to school.

Smoothies are inherently adaptable and almost anything goes, although there are 2 basic rules I would advise:

  1. Try not to put too many strong flavours together
  2. DO NOT mix milk with fruits containing citric acid (this is not only citrus fruits, but also kiwi, pineapple, nectarine and a few others) … it curdles.

Through using a mix of fruits and vegetables, varying what my daughter gets in her diet is not difficult. I buy a whole selection of different frozen fruits and before going to bed each night put a couple of mixed handfuls into a bowl to defrost. – That is the “tiny bit of pre-planning” I mentioned earlier. In the morning I add all the other things I want to put in it and whizz it up in the liquidizer. – 2 mins morning preparation tops.  

As I am making this for breakfast and my daughter is very active it is important she gets a good mix of proteins, fats and good carbohydrates. My basic additions are below, but there is also no problem missing any of these out if you don’t fancy them.

  • A raw egg – don’t be put off, it adds no flavour, and makes the smoothie smoother as well as giving the perfect kick of easily digest-able protein and some good fats filled with omega 3.
  • A handful of dark green veg – anything I’ve got in the fridge from broccoli to kale to lettuce, or a bit of frozen spinach if the fridge is lacking.
  • A spoonful of chopped nuts, milled flaxseed
  • A spoonful of live natural yoghurt
  • A spoonful of baobab powder and or Vitamin powders / drops
  • Some water, milk, nutmilk or fruit juice for extra liquid

Depending on the fruit / veg I will try to also add some herbs or spice – Ginger works really well in a green smoothie, vanilla or cinnamon in a berry based one, mint, basil or a smidgeon of chilli if I’ve used tropical fruits. Sometimes nutmeg or allspice make an appearance for variation.

With this she will eat a homemade oat and peanut butter bar (literally melt good quality unsweetened peanut butter with a bit of honey and stir in oats until it stick together, press into a tin and refrigerate, cut into bars) so that she is also chewing something to aid digestion and gut health.

The NHS talks about limiting smoothies to 150mls daily because liquidised fruit will give a lot of free free sugars and lead to tooth decay. I’m sure this is a problem if eaten in excess, however I believe their is a more fundamental issue with too much smoothie which needs to be combatted as we are giving them to our daughter at least 4 times a week. That is that not chewing our food leads us to not break it down properly and therefore can give rise to gut issues such as Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and lack of satiety leading to obesity. For this reason eating something chewy whilst drinking a smoothie alongside can be helpful.

  1. Chewing our food helps to release more nutrients from it – not just from physically breaking it down but from enzymatically breaking it down.
  2. Chewing releases more saliva – which contains a number of those enzymes, and a gut protection agent to prevent harm to our oesophagus
  3. Chewing our food causes changes further down in our gut, due to the stimulation of messenger hormones, to actually help us also absorb more nutrients from the food.

https://www.intestinal.com.au/chewing-food

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/water-drinks-nutrition/#:~:text=Fruit%20and%20vegetable%20juices%20and,counts%20for%205%20A%20Day.

As I said smoothies are inherently adaptable, and if you don’t use vitamin powders in them, and stick to frozen berries/fruits unless you are growing your own, they are relatively cheap for the nutrition they provide. Just be wary of having too many and of having them by themselves and so not chewing – you won’t get the best from them if you do.

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Published by ecogreengp

GP, Wife, Mum, Climate Activist, Enthusiastic Cook. Owner of a car named Leafy, a cat named Biscuit and a hamster named Carrot. Disorganised beyond belief. .... sometimes I don't even put my shoes on.

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