My hubby was fast drinking himself into an early grave.
His drug of choice had nothing to do with alcohol. (For sure, he is a teetotaler.) Instead it was coffee creamer--gallons of it--French Vanilla in flavor, which he dumped into his morning cup and stirred into it a thimbleful of coffee for good measure.
Add that to an at-least-twice-weekly treating of himself to a large chocolate shake from McDonald's--comfort food, he'd say.
Why should he be surprised when, on his annual physical exam last November, his triglyceride levels shot to the moon and back? Other items on the blood report also weren't what he wanted to see either. Almost pre-diabetic was the word that got his attention as medical authorities tossed it out. A nutritionist, brought in for consultation as part of interpreting this bad-news blood test, asked him about his diet. After getting out of him the true facts about the sea of coffee creamer and the levithan chocolate shakes, she rolled her eyes as her way of signaling, "No-brainer."
Ditching the coffee creamer and triple-thick McDonald's shakes should bring on some better results fast, she assured him.
Her advice was golden--along with resuming his long-put-off habit of jogging (he's up to three miles a day, five-days-a-week now) and a new overall healthy eating plan. The triclyceride levels soon plummeted dramatically, as did his blood-pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall weight. But since the French Vanilla coffee creamer and shakes had been his comfort food, something had to be subbed in their place.
The answer? Smoothies. Hubby learned to be master of the smoothie machine--a.k.a. our new blender, which has its own special smoothies setting on it (a sign of the times). Creativity reigns--along with whatever fruit combination happens to be in the fridge or fruit bowl at the time. Blueberries, grapes, cherries, mangos, peaches, pears, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, bananas--the day's challenge (instead of seeing how many shakes he could sneak in) now became finding some new flavor combination that he hadn't tried the day before.
At various times, granola, wheat germ, almonds, unsalted peanuts also got tossed in, along with limitless flavors of fat-free, low-carb yogurt. The creamy smooth, milkshake-like texture of his smoothies replaced the effect of the McDonald's shake going down. On occasion he even tossed in a teaspoonful of dark chocolate cocoa powder (since dark chocolate now is considered one of the power foods).
McDonald's lovers don't know what they're missing. Furthermore, the pounds continue to roll off of him even while he guzzles down two fruit-laden smoothies a day. Impossible--but true! He makes it look easy--and delicious.
The real challenge occurred when I tried to get him to zero in on one smoothie recipe I could feature in this blog. Since many of the fruit that go into his beverages are straight from our garden, I couldn't resist mentioning his concoction in The Newfangled Country Gardener. As with the Granny Ladies of old, his smoothies truly were in the "dash-of-this-little-dab-of-that" category--nothing that could be measured.
However, I finally got him pinned down after over the weekend he brewed up an especially delicious drink.
Here, then, is his original creation--"Hubby's Life-Saving Nectarine-Banana-Apple Smoothie". Watch out, McDonald's. Your triple-thick shake now has some serious--healthy--competition!
Hubby's Life-Saving Nectarine-Banana-Apple Smoothie
1 medium nectarine
1 medium red delicious apple
1 large banana
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon dark-chocolate cocoa powder
1 6-ounce container lowfat peach yogurt (he uses Kroger-brand CARBmaster)
1 8-ounce glass filled with ice
Peel nectarine and banana; chop. Remove core but leave on peel and chop apple. Dump these ingredients along with unsalted peanuts, milk, cocoa, yogurt, and 1 (8-ounce) glass ice into blender. Blend until fruit, nuts, and ice is chopped fine and mixture is blended into a creamy smooth texture. Other types of fruit, nuts, and yogurt may be substituted depending on preference.