Friday, November 26, 2010

Oh Smoothies!

Yesterday: 7.25 mile tempo run, 8:00 pace
Today: 4.5 mile trail run with Ike, 8:47 pace

I love fruit.  I always have.  As a little girl, I used to ask for fruit instead of ice cream or cookies for dessert.  We had large raspberry bushes in the backyard and I would eat all the berries straight off the bushes before anyone else could them!  When we went strawberry picking, I used to get in trouble for putting too many in my mouth instead of the basket.  It's hard for me to find a fruit I don't like (the one I have found would be durian, a spiky, sulfur-smelling fruit native to east Asia that I experienced while in Singapore).  I naturally incorporate fruit into pretty much every meal I have ...because it's delicious!  That being said, fresh fruit is definitely something my body craves right after a run or other hard workout.  This makes sense, because fruit is sweet, refreshing and loaded with easily digestible sugars - perfect for recuperation.

My last food post was about leafy green vegetables, so today I need to talk about fruit.  While eating fruit in any form is fabulous, smoothies are a particularly excellent and creative way to blend flavors.  I love drinking a smoothie with my post-run breakfast.  I have been making a lot of smoothies lately, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and ideas.

I think winter is a great time to talk about smoothies.  This is because very few fruits are in season during the winter, making it harder to find reasonably priced, fresh fruit in the grocery store.  Frankly, I'm a budget shopper, and I feel offended when I have to pay outrageous amounts for produce, especially if it isn't ripe or flavorful.  This means that in the winter, the variety of fresh fruit I can buy suffers.  As an alternative, I buy frozen and canned fruit, which work great in smoothies.  However, I don't use exclusively frozen fruit for two reasons; 1) I don't like the icy, frozen texture that results and 2) it's hard on my cheap-o blender.

A typical smoothie for me contains the following:
1.5 cups of liquid (combo of almond milk and water)
3 servings of fruit; varies
1 tsp white sugar
~1/2 tsp of nutmeg, cinnamon or powdered ginger

I typically use three different types of fruit in a smoothie, sometimes four.  This is a great opportunity for me to get rid of any overripe fruit lying around.  In the past this has included bananas, kiwis, apples, pears and berries.  To this, I add 1 or 2 of my stockpile, frozen fruits, which include peach slices, blueberries, strawberries, mango, raspberries and dark cherries.  I think cherries would have to be my favorite.  I add about one and a half cups of liquid, including some almond milk and water.  The final two ingredients are white sugar and a dash of spice.  Adding a spice to the smoothie really adds a kick and nice flavor.  Nutmeg is definitely my favorite, but changing it up with other spices like cinnamon and ginger is fun.  I am also going to try fresh ginger, which I've heard is good.

I liquefy it in a blender until its smooth and serve it for myself in a juice glass as part of my breakfast.  It's also fun to see what the final color is, which varies significantly depending on which fruits I chose.  I urge you to give it a try and let me know what you think!  Any creative fruit/flavor combinations I should know about?

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