How to make green smoothies without a blender

How to make green smoothies without a blender

Suppose you want to make a green smoothie, but you don’t have access to one of these Vitamix blenders everyone is always talking about?  And suppose you don’t have a Blendtec either, or any of the other fancy blenders that are supposed to do the job perfectly?

Don’t be worried – a regular blender can do the job, too!  There’s a trick to it, however.

The secret is to freeze some cubes of fruit first.  Banana cubes make an ideal choice, as do cubes of watermelon, avocado, or mango.  Strawberries – cut in half first – or other berries also freeze well and without detriment to flavour.

Once the cubes of fruit are frozen, simply throw them into the blender along with the greens and any other fruits you wish to add to the smoothie.  The way that it works is that the frozen cubes of fruit are hard and their edges become sharp while they whizz around in your blender, thus helping to break down the greens into a smooth texture.  If you use a regular blender and unfrozen fruit in a green smoothie, you’ll tend to get an emulsion of fruity water and flecky stringy green bits (from your greens).  But freeze the fruit and voila! your smoothie will blend well and the greens will be evenly blended and distributed throughout the drink.

  • Always remember these few quick tips when you’re making a green smoothie with frozen fruit.
  • Make sure you cut the fruit to be frozen into small cubes.  Big cubes might damage your blender.
  • Always put the greens in with the fruit cubes and water all at once.
  • If you don’t have any frozen fruit ready and you want to make a green smoothie right now, you can always use some ice cubes, but of course this will water down your smoothie, especially if you normally use fruit juice instead of water. If you want to make vegetable or leafy juice, then its better you buy a masticating juicer.
  • When you add the water, be sure it is cold or at least room temperature – not warm or hot.
  • Pulse the smoothie using the pulse button on your blender at few times before turning it up to full blend – this will help chop the fruit cubes up into smaller pieces first.
  • Make sure you add enough liquid. If you don’t, the blender won’t be able to swish everything around in there properly and the chunks won’t break up and the greens won’t blend. Always start with a cup of water, adding more if the smoothie isn’t blending well.

I hope you enjoyed these easy tips for making a green smoothie at home without a Vitamix or high-powered blender!  The green smoothie is attainable by all using these simple tips and freezing your fruit into cubes before blending.  Happy green smoothie days!

Cardio workout for burning excess fat

Looking to burn fat and keep your muscles? If you’re bored with your current cardio routine which includes a long, steady, easy-to-moderate pace on the elliptical, treadmill, or even the bike, and you feel you’ve hit a plateau then it’s time to spice things up a bit!

The next time you hop on the treadmill, try this:

  • Interval. Jog for 1 minute and sprint for 30 seconds. Repeat this 10 times. Want something more challenging? Set your incline to 3%. Still not hard enough for you? Sprint for 1 minute instead of 30 seconds or increase your incline – or, do both.
  • Performing cardio this way will help you burn more calories and continue burning calories even after you’re done exercising. If you get bored with one machine, try this: Mix It Up. Jog and sprint on a treadmill for 10 minutes then get on the elliptical and do the same. Finish off your session with a 10- to 15-minute moderate pace on the StepMill.
  • Interval + Plyometrics. At 1% incline jog for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and jog for 1 minute. Hop off and perform 10 jump squats. Increase the incline to 3% and jog for another 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and jog for 1 minute. Hop off and perform 10 jump lunges on each leg. Increase the incline to 5%, jog for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and run for 1 minute. Hop off and perform 20 pop squats. Increase the incline to 9%, jog for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and run for 1 minute. Hop off and perform 20 jumping jacks. Keep the incline at 9% and jog for 10 minutes.
  • Using an exercise bike: An upright or recumbent exercise bike is a great choice for cardio workout especially for beginners. Similarly like using treadmill or elliptical trainer, you will get all the cardio benefits and more. Exercise bikes are also great for weight loss and maintaining your body features. When you use exercise bike for 30 minutes or more, your lower body muscles get strengthen. You can check out some top exercise bikes of 2019 here.

Make sure you’re getting in a solid stretch and warm-up before and a good cool-down and stretch after. Pair this with proper nutrition and hydration and you’ll be on your way to looking fit and trim in no time! If you’re a newbie, work your way up to these challenges. Start with half the time and half the intensity and increase it every time you are in the gym. Read More

Helping Yourself Help the World

I recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Shot@Life 2018 Champion Summit. It was a 2 and a half day training on how to be an advocate, or Champion, for Shot@Life. Speakers at the conference included pediatricians, Nageeb Sumar from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the editor-in-chief of Real Simple Magazine, retired members of Congress, and others. Other than listening to speakers and in-classroom training, we also got the chance to visit Capitol Hill and speak to members of our state’s congressional office about the importance of supporting global health funding and campaigns such as Shot@Life.

During the conference, I met a number of people who came from different backgrounds. Two of them were bloggers also from Minnesota, pediatricians, a psychologist, a geographer, college students, a blogger who writes in Spanish, book authors, and many others. Meeting them made me even prouder to be considered as part of this group of amazing people, although getting involved in tackling global issues can be a challenge.

Some people may be overwhelmed by all the problems of the world and the large number of different organizations that are out there that they end up giving up. Others might want to solve every problem and join every movement, making them less effective supporters of their causes. The problems of the world are many, but so are we, which is why no one should feel that it is their obligation to solve everything. So I want to share a few things I learned during my travels that will hopefully help you be more effective global agents of change, especially those who are just about to start or have just started getting involved.

  • Focus – What am I interested in? What made me want to be more involved in global conversations? What skills, knowledge, or talents do I have that I think I can use to convey my message of support? I asked myself all these questions in order to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, what cause/s I wanted to support, and/or which organizations I wanted to get involved in. Mind mapping is a great tool to use for this.
  • Educate myself – I realized that it is very important for me to know who/what I’m supporting. There are a lot of organizations that support clean water, education, women’s rights, global health, ending poverty, and many other global issues. Of course, I didn’t learn about all of them in one day. I actually still have a lot more to learn. It takes time, and I have already done a lot of reading, online searching (from credible sources), talking to others, and other forms of research. Doing so helped me determine the differences between organizations and the importance of each issue. This allowed me to make educated decisions when it came down to choosing what cause/s I really wanted to support and/or what organization/s I wanted to be involved in. Also, by educating myself, I became a better advocate of my cause/s, and a more effective supporter of the organizations I’m involved in.
  • Network – There are many people out there who, like myself, want to make a difference in this world. They come from different backgrounds, both professionally and personally. I also found out that building relationships with leaders in my community, from high school student government officers to state Senators, is essential. Not only did I gain a mountain of knowledge from them about policies, public speaking, and the concerns that people in my community have, I also know that I will be a louder voice in their ears, and they will most likely remember what I’m advocating for despite their busy schedules
  • Use social media to my advantage – Twitter was a great way to find out about organizations and individuals that I didn’t know about before. I started following those that I already knew, then checked who they followed. (See articles here for great tips on using Twitter for social good.) I use Instagram to post photos of my travels, whether to conferences or restaurants that give back. I find that photos posted on Instagram get more attention than Twitter because the photos are easily viewable. For both Twitter and Instagram, I’ve been tagging my posts (e.g. #posts) so people can easily follow the thread of conversations or photos I’ve posted. Facebook is also very useful whenever I want to post longer messages, and it also lets me connect with family and friends on a more personal level. There are many other outlets out there that we all could use (e.g. Google+) to get our messages to more people and to learn more about global issues and organizations. A good advice I received, too, is to only create as many accounts as I can handle effectively, and know that everything I post online is never private.
  • Be realistic – Again, it’s great to dream big, but it’s really difficult to do everything all at the same time. I try not to think that I can/have to solve all of the world’s problems at once, although it’s really difficult especially when I hear about all of it on the news. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and get discouraged to go on. I try to focus on what I can contribute, then work with others who have skills, talents, knowledge, and resources that I might not have. Also, time management is very important for me. Planning events can be fun, but stressful, too. Creating timelines, using calendars, and giving myself some breathing room in between events have been very effective.

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Five Habits That Sabotage Your Diet

Day after day I have patients cry out about the numerous sabotages to their diet. Sometimes these can just be excuses we use to make us feel better about not reaching our diet and fitness goals. Some of these are hard to overcome, while others can be quickly eliminated with a few lifestyle adjustments.

Here are the top 5 diet saboteurs and what you can do to keep them from ruining your progress.

1. Unhealthy Foods in the House

If it’s there, chances are you will eat it. We are only human. Food within reach is always a tempting choice. Even hiding the food does not help too much.
Do you have children or a spouse that you buy these foods for? If so, do not buy these foods. Or, at least buy a different flavor of that food that you do not like as much. Sit down and have an honest conversation with your family. Explain that you want to live healthy as a family. There may be a few changes to some of the foods in the house. But, still let your family pick out some grocery items, but let the control be in your hands.

2. Family Members are a Bad Diet Influence

The answer once again with this is to have a calm, open conversation about what your goals are and what health means to you. Get on the same page with your family. If they are not ready to give up their sweets or fried food, explain that you can not be making those choices on a regular basis.

Make sure to tell your family that you need their support. Their choices influence you and it is harder to stay on the right track. They can choose those higher calorie foods when you are not around or for special occasions.

3. Work Overload

This is a common excuse from many of my patients—work stress and job overload. Do not let this be an excuse. We must plan, plan, plan and take control. Organize yourself and prepare all of your lunch meals and snacks on a Sunday.

Schedule 15 to 20 minute workouts where you can squeeze it in. Everything counts.

Always take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Read More