Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stumble, Fall—Get Up Again (And a Blueberry Muffin Power Smoothie)


Thanks to my no-weight-gain strategies, for the first time ever, I didn't go berserk at Thanksgiving. Yeah! Instead, I filled my plate with delicious salad and left space for little portions of the rich stuff, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I focused on the company, and even took a midday break to play tennis (badly!) with my hubby, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. In short, it was a fantastic day, and I felt really good about my food choices.

And then there was last night.

Fall from grace

After wrapping up some schoolwork, I decided to run to the Jo-Ann Fabric store at my local mall. Ironically enough, my mission was to buy a cross-stitch kit, so I could occupy my hands while watching TV (okay, actually, just back episodes of Hart of Dixie) instead of eating.

Well, I should have known that it was my witching hour (after 8pm), and that since I was feeling tired and down and overwhelmed, I'd be vulnerable. To the cravings.

For baked goods.

I think you know the ones I'm talking about. (If you don't, consider yourself lucky.)

Needless to say, seemingly before I knew what had happened, I'd downed a bagel at Panera (!) washed down by a cinnamon sugar pretzel at Auntie Ann's (!!). Not healthy. Not vegan. And not remotely gluten free!

I went home chagrined, with a well-deserved stomachache. Within an hour, my breasts started hurting (which always scares me), and this morning I woke up with my feet aching and feeling pretty much terrible overall.

The silver lining

So why am I telling you this? Because in a way, my slip-up was a blessing. You see, I'd been allowing wheat and processed junk to sneak back into my diet, thinking it didn't have an effect on me—at least, not an immediate one. But falling (precipitously) off the straight and narrow reminded me of why I'm on the healthy path in the first place: to keep my breasts, my body, and my mind healthy and happy. So while lying in bed at 6am trying to shake off my food hangover, I made three commitments to myself:
  1. No more wheat. Just no. It's not worth the pain.
  2. No more snacking. At least for the next week, until I can get back on track. I know this isn't for everyone; snacking helps some people stay the course. But it gets me in trouble every time, so better to avoid it altogether for the time being.
  3. Back to 2 pounds of veggies a day. If I'm going to be stuffed, I want it to be with life-affirming, energy-boosting (and tasty) vegetables.

Note: Until Christmas—you are my witness—I'm sticking with these commitments. Because these are the three things I was doing when I—effortlessly, might I add—weighed 8 pounds less than I do now. (Yikes!)

Newly rededicated, I proceeded to drag my sorry butt out of bed and to the pool. Thirty laps later, I felt like a new woman. So I decided to celebrate my health "renaissance" with an experimental—and delicious!—nutrient-packed smoothie with all the flavors I love, but none of the guilt. Behold the result: the blueberry muffin power smoothie.


Loaded with 12 grams of protein, 3+ servings of fruits and vegetables, and a dose of inflammation-cooling omega-3 fats, this scrumptious smoothie is the perfect way to refuel after a workout and get prepped for a great day. (Extra bonus: 40% of your calcium and 30% of your iron.) Better yet, it tastes surprisingly like a blueberry muffin, right down to the vanilla and hint of cinnamon.
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Blueberry Muffin Power Smoothie

Prep time: 5 min                    Serves: You

Ingredients
1¼ c almond milk (or other plant-based milk)
1 c frozen wild blueberries
1 large handful baby kale
½ c cooked, unsalted navy beans
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 Medjool dates, pitted
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Few drops liquid stevia to sweeten further, if desired

Directions
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and whiz until smooth. Enjoy!

Click here for a printer-friendly version.

Nutrition Info (1 recipe): 439 calories, 66 calories from fat, 7g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 213mg sodium, 1034mg potassium, 87g carbohydrates, 23g fiber, 33g sugar, 12g protein. Vitamin A 145%, vitamin C 89%, calcium 40%, iron 30%. 


Shared on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Healthy Vegan Fridays.
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7 comments:

  1. Oooh navy beans in a smoothie? I'm quite intrigued by this "muffin smoothie" idea.
    And don't be too hard on yourself! I know it's easier said than done of course. We all have slipups - we are not perfect. And there is always the added stress around this time of year which makes it easier to cave. *hugs*

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    1. Hi Kimmy, I figured if people can make black bean brownies, I can make white bean smoothies. (Incidentally, you can't taste the beans at all!) And thanks for the continuing encouragement; now that finals are over, I'm back to eating healthy. (Of course, it's been all of 20 hours, but that's 20 hours of nourishing food!)

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  2. Found this smoothie and gave it a shot, it was delicious! And even better, love the kale usage which I still have a ton of in the garden!

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    1. Hi Pamela, glad you liked the smoothie! It's my new favorite. And you have kale growing right now? Amazing! (I just checked out your blog, btw, love it!) We get almost no sun on my tiny suburban lot, so I have to garden vicariously through others. ;-)

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  3. I can't get baby kale where I live. I have red kale (the stalks are purple). It's very bitter if you eat it raw. Do you think it would work in this recipe? How about using frozen berries instead of fresh?

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  4. Oops. I meant how about frozen strawberries instead of blueberries

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    Replies
    1. Red kale is a little more intense flavor-wise, but this recipe should cover up the taste. If you can still detect bitterness, though, you might try adding a bit of acid (a squeeze of lemon juice, orange juice) to see if that helps. (Some people are bitter "super-tasters," and are much more sensitive to bitterness than most. Maybe that's your superpower? ;-) )

      And I bet frozen strawberries would be delish! I think I'll try that this week, actually. Yum!

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