| 1002 words

There's a funny rhythm when it comes to writing these. Sometimes I get a whole bunch of ideas right at once for a series of word vomits. A nice diversity of them that gives me a couple weeks of content that I can write about. The funny part is that this often happens all at once, meaning I space out my ideas over a week or two. These tend to be the more inspired posts, like discussing the 4 elements from Avatar, or dissecting a Desi wedding.

Other times, I don't really have anything planned to say. When there's longer gaps between posts, this is probably what's going on. I still know I have to write something, because I can't just give up whenever I feel lazy. So then I tend to write like I'm doing now. Feeling it out as I go. Less planned, more spontaneous.

It's morning for me, so maybe I can discuss my breakfast routine. I actually typically don't enjoy breakfast. Primarily because I don't want to put any effort into cooking at the start of the day. I like to take things slow in the morning, and either allow myself to relax on a weekend or sleep in as late as possible before work. Neither of those are conducive to cooking.

The other big factor is I just don't eat very much. Being hungry doesn't bother me, and without eating I can often go all the way to the afternoon before I'm hungry enough to be bothered. When I do eat something in the morning it's something quick and easy like a granola bar or cup of yogurt, just to tide me to my next meal.

Of course, on weekends when I'm home all day I need to eat something. That's why I started experimenting with smoothies. I think smoothies are ideal for a few reasons. They barely require any work to make, they can be customized to many different flavour profiles (typically fruity which is great since I love fruits), and they're fairly nutritious and can fuel you for hours. Other good candidates might have been something like oatmeal (I prefer the drinkable form factor) or eggs (the slightly extra effort to make and clean up would probably be too much for me). My smoothies have evolved a lot throughout the years, so let's go on a little smoothie journey.

I started by getting these "smoothie cubes" that you theoretically only had to shake up with milk to turn into a smoothie. I think I was hoping without involving a blender then clean up would be even easier, flavour be damned. Unfortunately, these were a little grainy and not great. Eventually I combined them with whatever fruit I had lying around (usually bananas, these fruits are made for smoothies!) and switched to blending.

I experimented with a lot of modifications like adding granola, adding cinammon, different milks, but fundamentally the banana + smoothie cube + milk formula was pretty great, super easy to make, and varied enough to get me through my last couple of years of university. Who knows, maybe the advertising for the cubes was honest and they were full of superfoods and nutrition boosters that I benefitted from. Really though, I enjoyed being able to make breakfast in less than 5 minutes.

Eventually, when I graduated from university, it became time to graduate my smoothie formula as well. After starting work I now had a much better blender and more varied ingredients. I started with the same basics (milk + banana) but I began experimenting like crazy. Peanut butter, nuts, spices, frozen fruits, ice.

One journey I went on was with coconut flavour. I like coconuts, and wanted to add some of that to the smoothie. I tried coconut milk at first, but it's super thin and also kind of strong. One can only holds enough for two or three smoothies, and it kind of overpowers the other flavours. Then, during my hunt, I found something called coconut butter. I don't really know what this stuff is; it seemed to work well enough but it was pretty solid and hard to get out of the jar. Finally, I landed on virgin coconut oil. This tastes nice and coconutty, and plus since it's an oil it's probably a healthy fat to start the morning with.

I also needed an easy way to thicken the smoothies and add quick calories. I tried chia seeds which worked, but it's easy to add too many which makes the smoothie into sludge and kind of weirdly chunky. Nuts worked great, but I liked eating nuts on their own and didn't want to use them all in smoothies. Greek yogurt also worked well, but it's not enough on its own. Eventually I tried protein powder. Whey protein actually goes great with the milk and adds a dairy flavour which I liked. Plus, you can add as much or as little as you want for thickness and calories. Using greek yogurt + whey protein was the ideal combination for me. Unfortunately they were out of whey last time as they store so I got pea protein which I don't like as much - it has a slight veggie flavour.

Finally here are the takeaways I got from my entire smoothie innovation process.

  • banana is really the best fruit for smoothies. always add one if possible
  • peanut butter is good, but overpowers any fruits involved
  • cold smoothies are better than warm ones. add ice or frozen fruits
  • nuts are a cheap and easy way to add calories and thicken a smoothie
  • greek yogurt makes a watertight seal, so put it at the bottom

Plus, here my current smoothie recipe. Of course, this can and likely will change as I discover new delicious foods.

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • some frozen mango
  • virgin coconut oil
  • protein powder
  • whole milk