The concept of fast food is fascinating, especially when it comes to drive-ins, drive-thrus and food trucks! There is something in it for everybody—from food aficionados, history buffs, avid entrepreneurs, students of design, urban explorers and car nuts! It has its place for friends, families, lovers and even vegans. It’s about mouthwatering taste, quick service and is light on the wallet. What is not to like?
OK, I don’t blame you if your health can’t afford it. So take a breather. Sit back and relax while I explain how you can have all of the above while restoring your health in the comfort of your own home!
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dogs and cats, it’s smoothie time!
Quick to make? Of course.
Light on the wallet? You betcha.
It is also easy to take with you just about anywhere. Another advantage smoothies have over typical fast food is the tremendous health benefits. This alone more than pays for the cost of a commercial quality blender (usually about $400)—a must-have. Food also blends and tastes so much better, so scour the local classifieds or thrift stores for a used commercial blender. If you absolutely cannot afford a commercial blender, there are few decent sub-$200 blenders available but the differences in taste, texture, blend speed and build quality is significant. Vitamix and Waring are two good examples of commercial blenders, while Ninja is a good example of a decent blender. Can’t afford a decent blender? There’s plenty to be found online or at secondhand stores for under $20 and will provide the minimum blending power needed to get started. There are many smoothie recipes out there, so I will list just three simple smoothie recipes that I usually make. Each recipe makes a 24-ounce smoothie.
- 2 bananas
- 2 kale or collard leaves or a handful of spinach
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 2 dates
- 1 cup of water
The green smoothie is, in my experience, the best all-around smoothie. It’s got everything you need in one punch, its contents costing just $25 a week. Like any smoothie, it is best consumed on an empty stomach to reap the most advantage of its nutritional benefits. Alternatively, consuming a smoothie after eating cooked food is OK but only after a minimum of three hours has passed. This green delight is loaded with 7 grams of protein, 107 grams of carbohydrates and just 1 gram of fat for a whopping 550 calories, about 85 calories more than a Big Mac, most of whose calories are fat-derived! It has the kind of protein and carbohydrates human bodies need for proper assimilation. Most fast-food protein and carbohydrates are animal- and/or chemical-derived, which the body cannot efficiently break down. This is an ideal treat for those who don’t like consuming greens. If everybody would have at least one health food a day, green smoothies are it!
- 3 bananas
- 1 cup of your choice of fruit (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry or raspberry)
- 1 cup of water
You can mix berries if desired, but I prefer the taste of single-berry smoothies. Berries can be either frozen or fresh, but I prefer to get whatever are cheaper as long as they are organic. Around the Philadelphia area, frozen is usually cheaper, but deals can be found every now and then. The berry smoothies are a great addition to the diet with the green smoothie, boosting the RDA of antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E, carotenoids and selenium.
- 4 bananas
- 1 cup of water
When I first started making smoothies, I couldn’t figure out why my smoothies weren’t as good as the ones at Arnold’s Way even though I was using a Vitamix blender. One day, my good friend Timothy Radley said the key to creamy smoothies was frozen bananas, so I took his advice and was mesmerized with the taste and texture difference between raw bananas versus frozen bananas in smoothies. One day, I decided to blend just water and frozen bananas and the taste blew me away! It was as if a magical dose of vanilla flavor was added in. The consistency of these smoothies is like a milkshake, many thanks to freezers. As with most smoothies, what’s awesome is they are quicker, cheaper and much healthier than going to a drive-thru. A 40-pound case of organic bananas (about 110 bananas) costs about $30, with conventional cases going for about $15. If I had to, I would have no problem living off one case of bananas a week which would cost just $120 a month. They would be my go-to food in a zombie apocalypse.
Frozen Vs. Fresh
The more water content food has, the more damage that will occur to cell membranes once it is frozen. For example, bananas are made up of about 25 percent water, so an equivalent amount of its nutrients will be lost once frozen. Because frozen bananas taste better in smoothies, I don’t mind the nutrient loss. The solution for me is simply more bananas. This nutrient loss may be part of the reason why I tend to get fuller when eating ripe bananas compared with an equivalent amount in a smoothie—the body is nourished quicker with fresh, raw food. Most other fruits have higher water content, which is why I prefer everything else raw in my smoothies—and because most fruits lose some of their taste after they are frozen. Sometimes, it makes financial sense to purchase frozen fruit, especially when fresh organic berries around Greater Philadelphia at this time retail at $5.99 for half a pint, the cost of a complete meal at a typical fast-food place!
My Ideal Smoothie Meals
I really enjoy the berry smoothie as my first meal followed by the green smoothie later in the day. I may also have a banana smoothie or just fresh bananas, depending on my mood. When I am training, I like to consume about 30 bananas a day and 20 when I am not as active. My smoothies are usually at least 68 ounces with anywhere between 10 and 15 bananas in one smoothie, depending on what else I add to it, if anything.
When making berry smoothies, I add two cups of berries, whenever possible. Watching everything blend and turn pink, blue or purple makes my mouth water! By the time I am ready to eat, I can feel the digestive enzymes activating.
The same goes for green smoothies as well, with its vibrant green colors appealing to my eyes, which sends the message to my brain to get the digestive system ready. I like to incorporate at least half a pound of greens and a minimum of four dates. I’ve even put whole heads of kale or collards in (about 1 pound), but this results in a very strong green flavor. The only trouble I have with green smoothies—and any other smoothie—is that it is hard for me to resist the temptation of wolfing them down in 10 minutes because they are so good. I’ve even knocked back a smoothie in a hurry in just five minutes, which I do not recommend! My stomach starts talking after I’ve consumed a 68-ounce smoothie in less than 20 minutes, so I try to take my time and savor every smoothie-drinking moment.
What about Food Combining?
According to some food combining charts, leafy greens do not mix well with fruits. I have recently learned that leafy greens should have their own category rather than be categorized as vegetables. It turns out they are actually beneficial to eat with other foods, aiding in digestion efficiency. Even chimpanzees have been observed eating greens with other fruits at the same time, making sandwiches out of fruit and rolled-up greens.
Since then, I’ve come up with a rule of thumb, which is if a particular fruit tastes bitter after eating a fruit in a different category, I won’t combine them in a smoothie. For example, most berries (except blueberries, which are subacid fruits) are classified as acid fruits, the same category as oranges, lemons and limes. Although strawberries taste good with bananas, I wouldn’t want to put an orange in with bananas. Some people are OK with pineapple, another acid fruit blended with bananas, while others are not. I really enjoy and have yet to experience problems with raspberry (sometimes classified as a subacid fruit) or strawberry (in my opinion, a light acid fruit) smoothies, but my friend, Brian Rossiter of Fruit-Powered.com says otherwise. He reports having small ulcerations in his mouth after being 100 percent raw for some time after consuming banana-strawberry smoothies, which he attributes to the body not liking to break down acid and sweet fruits at the same time.
Listen to your body while using food combining charts as a reference, which may or may not be perfect because everybody’s body is different. These charts have been helpful for me and are pretty accurate for the most part. Even some people have slight discomfort after consuming smoothies made with bananas, which could be due to food combining, an overly toxic body, food ripeness and even bananas themselves, which may be unwanted by the body. If bananas turn out to be the culprit after experimentation, one can still make many delicious smoothies without bananas. There are countless resources out there such as RawFamily.com and IncredibleSmoothies.com as well as health input from many people who’ve had their share of smoothies.
Check out Korey’s transformation story!