As I ramp up for the imminent release of my new book, Smarter Fitter Smoothies, I’ve been playing around with new smoothie recipes. The ultimate test of whether a smoothie works is whether I can’t resist making another one the very next day.
Such has been the case with this pear and avocado smoothie, which I’m calling “Pear and Avocado Thickie” in the book. Fresh pear and avocado go really well together. The avocado, combined with the flaxseed, make this smoothie super thick and creamy. You can substitute the flaxseed with other nuts or seeds, or omit completely if you don’t have it to hand. What I like about this smoothie is that you know the avocado is there, and the pear gives it just a little sweetness (if you like it even sweeter, you can add a few dates, but I prefer the less sweet version; it allows more of the avocado and pear flavours to come through).
Taste aside, the smoothie is full of all of the good stuff that makes it balanced and wholesome. It’s got loads of fiber from the pear, flax seed and leafy greens, plus lemon which aids digestion and avocado for healthy fats and delicious creaminess. Eat one of these for breakfast and it will totally set you up for the day; sugar crashes be gone!
If you like this smoothie, me a huge favour and subscribe now for updates on my upcoming smoothie book. I’m giving away free copies of the ebook to 10 lucky subscribers so you have nothing to lose and only health, happiness and perfect blends to gain!
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then you know I’ve become quite addicted to smoothies as of late. It all started with the detox, which got me into the habit of having a smoothie for breakfast every morning. And now, I can’t stop. I crave these smoothies. They taste great. They make me feel awesome. And I find smoothie-making as enjoyable as smoothie-eating – I get to start my day with a bit of creativity. It’s an experiment with ingredients and flavour combinations in my quest for the best ever fruit and vegetable blends!
I’ve been taking notes on the process and have decided to turn it all into an smoothie book (both electronic and print), due to be released in just a few weeks! I know there are loads of other smoothie books out there, but my smoothie recipes are a little different.
First, all of my smoothies are
Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free and Dairy-free
Fruit AND Vegetables: My smoothies aren’t all about the fruit; you’ll find lots of veg too, and not just the usual suspects. Look out for ingredients like beetroot and pumpkin, veggies that pack a supremo nutritional punch but are frugal, too.
Not a TotalSugar Bomb: In line with the above, my smoothies are nutritionally balanced; you’re not going to have a sugar crash within minutes of drinking one of these. They are designed for sustained feelings of awesomeness.
Healthy, wholesome and detoxing: My smoothies are free of soy, wheat and other common allergens. Instead, they’re full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and loads of other good stuff your body needs in an easily digestible form.
Dried fruits as sweeteners. I used dates, prunes and other dried fruit rather than syrups, sugar or other artificial sweeteners.
Reliant on real food rather than “superfoods”: You can make my smoothies without having to spend lots of money on chia seeds, bee pollen and other “superfood” supplements
Innovative combinations of ingredients and flavours. For example: pumpkin apple and ginger; double beetroot with apple and mint; pear and apple with cashew and cinnamon; strawberry and avocado with cashew and mint; melon, cucumber and avocado with mint and dates.
Vitamix not required. Although it helps to have a super amazing blender, it’s not necessary – most of these smoothies can be made with a conventional blender. The book also gives suggestions for blenders that don’t cost the earth but still make a great smoothies.
The book is coming out in just as a few weeks, both as an eBook and in print.
I’ll be giving away free copies to 10 randomly chosen subscribers. So what do you have to lose? You have only smoothies to gain!
Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in the book, a super seasonal smoothie recipe that I’ve really been enjoying lately: Pumpkin, Apple & Ginger. This smoothie just sings of autumn (and extreme tastiness). The pumpkin and cashews make it creamy, while the apple and ginger make it super refreshing.
Put everything into the blender and blitz on high for about 30 seconds (or as long as it takes to make a silky smooth blend). For those of you without a Vitamix or similar super-power blender, you can soak the cashews for a few hours or use cashew butter to make it easier on your blender.
Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.
You can use canned pumpkin here or make your own pumpkin puree: take a pumpkin, cut it in half, take out the seeds then put in a roasting pan cut side down. Bake at 375F/190C for 45-90 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkin) until perfectly soft inside. Let cool then scoop the pulp into a blender and puree. You can freeze in small batches (I do this in ice cube trays).
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This smoothie has become a staple of mine in recent weeks, largely thanks to the abundance of blackberries in the hedgerows at the moment. If only avocados grew so readily, alas, I have to rely on Lidl for my avocado fix (yes, Lidl, where avocados seem to be both cheaper and tastier than those from other supermarkets, the exception being The Organic Farm Shop which occasionally has organic avocados from Mexico which are pure bliss).
But I digress. I like to add interest to this smoothie with mint and orange flower water, but if you don’t have those it’s not the end of the world. This is really all about the berries, and the avocados and dates make it creamy sweet deliciousness.
Breakfast: A very serious smoothie inspired by Laura made with cucumber, spinach, avocado, carrots, blueberries, blackberries, nectarine, dates, lemon and ginger. It worked!
Lunch: What I call “pretend tacos”, and my use for day 7 leftovers – refried black beans and mango salsa with avocado served in little gem lettuce taco “shells”. On the side, more leftovers: butternut squash and cabbage salad with lime, mint and cilantro.
Dinner: Black bean soup made very lazily by blending refried black beans with veggie stock. It was actually awesome and I’d do it again, maybe adding carrots to the mix. To garnish: the rest of the leftover butternut squash, white onion and avocado.
Breakfast: Black and blue berry breakfast smoothie with avocado, mint, dates and a dash of orange flower water (I highly recommend that dash – inspired by Persepolis!)
Lunch: Pub lunch in the sun with my neighbours at The Old Lodge on Minchinhampton Common. I had hake and steamed vegetables with pesto. Fizzy water to drink (detox success: I resisted my neighbour’s Prosecco temptation).
Breakfast: Smoothie with 100g nectarine, 60g mango, 60g avocado, 80ml avocado, 1 date and a handful of mint. Highly enjoyable.
Lunch: Curried courgette soup – leftovers from Day 2
Dinner: Refried black beans, roast butternut squash, lime and cilantro coleslaw, fruit and avocado salsa
Another Airbnb dinner and the request was Mexican, so I made Rachel’s awesome frijoles negros to go with roast butternut squash and feta mole enchiladas (adapted from Rachel’s vegetarian tamales) along with the usual Mexican rice, salsas, guacamole, and corn chips. Really the only things off the radar were the corn tortillas and rice; I made a fruit salsa so that I could partake in some tomato-less salsa action (made with nectarine, mango, pomegranate, lime, coriander, avocado, salt and pepper). All in all, a great dinner and really nice conversation with my Aussie guests. That isn’t to say I wasn’t a little envious of their dinner…
Lunch: Chipotle bean soup with avocado (leftovers rule). I’m in love with this stuff – it’s my substitute for veggie chilli, which I can’t really have on the detox because it usually includes tomatoes. More on the soup in Clean Detox Day 3.
Once again I am appreciating that this detox is not socially exclusive. I was able to have dinner with my guests, partaking of the detox friendly items – the cauliflower salad (sans tomatoes), the grilled courgettes and little gems and the brown rice. Best of all everything was super delicious and the guests were thrilled – I basically made them food I would want to eat the night before a long flight and I think it was their ideal, too.
And as a detox learning, I think I’m going to do this grilled veg + grain (+ beans in the future) thing more often. It’s so easy and especially tasty when using salsa macha as the oil for basting the veggies (a trick I stumbled upon at my recent campout in Minchinhampton, where I first learned of this whole detox malarkey!).
My friend Shweta sent me a link to a few smoothie recipes that recently appeared in an Emerald Street newsletter (some kind of style and fashion newsletter, no wonder I missed it). One smoothie in particular caught my eye: an “Enzyme-Rich” juice full of green stuff: cucumber, celery, parsley, mint and spinach. So I gave it a try yesterday, adding a pear because my mind hasn’t yet quite grasped the idea of a smoothie without fruit in it.
The result was kind of amazing. I can’t say I’d have this smoothie every morning, but it does have its place in the lexicon of liquid breakfasts. It was particularly good after a hard workout – the cold, almost savoury juice, tart from the addition of lemon, is super refreshing. Not to mention hydrating… this recipe almost filled the jug of the Vitamix and I drank the whole thing.
Breakfast Smoothie: 1/2 pear, 1/2 nectarine, 1/4 avocado, 1cm piece of ginger, 1 date, ice and water. This was delicious but not substantial enough.
Lunch: Broiled salmon with cucumber, red onion and parsley “salsa” dressed with lemon and tahini, garnished with pine nuts and pomegranate. This was good but I think a firm white fish would do better in this context. This meal also made me miss tomatoes.
Dinner: Chipotle bean soup with lime-pickled onions, swiss chard and avocado, adapted from this recipe. My adaptations: I used some pinto-like beans I brought back from spain and cooked it by whizzing all of the ingredients in the Vitamix on high for 7 minutes, making this a VERY easy soup to make. And it was tasty; kind of like bean dip in soup form. But I might have gone overboard on the garnishes. Read on…
As I’ve mentioned, the Clean detox programme calls for two liquid and one solid meals per day, with the liquid meals ideally timed for lunch and dinner. On days 1 and 2 I saved my solid meal for dinner, but on Day 3 I decided to go for optimal and made a chipotle beans soup based on this recipe: Chipotle black bean soup with lime-pickled onions. The soup was great, and I couldn’t resist adding a few garnishes… it started with the lime-pickled onions, then extended to avocado… and then I added a pile of steamed chard which I think turned this from a pureed soup into more of a stew. I also had a few romaine leaves and dipped them in the soup as if they were corn chips (as if).
I don’t know if these “solid” soup injections constitute cheating or not, but it was good and made it a far more pleasurable and varied meal.
Two other notes of interest:
This morning I had my first Primal Fitness workout since starting the Clean Detox. It was tough but not impossible. However, I struggled a LOT with hunger yesterday and I think I definitely need to beef up (not literally) my morning smoothie. I’m open to any and all suggestions for injecting more protein into my diet without resorting to protein powders or supplements.
I’m sleeping very well at the moment – a solid 8 hours per night. I think this is a combination of eating well, particularly at night, and exercise. It feels good, but I’m not exactly a powerhouse of productivity during the day… I feel very unfocused lately and tend to crash at about 3 or 4pm, which might be caffeine withdrawal.