The smoothie. Oh me, oh my, what a complicated little drink. At first glance, it could be synonymous with a treat, an indulgence. Not quite a milkshake, you say to yourself, but pretty close. But then you start mulling things over. There’s not going to be chocolate or vanilla in there. And the smoothies of today are not the creamsicle-like concoctions of the 1990s.
It’s at this point that the smoothie starts to be connoted with slight apprehension, maybe even dread. Because if we really think it through, we know exactly what’s going to be inside the glass in the year 2017: a whole bunch of healthy stuff that doesn’t belong in what we would normally consider a drink.
I was intimately introduced with both these concepts of indulgence and reluctance last week when I started my first cleanse. It was Monday morning and I was standing beside my blender hovering a kale leaf over the top of it wondering how in the heck it had come to this.
In the grand scheme of New Year’s Resolutions, my January was a complete failure. Despite intentions of clean eating, minimal drinking, and vigorous exercise, there was, through no fault of my own, a whole lot of partying instead. First, we were invited to a dinner party featuring a bourbon tasting. There was a 40th birthday party in Lexington. There was wine club. There was hosting a friend’s 58th. There was a concert in Columbus. There were multiple lunch dates at which, what, I was only supposed to eat salad? That’s just rude.
So, in the end, I finished January in exactly the same shape I started it: pretty disappointed in myself. What’s more: I was starting to feel like I would never get in control of my countless appetites.
But in anticipation of my 40th birthday, I’ve started training at the gym with the help of Lydia Lane, a woman who, by all accounts, is firmly and completely in control of herself. She wakes up at 4:30 a.m. every day, she doesn’t drink, she is ridiculously fit and she makes brownies using avocados instead of butter like the rest of us.
And this Lydia Lane (which is even a perfect name) decided to set up a Meal Plan Challenge for all of us who train with her. The goal was to change the way you eat in the month of February.
First stop: smoothies.
We were to drink three different kinds of them (as well as eat salads) for the first three days of the challenge in order to cleanse our bodies of toxins.
I know, I know what you’re thinking: holy wow, Kaprowy’s gone hippie dippie. I was thinking the same thing as I grocery shopped for stuff like flax meal and hemp hearts. But when I looked at all of the clothes in my closet that no longer fit, I was willing to try just about anything to feel like I was the girl I used to be, rather than the loser I was becoming.
I started with the beet, blueberry, raspberry and coconut water smoothie. As I poured this thick, purple “drink” into my glass, there was indeed disgust on my face. But at this point I’d spent a lot of money on groceries and they needed to be consumed.
First taste? OK. Not bad.
Second taste? OK. I like raspberries.
Third taste? I can do this.
And I did. Beet smoothie. Cucumber, apple and parsley smoothie. Carrot and pineapple smoothie. I drank them all. And three days later? I was fitting into my clothes better. What’s more? I wasn’t hungry. Like, at all.
Of course, this meal plan challenge has a whole lot more components than just smoothies. It’s basically teaching you to cook using a whoooooooooole bunch of veggies in a verrrrrrrrry light-handed way. William has jumped on board and, interestingly, we are eating more than we used to, rather than less. Instead of just a hard-boiled egg for breakfast, for example, we had yogurt, granola, honey, and berries yesterday. Instead of a sandwich for lunch, I had an omelet with spinach, cheese and tomato.
Now. In the process, I’ve learned I’m still badly behaved. Lydia has our meals lined out for each day and if I don’t pick, choose and rearrange, I go nuts. This probably means I won’t reach my goal as fast, but who cares? I’m back in control of myself in an important way. That’s worth a lot.
Anyway, just some food for thought for you. Turns out, if you put it in a pot and grind it up into a drink, it actually makes you feel pretty good.
CLEAN GREEN SMOOTHIE
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 large kale leaf, stem removed
¼ cup packed curly leaf parsley
2 ½ inch piece cucumber, skin on
¾ inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cups coconut water
PURPLE PUNCH SMOOTHIE
2 tsp acai powder (I’ve not found this at the grocery so I skip it)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 beet, cooked, peeled and chopped
1 ½ cups water