Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Choco-nut Smoothy

Another beautiful day!  It was already 65 degrees at 8:30 this morning so I decided for the first time in months to run outside instead of in the basement.  It was fantastic.  I went to a local park with a lake.  I was surprised but happy to see that the place was packed with walkers and a few other runners.

I like details so the treadmill works well for me.  I can see exactly what speed I'm going, what elevation and what distance.  That is very helpful obviously when I'm trying to compare my runs to see if I'm improving.  But there is a definite plus side to going outside and just running as long as you can and not worrying about any of your stats.

While I felt invigorated from the first step, I quickly remembered that running outside comes with varying terrain and wind!  One thing that helped push me along was all the other people there.  Most were walking in the opposite direction from me so I passed people often.  I have this complex about people seeing me stop running.   I'll set a goal and tell myself I can stop running and start walking at the next corner.  But then if I see people coming, I don't want them to see me stop so I make myself keep running until they pass me.  Today that meant I had to basically just keep running!

Green smoothies are my favorite food after a run.  I make two different kinds - water based and milk based.  In the summer I prefer the water based smoothies but today I went with milk based.

Smoothies all look pretty similar!

 So here is an additional picture of my view from the porch as I was drinking my smoothy.

 And here is my glass about 2 minutes later!  I've read that you should sip smoothies slowly so that your body better absorbs the nutrients  I try but it rarely works.

First I will give the recipe as I prepare it.  At the end I've indicated substitutions you can make if you don't have some of these ingredients.

Choco-Nut Smoothy

1 banana, frozen or fresh
1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (any will work)
2 tablespoons cacao nibs or 1 tablespoon ground cacao
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 cup spinach
6 ice cubes if your banana is fresh

Place all ingredients in your blender in the order listed.  If you do not have a high-power blender (such as a Vita-Mix) chop the spinach first.  Blend until smooth.  This makes two servings so I drink one after my run and save the rest for an afternoon snack.

I love my Vita-Mix but I made smoothies for years without it.  They weren't quite as smooth but I didn't mind the slight chunks.

Any milk will work.  I usually use soy or rice.  We don't normally buy flavored milk but this winter we had a coupon for Silk Soy Latte so we tried it.  It was fantastic in this smoothy but it isn't necessary.

If you don't have cacao you can use chocolate chips or cocoa powder but you won't get the same health benefits.

Hemp seeds are my favorite but you can also use flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, etc.  Whatever you like or have on hand.  They all have great health benefits.

Almond butter is expensive but I splurge on it and then make it last.  Cashew butter is also expensive but if you have it, that would taste great.  Plain old peanut butter will work as well.

I always use spinach in this smoothy but you could substitute any of the mild greens such as chard or kale.  Kale doesn't chop up as well in a regular blender though.