Kitchen Sink Smoothie (Or “How to Build a Kick-Ass Smoothie”)
[Scroll down for recipe.]
General Guidelines for Building a Kick-Ass Smoothie or Shake
I love a good smoothie.
I have a long history with protein shakes (like the Double Chocolate Pecan Protein Shake, which you should try immediately if you have not already). I enjoy the challenge of making something that sounds so terrible (“protein shake” – yuck!) taste super fantastic. And when my training volume increases, I find it’s the best way to increase caloric/nutrient intake without having to cook extra meals during the day.
There’s a trick to getting them right, however, and these are the things that I’ve found to be key.
A Kick-Ass Blender
Last year I finally broke down and bought a Vita-Mix blender. If you’re not familiar with this mega-horsepower mixing beast, it is the shagri-la of blenders. The Holy Grail. The final frontier. It is the blender to end all blenders – the nirvana of mixing.
After years of battling everyday, run-of-the-mill household blenders, the Vita-Mix was the answer I’d been looking for. You can literally throw the kitchen sink into this thing and it will probably puree it into a fine shake, perfect for drinking.
I haven’t tried that yet, but don’t put it past me.
The beauty of having so much horsepower is that I can add whole foods to my protein shakes: a few leaves of kale or a handful of spinach. The stuff disappears into the beverage and, aside from a green tint, the drinker is none the wiser. Same great smoothie, now with more fiber, vitamins, goodness, and glory!
A Delicious Base Liquid
I usually opt for Rice Milk, Almond Milk, or Chocolate Soy Milk. Sometimes, when I’m going for something more low-calorie, I’ll start with a cold tea base. Hibiscus Tea works great for fruit-centric smoothies and gives everything a bright, cheery pink color. Mint Tea is an interesting base for chocolate smoothies (mint chocolate!) and Green Tea works great for just about everything.
The milks obviously lend more flavor and sweetness, which you have to take into account when thinking about your other ingredients. Whatever you choose, having a flavorful liquid base makes a huge difference – plain cow’s milk and water bore the crap out of me.
Tasty Protein Powder
You don’t have to put protein powder in your smoothie, but I usually do. What I’ve discovered is that there is a vast cavern between the deliciousness of one protein powder to another. After a few years of experimentation, I am officially hooked on Jay Robb. It blows the competition away in the taste category and isn’t loaded with a bunch of synthetic crap.
You use what you want, all I’m sayin’ is it will be the difference between smoothie/shake suckage and smoothie/shake greatness.
Creativity and Attention to Detail
Don’t be afraid! Go nuts (literally). You can hide all kinds of healthy shit in a tasty smoothie. Experiment. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Test things on your family. They are cute little guinea pigs and you should use them. (Sal is my litmus test for whether something actually tastes good or if I’m just fooling myself.)
An Example: The Kitchen Sink Smoothie
- 1.5c Vanilla Rice Milk
- .5c water
- Half banana
- 3 tbsp flaxseed meal (ground flax seed)
- 2 scoops Greens product (I used greens from Trader Joes)
- 5 ice cubes
- 1 scoop Jay Robb chocolate protein
- 20 blueberries
- Handful of spinach
- 1 T. Almond Butter
- 8 pecans
Mix together with reckless abandon. (A big-assed VitaMix blender will deftly annihilate all ingredients). Serve in a nice glass. It makes you feel special.
NUTRITIONAL NERDIFICATION DATA for a single serving
(you can click it to make it bigger)
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