Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tip of the Month: Summer Smoothies

I have to start this post by apologizing for my week-long, unplanned blogging hiatus! My sister and her kids are visiting from out of town, and spending lots of time with them - combined with a crazily busy week at work- added up to precious little time for blogging. I've been cooking up a storm, though, so I have lots of new recipes to share! First, though, a new kitchen tip...

I've become a big fan of smoothies lately: I've been making one for breakfast every morning for the last month or so. Smoothies have a few things going for them that I've deemed worthy of my admiration: they're cold (so refreshing in the oppressive summer heat - anyone else ready for fall?!); they're easy to throw together (I can make them on weekday mornings); and they're portable, (I don't have to stop everything I'm doing to sit down and eat breakfast). I use a fairly simple formula for making my smoothies - just fruit, yogurt, juice, and...

A tablespoon of ground flax seed. Have you heard all the buzz about flax seed? I know I'm a bit slow on this, but I've recently jumped aboard the flax bandwagon and am feeling quite virtuous for doing so, so bear with me for a moment. Flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. Studies have found that the Omega-3 acids and lignans in flaxseed may benefit the heart, posess anti-cancer properties, and possibly even help to reduce the size of some tumors (based on research done on laboratory mice). It also can reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis, Parkinson's disease, and asthma, help lower cholesterol, and stabilize blood sugar levels. Pretty impressive, I think! You can read more about the health benefits of flax here. You can purchase flax in whole seeds, or in ground flaxseed meal...the ground flax allows your body to get more of the benefits than the whole seeds. It has a nutty, earthy flavor that isn't entirely unpleasant, but honestly isn't something I've totally fallen in love with either. That's why I've been putting a tablespoon in my breakfast smoothies...the flavor of the flax is barely noticeable amid the fruit and yogurt, and the texture isn't much different than if you added, say wheat germ or protein powder to your smoothie.

So, did I talk you into trying a smoothie for breakfast? I don't generally stick to a recipe, I just follow a basic formula and use whatever fruit and yogurt combination sounds good to me. Lately, I've been drinking mango-peach smoothies every morning, but banana-strawberry is another of my favorites. If you want a basic "smoothie formula" to follow, you can find that here. Happy drinking!

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