by Cat, Aug 2007 (and updated many times) (photo, right, by Cat)
Most mornings I prepare a protein smoothie chock full of whole foods to give me a great start to my day. (Alternately I have granola or a hot cereal topped with yogurt and fruit). This smoothie sounds complicated because of the long list of ingredients, but I just measure it all into my blender and blend it up.
Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D, whose opinions I regard highly, recently recommended Ample Meal as a ‘meal in a bottle’ alternative to a smoothie. See Alternatives to My Morning Smoothie for more.
- See also: 1. Almond Milk; 2. Coconut Milk; 3. Nut & Seed Milk; 4. Coddled Egg; 5. Cottage Cheese; 6. Yogurt; 7. Kefir; 8. Alternatives to My Morning Smoothie; 9. Adding Greens to a Breakfast Smoothie; 10. Beverage Menu for other smoothie recipes
- This article includes: 1. Notes on Ingredients; 2. Lo-carb, Hi-carb; 3. Heavy metal detox; 4. Smoothie recipe; 5. References
Notes on Ingredients in My Morning Smoothie
The following are discussed in detail, below the recipe:
- Yogurt, etc.
- Orange or lemon peel
- Omega-3 fats
- FOS or Inulin
- Mushroom powders
>> A lo-carb diet is high on fats and low on fruits and hi-carb veggies. There are two types:
- The standard lo-carb diet is designed for weight loss; it is low in carbs, and high in protein and fat.
- The ketogenic diet is designed to reset metabolism, and is low in carbs, moderate in protein and higher in fats (than the Adkins diet); it is not designed for weight-loss, though you may indeed lose weight.
>> A hi-carb or low-fat diet is high in carbs, especially fruits and high-carb veggies such as dried beans & peas, and quite low on fats and oils.
I have tried both types of diet but find I do best on a ketogenic diet, as my body prefers to burn fat for calories, and has difficulty metabolizing carbs properly. For a Ketogenic Smoothie, follow the lo-carb/ketogenic options in the recipe.
Where these diets differ in amounts, I specify lo-carb and hi-carb amounts for the following ingredients:
Note that the fish, cod liver and optional butter oil amounts are independent of lo- or hi-carb diets – that is, recommended for everyone. Generally speaking, these oils are used in the cell membranes and are not burned for calories.
A note about the carbs in milk products:
- Milk contains lactose, a type of sugar that most adults do not break down into its simple-sugar carb components (glucose and galactose), and thus do not burn lactose for fuel (calories). Instead, the good bugs in our guts treat it like fiber, and turn it into lactic acid and other acids that are not considered carbs. But carb data for milk assumes that all the lactose is burned for calories, and include lactose in the carb count. Because I do not consider milk as a carb food, I only include about 10% of the listed milk carbs in the total carb count.
- Yogurt and other cultured milk products have very little lactose remaining because the yogurt culture bugs have already turned it into lactic acid, which is not a carb. Therefore, I do not consider yogurt and sour cream as a carb food, and don’t include any of the listed carbs in the total carb count. However, kefir contains complex carbs (good carbs) such as kefiran, which need to be counted.
- Most of us have mercury toxicity from silver amalgam fillings in our teeth;
- Baby boomers have lead toxicity from exposure gasoline fumes prior to 1975, and to house paint prior to 1978.
- Many have cadmium toxicity from tobacco smoke; other possible heavy metals in tobacco are chromium, lead and nickel
If you are struggling with heavy metal toxicity, consider adding to your daily diet: Cilantro (an herb) and chlorella (an algae) in a two-step process:
- Fresh cilantro herb or fresh cilantro tincture mobilizes mercury from cells into blood. It’s important to take this first (before chlorella), and to take it before a meal;
- Broken cell-wall chlorella (a type of glue-green algae) binds to mercury in soft tissues and blood so it can be carried out via the stool. If you add this to your smoothie, use ¼ – 1 tsp of powder (start with the lower amount and work up slowly; it has a strong bitter flavor that will overwhelm your smoothie until you get used to it. Or take as tablets. Include this with a meal(s), after taking cilantro. I do not list this in the recipe below, because of this complexity, but you can certainly add it.
Full Meal Smoothie Recipe
This recipe fills a 10-oz glass twice, with a little left-over. I drink one glass in morning and the other glass in the afternoon (if hi-carb) or before bed (if lo-carb).
I use a combo of milk and heavy cream in my smoothie to support my ketogenic eating plan (to reset my metabolism) – I call this a Ketogenic Smoothie; see lo-carb/ketogenic options in the recipe. You could use coconut oil or MCT oil instead of the cream (per coconut diet). Or, if you don’t want that much fat, use all milk or coconut milk.
For the fresh and frozen fruits and greens used in the recipe, it is very important to use Organic or home-grown without chemicals, because these foods are used raw. Wash well before using.
Mix this up in your blender.
- raw goat or cow’s milk,* or diluted organic coconut milk* (refer to separate recipe; do not use lite coconut milk):
- lo-carb: ⅓ cup;
- hi-carb: ⅔ – 1 cup
- raw heavy cream* (or 1 – 2 Tbsp extra virgin Organic coconut oil, MCT oil or coconut cream*) only for ketogenic diet:
- lo-carb: ⅓ cup;
- hi-carb: none
- ⅓ – ½ cup homemade yogurt or kefir * (made from raw milk, from pastured goat, sheep or cows)
- 2 – 4 Tbsp strong Organic green tea (I make a quart at a time, with 4-5 bags of green tea, and store it in the fridge)
- ½ Tbsp (1 ½ tsp) fish oil or single serving squid or krill oil*
- 1 tsp fermented, high-vitamin cod liver oil*
- 1 tsp butter oil* (fall and winter only)
- 2 – 4 Tbsp diluted, unsweetened cranberry juice (optional; especially good if you have bladder infections)*
- raw goat or cow’s milk,* or diluted organic coconut milk* (refer to separate recipe; do not use lite coconut milk):
- Protein; choose only one, or use only ½ or ⅓ of each:
- 2 raw or coddled Local or Organic, free-range Eggs*; OR
- ½ cup Cottage Cheese* with live probiotics (from local, pasture-raised dairy animals): OR
- protein powder: use the amount recommended on the container to provide 12 – 16 grams protein. Choose only high-quality, low-temperature processed milk, egg, whey, rice or pea protein powders. I do not recommend soy powders unless the soy has been fermented. I use Bob’s Red Mill Whey Protein powder because it is processed at low temperature
- Fruits (all, or any combination):*
- a wedge of avocado, with peel removed; I use ¼ of a small, or ⅛ of a large avocado; this provides fruit and fat benefits
- ⅛ fresh organic orange: pulp as well as pith & zest of peel cut into thin slivers OR ½ Tbsp lacto-fermented Orange and/or Lemon Marmalade
- fresh organic apple, cut into wedges:
- lo-carb: ½ small or ¼ large;
- hi-carb: 1 small or ½ large
- fresh or frozen organic peach, mango or papaya:
- lo-carb: 0.3 oz;
- hi-carb: 0.75 oz
- frozen organic blackberries, raspberries or blueberries:
- lo-carb: 0.7 oz;
- hi-carb: 1.5 oz
- organic banana (slightly green, and no black on peel):
- lo-carb: 2.0 – 2.5 oz;
- hi-carb: whole banana
- organic green banana (totally green – no yellow), optional:
- lo- and high-carb: 2.0 – 2.5 oz
- Fresh Greens (one or two in any combination):
- stinging nettle, blanched 2 min in boiling water (4)
- kale, 1 -2 leaves depending on size
- bok choy, 2 leaves
- spinach leaves, small handful baby spinach
- turnip or radish greens, 3 – 4 leaves
- beet greens or chard (1 -2 leaves); can also add small chunks of raw beetroot
- carrot greens; can also add small pieces of raw carrot root
- 1 -2 sprigs parsley
- 1 Tbsp green food powder (optional; can also use wheat grass juice, or fresh greens; I use Jarrow’s Green Defense or Mercola’s Organic Greens)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp freshly ground Organic flax seeds (I grind them myself)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp non-GMO lecithin granules (optional, for liver health)
- ½ tsp Acerola powder (natural vitamin C, optional)
- ½ – 1 tsp liver powder (for heme-iron, if you don’t regularly eat liver)
- ½ – 1 tsp D-mannose powder (optional, if you have kidney/bladder issues)
- ½ – 1 tsp Bob’s Red Mill sweet dairy whey* (optional as a sweetener, and to feed your probiotics)
- ¼ – 1 tsp FOS or inulin powder* (optional, to feed your probiotics; if you use totally green banana, you don’t need to add this)
- ¼ – ½ tsp L-glutamine powder (for intestinal health); I do 1 week on, 1 week off
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp potassium chloride powder (optional, if you are low on potassium; used primarily for heart health and muscle relaxation)
- ⅛ tsp maitake or other mushroom powder (optional, for overall health) (I use VitaJing brand)*
- ⅛ tsp crushed, dried stevia leaves or 1 – 4 drops liquid stevia extract* (optional as a sweetener)
- 1/16 – ¼ tsp myo-inositol powder (optional; recommended for those with insulin resistance/type-2 diabetes
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, for Lipoic Acid, Chromium, Selenium and B-vitamins) NOTE: I no longer use this because of a food sensitivity to MSG produced by the yeast
- Spices (all, or any combination):
- ¼ tsp powdered fenugreek
- ¼ tsp powdered ginger; I’ve recently started adding fermented ginger
- ¼ tsp powdered turmeric
- ¼ – 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
‘* see Notes on Ingredients, below
- Pour milk and cream or coconut milk into blender. Add other liquids and cottage cheese (if using);
- Add orange (pulp & peel slivers) or marmalade and fresh greens and blend at low speed until thoroughly blended, adding egg while blender is spinning;
- Add powders (including protein powder, if using) and spices and blend again;
- Add remaining fruits and blend well, scraping sides of blender jar.
Notes on Ingredients
I use raw dairy milk, or diluted organic Coconut Milk, if fresh raw milk is not available. Local pasteurized milk can also be used (but commercial ultra-pasteurized milk is not recommended). Another option is Almond Milk.
I do not recommend using “lite” coconut milk, which is made from the final pressing of coconut meat, left over from the making of whole coconut milk. Because of this, it does not contain many of the beneficial fatty acids and other nutrients found in whole coconut milk. Instead, I recommend diluting whole coconut milk with filtered water (see my recipe for Coconut Milk Substitute for Dairy Milk in my article on Coconut Milk.
I culture my own Yogurt and Kefir out of fresh raw milk, 1 quart of each at a time. When I cannot get raw milk, I buy whole, pasteurized but not homogenized milk from a local biodynamic organic dairy (Lifeline Dairy (10)) or a local commercial dairy (Kalispell Kreamery (11)) to make my cultured products. Culturing gives it a longer shelf life, makes it easier to digest, and provides beneficial probiotic organisms.
Commercial yogurt must contain B. Bulgaricus and S. thermophilus to be called yogurt; L. acidophilus, Bifidus or other probiotics may also be included. While yogurt’s microorganisms will not colonize in the human gut, they provide an acidic environment that will help your own native microbes to proliferate.
Kefir’s microbes vary depending on whether it is made with kefir grains, or powdered culture; however, either way, it includes both friendly bacteria and yeasts, some of which may colonize in the human gut. Like yogurt, they provide an acidic environment that will help your own native microbes to proliferate.
All cultured dairy products provide protein and important bioavailable minerals such as calcium.
The spices in my smoothy (fenugreek, ginger, turmeric & cinnamon) all help with inflammation (like arthritis, heart disease) and blood sugar control, and they give it a wonderful flavor! Start with a pinch of each and work your way up. You may also want to start with the sweeter ones first (fenugreek and cinnamon), then when you are used to that, add ginger and finally turmeric. For more on these spices, refer to my article on Spices: Ancient Medicine Through Food.
NOTE about cinnamon: It contains oils toxic to the liver if taken in large doses. However if you use a water extract of cinnamon, you can avoid the toxins because they stay in the oil fraction. See Cinnamon: treatment for blood sugar and insulin sensitivity for instructions on obtaining the water extract.
I recently received an email from a reader who suggests adding freshly ground black pepper, which enhances the effect of the other spices; see Natural Remedies Cures (1) for more. He also suggests that these spices are included in many curry spice mixtures, so to save time, you could just add curry powder. However, freshly ground spices are always the best.
This same emailer told me about the research of Dr. Peter Rouse, on adding coconut oil (or similar fats) and fenugreek to post-workout whey protein drinks, in order to reduce gluconeogenesis (converting protein to sugar). This study showed that adding coconut or similar fats [such as raw dairy fat] greatly decreased the drop in blood sugar resulting from the insulin spike from the whey. Adding fenugreek to the mix enhances this effect, so that the decrease in blood sugar is about one-tenth of the original drop.
So perhaps I was unknowingly on to something with this recipe. You can listen to a podcast of an interview with Dr. Rouse on Super Human Radio.com (2).
Orange or Lemon Peel:
Be sure to use Organic citrus, to avoid toxic chemicals sprayed on the fruit.
The citrus peel is essential, and can be slightly bitter, so start with just a few thin slivers to see how it tastes in the smoothie. If you can taste and don’t like the bitter, add a pinch of baking soda. The peel adds vital bioflavonoids (from the white pith) to work with the Vitamin C in the pulp. It also adds wonderful orange- or lemon-oil flavor (from the yellow zest part). Be sure to use both the zest and pithy parts of the peel; the zest provides the flavorful oils; the pith provides the bioflavonoids.
However, the yellow part of orange peel is said to contain toxins not present in lemon peel (limonene is a solvent used in citrus cleaning solutions; and citral, an aldehyde that antagonizes the action of vitamin A). If these are of concern to you, eliminate the zest. However, please consider:
- Limonene (from orange peel) has been demonstrated to have low toxicity (from D-Limonene: Safety and Clinical Applications (3);
- Citral (from orange peel) is considered toxic because it and vitamin A are mutual antagonists, so if you consume much citrus peel, be sure your vitamin-A intake is sufficient. That is, sufficient vitamin A reduces the toxicity of citral. (from Wikipedia on orange peel (4), American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (5), Journal of Embryology (6)).
Alternately, instead of fresh citrus, you could make Lacto-fermented Citrus Marmalade (without much sugar) which deactivates (by fermentation) much of the toxins in the zest, and would also increase the probiotics in the smoothie.
I think the base of apples is important because, as we all know, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. It is rich in the fiber known as pectin, and if you include the peel it is also very rich in antioxidants.
Some people don’t like to combine citrus with other fruits, as this combo can be acidifying, but this recipe calls for such a small amount of orange pulp (1/8 of an orange) that I can’t see the harm, and I’m not totally convinced that the food-combining people have it right.
I consider banana essential, as it provides needed potassium (when I skip it for several days, I experience leg cramps) and inulin fiber. One that is still slightly green, or at least no dark brown spots or lines on the peel, is high in this fiber and lower in sugar (fructose) than a fully ripe banana. A totally green banana is very low in sugar; instead it is rich in resistant starch (links to my old site) – starch that acts like fiber than sugar, and is excellent feed for your gut microbes.
For the additional fruits, my fav combo is peach (or mango), and blackberries. But feel free to experiment with using different fruits in this recipe; try to include one from each category: stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, or mangos) and berries (blackberries, marionberries, blueberries, huckleberries, or raspberries.
Tart cherries might be especially helpful for those with arthritis or circulatory problems. Papaya is another great fruit, but most commercial papaya are GMO.
I also add diluted 100% cranberry juice, to help keep my urinary tract clean. I add filtered water to about 1/2 – 2/3 cup 100% cranberry juice in a quart jar, then use a portion in each smoothie. Another option would be to add chopped fresh cranberries to the citrus mix when you make marmalade. Or add a spoonful of my Fermented Cranberry-Orange Relish to the smoothie.
You can use high-quality, preferably Organic protein powder in your smoothie, enough to provide 12 – 24 g protein. But these are considered processed foods, so if you really want a whole-food breakfast, I suggest using 2 Coddled Eggs; (provides 16 g protein, also lecithin and essential fats, among many nutrients) and/or ½ cup Cottage Cheese with live culture (provides 12 g protein).
I learned this the hard way, as I developed food sensitivity issues with all the protein powders I tried (Organic brown rice protein; Organic, low-heat-treated whey protein; Organic green pea protein), because the processing of the dried powder produces MSG. I absolutely do not recommend soy protein powders unless the soy has been fermented first.
Lecithin is essential for the health of the liver, as it is an excellent source of choline, needed to support the liver and the formation of bile. If you use raw or coddled eggs in your smoothie, they provide lecithin. Otherwise you can add lecithin powder. Note that most lecithin powder is made from GMO soy, but NOW Foods offers a non-GMO product. Another option is to take non-GMO sunflower lecithin or egg lecithin capsules as a supplement.
MCT or ‘medium-chain triglyceride’ oils include caproic (C6), Caprylic(C8), Capric (C10) and Lauric (C12) fatty acids in varying amounts.
MCT oil is man-made from plant oils that are high in medium chain fatty acids, such as coconut oil. The process requires fractionation, which involves removing the fatty acids from the glycerine backbone, separating out the medium-chain fatty acids (have 6 – 12 carbons), then recombining them with glycerine to make new triglycerides. (14)
I note that the human body is very fussy about which of the 3 positions on the glycerine backbone each different fatty acid is attached, but the chemical process to recombine the fatty acids with the glycerine backbone is random.
For this reason, I am reluctant to use MCT oil and prefer to get my medium-chain fatty acids from raw dairy and coconut oil (plus I take supplemental caprylic acid gel-caps). I don’t use Palm Kernel Oil because the palm oil industry is deforesting tropical islands.
Flax seed oil, a source of ALA Omega-3 which I get from the ground flax seeds in my smoothie, is favored by vegetarians/vegans, but I believe we also need fish-based Omega-3s. Human metabolism requires Omega-3’s in the form of EPA and DHA, which are only available from animal sources, primarily fish. While the ALA in flax oil can in theory be converted to EPA and DHA, a negative feedback mechanism may prevent this from happening if your main source of Omega-3’s is from flax seeds.
To grind your own flax seeds, don’t use a coffee grinder–you’ll wear it out. A friend gave me a Revel Wet and Dry seed grinder that I just love; it is made in India where they grind all their own spices right before using (NOTE: be sure to get 120V for US). See References & sources, below. You can also use this grinder to grind spices.
Fish oil provides higher levels of EPA than DHA (I use Carlson’s brand).
Cod liver oil provides higher levels of DHA than EPA (I use Green Pastures brand of fermented cod liver oil, from Live Superfoods, Radiant Life, or My Healthy Supplements (13); I used to use Dr. Ron’s (8) but he no longer sells it). Fermented cod liver oil provides higher levels of vitamins A and D than other types – the vitamins are never removed from the oil, and the fermentation increases the levels; whereas other brands remove the vitamins before processing and then add some of them back, usually as synthetic versions. Note that fermented cod liver oil has a very strong zing, so either bury the oil in a smoothie, or take it in capsules.
Garden of Life (7) is another good brand of cod liver oil, but it is not fermented so you need to use twice as much to get the same amount of vitamin A. Carlson’s is a popular brand, but has low levels of natural vitamins.
Grass-fed Butter Oil (from Dr Ron’s (8)) is a concentrated oil from butter (from pasture-fed cows), and provides several hard-to-get nutrients (because available only in the butterfat from cows fed on fast-growing green pasture in the springtime). Dr. Weston Price found that it enhances the health-giving effects of cod liver oil if administered together. I use this oil only in fall and winter, because I eat a fair amount of butter from grass-fed cows during spring and summer.
FOS or Inulin Powder
This is a type of fiber made from fructose, that the good bugs in your intestines just love. I no longer use this because I get my inulin from not-quite-ripe bananas.
This short chain fiber is not digestible by humans, without the help of the good bacteria (probiotics) in our intestines. Start with a small amount, as you could develop quite a bit of gas until your system gets used to it. Then work your way up to 1 teaspoon or more of the powder daily. Most inulin is derived from jerusalem artichokes (sun chokes). Steaming a choke instead of using refined inulin is probably a better choice.
A slightly green banana is also rich in inulin. But as the fruit ripens, the inulin is broken down into fructose. So be sure to choose a banana without any black on the peel.
Totally green bananas (difficult to remove the peel) are rich in inulin and Resistant Starch (links to my old site), and are a recommended addition. They are not very sweet.
This is a recent addition to my smoothie. I started with Fungiology brand (12) Cordyceps powder to help normalize my candida levels, then added their Maitake powder for my overall health and to boost my immune system. You only use a small amount and cannot taste them in the smoothie, but their health benefits are huge.
NOTE: Fungiology stopped selling the powders except in capsules, so I switched to Vitajing brand.
Alternately, you can take mushroom powders supplementally in capsules.
I find that the fruits, especially the banana, along with the sweet dairy whey provides enough sweet in the smoothie for me. Sweet dairy whey is primarily lactose or milk sugar, which is great food for your probiotics. However, if you have lactose intolerance, you should probably avoid this ingredient. Also, use only low-temperature dried sweet dairy whey, such as that from Bob’s Red Mill.
Stevia herb is an excellent sweetener. The amount to use varies with the form of stevia; the amount mentioned in my recipe is for crushed, dried stevia leaves (green in color). If you use stevia extract powder (white in color), you will need much less. See my Stevia (About) article for more. Buy the crushed dried green leaves of the stevia plant for the best flavor in the smoothie; stevia liquid extract or stevia extract powder can also be used, but the dried leaves are a whole food and thus much better for you. How much of the green leaves (crushed or ground into a powder) to use: start with about ⅛ tsp of the powder, which has the sweetness of 1 – 2 tsp sugar. See Stevia (about) for more.
You might be tempted to use agave nectar to sweeten the smoothie, because it contains inulin. However, if the nectar is as sweet as (or sweeter than) a slightly green banana, most of the inulin has been converted to fructose by a process using GMO bacteria, the same used to make high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). See my pdf article originally from The EssentiaList Sweet Cravings series: Part 2: Corn Syrups, Agave Nectar & Aguamiel (pdf).
References & Sources:
- Dr. Rouse interview: superhumanradio.com/super-human-radio-show/567-paleo-feet-plus-does-whey-fat-blunt-gluconeogenesis.html
- D-Limonene: Safety and Clinical Applications, from Alt. Medicine Review: findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FDN/is_3_12/ai_n27421819/
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: ajcn.org/content/71/4/878.full
- Journal of Embryology: dev.biologists.org/content/11/1/279.full.pdf
- lifelinefarm.com in Hamilton MT
- kalispellkreamery.com in Kalispell MT
- fungiology.com or iherb.com/Fungiology
- Live Superfoods, Radiant Life, or My Healthy Supplements
Flax seed grinders:
- Bombay Limited Wet Grinder, bombaylimited.com. Contact: 1414 gladepoint Dr., Coppell TX 75019. firstname.lastname@example.org 314-692-8085.
- Kaboodle, kaboodle.com (this is not the same as Kitchen Kaboodle)
- hotdishes.com, hotdishes.com; contact 408-531-1342, 10-5 Pacific Time. They consider it a ‘mixer’ rather than a grinder.
- Herb Mentor on stinging nettles:learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/nettles