My Typical Breakfast: a Smoothie

Since I did my first cleanse more than 10 years ago, a smoothie has been my go-to breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy brunch out and sometimes make a special breakfast at home. But this has become comfort food for me and my body always feels awesome when I have it.

Smoothie 1.0

My original smoothie recipe was: 8 oz water, 5 oz plain goat yogurt (goat yogurt is easier to digest than cow yogurt for most people), 5 oz frozen mixed berries, 1 whole raw egg, 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil, 1 tablespoon unheated honey and 1 scoop of a whole seed fiber supplement.

Since I wasn’t very confident in my hirdie-birdie cooking skills, the only variation I made on this recipe for years and years was that occasionally I would add a banana and once in a while I would use 5 oz of a different kind of frozen fruit.

Smoothie 1.5

Then a few years ago I started hearing more about green smoothies and wondered how I might adjust my recipe to include some greens. I read that raw spinach has no flavor at all when added to a smoothie, and it turns out those people were right! (I can’t remember where I read it first or I’d give the person credit.) So, I started adding 1.5 oz of spinach to my smoothie. The color was kind of gross, but it tasted the same so I didn’t care.

Of course, just as I experimented with different kinds of fruit, I started trying different kinds of greens. After all, variety is a good thing when it comes to nutrition! I found that arugula adds a slight peppery taste; parsley or carrot greens add a fresh taste; cilantro adds an exotic taste; mint is just plain good; and kale makes the whole thing more chewy (especially older kale… ick).

For a couple of years, my recipe was:

  • 8 oz water
  • 5 oz plain goat yogurt
  • 5 oz frozen fruit
  • 1.5 oz greens (usually spinach or arugula, but might include baby kale, carrot greens and/or any kind of green herbs that I had left over)
  • 1 whole raw egg (yes, raw, and, no, I’ve never had food poisoning from it… but if you have any concerns about it, please don’t include it)
  • 1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon unheated honey or 1/2 banana and
  • 1 scoop of a whole seed fiber supplement.

This thing is packed with protein, healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Plus, I find it super tasty and I get variety by mixing up the fruit and the greens. And of course, I can always make it cleanse worthy again by using only mixed berries or cherries (i.e., low fructose / glycemic fruit) and using the honey rather than the banana, or no sweetener at all.

Smoothie 2.0

Last December, a wrench got thrown into my meal planning when I decided I would do an elimination diet to test for any food sensitivities or intolerances. Although all of the meals needed some planning, it took me a minute to figure out what to eat for breakfast since I couldn’t have dairy or eggs (or gluten or soy or corn)!

Taking out the egg and the yogurt would reduce the calories and protein, as well as removing the two items that add creaminess to the smoothie. And you know I’m not just eating for the sake of eating, so I had to find a way to make the smoothie as good as before.

Using that handy thing called the internet, I was able to find several recipes that are elimination diet friendly and adjusted my smoothie once more. I used this recipe throughout the elimination diet and have continued to use it since I discovered that I am sensitive to dairy. I think it is as good as the original and is just as nutritious.

Elimination diet friendly smoothie (warning: it makes a big smoothie partly due to all the water… so you’ll need a cup or mug that holds at least 30 oz)

  • 14 oz water
  • 1/2 banana (could use 1/2 tablespoon of honey, but the banana helps with the creaminess)
  • 1/4 avocado or 1/4 cup coconut milk or 1/4 cup nuts or 2 tablespoons nut butter
  • 5 oz frozen fruit
  • 1.5 oz greens (usually 1 oz of leafy greens like arugula, lettuce or spinach and 1/2 oz of fresh herbs like parsley, mint, cilantro or basil)
  • 1/2 Tbsp flaxseed oil
  • 1 scoop of a pea, hemp, or collagen protein powder
  • 1 scoop of a whole seed fiber supplement.

 

At this point, my smoothie was basically a formula that I adjusted based on my mood. Essentially,  I would pick one item from each category (unless otherwise noted) and blend. Two keys to this: 1) Be sure all ingredients do not have added sweeteners, including protein powders, yogurts and milks. 2) Mix it up each day so you are getting a variety of nutrients.

Component Option(s) Notes
Liquid (12+ oz)

Water

Almond milk

Hemp milk

Herbal tea

If using coconut milk for the fat, reduce liquid by the same amount.
Omega-3 fat (1 Tablespoon)

Flaxseed oil

Walnut oil

Hempseed oil

If, like me, you use a scale to make your smoothie, 1 tablespoon is 28 grams usually for oils.
Healthy fat

Avocado (1/4)

Coconut milk, full fat (8 oz)

Coconut yogurt, plain (5 oz)

Goat milk yogurt, plain (5 oz)

Nut butter (2 Tablespoons)

Nuts (1/4 cup)

Olive oil (2 Tablespoons)

I don’t include cow milk or Greek yogurt because many people have issues digesting cow milk.

You can use different kinds of nut butters depending on your preference and tolerance.

Protein

Egg, whole raw (1)

Collagen powder

Hempseed powder

Whey protein powder

If using a protein powder other than what I’ve linked, be sure there is no sweetener in it.

Do not use a raw egg every time as raw egg whites bind to biotin and repeated exposure over long periods of time can lead to a biotin deficiency. (I actually did this to myself!)

Greens (1.5 oz total)

Spinach

Arugula

Lettuce (red, butter, etc)

Baby kale

Carrot greens

Parsley (fresh)

Mint (fresh)

Basil (fresh)

Cilantro (fresh)

Feel free to mix and match here! Since I used a scale to make my smoothie, I usually do 1 oz of a salad green and ½ oz of an herb. 1 oz of a salad green is about a hand full, but be aware that some greens (like spinach) are heavier than other greens (like arugula).
Frozen fruit (5 oz)

Blackberries

Blueberries

Cherries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Any kind of frozen fruit will work, but these pack the biggest nutrition punch.

Feel free to mix and match here!

Vegetable (optional)

Carrot, cut into chunks (1 small)

Celery, cut into chunks (1 large stalk)

Cucumber (2 – 3” piece)

Raw beet, grated (1/2 medium)

Zucchini (2” piece)

Since I use a scale, I usually put in 3 ounces of whatever vegetable I am using… or a total of 3 ounces, if I’m doing a combination of veggies.
Fiber supplement (optional)

Super Seed (1 scoop)

Chia seeds (1 Tbsp)

Ground flaxseeds (1 Tbsp)

Spices (optional)

Nutmeg powder (1/4 tsp)

Cinnamon (1/4 tsp)

Ground cardamom (1/8 tsp)

Ground ginger (1/8 tsp)

Turmeric powder (1/8 tsp)

Smoothie 3.0

The final change to my smoothie making adventure came when I decided to put together a program that can help balance out hormones and test for food sensitivities at the same time. At the strictest point, this program requires no sweeteners, grains, starchy vegetables, dairy, eggs, meat or fruit. Yup… no fruit! Well, with two caveats that I don’t include avocado and coconut as fruit as those two fruits are basically all fat (I’m considering “fruit” from a nutritional rather than botanical perspective), and I allow lemon and lime because they are good for detoxification.

Since smoothies are still my “go to” breakfast, here are a couple of recipes that I’ve used during this program. Fair warning though, they are definitely not sweet and may not feel much like breakfast food. (Although breakfast doesn’t have its own set of foods in many parts of the world, it’s hard to think of breakfast as not having grains, dairy, eggs or fruit in western cultures.)

Spicy cucumber and coconut smoothie:

1/2 large cucumber (peel and seeds included for the fiber)

1/2 c unsweetened coconut milk (preferably organic and with as few additional ingredients as possible)

1 c coconut water (preferably raw)… you may need more than 1 cup depending on the thickness you like; you can also add more coconut milk or substitute plain water, but will get less of a coconut flavor.

1 1/2 oz spinach or other greens

1/2 Tbsp flaxseed oil

1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1 scoop of a pea protein powder

1 scoop of a whole seed fiber supplement

 

Tropical cucumber and coconut smoothie:

1/2 large cucumber (peel and seeds included for the fiber)

1 c unsweetened coconut milk (preferably organic and with as few additional ingredients as possible)… You can also choose to use more coconut water and less coconut milk, but the result will be less creamy and coconut tasting.

1/2 c coconut water (preferably raw)… you can substitute plain water, but won’t get the electrolytes.

1 1/2 oz spinach or other greens

1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves (bruise – basically smack them between your hands – before adding)

Juice and zest of 1/2 of a lime

1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil

1 scoop of a pea protein powder

1 scoop of a whole seed fiber supplement.

 

It’s Really Gazpacho But I’m Having It For Breakfast Smoothie:

6 oz tomatoes (skins and seeds included for fiber)

1/4 large cucumber

1/4 red pepper

1/4 avocado

1/8 jalapeno (seeds and ribs removed unless you like the heat)

Several sprigs of either parsley or cilantro (stems and leaves for the fiber)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil

1 scoop of a pea protein powder

pinch of salt

water to thin to desired consistency

 

It’s important to start your day with a filling and satisfying breakfast so that you don’t feel deprived during a cleanse, elimination diet… or on any other day of the year, for that matter!  All of my smoothies are filling, satiating, satisfying, nutritious and tasty. Plus, you can pour them into an insulated mug and take them with you (just be sure to check your teeth occasionally, if you’re having it in public)!

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2 Comments

  • Quick question here: if i follow the recipe on the table – are the proportions for one serving? I tend to make it and keep half of it for the day after but I do not feel really full and crave nuts by mid morning – but then having the whole batch feels like a lot. Thoughts?

    • Hi, Aurelie! I consider the proportions to be for one serving, but I like a BIG smoothie so that it keeps me full for many hours. In fact, since I have worked from home for many years (even before I became a dietitian), I keep my smoothie in a big mug next to me and drink on it over an hour or more in the morning. (If I drink it all at once, it definitely feels like a lot!) For some people though, it’s too big and splitting into two makes sense. If you choose to only have half and then have a handful of nuts or other snack mid-morning, that is a completely healthy choice, too!

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