Thursday, May 30, 2013

Food: Fit Two New Healthy Breakfasts into Menu Rotation, Smoothie

This food journey all started by wanting to substitute Elora's soy milk based breakfast smoothie with a healthier base. There have been articles cautioning that girls consuming soy milk may show signs of puberty sooner and may cause reproductive health issues later in life. I will let science and media hash this out. Until then, I wanted a safer alternative. This is where I came across kefir. Pretty exciting! Its like drinking yogurt on probiotic steroids. I researched making my own, because the process is simple when you get your hands on the "grains". In a nutshell, throw your liquid base (your choice of water, coconut milk, raw milk, etc) into a jar, throw your grains in, let it sit on the counter for about 24 hours. Voila! Kefir! Pull the grains out, throw them in another jar for another batch.

So the first question was, what base to use and where to get grains. I am choosing coconut milk. I don't have easy access to raw milk. Raw milk is still a bit controversial, so I will let that storm wane and go with a more stable source. And coconut milk is crazy good for you! Its high in saturated fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides that are both easily burned as fuel by the body. Just avoid the canned stuff for BPA reasons and we are good to go!

Now we are onto the acquisition of grains. Threw a shout-out on Facebook to see if anyone had extra on hand...BINGO...someone does. Check that box off!

Unfortunately, time and circumstance has thwarted my plans for producing at home. Hopefully, next week I can hook up and get the grains. But I have produce and drive! I am dying to make this smoothie and see what Elora thinks! So I bought some commercial milk based kefir. Still a healthier alternative, just not AS healthy as the homespun kind. Commercial yields about 10 strains of bacteria, while the homemade stuffs comes in at an astounding 40-60 strains. But at this point, I can at least test out the smoothie recipe. I bought plain to limit the sugar content to those in the fruits.

I am using this recipe for the Go-Green Smoothie: Go Green Smoothie

The ingredients include kefir, pineapple juice, spinach, pineapple chunks, strawberries, banana, apple, kale, raw honey, flax seed, and spirulina powder.

Sounds intense for a 2 year old. But, she has enjoyed spinach, banana, berry, apple smoothies in the past. So I am optimistic! AND, if this works, it will be in my breakfast morning rotation on odd days as well!

Hopefully this weekend I will have the rest of the ingredients so I can test it out! I still have to get the spinach, pineapple chunks, and spirulina powder. I will report back and let you know how it goes!

***Update 6/5/2013***

This was a bit more of a learning curve than the oatmeal! It started with getting organic kale, since kale is on the Dirty Dozen produce listing and it going limp before I could get the remaining ingredients. So, I chopped the ends of the stems off and put the leafy ends into a cup of water. Perked right up! So did my cats' attention! They attacked my rescued kale. Also, the organic strawberries went moldy...grrr. So, off to the store to get the rest of the ingredients and new kale and new strawberries. This time, I cut up the strawberries as soon as I got home and threw them in the freezer!

The recipe has far more ingredients than I am used to putting into a smoothie. The process definitely took longer in the morning than I am used to when I am concocting on the fly. But, I have to say it was definitely worth it! The first morning I made it and Elora was delighted with the taste! Drank it all! The next day, I got smart! I cut up all the fruit the evening before, threw it all in the blender and put the blender in the fridge. All I had to do was add the pineapple juice and kefir the next morning. I pulled the blender out of the fridge and Elora said "Wow! Cool!". I don't have any more strawberries left or apples, so the next few smoothies I will wing. But when I get my next set of ingredients, I will make portion packs of cut-up fruit and have them in the freezer ready to go!


  1. It's awesome watching a 2 year suck down a smoothie in the amount of time that she does! Little does she know she's getting a super healthy breakfast!

    1. I will have to time her and trend with the different recipes to see if there is a correlation between speed and enjoyment!

  2. We love kefir at our house. Once you make your own, you will never go back. :) We have used the grains with milk, coconut, and almond milk. Holler if you have any questions.

    1. Did you use raw milk or a pasteurized milk?