By Carla DiGirolamo, MD, PHD
With the reality of our “new normal” setting in, it is now, more than ever, so important to stay healthy and strong. The foundation of “good health” is sound nutrition. Now, this doesn’t mean overhauling your diet – especially at a time when grocery store stockpiles are limited.
But at most supermarkets, the produce section is well-supplied with a variety of choices. This is nature’s medicine cabinet. The nutrition and nutrient absorption profile of whole, unprocessed food is second to none.
A delicious and fun way to benefit from what nature has to offer is the shake!
I start every day with a shake (and my coffee immediately follows). No matter where I am. Shakes are easily modifiable to be Vegan, gluten free, dairy-free, free of refined sugar, and free of whatever allergen you may need to avoid. Shakes can even be modified to be portable!
Many fruits and vegetables freeze well, preserving their nutrients and flavor so you can buy in bulk and freeze to minimize waste and trips to the grocery store.
Try to choose a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to maximize the variety of micronutrients- vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. My goal is to “eat the rainbow” over a week-long period.
One day I’ll make a Strawberry-Mango shake, the next day may be Blackberry-Blueberry, until I hit all the colors of the rainbow in a given week. Not only do whole foods provide a variety and balance of nutrients that only nature can, but the absorption and processing of these nutrients by the body is optimized when the composition of the fruit or vegetable itself is preserved and not processed into a pill or a powder.
Below are some of my favorite shake-in-a-blender recipes. Modify and substitute to make your own creations.
- 1C (8oz) unsweetened Almond milk.
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (Red Mills)
- 1 TBLS shaved unsweetened coconut
- 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla pure protein powder (25-30g protein)
- Shake/blend on low for ~10 sec until just combined
- Grate 1 TBSB lemon rind and 1 tsp fresh ginger root and add to the blended mixture
- ADD: ¼ banana, ¾ C frozen papaya, ½ C frozen pineapple, 1 heaping TBLS pomegranate seeds. Pulse the
- blend until combined and blend on high for 30 seconds.
*Substitutions: Black Magic shake: sub papaya and pineapple with fresh blueberries and frozen blackberries. Other substitutions: chia seeds or chopped nuts for shaved coconut; kale and spinach can sub any of the above fruits. Sub orange rind for lemon rind and can omit ginger or add mint leaves instead.
*Makes one 20 oz shake. Approximate Macronutrient content: 350-400 kcal, 35-40g carbohydrate, 25-30g protein, 7-10g fat and a whole lot of unprocessed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! Nutrient content may differ depending on substitutions.
Carla M DiGirolamo, MD, CF L1
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carla M. DiGirolamo, MD, PhD is a Reproductive Endocrinologist now seeing new patients at Boston IVF's Waltham Center. She is Board Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility as well as general Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. DiGirolamo is credentialed as a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer, Les Mills certified group fitness instructor and is a member of CrossFit Health, a worldwide organization of physicians who CrossFit created by CrossFit Founder, Greg Glassman in his quest to cure the world of chronic disease. In addition to helping patients build their families, Dr. DiGirolamo’s special interest is in managing the unique reproductive/endocrine challenges of female athletes.