Sunday, February 17, 2013

Preparations & Smoothies

It's snowing again.  Once it stops, I am going to be shovelling.  There is close to four feet of snow in the back yard from clearing our parking pad so far this winter.  I don't know where we're going to start putting it next.  At least the property slants away from the house, and we built up the soil around the foundation to keep spring runoff out of the basement (file under "Things you should do when your house is 100 years old").  Until then, we shall blog!

If this blog is not up to my usual standards, forgive me, but I'm blogging at lunch and we had champagne in the office to celebrate a new account.  The bubbles, the bubbles.

Apologies all around, an adoption blog about smoothies is not really the correct context for putting a humorous twist on quotations from Heart of Darkness.

As you can see we already have expectations, but expectations without preparation is just entitlement, so we are preparing for our adoption as well.  What does this mean?  This means we are getting ahead of ourselves.  Seeing as how there is a limited amount of preparation that we can do while waiting for paperwork to be completed and inspected, I have taken it upon myself to ration that preparation out to keep Yuliya from losing her mind and furnishing kids rooms, buying toys, books, and rubberized cutlery all in a one week span.  I think it was the day after we applied that she went out, and bought outlet covers and and door-knob covers for the entire house.  You see now what I am up against.

There are other preparations which are more serious, or that we are attempting to take more seriously.  These started about a year ago - we decided that it was time to change our diets.  Starchy foods are cost effective, and if there was one concern in our lives for the past few years, it was being cost effective.  We were getting Yuliya established in her career, paying down student debt, paying ongoing tuition costs, and juggling a high-maintenance car with the normal costs of living.  So last Xmas we decided to cut a huge portion of starch and sugar out of our diets, and replace it with fresh salads and veggie stir-fries.  Building on that, we eliminated the entire concept of supper from our lives this year - we are juicing.

We have also started more regular excercise.  We struggled with getting on the elliptical, biking, lifting weights consistently over the last year.    Since December, we've been hitting the pool for an hour at a time, at least twice a week to swim laps.  We aren't losing much weight yet, but we are toning, building stamina, and getting into good enough shape that the first week in the gym isn't totally demoralizing.  Yuliya didn't grow up swimming, so she struggles a bit with distance and duration.  Towards the end of the hour her laps usually end with near drownings.  It also hasn't helped that she looks like a turtle in a swimming cap and goggles.  I will do my best to extort a picture from her to post on the blog.

Here are our do's and don'ts of juicing.

Basic recipe for all our smoothies is:
Put in two cups of spinach and one and a half cups of water.  Blend for a minute.
Add a cup of any fruit you want.  If you're a wild and crazy guy/girl, add another cup of any fruit you want.  Add two bananas, two tbsp ground flax, one cup of fortified almond or soy milk.  Blend for a minute.  Serves two.


  • Buy all the fresh and frozen fruit that goes on sale.  We have a deep freeze full of frozen peaches, pomegranites, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, passionfruit, etc.  When it goes on sale or starts to brown and soften up, buy it.  Take it home.  Freeze it.  
  • Expect colourful poops.  No dodging the issue.  The effect on our digestive systems wasn't cataclysmic, but it was eye-catching.  Also, there will be seeds.
  • Try crazy combinations of fruit.  Mango/blackberry?  Blend it.  Peach/raspberry?  Blend it.  Anything/Durian?  Do NOT blend it.  Durian is not a smoothie flavour fruit.
  • Get organic, washed spinach.  No matter how much you wash the regular stuff, it will always have a bitter aftertaste that slips through.  Get the biggest containers you can find.
  • Expect to be hungry afterwards for the first couple days.  This is not a steak dinner.  If a little rumble is a huge issue, make 30% more smoothie, or have some cut veggies with greek yogurt dip.
  • Depending on the nutrition you get for breakfast and lunch, consider adding protein powder to the smoothie - but get a decent brand.  The cheap protein supplements all have crazy amounts of cholesterol.  May as well throw a couple of deep fried hot dogs in the smoothie if you get a cheap protein supplement.
  • Cut loose, and toss a little vodka or orange brandy in the smoothie from time to time.  If you were having an occasional glass of wine with supper, this is the substitute.


  • Get a crazy blender.  Crazy fruit good, crazy blender bad.  We have seen people that have $700 blenders for the sole purpose of making smoothies.  If you were seriously considering mounting a light aircraft engine on your countertop for the purpose of chopping fruit, take the following steps: 
  1. Stop.  When you went vehicle shopping for something that was safe and had space, you did not buy an armoured personnel carrier.  You bought a Sienna.  Apply the same logic to your blender.
  2. Go to Canadian Tire or Walmart or Costco or w/e
  3. Buy the $30 on sale, Black n Decker special that has four buttons, no throttle controls, and no option to feather the blades.
  4. Wait until I post a paypal link, and give us the difference that we just saved you.  Now you too can enjoy brilliant smoothies and know that your money is being well used.  No nagging fears in the night about whether that decommissioned B-29 engine was a good investment.  You invested in us, and we are investing in children.  No fears!
  • Get a blender from TV.  Closely related to the above rule.  The blending at a higher speed or chopping it into finer particles will not make in more nutritious, or easier for you body to absorb.  What it will do, is potentially upset your digestive processes because your body expects to do a certain amount of work. Let it.  
  • Have dessert.  This is all the sugar your body desires, for the entire day.
  • Forget to floss.  I made the mistake of going to the dentists immediately following 'supper'.  I opened up, and the dental hygienist simply said "Oh my.  Broccoli?"  In the end it was delightful conversation as she was trying to get her family onto smoothies, and we traded recipes. 


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