As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to be writing some short posts to provide tips for success to my fellow Whole Life Challengers. But these tips will be useful (and adaptable) to anyone, whether or not you’re participating in the Challenge. First tip: Make a lot of smoothies!
Smoothies are a fast and delicious go-to food, and can be quite nourishing. They are a main-stay in my diet and definitely help to keep me on track and satisfied.
As we near the start of the Challenge (September 15th), you should start experimenting to figure out what kinds of smoothies you like, and begin weaning down from using added sugar. If your palate is used to heavily sweetened things, you may want to (in these two weeks leading up to the Challenge) add a bit of honey as you find a recipe you like, and then slowly decrease it.
A few Whole Life Challenge rules to review as they pertain to smoothies:
No dairy (no milk or dairy yogurt).
No sugar, honey, syrup.
No soy, whey, or rice protein powders.
No juice (except lemon or lime).
No processed food.
Here are some ingredients that are acceptable:
-Coconut milk (no sweeteners or guar gum),
-Egg yolks (from clean, healthy eggs),
-Whole fruit (fresh or frozen),
-Nuts or nut-butter (must contain NO added sugar, no soybean oil… best bet it is to make your own),
-Lemon/ lime juice,
-Spinach/ other greens,
-Chia seeds (thickening, super nutritious and will help keep you fuller, longer),
-Cacao powder (pure, no sugar added),
-Vanilla extract (no gluten, alcohol or gums for WLC, otherwise use one like these),
-Stevia. (Your best bet is REAL stevia. This means the powder should be GREEN. Clear liquid stevia- if alcohol free with no added ingredients – is acceptable. Read more about stevia choices here.)
How to Build the Perfect Smoothie
This isn’t so much a recipe as a basic process that you can change up however you want. So pull out your blender and get started!
The base of every smoothie should be at least one egg yolk per serving (providing protein and good fat) and some coconut milk. (The egg yolk also makes the smoothie smoother and “fluffier.” Leave the whites out; they can be saved and added to your omelets for extra protein.)
Adding frozen fruit and/ or ice is what gives it a milk-shake consistency. You can actually add enough ice to make this ice cream consistency if you are really craving that. (Every smoothie I make, whether “fruity” or not, starts with a frozen banana for consistency and a little sweetness. These are easily peeled frozen with a sharp paring knife.)
Decide on your flavor.
If you like fruity smoothies, add fresh or frozen berries. A squeeze of lemon juice brightens fruit flavors, lime juice adds a tart contrast.
I usually make chocolate/ nut smoothies. I’ll throw in whole nuts or nut-butter, raw cacao powder and a pinch of stevia. Delicious.
There are lots of options available to add both taste and nutrients to your smoothie.
- I add a sprinkle of dolomite powder and a sprinkle of gelatin to every smoothie I make for nutritional purposes.
- For depth of flavor, consider cinnamon and/ or vanilla. They add a non-sugar sweetness and enhance most other flavors. (Cinnamon also helps regulate your blood sugar.)
- Adding additional coconut oil not only adds healthy fat (aiding with blood sugar regulation and satiety) but adds a dimension of sweetness, too. (To prevent getting solid chunks of oil in your smoothie, add this to your blender slowly as your smoothie is blending.)
- Avocados add healthy fat, a creamy consistency AND actually have a very mild taste. Most other flavors will cover up avocado flavor, IF you can be a grown up and get over the green color . (Once you are a smoothie-making pro, try an apple-avocado smoothie. Yum.)
- Spinach or other greens can be added fresh or frozen. The flavor of most greens is also easy to cover up. (Note: If you have any thyroid issues, you would not want to eat raw greens.)
I generally have at least one smoothie per day. As you become proficient at making them, they will be your easy post-workout snack, running out the door/eat in the car breakfast, or “I can’t think of anything to make” replacement meal.
Please share your favorite smoothie recipes below!
To succeed in the Challenge and avoid losing points, you need to be diligent about reading ingredient labels. You may need to buy foods on-line that you have typically bought in-store. For instance, almost all canned coconut milk contain guar gum (which is not allowed on WLC). Plan ahead, and make sure you are stocked with healthy, “legal” food. On Amazon, it is usually cheapest to buy in bulk. Consider this; it is an eight-week challenge. Or, consider going in with a friend.
This post was featured in Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday.
« previous postWhole Life Challenge
[Update: I wrote this post for the Fall 2012 Whole Life Challenge. Read some success stori...
next post »Whole Life Challenge: Eggs
Eggs are basically going to be your best friend during the Whole Life Challenge. If you do...