Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Blender Mania

"Oh my goodness, this is awesome! Let's go make something!" were the exuberant words that jumped from my mouth after opening the gift of a Ninja Blender this Christmas. Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I have been jonesing for a Vita-mix for a while now. But, as those cost upwards of $500, the next best thing is a Ninja. And I am now a proud owner of one, Yahoo! (Sorry, but I still can not contain my joy!)

As soon as I opened the box, my friend and I ran into her kitchen to see what we could make. Eggnog was the first thing we saw, so we looked at each other with devilish grins and said "What the heck, it's Christmas!" We decided to brew a quick batch of coffee which was poured into the blender along with eggnog, rum, and ice. We turned it on (and oh it was like a Ferrari engine purring), watched it shoot out the top because we overfilled it in our excitement, cleaned up the mess while laughing, poured the concoction into fancy glasses, and then tasted heaven. I would say it was a successful launch to a lifetime of happy blending. But, for those of you who have also contracted blender mania, I would like to comment that coffee, eggnog, rum shakes should not be drunk on a daily basis. Remember friends, its all about balance!

So on that note, a good blender can create delicious and nutritious smoothies that can be consumed every day in addition to a well balanced whole foods diet. It is quite easy to find smoothie recipes on the web or even on the back of frozen fruit bags and yogurt containers, so I am not going to discuss that here. But I will list the plethora of fun nutritional supplements that can be added to your smoothies to make it a power meal (all can be found at a grocery store, health food store, and surprisingly at discount stores like Job Lots, Christmas Tree Shops and Homegoods):

Blackstrap Molasses - excellent healthy sweetener; loaded with iron and calcium; use sparingly
Chia Seeds - excellent source of fiber and essential fatty acid Omega-3; high in protein; thickening
Coconut Oil - quick source of energy; contains antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties; boosts brain function; may help in reducing cholesterol and aid in weight loss; tastes like the tropics!
Coconut Sugar - healthy form of sugar that contains fiber and some minerals, but use sparingly
Dates - best healthy sweetener; loaded with fiber; source of iron, potassium and minerals
Flax Seed or Flax Seed Oil -
excellent source of fiber and essential fatty acid Omega-3
Hemp Seeds -
extremely high in easily digestible protein and essential fatty acids (mostly Omega-6); contains all essential amino acids
Maca Powder -
umm, aphrodisiac, enough said, LOL!; also contains protein, B vitamins, and many minerals; balances hormones and increases energy/stamina
Nutritional Yeast -
high in B vitamins; good source of protein, fiber and minerals; strong cheese like rich flavor so use in moderation as to not overwhelm the flavor of your smoothie
Nuts (including coconut) or seeds -
added protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and flavor depth
Protein Powder -
my naturopathic doctor recommends whey protein powder; buy pure form
Spirulina -
amazing source of protein, minerals, antioxidants, color pigments, vitamins, and Omega's; Caution - it tastes like the ocean, makes your drink look like a sea creature may be lost in there, and can clean your bowels out, so start with only a 1/2 tsp per blend and work your way into this supplement.  It is frickin awesome for you though, so learn to love it!
Raw Cacao -
high in iron, fiber, antioxidants, and protein; source of calcium, potassium and zinc
Wheat Germ -
loaded with the antioxidant Vitamin E; adds toasty, nutty flavor

I hope this inspires you to make yummy Power Smoothies a part of your diet and keep the uber rich, dairy/sugar/caffeine/alcohol laden ones an occasional delicacy.   Now start blending!!!  

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