The Low-Sugar Smoothie Formula I Use Every Day!

Smoothies make up a huge part of my diet.

In fact, I enjoy a smoothie bowl (just a thicker version of a smoothie, made thicker by adding more ice or frozen ingredients/less liquid) for breakfast nearly every day! 

They're easy to make and take on the go when you're rushed for time. And, you can fill them with a bunch of healthy, nutritious ingredients that can keep you full for a LONG time if you add the right ingredients, like protein, healthy fats and green veggies. 

Why I Opt for Protein/Fat in My Smoothies Instead of Sugar

I don't add a lot of sugar (in fruit or otherwise) to my smoothies.

Why? Because when I do, I find that it skyrockets my blood sugar and then causes it to drop an hour or two later and I'm already hungry again.

That's the problem with most smoothies you'll find at Planet Smoothie or Smoothie King: they're FILLED with tons of fruit. And while fruit isn't bad for you by any means, some of those smoothies are packed with 60+ grams of sugar (which is more than a freakin' Coke!)

Instead, I opt for greens, healthy fats and protein so that my blood sugar levels stay stable, and I'm able to actually fill up on a smoothie and stay fuller for longer. 

Today I wanted to share with you my go-to smoothie recipe. While the actual ingredients of the smoothie change based on what's available in my kitchen, I always follow four simple steps to achieve my delicious, green, filling smoothie.

My Go-To Smoothie Formula

It's pretty similar to the #GPF formula I have all my clients use when creating meals (greens, protein, fat).

1. PROTEIN: I opt for vegan protein powders since whey protein hurts my stomach, and I try to avoid as much dairy as possible because it causes me to break out. 

Add: 1 scoop of protein powder (find my list of best-tasting vegan protein powders here.)

2. HEALTHY FATS: Don't fear the fat! Adding a healthy source of fat is what's going to keep you fuller for longer and stabilize your blood sugar levels.  

Add: Choose one or two of the following: 1/2 avocado, 2 tbsp. chia seeds, 2 tbsp. hemp seeds, 2 tbsp. ground flax seeds or 1 tsp. flax seed oil, 1 tablespoon of nut butter (almond is my favorite), 1 tbsp. coconut oil 

3. GREENS: This is where it gets fun! Hiding greens in my smoothies is one of my favorite things to do, simply because it packs your smoothie full of nutrients without even being able to taste it. 

Add: Choose from an abundance of the following. The more, the merrier: spinach, kale (kale makes your smoothie a bit grainier than spinach, just FYI), mixed greens, arugula, etc. 

4. LIQUIDS: I always use unsweetened almond milk. Any unsweetened nut milk will work, really!

5. SPICES: I also love to sneak in some nutrient-dense spices with anti-inflammatory properties. My favorites are turmeric and cinnamon -- 1 to 2 tsp. of each. 

6. OPTIONAL 1/4-1/2 CUP FROZEN FRUIT: If it's after or before my workout, I'll add in 1/2 a frozen banana or 1/2 cup strawberries or blueberries. The smoothie will taste great without the fruit, but if you're looking for a little somethin' extra, go ahead and add it in.

Putting it All Together

For this particular smoothie, here's how it went down: 

I use a Vitamix which I'm completely obsessed with, and start by adding the liquids first. I added 1ish cups of unsweetend vanilla almond milk (you can always add more later. If you want it to be thick so you can make a smoothie bowl, I recommend adding about 1 cup and adding more as needed.)

Then, I'll add in powders/solid ingredients: protein powder, 1 tbsp. chia seeds, 1/4 avocado, 1 tbsp. almond butter, turmeric, cinnamon. 

Add in greens + frozen ingredients (I've been using frozen spinach because it's much cheaper and actually life changing), plus frozen fruit (I did 1/2 cup strawberries), and 1 cup of ice. 

Wallah!

You're done.

Let me know if you try out my smoothie - and definitely let me know if you feel fuller for longer by incorporating the healthy fats in there :)

xo

Julie

Results of My 3-Day MIND & BODY Cleanse + Would I Do it Again?

Hey babes!

I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to tackle the week ahead.

I always LOVE Mondays because I have an obsession with to-do lists and planning, and I always feel like Monday is a fresh start to accomplish all my goals.

Quick note before we start: do you get emails from Notes from the Universe? If not, you totally should. They send positive goodies like this one straight to your inbox Monday - Friday morning:

Young souls learn to accept responsibility for their actions.

Mature souls learn to accept responsibility for their thoughts.

And old souls, Julie, learn to accept responsibility for their happiness.

Weeeeeeee,
      The Universe

You can sign up here to receive them.

And without further ado... let's chat all things cleansing!

Why I Did the Cleanse

Just to give you a quick recap: I've been running in circles (in the best way) since I got to Canada. From training for my half marathon, to writing every day, to applying for permanent residency and all the little stresses that come along with moving to a new country... I've had my plate and to-do list quite full.

I wanted a few days where I could tune out from the world - mentally and physically - and give myself the time and freedom to MYSELF. The nutritional part of my cleanse was very simple (only liquids) and it cleared up a lot of decision-making surrounding food. The mental part of the cleanse included lots of meditation, yoga and very little social-media checking.

If you want to find out all the details of the cleanse, you can read my initial post about it here.

How I Felt During the Cleanse

During the cleanse, I felt great!

As I mentioned in this post, I started off fasting for the first 24 hours of the cleanse, which felt both spiritually and physically refreshing.

After that, it was all liquids: lots of water, kombucha and smoothies!

The reason I opt for smoothies instead of doing something like a juice cleanse is because protein-based smoothies balance and stabilize your blood sugar more than juicing will.

When you're ONLY drinking juice (or smoothies filled with fruit/sugar, as most smoothies you'd find at Planet Smoothie and the like are), it spikes your blood sugar. Your body has to release insulin to bring your sugar back down. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone, and that roller coaster of UP & DOWN with the blood sugar is what causes you to gain and hold onto weight. You can even become insulin resistant, which in the long run leads to diseases like thyroid problems and diabetes, and makes it MUCH harder to lose weight.

So, I opted for smoothies that contained protein, greens and healthy fats.

If you've followed me for a while or you're a client of mine, you know I always preach #GPF: greens, protein, fat -- even in my smoothies!

I'll write a post tomorrow about my favorite smoothie formula, but a typical smoothie during my cleanse looked like this:

- vegan protein powder
- chia seeds (or flax or hemp)
- heaps of spinach/greens
- 2 tbsp. almond butter (or 1 tbsp. almond butter, 1 tbsp. coconut oil)
- lots of superfood spices like cinnamon, turmeric, etc.
- ice

I usually only include fruit in my smoothies now if it's before or after my workout, simply because that's when my body best utilizes carbs. I have hypothyroidism so I've found that when I'm careful about the portion sizes/timing of my carbs, it makes ALL the difference in my skin (less breakouts), performance (more energy), and sleep (better sleep). I'll do another post about my hypothyroidism later on!

Overall, I felt amazing just having 3 of these smoothies during the day. The formula helps me feel fuller for longer because of the protein and healthy fats, so I didn't really find that I was hungry at all.

I had energy to do hot yoga (err day!), go for long walks, and even lifted on Friday. I saved my long run for this weekend when I was eating solid food again.

How I Felt After the Cleanse + Would I Do it Again?

I talk in my e-book about how I do social media cleanses every so often, and they make ALL the difference for me. If you've never done a 'sweep' of your social media, btw - you totally should. Go through and unfollow all the people you compare yourself to. I always ask myself 'does this person offer value to my life in any way or make me feel good about myself?' and if the answer is no, BUH BYE.

Clearing my day of social media also seemed to create SO MUCH more time in my day, which was great for writing, walking, yoga, work, listening to inspiring podcasts and all the things I truly love to do.

Physically, I would definitely do it again... but I'd probably wait another few months or so.

Is cleansing necessary?

Our bodies naturally detoxify and cleanse themselves through our liver, so it's not necessary to do any type of cleanse, really. Like I said in my original post, I was mainly doing this for the mental benefits that come along with the cleanse rather than the physical (i.e. most people do cleanses to auto-correct after a weekend of shitty food or to try and lose weight).

I tend to avoid EXTREMES as much as possible, which is why I opted for smoothies with nutrient-dense whole foods in this cleanse. That's why it's important to know your intentions for doing a cleanse: are you doing it to lose weight? to 'detox'? to punish yourself for a 'bad' weekend? all of these are signs that it's probably best to avoid a cleanse or restriction. Instead, just get right back on track with eating whole foods, getting out there and sweating, and not beating yourself up over it.

BUT if your intentions are pure and you have good balance in your life already, a cleanse may be a good option to clear your mind and body of all the mental chatter!

See ya tomorrow :)

xoxo

Julie