The book Skinny Bitch has some good nuggets of information, despite being a little too hardcore in its suggestions for me and seemingly shallow in its premise. I don’t think all the science is quite right but they did give me some things to think about.
One aspect I definitely agreed with the authors on was the ridiculousness of the carb avoidance fad, including avoiding fruit. They conclude that fruit is one of nature’s most perfect foods, supplying all kinds of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. And, of course, it’s loaded with fiber and antioxidants and everything else we’re supposed to eat.
The part I really like is they suggest we eat it in the morning before we eat anything else because fruit is very simple and breaks down and passes through the digestive system quickly. For that reason, it shouldn’t be stuck in there with other things that take more time to process, like fats, starches, and protein. I absolutely agree with this and have an intuitive understanding because my belly never feels quite right when I consume fruit with a meal. The simple fruit sugar will stay in the stomach too long if it is being digested with the other things that break down slowly, so it will begin to ferment and cause problems like bloating, gas, and heartburn.
I’m not much of a fruit lover, so I like the idea of wolfing it all down in a fruit shake first thing when I wake up some mornings, and then continue with whole grains (chia seed pudding or granola) and protein (hard-boiled egg or yogurt) an hour or so later when I arrive at work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to not like fruit, but I just don’t get excited and jazzed up for it the way I do about vegetables. The other nice thing about this shake is that fruit provides quick energy to get you going in the morning.
I have this recipe down to a science now and you’ll notice everything is already prepped so I can prepare it in a bleary-eyed morning condition. I have been tweaking this shake, but lately I have settled on some variation of the following ingredients:
- 1 small banana
- ½ cup frozen organic mixed berries
- 1/3 cup pre-cut pineapple (frozen works fine)
- 1/3 cup pre-cut watermelon
- Any other fresh or frozen fruit you enjoy or that is in season
- ¼ cup pomegranate cherry juice
- ¼ cup beet-carrot juice
- 1 cup coconut water
- Dash of cinnamon
Bananas have so much good stuff in them but I’m not a big fan of eating them plain. I like to freeze bananas as soon as they start to get overly ripe. Having a frozen banana and/or the frozen mixed berries helps keep the shake cold. The frozen berries are quite a bit less expensive than the fresh and maintain all their nutritional value. If something is in-season and available at a good price, I will use the fresh. Pineapple has an enzyme, bromelain, that aids in digestion. I really like watermelon because it’s inexpensive and full of the antioxidant lycopene. Pomegranate cherry juice is high in antioxidants and cherry helps with inflammation. As far as the beet-carrot juice, any juice you have made or have on hand will do. Central Market in Houston or Whole Foods make some great fresh juices. Coconut water is very rich in potassium, provides tons of electrolytes for very few calories, and acts as a natural diuretic and mild laxative to keep the belly slim. Coconut water is a great way to replenish the body after hot yoga or a hard workout. It’s basically nature’s Gatorade. I add in the cinnamon because it helps regulate insulin levels which helps control the sugar in the bloodstream after consuming these natural fruit sugars.
I like to mix my smoothie in one of those handheld blenders and drink it out of the mixing cup. It only takes a couple of minutes and then fruit is out of the way! One trick my mom taught me is to do a round with the handblender with some water and a drop of soap to get it clean after you’re finished.