I have always enjoyed smoothies, but when I saw the calorie content at my favorite smoothie parlor, I stopped drinking them. They are refreshing and tasty especially when the outside air temperature is above 90 degrees with high humidity like it is frequently in the southeastern United States. But an “unfortunate event” this week brought me back to smoothies.
Why I Had to Rediscover Smoothies
My dentist told me in January that a crown on my #2 molar was severely cracked and needs to be replaced ASAP! It was so bad, she was practically tap-dancing by my chair. I knew that a replacement was forthcoming, but I have been out of work for nearly a year, my crummy insurance only paid $200 towards it beginning in “September”, so that was no good. The money that they wanted to replace the crown and construct the build-ups to hold the crown in place was cost prohibitive for me.
A couple of days ago, as promised, that huge chunk came out of my tooth and that good old #2 molar now has a huge crater! The good news is that I found another dentist to do it for a little more than half the money and I have an appointment to get it taken care of. Now with this gaping hole in my mouth and exposed nerves, I knew that all the crunchy veggies that are included in my salads would cause great pain. I knew immediately that I had to go on a “liquid diet” until I at least got the temporary crown on my tooth. Immediately, I headed to Costco to get some fruit and then to Whole Foods to get my favorite protein powder to get into the smoothie mode.
Smoothies Satisfy Nutritionally and are Keeping Me Full
As many of you already know, I eat mini-meals throughout the day, so I was a bit concerned that I would not stay full long enough on smoothies since those liquid calories do count, even if they are healthy. Fortunately I have been doing very well with the smoothies keeping me full and protein-nourished. Here’s what a typical smoothie has been for me this week:
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk -or- 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
- 1 cup strawberries (mine are frozen)
- 1/2 banana
- 2 TBSPNS of ground flax meal (high fiber and makes you feel fuller)
- 2 scoops chocolate whey protein powder
- 1 cup of ice
- 1 package of Stevia
The unsweetened chocolate almond milk gives a better chocolate-strawberry taste than the coconut milk, which doesn’t have that much of a distinct coconut taste at all. I buy unsweetened as it is usually cheaper and of course lower in calories. I add the Stevia myself to sweeten it which doesn’t add any calories. Since it is cheaper to do the same shake each time since you are buying less ingredients in bulk, I am having the same shake most of the time. However, I did make an exception today and venture out somewhat. I am a huge fan of this pumpkin soup that I make, so today I made a pumpkin smoothie. It wasn’t too bad, but need to tweak it to make it truly wonderful. By the way, I made it with a non-flavored protein powder.
Advantages of Smoothies
The main advantage of drinking smoothies is getting to have something different that tastes like dessert. They are filling and give you that refreshing “chill” that you get when you eat ice cream. I also think that it gives your stomach and digestive system a break, especially if you are like me and eat lots of raw fruits and crunchy veggies, and my stomach feels flatter. It is a good way to incorporate your flax meal in your daily diet. Flax keeps your intestines cleaned out and it helps you feel fuller. Even after my new crown is in place, I will continue to have smoothies for breakfast and/or lunch, time and circumstance permitting, so it is nice to have rediscovered them! Already I am thinking of some imaginative recipes with them.
The Downside of Smoothies
Although I find the smoothies to be very satisfying, I have a difficult time not being able to chew something. It’s that oral fixation thing, I suppose. In addition, I find that at night time I do need to supplement my smoothie with soft food because it just isn’t quite enough. This reminds me of Slimfast’s campaign, “2 shakes + a sensible dinner”; I understand the reasoning now since I am doing something similar. The other downside of smoothies is that it is a bit of a hassle to clean the blender, especially with the flax meal but that is isn’t that big of a downside, I’m just lazy sometimes.
All in all, I am very happy that by modifying my diet this week, because I am doing fine guarding the exposed nerve endings in my “chewing tooth” while getting the proper fuel my body needs in the meantime. A little modification with smoothies and soft food is getting me through until I get to the dentist and I’m able to discover some new items for my healthy menu!