A Berry Good Smoothie!
By Dennis Linden
The word “smoothie” was first used commercially in the 1930’s with the introduction of a new kitchen gadget by Waring® Products called the “Miracle Mixer”. A recipe booklet using the phrase “fruit smoothies” was published by the company to promote what soon became known as simply the “Waring Blender”. The thick, cold beverage, most often made of fresh ingredients, got the reputation as a health food drink. In fact, in the 1960’s the smoothie experienced a surge in popularity by the culture-changing young boomer generation as a healthy alternative to the more traditional high-calorie milkshake.
George Middleton, longtime member of Melissa’s sales team, shares his own unique Breakfast Smoothie recipe. “I've been drinking these for decades,” explained George. “It’s a simple recipe with lots of tasty options. Nutritionally it’s a great start to each morning that is light, yet filling, and packed with nutrients that keep my energy levels high throughout the work day.”
Actually, George submitted two versions of his morning meal; one using just strawberries and the other with a mix of several berry varieties. Both formulas are then blended with bananas, OJ, and chia seeds—simple, tasty and powerful! After a couple of taste comparisons I stopped trying to decide which was my favorite and just enjoyed each for what they both are – a deliciously healthy jump start to the day!
“This recipe has evolved over some twenty years. It originally started as a tofu shake with a little less fruit in it that I used as an additional protein source,” George recalled. “I tinkered with the ingredients over the years; today it has morphed into 64-ounces of all-fruit smoothie, which is best enjoyed in my favorite jumbo L.A. Lakers mug! While these two berry smoothies are my usual morning fare, I sometimes break the routine by adding a seasonal fresh ingredient that the company is handling. Most recently that was Melissa’s new crop of Australian Mangoes
. So, if it’s true that you are what you eat, I guess that makes me a Melissa's by-product!"
That extra boost of energy and the complete-meal fullness that George describes is backed by scientific facts. There are a number of weight loss programs that promote replacing a meal with a liquid drink. A fruit smoothie can provide the body with much of its daily required amount of nutrients [RDA]. Also the enzymes in fresh fruit digest easily, while natural antioxidants fight free radicals. Unlike starting the day with just a glass of plain fruit juice, smoothies provide fiber too because one consumes the whole edible portion of the fruit, not just its water content.
The most nutritionally powerful ingredient in George’s recipe is also the smallest, Melissa’s Chia Seeds. These tiny seeds, harvested from a mint-like indigenous plant of South America, has been an important food source since the time of the Aztecs and Mayans. Both cultures prized the seeds for their ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” By the numbers, one ounce of chia seeds contains 4 grams protein, 5 gram Omega-3 fat, 18% RDA of calcium, 30% RDA of Manganese, Magnesium and Phosphorus as well as a decent amount of Zinc, Potassium and Vitamins B1-B2-B3! Admittedly, that’s an eye-rolling string of nutritional information, but I included it because it’s an impressively long list for a seed smaller than the head of a pin! It’s kind of amazing that, while the Mayans were notoriously inventive foodies, there were no nutritional information labels hanging from these plants back in the day yet they still recognized a superfood when they saw it!
George’s full-and-light feeling after his liquid breakfast can be explained by the 12 grams of carbs per ounce that is also a part of chia seed profile. Actually, 11 of those grams are fiber, which means that chia seeds will absorb 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in one’s stomach – creating that satisfied feeling of being full. Technically that 12 carb count is a bit deceiving. Fiber is not digested and, instead, goes right through the metabolism. Unlike all other carbohydrates, fiber does not raise blood sugar, which would require insulin (natural or synthetic) for the body to deal with it. So, by definition, that really disqualifies fiber as a carb at all and makes chia also a low-carb friendly food!
As for the rest of the fresh ingredients in George’s liquid breakfast of champions (sorry, could not resist the phrase), they all only add to this drink’s nutrient content and energy boosting qualities:
In a study comparing various fruit juices, researchers gave orange juice higher nutrient density scores than other popular juices like apple, grape and pineapple.
Bananas are packed with potassium, a mineral electrolyte that keeps electricity flowing throughout the body, which is required to keep your heart beating. The fruit’s high potassium and low sodium content also help protect the cardiovascular system against high blood pressure.
50 Calories per 8 oz., 160% of Daily Vitamin C requirement (more than an orange).
52 Calories per 8 oz., 44% DV of Vitamin C, 7g Fiber (more than a bran muffin) rich in heart healthy antioxidants.
57 calories per 8 oz., packed with powerful antioxidants linked to good vision, acuity and brain development.
43 calories per 8 oz., 50% DV of Vitamin C, the dark color comes from anthocyanin, a powerful cancer-fighting phytonutrient that may protect from diseases such as cancer.
George Middleton has been a member of the Melissa’s team for 24 years as a customer sales representative dealing the needs of our retail and wholesale accounts around the country. When not at his order desk, there is more than an even chance that you will find George on a basketball court, either coaching or playing.
“I have always enjoyed coaching Basketball, which has including Youth Basketball recreational leagues, as well as middle school, high school and travel teams. It's been a great joy to have coached my own sons at St. John Bosco High School for 4 years and now enjoy playing with them in city leagues.”
Considering that long list of nutritional benefits contained in his 64 oz. breakfast, the source of all that full-court energy is now obvious. In fact, rumor has it that George is working on another smoothie recipe that will improve his free throw shooting. Hurry, George, the Lakers are waiting anxiously!
George’s Breakfast Smoothie
3 ripe Bananas
1 pound of Strawberries
or a 1 pound mix of Raspberries
5 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
6 cups of Orange Juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, puree and enjoy!