The Perfect Super Smoothie Formula
I introduced the Super Smoothie formula in the fall of 2015, before the launch of Clean Lean Mama, frustrated with the insistence of well-meaning friends that the meal replacement shake I had been drinking was good for me- when I knew very well it simply wasn't working for me anymore. It was delicious, yes, but I found myself needing to add ingredient after ingredient to it to keep me full for even upwards of two hours-- and it was expensive, to boot. Why was I paying so much for the 'ease' of drinking a nutrient-packed smoothie when I still had to add five ingredients, and further- WHY was I still hungry?! I knew the answer lay in the formula. The more I had been digging into the science of bioindividuality and learning about body types, the more I had been learning that there truly is no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition- that includes expensive miracle-touting meal replacement shakes. Even if it's packed with seventy seven superfoods and tastes like a chocolate milkshake doesn't mean it's good for me- or anyone, for that matter when it tastes like a milkshake because it's got nearly 20 grams of sugar (and then I was adding fruit, to that). 20 grams of sugar IS a milkshake- and that doesn't work for most people, not just me. I also realized that adding those five ingredients to the blender instead of just shaking up a powder with some almond milk really wasn't that hard- it took an extra minute, maybe, and slowly but surely, tweaking the formula using the balance I recommend with the healthy mama balanced plate- I started to actually get full. And not just for two hours, but for four or five hours. All of a sudden I wasn't starving and hangry at lunchtime anymore. I could breeze right through 12:30 school pick up and come home happy and just a little peckish rather than ready to rip someone's head off if I didn't get FOOD. NOW. What WAS this magic meal in a glass? It wasn't magic: it was science. Combining a moderate amount of fruit with a ton of fiber from veggies, a good-quality protein powder and some healthy fat with that same nut milk kept my blood sugar from spiking too high and dropping, causing my crazy hunger and cravings for more food two hours later. The fruit provided necessary micronutrients, but wasn't so high in sugar that my blood sugar shot through the roof, and the fiber from veggies slowed the release of nutrients into my bloodstream. The protein suppressed ghrelin, one of the body's main hunger hormones. The fat released the hormone CCK, slowing digestion to stretch the hours until my next meal. Oh, and it was STILL delicious and only took five minutes to make. And thus, the Healthy Mama Super Smoothie was born.
The mamas in my community were ALL OVER this new smoothie formula, and it worked for them, just like it worked for me. But I started getting some questions, when they'd throw together a smoothie using the 'formula' but adding a couple cups of fruit, skim milk, or skip the protein powder in favor of peanut butter (fat, not a protein!) or skip the fat altogether (it won't make you fat mama, PROMISE). The formula is a formula: just like the Healthy Mama Balanced Plate, it's a TEMPLATE for YOUR perfect super smoothie. It is, of course important to stick to the ratios I outline- a cup of fruit is a lot for most women (men usually do fine with up to a cup), and you definitely need a quality protein and fat, or it's simply not going to work. But the perfect super smoothie? It's up to YOU to figure out! There is SO much value in experimenting to find YOUR beautiful balance, when it comes to creating your healthy mama balanced plate, and your healthy mama super smoothie. Super Smoothies work for everyone- mamas, non-mamas, men and kiddos alike. The secret is tweaking the formula to create a blend that works best, for YOU. Here's some practical tips for how to make your super smoothie work best for YOU: Fruit: Start with 1/4-1/2 cup (about 1 cupped handful).
How do you feel 2-3 hours after? A little hungry? Shaky or jittery? Do you have sugar cravings? You might need to reduce the amount of fruit in your smoothie. If you're still feeling like that on the regular, skip the fruit (yes!) in favor of more veggies, unless you've worked out just before (your body is more sensitive to sugars immediately after workouts, fruit or otherwise). Veggies: Do you have at least 1 cup? Spinach is the easiest 'gateway' green-- then comes the kale ;) Frozen cauli and zucchini add an awesome creaminess, too- and replacing 1/2 your frozen fruit with frozen veggies can add fiber and creaminess, without the sugar. Protein: Make sure you're getting 1 solid scoop of protein powder or 1 cup of greek yogurt (this is one time I do advocate glancing at the label- you want at least 15-20 grams of protein). If you're not feeling satisfied after your smoothie, or you're hungry at the 2-hour mark, you might need more protein. Fat: Start with 1-2 tbsp (about 1 thumb per tbsp). This is one place you can start to tweak, for you. If you've been a part of Clean Lean Mama and are familiar with body types, you'll know some women tolerate carbohydrates better than others, and some do better with less carbs and more fat. Start with 1 tbsp of healthy fat and if you're not satisfied after a meal, or you've tried reducing the fruit and you have a full 15-20 grams of protein, add more fat (up to 3 tbsp or so). EXTRAS: Still feeling hungry soon after your smoothie? It should keep you full and satisfied for at least three hours, typically 4-5. Try adding some fiber-- chia seeds and ground flax are a great option here (1-2 tbsp), or some more of that frozen fruit I talked about above. Adding extra ice can also add some bulk, if you're not used to drinking meals, it can take your body some time to adjust to just having a smoothie instead of eating a full meal (hopefully this goes without saying, but you don't want to be drinking smoothies for every meal- your body needs to EAT food!)
Just like everything I teach, The Healthy Mama Super Smoothie is tool for simpliyfing YOUR healthy mama life. It takes time to figure out exactly what works for you, but THAT, my friend, is the beauty of finding your beautiful balance. Click to join the Healthy Mama Life Community on Facebook and get the full printable Super Smoothie Formula and stay tuned for our annual Super Smoothie Challenge coming in July!!