One of the best outcomes from the whole eating-overhaul is a new burst of energy. The source? All-fruit smoothies. I have become completely obsessed.
Now, to be honest, I’ve always loved smoothies. I was first introduced to them by my cousin at a Jamba Juice in California and –yippee!– in the summer of 2004, Jamba Juice popped up in NYC. I’ve grabbed a cup of deliciousness every so often at the Smoothie King in Penn Station. Once in a blue moon, I even made them myself at home. Throughout my years of smoothie connoisseurship I discovered I don’t enjoy yogurt in a smoothie; I prefer fruit-based versions. The caveat here is that the Jamba Juice fruit smoothies also include sherbet. To mimic Jamba Juice style creations I used to include sherbet in my homemade smoothies, too. What I didn’t know until the raw-vegan challenge is how great a purely fruit smoothie can make me feel.
Eating 100% raw made me feel ill. The reasons why could be explored in depth, but ultimately it came down to a shock to my body in both calorie intake and types of food consumed. Yet, despite my menu-overhaul, I felt glorious each morning. The expected 10:45 hunger pangs were quelled. The anticipated 11:15 daydreams of a nap vanished. I was bursting with energy that even my summer camp students noticed. I had an extra skip in my step and I never felt better.
Why? I determined the answer: Smoothies. Even though I quickly modified the challenge’s eating plan to include cooked beans, cooked veggies, and eventually tofu as well, I kept my morning routine the same. I used my choice of fresh fruit, chopped and frozen the night before, and dropped them into the blender with 3/4 cup of Tropicana Orange Juice. (Ok, the OJ is pasteurized and therefore not raw… but it was decided pre-challenge that pasteurization would be our one exception.) The smoothie formula was modified to eventually add a few more adventuresome ingredients, but the basics remained the same:
Freshly frozen fruit + juice = pure energy and happiness.
I drink a little less than half of the blender’s contents before leaving the house and pack up the other half to go. That second half lasts me from 7am until 11am, slowly consumed throughout the morning. Because I use mostly real, whole fruit, the consistency remains thick and since the fruit was frozen, the smoothie keeps cool for hours. I can only hypothesize about the resulting energy, but I think it is owed to a constant stream of real fruit sugars keeping me awake and invigorated. I used to eat at least 2 or 3 bowls of cereal each morning to feel just slightly full. Not only did it take a lot of cereal to feel full, but lethargy usually came shortly after eating and the fullness never lasted.
Considering I swapped out a 300-400 calorie breakfast that made me feel weak and tired for a new one that makes me feel vibrant at only 200-250 calories (depending on which fruits I use), I’d say that’s a darned good deal. Mind you, my goal at the start of this was never to lose weight. Losing weight became a side effect of eating more healthfully and, most importantly, more mindfully.
I’ll be sure to share some of my smoothie recipes.