This week, I developed a smoothie habit. This development has caused great controversy in my home, because my fiancé argues that once you convert fruit into a liquid, it is no longer free (points-wise). However, I argue that, as long as I do not juice the fruit (thereby removing all of its fiber) and do not remove other nutritious parts of the fruit that I would normally eat, then it still counts as the fruit, and the nutritional value does not change just because I blended it. I do add a half-cup of light yogurt (1 point) and a small amount of Odwalla or Naked Juice, which I count as 1 point, because it is very close to whole fruit and has no added sugar. I also like to reduce the amount of juice in order to make the smoothie more solid, which makes it edible with a spoon, thereby prolonging the experience.
This habit has helped me to drink less alcohol, because it staves off the hand to mouth craving, and it also replaces dessert, because it satisfies my sweet tooth. This habit is particularly beneficial, because I have not eaten fruit regularly for a while due to some bad experiences finding bugs and other unmentionables in half-eaten fruit. Buying frozen fruit and blending it eliminates this issue. So, I am getting a sweet, healthy consumption experience that is minimal points and provides me with a great number of nutritional benefits and tides me over between meals or takes the place of meals.
Here is my recipe. Feel free to play around with it to suit your tastes:
½ of a small cup of light yogurt (strawberry, vanilla, banana, etc.)
1 full cup of frozen fruit and/or berries (mango, pineapple, strawberries, etc.)
1 cup of 100% juice (Odwalla or Naked brand, light if possible, with 100% fruit and no sugar added)
I was using acai in my smoothies, but after doing some research, I learned that the only major health benefit of acai is antioxidants, which there have been mixed messages about lately. So, I decided to save myself the calories and eliminate acai from my recipe in favor of more solidly beneficial fruits and berries that are packed with fiber and necessary vitamins.
Another drink that I have tried in the past is water kefir, which is easy to make at home with kefir culture, sugar, and fruit. When combined, these ingredients create a mildly fizzy and slightly alcoholic beverage that can help beat soda cravings. It is also raw food friendly. Here is a site that explains how to make water kefir, and the culture can be purchased on Etsy. I highly recommend it for anyone having a hard time with a carbonated beverage addiction.
I have also recently dabbled in Kombucha, which is not my cup of tea (I don’t much care for tea), and my first batch wound up as vinegar. However, if the next one turns out, I will give it more of a try, because I do like Synergy Chia Kombucha drinks, which can be purchased at all major, and most minor, grocery stores.
In regards to my overall progress in the last week, the festivities of my last post bled over into this week in combination with my birthday, and I failed miserably at not exceeding my weekly points. In fact, I failed so badly, that I decided to stop counting altogether for the rest of the week. However, I am starting a new week and more determined than ever to stick to the diet, particularly because I am not currently losing and time is a-wastin’. Thankfully, the good habits I have accrued helped me to not gain too much weight while cutting loose. If nothing else, this diet has given me a healthy self-awareness and food guilt that prevents me from going too crazy when I overindulge and that keeps me striving toward increased activity levels when I do mess up. I have also begun getting up very early most mornings to walk six miles (and do the surf report while I am at it, because I cannot not multitask).