I’ve always been a fan of smoothies, milkshakes (cocktails…), basically anything where you whizz ingredients up to create a fabulous fruity, fresh (ahem, alcoholic…) drink. As I became more aware of the importance of nutrition in running, I started to experiment more with different fruits and veg to create drinks bursting with vitamins and minerals rather than less healthy milkshake varieties.
When the Nutribullet started to surface, it positioned itself as a ‘super food extractor’ rather than a blender or a juicer – it claims to break down and pulverise fruit, veg, seeds and nuts so that every gram of nutritional value is ‘extracted’. In my day job I work in advertising so all I heard was ‘blah, blah, blah’, it sounded like a lot of marketing hype to me and an excuse to charge £100 for a blender. I wasn’t convinced.
However, as time went on the hype didn’t go away and my friends started raving about it. Jealously got the better of me and I caved…6 weeks later I don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t had at least one ‘Nutriblast’! Essentially, it is a blender, but a very powerful one that can handle seeds, pips and skins, as well as leaves and flesh, which makes it very easy to pump full of different fresh produce to turn into a (mostly!) delicious drink.
There are some general rules they recommend which are easy to follow and help you get the most out of your smoothie, ensuring it’s not too sugar heavy from all the fruit:
1. Fill half the cup with leafy greens such as spinach or kale
2. Fill the other half with fruit – any fruit you like, whatever you can find, just chuck it all in (err, except apple pips, apparently they contain a chemical that releases cyanide when ingested…useful to know!)
3. Add a ‘boost’ for protein, this can be anything from almonds, cashews or sunflower seeds to acai berries or spirulina
4. Finally, add your liquid. Water is the easy choice but I like almond milk for added B vitamins, perfect for tired muscles after a tough run.
I’ve been trialling lots of combinations and I don’t think my fridge has ever been so full of fresh fruit & veg! It’s pretty cheap to stock up on seasonal produce so needn’t be expensive and you can often get frozen chunks of mango, blueberries, cherries etc in the supermarket which are easy to store.
Avocados have become one of my favourite ingredients, full of potassium, fibre and healthy fats, they give the smoothie a real creamy texture as well as helping to fill you up. Spinach and kale have surprised me because you really can’t taste them when they’re all blended up and give a vibrant green colour as well as packing a firm nutritional punch.
Otherwise I’ve been throwing in anything I fancy, bananas, apples, pineapple, pears, plums, kiwis, oranges, peaches, grapes, mango, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, cucumber. I often add half or quarter of a lemon or lime to lift the flavours – take the skin off but just throw the flesh straight in, pips n all.
Ginger, chia seeds, spirulina, almonds, cashews, flax seeds, oats and greek yoghurt are all great additions to your daily smoothie and help pack in further good proteins and immune-boosting stuff.
I haven’t tried beetroot yet but I have some in the freezer ready for when I feel brave – beetroot is great for runners because it helps reduce oxygen consumption during endurance sports and allows you to train for longer before you to reach the point of exhaustion. I really must get more involved with this earthy gem…
Not strictly in keeping with the rules but I’m loving this one I stole from the Nutribullet Twitter page – 2/3 oranges, greek yoghurt, cinnamon and a splash of orange juice, a proper vitamin C hit!
Smoothies for breakfast are a great start to the day – you can immediately load up on at least 5 fruit and veg varieties and pack in loads of good stuff to make you feel great before you even leave the house. Unfortunately ready-made smoothies from the supermarket are often packed with additional sugar and preservatives and were made some time ago so I would stay clear of these – stick to your home-made delights.
This week the Nutribullet has come into its own for me. On Wednesday I had a wisdom tooth out under general anaesthetic, I’ve never had a general before so I was a bit freaked out and have been left with a sore, stiff jaw and a gum sewn up with some kind of dissolvable stitches, as well as feeling more than a bit woozy.
Needless to say running was off the cards for a few days, but so was regular food. I made the most of my smoothie obsession and dutifully planned out 3 nutritious smoothies a day to force myself to be healthy even if I wasn’t hungry. Fresh food, especially fruit & veg, is always the fastest way to recovery and I’m aiming to be back in my trainers tomorrow!
Obviously you can make smoothies from any household blender, the Nutribullet is just a pretty powerful one. Have a go with different ingredients and see what combinations you love the most for a fabulously nutritious snack! If you’re still not sure, don’t just take my word for it, apparently Kate Middleton is a fan. Just saying…