I never really got into smoothies. The kind I’d see out in the wild were almost all fruit and dairy-based, which isn’t really my jam. Plus the sugar can be out of frickin control. At commercial chains you can easily super-size yourself into about 100g of sugar in one buzzed sitting. Nah.
But lately there’s been a huge surge in more balanced, veggie-based smoothie options. And my Instagram feed is filled with all y’all making delicious DIY smoothies at home. Bonus points for drinking them from cute little mason jars.
But what finally pushed me to give this a try for reals was getting my wisdom teeth out. At 34, I was not looking forward to having four impacted (one sideways) teeth yanked from my head. I grilled my friends (most of whom were smart enough to do this before they were 20) for their pro tips. Turns out their wisdom is still very much intact. I learned to take my pain meds right away, wear a hoodie to hold my icepacks in place, and that kefir, yogurt and ice cold smoothies are the way to go.
Bring Me All The Soft Foods
So a few weeks before my impending
doom surgery, I threw down for one of these guys. The Nutri Bullet brand comes highly rated for smoothie newbies who aren’t ready to make a life commitment to a $400 VitaMix. For some reason I thought smoothie-making would be time-consuming, messy and there’d be annoying parts to clean all the time. BUT I WAS SO WRONG.
My blender gets you in and out in less than 5 minutes. You blend right into the cup so that’s one less dish to wash. Another secret is to have your veggies pre-chopped, which honestly wouldn’t be that much of a hassle if you forgot. I also love the way you can let your imagination drive every recipe. Once you get the basic formula down, you get to dabble and experiment like a kid.
Basic Can’t-Fail Smoothie Rules:
1) 50% Greens. Fill the cup halfway with them (or if not using a Nutri Mix blender, just plan on 50% of your drink being made up of greens). I find kale imparts the least “green” taste in your drink, but spinach is also good.
2) 50% Fruit or extra veggies. Use your fave fruits or some carrots, celery, beets to make up the second half of your smoothie. I’ve been digging frozen blueberries, and freezing my own bananas. But make sure you don’t freeze them with the peels on. I did that the first time and um, yeah. That was stupid.
3) A little protein. I mostly throw in a spoonful almond butter or a few walnuts. But when I need this to sub for a meal, I add one scoop of protein powder.
4) Sprinkle of boosts. I like raw Maca powder for the energy, and cinnamon for taste. If you’re going to add a sweetener, pick one that isn’t refined and don’t go overboard with it. For me the fruit is often sweet enough, but I have tried date syrup and it kind of took my smoothie to the next level. Raw honey, agave and maple syrup would also be good natural choices.
5) DO NOT FORGET THE LIQUID. This shit won’t blend without it. Your blender cup should have a max fill line. Do not go over this line. But you can use slightly less for a thicker smoothie. I just use water ’cause I always have it on, um, tap. But almond milk, dairy, soy seem like popular choices too.
The result is a smoothie that’s well-balanced nutritionally and hopefully tastes great so long as your creativity didn’t take a wrong turn.
So what smoothie did I have my boyfriend make me right after my wisdom teeth came out? Check out the recipe below. I may have dribbled it everywhere, but what I got down paired great with hydrocodon.
Maca Energy Smoothie
1 frozen banana, chopped
1 large handful, kale
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used whey)
1 small handful walnuts (about 4 walnut halves)
1 tsp Maca powder (you can halve this if you don’t like the taste)
1/2 tbs Date Syrup (I used a little extra because I got everything I wanted after having my teeth out)
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Water to blend
Directions: Put the aforementioned ingredients in your blender and process until very smooth and foamy.