Friday, May 13, 2011

Shake it, baby.

I broke my toe on Saturday night.  Not while dancing at a party or playing soccer with my nephews on my sister's lawn.  I smacked it on my stair stepper which had been sitting in the walkway for over a week, annoying the heck out of my husband Mat. "Why don't you move this thing?" he asked me the night before.  At which point I shot him a dirty look that said, "Why don't you?" Ok, so I had it coming.

Our house is perpetually cluttered these days. I've been stay-at-home-moming it for 5+ years now and it's starting to take it's toll on my housekeeping sensibilities.  We moved into a small, finished part of our largely unfinished house a year and a half ago and we still have boxes in a couple of corners.  My husband is starting a business and I'm usually running around after our toddler, Zoe or trying to explain the nature of the Universe to my very inquisitive 5-year-old, Savana.  But now, with the broken toe, there is an especially large pile of laundry on the sofa, dishes in the sink, and a locked front door so they can't run away.  If they got out, I don't think I'd be able to catch them!

Most people who come to our house can tell you that the better part of my day is spent in the kitchen.  We are an abnormally hungry family, who all turn into gremlins if we don't eat every couple of hours.  So for the sanity of our life, I make a lot of food...all day long.  We each have different nutritional needs and preferences so it's not uncommon for me to make 8 different things in one day.  All of which usually involve standing around the kitchen.

Now, did I mention that I can't really walk?  Who knew the pinky toe played such an important role in mobility? It's been a rude awakening.  One that can only be battled with humor.  Particulary since broken toe or no, life goes on.  The girls keep moving, Mat makes the money, and I cook...or not. These days I get out the blender.

There's a lot of talk these days about whole foods and upping our fruit and veggie intake. But I think a lot of Americans have a hard time eating that much. I know, I know. What? Americans love to eat! Yes, Americans love to eat high calorie foods, and we're really good at it.  But if you're eating lower calorie, bulkier foods then eating can be a lot of work.  Both my husband and daughter will not eat certain greens (kale, for instance) just because they take too long to chew!  There's also a impression that whole foods (usually unpackaged, unprocessed foods) can often take longer to prepare.  Which is true if you get fancy. But if you start out simply, with a blender, you can very easily up your intake of fruits, veggies and easily digestible protein without much effort.  

I've recently been using Garden of Life Raw Protein ( which is a plant based, raw protein powder with probiotics (for digestive tract health) and no preservatives or added sugars.  I've  tried many protein powders over the years and this digests easily and has a very natural, neutral taste.  No chalky, cloying vanilla or chocolate flavoring here.  

It has 18 grams of protein per serving (one scoop), which is equivalent to the protein content in a regular hamburger, 3 large hard boiled eggs, 1 cup cooked lentils, or 3 oz. of tuna.  So if you fill the blender with fresh or frozen fruits or veggies, nut milks or juices and this powder, you can usually increase your servings of fruits and veggies by 3 or 4.  And give yourself a fabulous, digestible, absorbable protein boost that's good for the planet.  

I've listed below a couple of the shakes I've been drinking this week.  Just some ideas to get you going. These are a great way to start the day, finish a workout or as a bedtime snack for those who have to go to bed with something in their me!

Shake Idea No. 1

Add ingredients sequentially to ensure even mixing:

1 ripe banana
1 ripe, peeled mango (a vegetable peeler works well)
1 large handful of fresh baby spinach (go for organic greens if you can)
Juice of 1/4 lime, squeezed directly into blender jar
1/4 cup water (or 1/2 cup coconut milk or coconut water)
4 ice cubes

Blend until smooth (about 20 seconds).

This is a good base if you like to keep things simple or if you are just beginning to explore fruit and veg shakes.  To make it a little more special add:

2 or 3 sprigs of fresh basil
1 heaping tablespoon of ground flax seeds

And, if you like, add a scoop of Garden of Life Raw Protein or protein powder of your choice.

Shake Idea No. 2

My toddler loved this shake.

Add ingredients sequentially to ensure even mixing:

1/2 cup non-fat yogurt (organic if possible)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 banana
1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen, organic if possible)
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, organic if possible)
2 large leaves of red chard without tough center rib (or handful of     baby spinach, both organic if possible)

If you use fresh berries add 4 ice cubes then blend until smooth (about 20 seconds).

For more nutritional goodness add:
1 T flax seed  OR
1 scoop Garden of Life Raw Protein or protein powder of your choice.


  1. Yummm! I am so sorry you broke your toe. But it seems to have generated a need to whip up some delicious solutions to keep your gremlins at bay.
    I would very much like to try the berry shake. And that protein powder sound good, too!

  2. Thanks for those pearls of wisdom! I love your style of writing and would totally buy your cook book! So need something family friendly for folks trying to limit meat or not eat it all together. Go GIRL!!!!

  3. Congrats on starting your blog... I'm looking forward to all the great info. & ideas!

  4. Love your blog and your healthy shakes. Aren't you lucky that the kids drink them! Talk about nutrient dense. That is my biggest 'preach' 'nutrient dense foods keep cravings and the weight at bay'. I will recommend your healthy drinks to my patients at the cancer center!
    Jayadevi aka Jul

  5. This is awesome! I'm particularly trying to get Ida and Harry to eat more veggies in general, so this is perfect. They're suckers for smoothies. :D -Trish

  6. Love this blog, Poorna and will get that protein powder and shake it up a bit too. Love the combinations and would add for the adult version a bit of garlic and ginger root as well.
    What a cool idea and you express everything so well and interesting. I look forward to lots more of your - SELF! Hugs Mom

  7. Thank you all. Just passing on the good stuff that makes it's way into my life. Please share any of your own smoothie creations on here as well.

  8. What a GREAT blog, Poorna! Yay! :-)

  9. Good job, Poora! Nice to see you following your sisters in the blogosphere. Something in me balks at blending greens with berries, but if your children enjoy it, well, I'll be brave and try...

  10. ADOREI!!! That's wonderful peppie!!! I just shared with Sachin, who is super health like you and will love it. I am sure I will start enjoying your recipes here in India! Cant wait to see you in 5 days!! love,

  11. Yayyy!!!!!! Your Blog. :) I'm so happy. Yummmm, I love nothing more than a good shake. Great recipes! I'm going to have to look into the protein powder. Can't wait for more good food advice from my culinarily blessed sis. :) Love you!

  12. So exciting! You are the best best-of-the-best researcher. I would buy ANYTHING you recommend! Plus, your writing is entertaining. Where can we get that protein powder and approx. cost? This is such a great idea. I love ya :)

  13. Thank you all for reading! It makes this endeavor TOTALLY worth it!

    Su, you can get it at health food stores. They probably carry it at Integral Yoga Natural Foods in Charlottesville. Or Whole Foods. Or the Vitamin Shoppe. It should be around the $30 mark 28 servings.

    La, I fear it might have sesame seeds in it. The last ingredient, but
    still : ( But it IS soy free!

    Saraswati R., Mat also balks at greens in shakes. What I did to get the kids to like them is start out with only one leaf of chard or a tiny bit of spinach and only a little protein powder. Then I gradually increased the amounts over time so they could get used to the taste and color differences. Savana sometimes complains, but a little complaining is inevitable with 5-year-olds.

  14. Really nice post and a very good start for your blog.
    I will come back and enjoy your space again.

    Good luck with your toe!

  15. Looking forward to more recipes..thank you Poorna and missing you and your beautiful family!!!
    Love, Jayadevi