You may not know this about me, but I have four kids. The youngest of the crew is 5 months old and he likes to rise with the sun. Get a head start on the day, the early bird catches the worm, you snooze you lose…all that stuff. He’s worn out by dinner time and back in bed by 7 PM. Why am I telling you this, you may be wondering?
I am not a morning person. I can’t think clearly before 8 AM. And creativity? No. Not gonna happen. I do my best writing either in the afternoon during nap time or after the little squirt is in bed. But, since my older three kids are often up until 9 PM, that means I keep staying up too late. And dragging through each day.
Ha, you say, not a problem! That’s why someone invented COFFEE. But coffee (and tea, frozen Cokes, Monster drinks, whatever your caffeine of choice) doesn’t really cut it in the long run in the energy department. All that caffeine and sugar brings us crashing down after a while, and then we’re either left exhausted or in need of another cup, creating an endless cycle.
UNTIL TODAY. Because I have great news for you, writer–you can get instant energy without the caffeine or sugar. Coming from somebody averaging 6-7 hours of sleep a night for the last month, I can’t tell you how delighted I am to share this little life hack I just learned about myself.
What’s the secret??? GREEN SMOOTHIES.
No, stop right there. Not those sugary juice/ice concoctions from McDonald’s or Panera or the gas station. I’m talking about a real, made-in-your-own-blender mix of actual fruits and vegetables. Not only will you get instant energy, you’ll get tons of vitamins and fiber to boost your brain and body for the rest of the day.
How did I learn this magical secret? On a recent trip to the library, I stumbled across the book Simple Green Smoothies by Jen Hansard and Jadah Sellner. I’d made smoothies occasionally before, but they never came out quite right. Too chewy. Tasted bad. Looked yucky. But after trying one of their simple recipes (with instructions for people like myself who apparently can’t operate a blender properly), I was sold.
They challenge readers to try 10 days of drinking one smoothie a day. They had me by Day 2. I couldn’t believe how energized I felt. How clearly I could think, even on 6 hours of sleep. And no crash. Just feeling revitalized and healthy the rest of the day. SO MUCH BETTER THAN CAFFEINE! (No, I’m not actually shouting at the computer right now–don’t want to wake the baby.)
I should note that I don’t exercise all that regularly either, but I do tend to eat a healthy diet. I imagine that eating junk food and grease all day might diminish the effects I’ve enjoyed.
But, if you’re game to give it a try, here’s how to get fantastic energy in only 5 minutes by making your own smoothie.
1. Get a blender.
Here’s mine. I bought it on Black Friday at Target a few years ago for maybe $30. You don’t need a $500 Vitamix, although if you want to donate one to me, I won’t turn it down. 🙂
2. Gather ingredients.
The general smoothie recipe for one serving is unbelievably simple:
1 cup spinach + 1 cup water + 1 1/2 cups fruit
That’s it. You can get wild and crazy and sub out different greens, or use almond milk or coconut water, or mix up your fruit selections. You can add extras like almond butter or chia seeds. Hansard and Sellner give tons of recipes and suggestions. Use frozen fruit if you like icy smoothies, avocado or banana for creamier.
Here’s what I’m using today. (Yes, it’s more than the recipe above states, because I’m making enough for me plus my small assistants.) Organic spinach straight from the plastic Earthbound container, half a banana, half an avocado, and frozen mango and pineapple.
3. Blend the spinach and water.
Doing this first helps make sure you don’t have chunky spinach leaves stuck in your teeth later, especially with a “cheap” blender like mine.
4. Add your other ingredients and blend.
Pretty self-explanatory. If for some reason it isn’t blending well, add a little more liquid. Here’s a picture of my spinach/water mix with the other ingredients dumped in.
5. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Mason jars are fun, plus if you have extra for later it’s easy to stick a lid on it and save it in the fridge.
Voila! Five minutes, like I said. If you want to count the prep time for cutting my avocado and banana in half, and washing out the blender afterwards, maybe we’re talking 10 minutes. Infinitely worth it for the amount of energy I’ve had all day.
A rare and slightly blurry selfie of me and my smoothie.
I bet if I could make myself go to bed earlier and start exercising regularly, my limited writing time would become even more productive. But, it’s always better to start with even one good habit than give up because you feel overwhelmed. *Pats self on back*
Give it a try and tell me what you think! And if you already have a favorite smoothie recipe, feel free to share in the comments.
Header image: Pexels.com, CC0 license.