September 21, 2014
Smoothies, the magical blended concoctions beloved by busy moms and anorexic models alike, are a Godsend. As far as reasons to enjoy them, pick your poison - they’re great for weight management, getting more nutrients into your diet, or just outright convenience. For me, I drink them daily for all three. While I of course want to maintain my handsome physique, I otherwise don’t eat much fruit and smoothies are a good way to do that. Since I work from home, I don’t feel like making eggs at eight o’clock in the fucking morning, so without smoothies my breakfast would otherwise be “coffee.” They also happen to be great for hangovers. As good as some greasy bullshit sounds after a night of blacking out, what your body really needs is nutrients.
Now, if you too decide you want to make smoothies a regular part of your diet, first things first: You’re gonna need a blender. A good one, at that. The $40 Oster that’s collecting dust atop your fridge isn’t gonna cut it. It will “work” in the sense that a Doritos bag will “work” as a condom - just like your smoothie ingredients, you will be decidedly less-whole after consenting to such an imperfect substitution.
If you decide that smoothies are now your bae and are all you ever have or will want in the world, go ahead and buy yourself a Vitamix blender. They are without doubt the best in the world. You do that, while the sensible people and I instead go ahead and spend $600 on literally anything else, like rent or real condoms. I have a Ninja (yes, the one from the infomercials), not even one of the nice newer ones, and it works just fine. For $200 or less, you ought to be able to buy as capable an appliance as you could possibly need.
So what goes in a smoothie? Anything! No, not deviled ham, that is weird and gross. No, smoothies primarily consist of two things: Fruits and/or vegetables, and a liquid in which to suspend their pulverized remains. Other things, like supplements and flavorings, are optional. If it’s Friday, go ahead and sneak some Parrot Bay in there. You need it. You’ve earned it.
Fruit is always going to be the backbone of a smoothie, because a smoothie made entirely out of vegetables would taste like dirty ass water. Anything goes when it comes to fruit, but it’s wise to opt for less fibrous things like berries rather than fruits like pineapple or apple, which don’t break down as well. For vegetables, you’d be surprised how many you can pack in there without really noticing. No, it will not taste like vegetables, stop being a baby. Those green juices you buy for like $40/pint at the store use just a little apple juice to mask the flavor of all the nasty shit they put in there, and they’re fine. The trick is to pick vegetables that range from mild to sweet in flavor. Beets are a fine option, but don’t put, like, fucking garlic in your smoothie, unless you’re Italian and already put garlic in everything. Greens? Absolutely, but follow the same rules for both fruit and vegetables so that they’re both mild and delicate in terms of cell structure. Spinach is lovely. Kale, unless your blender is really just a bowl of knives taped to a lawnmower engine, is difficult to pulverize. Plus it’s bitter anyway, so just do not use fucking kale. For anything.
Everyone who likes smoothies has their go-to recipe. This is what I drink every morning, and why I choose the ingredients that I use.
Spinach: A good fistfull of it. It breaks down nicely, has no real flavor, and has, I dunno, iron in it or some shit. Whatever, Popeye ate it and he seems to be doing alright.
Carrot: Adds fiber and errs on the sweet side as vegetables go. How much? Maybe, like, half of a big carrot? Most of a regular size one? Something like that. I eat what I don’t put in the blender.
Mixed Berries: Really any fruit like this is fine. Some people prefer strawberries, but I’m not a boring clod who despises excitement and variety. Whatever you use, make sure it’s frozen. It helps get the smoothie to the right texture. I use about a cup’s worth. If I have to describe the nutritional benefits of berries, I have a feeling this whole “smoothie” thing is going to be something of a revelation to your otherwise all-Cheeto diet.
Banana: Bananas are loaded with potassium, which is the tits when you’re hungover. Unfortunately they’re also loaded with sugar, which is good to a point but can also defeat the purpose of a smoothie as a “healthy” meal. How much you use is up to you. Half of a big one? Sounds about right. A whole small one? Sure. Literally ALL of the bananas? Get the fuck out of here, Chiquita Banana salesperson. Go back to financing civil war in South America.
Peanut Butter: Peanut butter adds a nice bit of fat and protein, which up to this point the smoothie was lacking. Plain old Jif is my preferred variety, as for some reason the cheaper store brands have more sugar and calories. You can, if you wish, go out and buy some of the “natural” bullshit that you have to stir all the time. In the mean time, I’ll be over here making dismissive wanking motions. About a tablespoon here, no more.
Protein Powder: Bro, how am I gonna get fucking HUGE and CRUSHSLAM SOME FUCKING PUSSY without the ‘tein, bro? Seriously though, protein powder is great. There are two ways to go here: Soy protein tends to be lower in calories and has more grams of protein per serving, while whey protein has the distinction of not tasting like nasty crap. I suppose if you want to jam the apex of Mount St. Healthypants squarely up your butthole, use soy. Whatever you buy, get the vanilla flavor.
Milk: I use 2% because it seems like a good balance between the life-giving (but fattening) fatty goodness of whole milk and whatever bullshit they pump into skim milk to make it taste edible. If dairy just isn’t your thing, soy, rice and almond milk also do well here if you enjoy paying several dollars more per gallon out of some misplaced sense of superiority (or, y’know, lactose intolerance). I don’t measure, but I would guess it’s somewhere between four and 6 ounces. Lastly (and crucially)...
Salt: No, it’s not going to make the smoothie taste salt. Salt’s actual use in food preparation is to make things taste more like… themselves, which is what it does here. I use just a pinch of kosher salt. If you’re using regular table salt, make it a VERY small pinch, as that shit is way saltier.
That’s it. After blending for 90 seconds (I set the timer on the microwave because I am a huge dweeb), what I’ve described above produces enough smoothie to fill a 16 ounce glass, give or take. I prefer to drink mine with a straw, because first things first I’m the reallest.
If for some reason you don’t have the luxury of leisurely making a smoothie fresh in the morning and drinking it while sauntering around in your pajama pants (the real question is, why not?), you’re in luck. Smoothies travel well, provided you have a good container. Make your smoothie around dinner time, pour it into your thermos or whatever, and then chuck it in the freezer. Before you go to bed, move it down to the fridge. By the time you get to work or school or the bridge under which you sit all day or whatever, it should be juuuuust thawed enough to eat.
(Warning: Thanks to all the fresh deliciousness you put in there, something’s going to happen when you put your smoothie in the freezer - it’s gonna come out looking like ass. All that leafy goodness oxidizes eventually, but it won’t taste any different. Your coworkers will just wonder why you’re drinking a cup full of cat diarrhea).
There. I’m in as good a shape as I’ve been in since college, and starting every day with a smoothie is part of that. Feel free to pick me apart and tell me my smoothie is gross, or (more helpfully) post your own recipe. Seriously, do that. I’ve been drinking this one everyday for months now and it’s getting old.