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Tag: protein

Green Smoothies For Beginners

green smoothie with figs

Since last August, I’ve been on a massive smoothie kick. It started when I got a bit of food poisoning after eating some dodgy mangosteen that I brought back from Jakarta. I had having omelettes for breakfast most mornings, but just couldn’t stomach them after the food poisoning.

 

So I’ve been experimenting with smoothies of all kinds ever since, and have hit upon some winning recipes, based on the protein – fat – carbohydrate formula.

 

Why protein, fat and carbohydrate? Proteins and fats take longer to digest, so you’re fuller for longer. The carbohydrates, in the form of fruit and vegetables, are the source of important micronutrients and fibre.

 

A satiating morning smoothie should ideally see you all the way through to lunch, with no need for snacks, unless you’ve done a really intense work out.

 

Building blocks

 

The building blocks of a good, nourishing smoothie are generally 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fat. Here are some good examples of ingredients for each of the macronutrient building blocks – use organic ingredients where you can!

  • Protein: Nuts (almonds or cashews, in butter or whole form) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflowers, flaxseeds, chia, in seed form), organic full fat greek yoghurt
  • Fat: Coconut butter, coconut oil, avocado, almond milk, coconut meat
  • Carbohydrates:

Fruit: Go for low GI fruits like blueberries and raspberries, bananas for thickness, use high GI, very sweet fruit like dates, pineapple and mango sparingly – a little goes a long way!

Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, watercress & chard, beetroot and cucumber. These should make up the majority (80-90%!) of the carbohydrate you add to your smoothie!

 

The rest

 

  • Liquids: Nut mylks, coconut water, full fat milk and even water can reduce the thickness of a smoothie, depending on your personal preferences.
  • Extras (if you want to add some more oomph to your smoothie): Bee pollen, lucuma, cacao, collagen powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, maca, chlorella and  spirulina are all nice additions to a smoothie. All of these boosters have different nutritional benefits, such as immune support and skin health support, and can give your smoothie a nice kick!

 

One for you to try

Here’s my current go-to morning smoothie recipe – try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 small banana

1/4 cup mixed berries

2 handfuls of kale

1/2 avocado

1 (heaping) tbsp almond butter

1 small knob of ginger

2 small 5 pence sized discs of turmeric

200ml almond milk

1 tbsp collagen powder

Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender (I prefer the NutriBullet!)
  2. Blend for 30 -60 seconds, depending on your preferred thickness
  3. Pour into a cup
  4. Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon
  5. Enjoy!

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I Tried It: Keeping A Food Diary

 

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My second assignment for my second year of nutrition requires me to keep a food diary. Sounds too easy, right? Copy down breakfast, lunch, dinner and Bob’s your uncle.

For this exercise, we need to record every single element of each meal and put this information through a food calculator to analyse the macronutrient (protein, fat and carbohydrate) and micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) content consumed each day. Then map this against the government’s RNI for micronutrients and do a naturopathic analysis of what could be improved.

It’s fascinating stuff. And very eye opening.

I’ve been recording everything I eat and drink since Monday and it’s verified a lot of what I already know about the way I eat and my intentions for my nutrition. I eat a lot of good fats (almonds, avocado, meat), lots of carbohydrates, in the form of fruit and vegetables and a decent amount of protein. I don’t snack, so I like that satiated feeling I get after eating a meal full of good fats, proteins and lots of carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.

When it comes to micronutrients, it’s a little bit addicting to see how eating certain foods can push up your daily vitamin and mineral intake. Kale and avocados, are a great example of this. I have them most mornings, in my smoothie, so by 8am, I’m well on my way to hitting the majority of the B vitamin (bar B12) requirement for the day.

My omega-3 intake is not high enough – the perfect excuse to eat more smoked salmon!

I can see how easy it is to become obsessed with this information. Equally, it’s really good for people who may be concerned that they’re not getting enough of the right micronutrients to spend a few days inputting their meals into one of these analysis programmes. I can see how good this could be for vegetarians and vegans, especially. It would’ve been very useful for me in my vegetarian days, when I know my diet was really poor. Think lots of cheese, wraps, bread and chocolate and very little veg. Oops.

Here’s what yesterday’s food intake looked like in terms of micronutrient intake, starting with vitamins, then minerals and then amino acids.

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Doing this exercise on myself is really interesting and it will be even more interesting once I’ve finished my training and I’m out in the ‘real world’.

For some clients, having access to all of this information could be very overwhelming and others, they might benefit from seeing a deeper analysis of their food intake.

It’s all very well having this data, but it’s what you do with it that matters. Based on a day’s worth of data, I can see that I need to work on my Vitamin D intake and look at including different plant based sources of calcium. And one day out of seven is just a slice of the whole picture. Once I have a full week’s worth of data, one of the requirements of my assignment is to do a full analysis of the week to identify any trends and potential insufficiencies. Should be fascinating stuff.

Do you keep a food diary or use a food tracking like DailyPlate or MyFitnessPal? Why do you use them?

Photo by Noah Basle

 

Changing my eating habits.

After reading Amelia Freer’s wonderful book, Eat. Nourish. Glow, I resolved to stop snacking and to make sure I was eating enough food at my main meals. And guess what? It’s working!  

Once I made sure to eat enough at each meal, it was relatively easy to maintain awareness of my sense of fullness. I used this as a signal to myself not to snack. What also helps immensely is the fact that we’re not allowed to eat at our desk at work! Oh and that I’ve also stopped buying my usual snacks of dried mango! 

Eating enough at each meal is key. And it’s not just that, it’s eating the right things. Lots of proteins, lots of fats – things that take time for the body to process. 

My typical day of meals looks like this: 

Breakfast: Two-egg omelette with kale and some leftover protein, anything from beef to crab to chicken, cooked in coconut oil, a few tablespoons of sauerkraut and a glass of my morning eye-opener (fresh squeezed lemon juice, with freshly grated turmeric & ginger in water)

My usual big ass omelette with avocado and kimchi.
My usual big ass omelette with avocado and kimchi.

Lunch: I’m a creature of habit and love the build your own salad places that are popping up all over London. I typically have a salad with deli leaves, broccoli, grated carrots, grated broccoli, sundried tomatoes, chopped bacon and cooked shredded chicken, dressed in lemon, oil and hot chilies. I could eat this everyday. I find it so filling and satisfying. 

A big ass salad from Chop'd!
A big ass salad from Chop’d!

Dinner: This varies, depending on what I’ve got in the fridge, what I’ve prepped on the weekend and frankly, how tired I am. This week, we’ve had slow-cooked pork with carrots & butternut squash, lamb bhuna and bunless burgers, some of it homecooked, some of it from great local takeaways, like Holy Cow.  

Slow cooked pork with apple, butternut squash, carrots and onion.
Slow cooked pork with apple, butternut squash, carrots and onion.

Eating enough of the right food at each meal and drinking enough water has meant that I’ve been able to break my long term snacking habits and lose a few pounds as well!

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