You read my first post and laughed. Most likely, you thought I was self-deprecating and exaggerating a tad. Fine, both are true, but read on and tell me that I’m not (at least partially) covered with a rain cloud!
I love food. Actually, I’m obsessed with eating, which I think is a negative thing vs. the positive “love of food” spin. As soon as I finish eating one meal/snack, I start thinking about what I crave next. Recently, I took a job in the library at the culinary school where I work, effectively reducing my physical activity to almost nothing. So I went from constantly running up and down four flights of stairs and never sitting to hours on end spent on my rather significant rump. Basically, my metabolism took a nosedive while my eating never slowed.
It probably doesn’t help that the library that I work in is completely dedicated to food… Some of these books have pictures and descriptions so decadent that it’s tantamount to food porn, reducing the reader to a drooling mess. I knew I couldn’t give up food, so I decided to up my fitness routine. Unfortunately, right after I started it, I suffered my first library-related injury while trying to find a way to scan books into inventory as quickly as possible. My method of handling an entire wall of books, starting across the top and working down to the bottom row, and scanning with my left hand while tipping books out of shelf just enough to expose the bar code seemed like a brilliant idea at the time… When I reached the last 2 rows, however, I was forced to kneel while shimmying across the floor. Apparently, that does a number on your patella, which leads to a swollen knee, which leads to more sitting. It’s a vicious cycle.
Ok, now I had to do the unthinkable in order to prevent packing on the centimeters that were quickly becoming inches. DIET. If you tell someone that you’re going to diet, they usually counter with something “helpful” like, “If you use the word ‘diet’ than you’re doomed to fail. You need to make it a lifestyle change!” Yeahhhh, thanks. That’s actually just depressing, not helpful at all. This is truly a DIET, a temporary lifestyle change until I can run the 3-5 miles that it will take to burn off the extra calories that I enjoy consuming. I decided to handle one meal at a time, starting with breakfast.
I replaced my golden-toasted, H&H Everything Bagel topped with lox cream cheese with something that I might keep around even after my knee fully heals – a delicious smoothie. I’ve played around with different fruits (see my next post for more on my latest disaster – food allergy) and have found one that is the perfect morning pick-me-up and almost doesn’t leave me wishing for the decadence and crunch of my previous bagel breakfast – a Banana, Peach, & Ginger smoothie.
I picked the banana because I read (in some random online pop-up that lead me to an obscure article about weight-loss so it has to be true) that it helps reduce bloating, thereby making your belly appear flatter. That’s actually only partially true; I really just love bananas and how they add creaminess to any smoothie (or milkshake). No matter what fruit combo I tried, I found that every smoothie tasted better with bananas as a component.
Peaches were added because I have a mild obsession with them, partially because they’re juicy and delicious and also because we had an abundance of them during the summers growing up in New Jersey – white peaches especially. (Note: if you’re snickering about fruit in NJ, might I remind you that it is the “Garden State” — I’m addressing my husband’s prejudice in particular here). Since it’s not quite peach season, I substituted with frozen peaches from the local grocery store. Bananas and out-of-season peaches… not slow-food, I know, but I promise that I am working on it.
Being Vietnamese and a person with taste buds, fresh slices of ginger added necessary tanginess and a hint of spice. I’m told that it also aids with digestion and has the same effects as a good cup of coffee in the morning (is that TMI?).
I added skim milk, non-fat Greek yogurt (again for creaminess and tanginess), a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract, a tiny pinch of salt (if you know me, you know that I basically carry around a salt lick), a splash of orange juice because I have a container that I bought on sale, a teaspoon of honey (another obsession) and about a cup of ice. The vanilla creates both a peaches & cream and creamsicle flavor that help me forget that I’m “eating healthy.” It’s more like drinking, and by the time I add the 6th ingredient or so, I truly wonder how many calories I’m actually saving. But it seems healthy, which feels good…
I wish I had a Vita Prep, but in its absence, my Breville blender’s pretty snazzy with its special “Smoothie” button. Basically, it just pulses and purées in intervals so that you never burn out your motor because your smoothie stuck to the sides of the container and you end up blending an air bubble. Yes, I have burned out the motor on a blender before, but it’s ok because it wasn’t mine… I’m guessing no one’s going to invite me over to cook for them after reading this.
I get about 2 pint glasses out of this concoction and enjoy every sip, always wishing I could squeeze a 3rd glass out. The mildly sweet creaminess, the crunchy bits of ice, and tingly bite of ginger almost make me forget about that everything bagel. I think that the drink actually numbs my stomach, helping to stave off cravings for an hour or so. It’s possible that I may actually be full after gulping down so much puréed fruit and liquid, but my money’s on the numbing.
You can of course always go to Jamba Juice to get your smoothies instead, which would save that horrible blender cleanup part afterwards. I once filled the blender with dish soap and hot water and threw the lid on thinking that I was a genius. Sudsy water came shooting out from under the container and leaked everywhere. Yeah, not so genius… I still do it, just less water now.
The recipe follows and pictures to come… I may, or may not have, had a little accident with camera that involves non-stick cooking spray and bad camera placement. Did I mention that technology seems to hate me as well?
Peach, Banana, & Ginger Smoothie
1 Banana (ripe)
1 c Frozen Peaches
5 Ginger slices (peeled)
1 c Skim Milk
1 c Ice
½ c Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
¼ c Orange Juice
1 t Honey
¼ t Vanilla extract
pinch Salt (VERY tiny pinch)
1) Blend all ingredients in a blender (holding the lid on – very important little detail), pour into a glass and enjoy all by yourself or share if you must.