Hello! I’ve missed you! I apologize for this uncharacteristic delay between posts. Much of last week was spent cleaning before some of my best friends from college visited this past weekend. I had some posts lined up, but none of them felt quite “right,” so I decided to hold off until I could polish them a bit more. My mind is brimming with ideas though! I look forward to getting them all typed up soon to share with you.
Before all the busy-ness started, I was reading Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It has been very interesting. I have to admit that when I started, I wondered if there would be any new information I hadn’t read before in various other health books. I realized almost immediately that was a ridiculous concern. Of course there is new information! Silly Sharon. Always more out there to learn and expose yourself to.
I won’t get into a whole bunch of details (unless you want me to, of course- please let me know if so!) but Fuhrman’s basic idea is to eat mainly foods that contain the most nutrients per calorie. He calls this being a “nutritarian.” He says the majority of what we eat should be vegetables (especially green ones), fresh fruits, and beans, with smaller amounts of nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados, starchy vegetables, and dried fruits. He has all of this organized graphically in a nutritarian pyramid. (Obviously this is a very simplified explanation. For those of you who think you may be interested in the book, I will write more about it below the recipe.)
You know that I am all about nutrients! I already try to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and beans, but reading this book challenged me to come up with more creative ways to do so.
And that was when I decided to blend beans into smoothies.
I have never heard of this before, so I was a bit surprised when a few google searches revealed that many people are in fact already making beany smoothies. I have to tell you- you can cover up the taste of the beans pretty easily. You won’t even know they are there, except they make the smoothie thicker and a little more substantial. Here’s a combination I’ve been playing around with for a week or so now. I hope you like it too!
Also, this is what sometimes happens in the South when you bring a cold glass outside in warm, humid weather: it frosts up in your photo.
Black Bean and Green Smoothie
1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed if from a can
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened cherries
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
1/4 cup pomegranate juice (or 1/4 cup of water and a dried date- see below)
1/2 cup water
3 huge handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)
1 Tbsp. hemp seed (optional)
1 tsp. gelatinized maca (optional)
1 large dried date (about 2 Tbsp.) (optional*)
Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Use a spoon to move things around and add more water if needed to blend.
Makes 1 large smoothie.
*About the dried date: I think this is a nice alternative to the pomegranate juice to give the smoothie a little more flavor and depth if you’re just using water for liquid, but I do not put it in if I use pomegranate juice. And of course you could use neither! I like the added flavor from the juice best, and thought the date was a good runner-up.
And more about the Eat To Live book, for those of you who are considering reading it: I wish Fuhrman had written two similar books- one for people who are interested in losing large amounts of weight, and one for people who do not have a great deal of weight to lose and just want to live healthfully and prevent disease. At many points in this book, I felt as though I was reading a “diet” plan, and I personally really dislike the entire concept and feeling of diets.
However, I bet Fuhrman figured that people who didn’t want a diet could just read between the lines for the health concepts, and that is what I am trying to do. I have been really pleased that the book provides a more concrete, detailed perspective on food and health that carries The China Study and similar books beyond just “plant-based” into a detailed framework of what a person could eat on a daily basis.
I am not a doctor, so I do not know if Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations are perfect for me or everyone. I can tell you that my first reaction was that they are more restrictive than I thought: no salt, refined or unrefined sweeteners of any kind, fruit juice, oils, caffeine, and eating between meals. He sets specific limits on the amounts of nuts/seeds, whole grains/starches, dried fruits, and avocado to be consumed each day, too. At this time, I think I will apply his principles a little more loosely. I intend to focus on choosing vegetables, fruits, and beans over other less nutrient-dense foods, without strictly following the exact outline he recommends.
If you are looking for a helpful way to keep track of your daily servings on the Eat to Live plan, I thought the Rex Lists app for iPhone was useful. It allows you to make one list that you can reuse daily. So, you can set up separate check boxes for each limited food on the Eat to Live plan (four 1 Tbsp. entries for nuts and seeds, two 1/2 cup entries for starch, etc.) and mark them off throughout the day. I felt much better keeping track of those servings in a list rather than in my head, and it was easy to see what I had forgotten or still had “left” at dinnertime.