You should know that this isn’t my idea. It’s my girlfriend Katie’s idea.
We were working one morning at MFF, and stopped in at our local deli to get smoothies. A morning smoothie is somewhat of a ritual for us; I make the coffee, Katie makes the smoothies, and we double fist our way to glory.
It’s like plugging in your Prius and adding methanol. If a Prius were to work that way.
On this particular morning, Katie looked at me and asked, “Why don’t people do this instead of orange juice in the morning? It tastes the same, and it’s so much healthier!”
The specific smoothie we were having was part of a game I’ve been playing, called “Add whatever the hell you want, include some OJ and vanilla protein, and it will still taste like a creamsicle.” Folks, this is a game that I have not lost yet. Heaping combinations of kale, spinach, blueberries, strawberries, mangos, bananas, beets…whatever they’ve got on hand, or we have in our kitchen. So far, I always win; it tastes like an orange creamsicle.
Fast forward to this morning. I’m sitting on the Long Island Rail Road, heading to get my bike from my (formerly) local bike shop. I didn’t want to build a greens smoothie this morning, so I opted to buy one instead. Here it is:
This 32oz. cup includes kale, spinach, blueberries, mango, and protein powder. It was $9.47. I know what you’re thinking: “Harold, it’s ludicrous that vegetables would cost that much. Only an idiot would pay for that.”
Nay, says I, the Vegetable Vanquisher. Only an idiot would pay for an OJ and a scone, but not this. Only an idiot would purchase a Trenta Frappachino, but not this., only an idiot would pay $10 for a drink at a bar, but not for a smoothie.
Alas… It doesn’t work that way.
You’re not an idiot if you don’t try new things. Or for eating your vegetables. Or for not drinking a greens smoothie. While we’re on it, doing any of those things doesn’t make you a better person. Hell, I’ve hated vegetables for most of my life, and still struggle to eat them. Can you tell? Not unless you have ORAC-value glasses or vegetarian vision!
Over the weekend one of MFF’s super Ninjas, Stella Kaufman, wrote an incredible article that discusses emotional eating. You can read that HERE. In the article, she shared something that is essential for all of us to hear:
I doubt there are very many people in America that know that high quantities of processed food can negatively impact their health. I doubt many people need to “learn” that refined sugar or shelf-stable fats can have negative repercussions. Nobody is eating cereal because it’s healthy.
And yet, nutrition education can be a paralyzing world. It doesn’t help that some of the most preeminent thinkers in foods actively disagree with government recommendations, which differ from the recommendations on the news, which differ from the recommendations on your other source of news. How are you supposed to figure it out?
Well, I’m pretty sure that everyone agrees that replacing more processed foods with less processed foods, like vegetables, is going to be a good idea. So how do we start it?
We start with habits. There’s two that I want to offer you. The first is the habit of a greens smoothie. Why? Because it’s the easiest way of getting yourself more vegetables. However, if the idea of throwing some kale in a blender throws you off, don’t worry about that. Let’s start with the act of trying new things. This is where most of us get thrown off.
“Wait, so you’re telling me that I can’t have the fill-in-the-blank food in my daily routine?”
No, good sir, I’m simply asking you to consider swapping your Splenda for a smoothie. I would promise you that it’s not as bad as it may look, but I don’t want you to trust me. I want you to trust you. I want you to trust YOU. If you’re confident that you can make that first decision on your own, it’s far more likely that you’ll be able to continue along the way.
In a vegetable consumption dream world, we’d have 4oz of fruit and vegetable smoothies being sampled outside of every supermarket in the world. Let’s up the ante, and put them in front of our morning bakery, too. I’ve always believed that fitness professionals are obligated to pass on the best information to their clients, and after reading Conscious Capitalism from the founder of Whole Foods, I believe that food purveyors have the same responsibility.
Until your bakery is blending your beets, it’s on us. That’s you, and that’s me. As great as a greens smoothie may be for you, I’d rather not tell you to drink one. Nobody does well being told what to do. It’s our inherent resistance. Rather, when you’re ready… and I want you to be confident that you’re ready… consider opting for that smoothie. Hell, I’ll even share mine with you. Seriously, find me in NYC and it’s yours.
Or, and this is likely far easier, you can purchase one of your own. Or you can pick up the ingredients and make it yourself. My favorite? Spinach, kale, blueberries, mangos, vanilla protein. Water and ice for consistency. Maybe a splash of OJ if you want it sweeter. It’s a great reward for deviating from the norm.
Will that use up some willpower? It sure might. It might, and when it goes from a new action, to a regular behavior, to an unconscious habit, you’re going to be just fine.