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March 20, 2008

Bliss with blueberries on top

Breakfast and I were strangers for years and years, then I discovered toast. I LOVE TOAST. I love it slathered with butter and accompanied by hash browns and bacon. However, I don't cook (or have arteries made of steel.) I especially do not cook in the pre-dawn hours before work and coffee. Sometimes I have just toast for breakfast, or Cheerios, but my favorite no-cook breakfast is just heaven and healthy all at the same time:

The smoothie.

This little smoothie packs three (or sometimes four, depending on how I make it) servings of fruits in one single meal. Three servings of fruit! And it tastes great! For someone like me, that is miraculous.

I took this smoothie recipe from "You On A Diet" by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, and I modified it over time to suit my tastes. You can find the original recipe for free on Oprah.com [click here for that.]

My Smoothies, more or less:

Note: This is the order I add the stuff to the blender, which keeps the protein powder from flying everywhere or clumping up too much. See "trial and error."

• About 1/3 to 3/4 cup Kefir
["Kefir" is a yogurty-like drink, I found it in the milk and yogurt section of Whole Foods. It's a thicker consistency than milk, but a little thinner than yogurt and I like the taste. I use the lowfat organic kind because that's how I roll. I forgot to put the Kefir in the picture because I'd already put it back in the fridge but that's just as well -- you can use anything as a base, like milk or soymilk or yogurt or even ice cream!]

• About 3/4 a scoop of Whole Foods soy protein powder in Vanilla

• 1 tablespoon psyllium husks **** Start out with 1/2 a teaspoon!!! Trust me! You need to work up to this amount of fiber over time or else, you know. Consequences.****

• A little flaxseed oil, maybe about 2 teaspoons, I just eyeball it

• 2 smallish bananas, peeled and broken into pieces

• about 3/4 cup frozen blueberries. The package says there are two servings to a bag, so I use half the bag for each smoothie.

• Or any other frozen fruit on hand -- I buy the bags of frozen organic fruit when they go on sale and keep the freezer stocked. I have peaches (YUM), strawberries and cherries, too. Frozen fruit gives this a nice cold smoothie texture.

Blend it all up and drink!

On the weekends I might make a smoothie for breakfast and then have one for dinner, too, thereby getting six servings of fruit in my body. On those days my body is like, "Where the hell did all this nutrition come from??? Why aren't we having microwave popcorn again?" At first when I started making these I just assumed I'd be hungry again in five minutes but the combination of foods plus the protein powder keeps me full for way longer than I expected. I love my breakfast smoothies, they make mornings happy.

It doesn't seem like something as simple and mundane as breakfast can change your life, does it?

Sometimes when you line up your life on a ruler (and by "your" life, I mean "my" life), it can look like "Wake up, rush, feed cats, late, shower, don't forget the so-and-so, blow-dry hair, where is other shoe?, morning commute, morning commute, rush, late, work work work, etc., work all day, deadlines, hurry up, where is that memo?, more commute, many cars, late getting home, dry cleaners closed? no... open, feed cats, tired, go to bed do it all again tomorrow..."

I don't know when it happened that I became someone who lived for the future. Maybe it started back when things were unpleasant, or maybe it was my lifelong dieting mentality ("I'll be ten pounds thinner in eight weeks, so then I can do X, and I'll be down 20 by my birthday so I can fit into X...") But however it started, it became habitual and before long I was someone who saved all her nice things for "one day" and lived for tomorrow, next month, next vacation. But when next month arrived, I was already living for the next one. I mentioned that a little a while back, about my mental checklist and my life map. And even last summer when it dawned on me that life has already started. This movie is already in progress.

But it's one thing to know and understand your habits and it's a whole nother thing to break away from them. Little tiny things, like waking up and making a smoothie and drinking it before work and really enjoying it -- it's something that small and mundane that makes me happy and makes me happy NOW, not in the future or two months from now or someday when I am skinny enough/financially stable enough/accomplished enough/rested enough/whatever enough. Because what if that day never comes, anyway?

I always thought it would be the big events, the high points in my life, that would make me happy. And they do make me happy maybe for a few moments, but sometimes they're also stressful. As it turns out it's the small, seemingly insignificant things that are helping me find contentedness in my day-to-day life. Petting the cats before bedtime when everyone piles on the bed at once. A really good book. Soba sitting on the fresh laundry. Blueberry smoothies for breakfast.

Not bad for breakfast philosophizing, anyway.

Posted by laurie at March 20, 2008 9:08 AM