When I teach, it’s an active event. I love taking students on field trips, helping them coordinate service learning, and workshopping their writing.
Even during a regular class session, I strive to wear interesting outfits (and Instagram them at student request), often share snacks, and sometimes bring in things like fresh herbs or bubbles to pique students’ curiosity. Rarely will I sit down or even lean on a table during class. Instead I roam around the room making faces, striking poses, and dropping comments. I’ve even been known to do ridiculous things like a cat roll or a headstand to get students’ attention or to illustrate a point. (I blame it on watching Dead Poets Society at a young age; Mr. Keating could stand on desks and teach English outside the norm; why not me?)
Robin Williams and alternative protein sources aside, I believe that education should be transformative and that students need to engage with and feel part of a community to succeed. Though my hijinks are a natural expression of my energetic personality, they also serve to put students who may be anxious at ease. As a community college professor, I teach students who may have endured negative experiences in the classroom and still are overcoming challenges to learning in their present. Or they may be returning to school after decades away and have high anxiety. Regardless, my students and their success are my #1 priority.
I love teaching and it really energizes me. Unfortunately, when I have a class during lunchtime I’m fooling myself if I think I’m going to take even a bite of the lunch or snack that I packed. Some people can skip meals; fortunately, I don’t get hangry but I do get head achy. <sad trombone>
So, inspired by a smoothie-sipping coworker with his own office blender (!), I decided to come up with my own smoothie recipe. I sat down and started reviewing online recipes and taking notes on ingredients that seemed promising. I wanted a smoothie that would be satisfying, quick to make, store well till lunch, and not taste like a dessert.
What I came up with is an anti-inflammatory smoothie with some superfood goodness: probiotics, Omega 6, fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats, trace minerals, vitamin C…you get the idea. And most importantly, it had to taste awesome.
On a recent SUP outing with a friend, along with discussing how to destroy patriarchy, we found ourselves talking about being too busy to eat while teaching and it dawned on me that I should share this recipe with other busy, hungry folks, so here you go….
1 cup plain full fat kefir or coconut milk
1 big handful baby spinach
1 banana, broken in half
1 TBSP extra virgin coconut oil
2 TBSP chia
Generous pinch pink sea salt
Juice from one lime
4-5 fresh mint leaves
1 TBSP almond butter
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 Persian cucumber, broken in half
1 cup cooled green tea
1. Put all ingredients except the green tea in your blender and blend on high or your smoothie setting for one minute.
2. Check the consistency by pouring a little bit into a glass. Add a small amount of green tea, blend, and then check again to adjust the consistency to your liking. Keep adding small amounts of green tea and blending until it’s just right for your preference.
3. Pour into a glass and enjoy or pour into a bottle and keep chilled for later.
Missing an ingredient or don’t like it? Just swap it out or riff however you’d like–this recipe is intended to be a guide. I’ve been known to throw an avocado in there or swap almond butter for cashew butter. Whatever works for you!
One of the things I like about this smoothie is that it doesn’t have any particularly hard to find or specialized ingredients. That being said, some of the ingredients can be pricey or the quality can be iffy, depending on where you buy them. Here are my shopping tips for some of them.
If you plan on making this smoothie frequently or having other members of your family drink it, you probably want to stop by Costco for larger quantities. Organic extra virgin coconut oil, almond butter, Chia seeds, and really awesome green tea are there at great prices and quality. (Thanks to a former student for tipping me off to this green tea years ago!)
Don’t have a Costco membership? No worries, most of the ingredients are also available at Aldi or any regular grocery store. I usually buy the baby spinach, ground ginger, limes, bananas, and Persian cucumbers at Aldi.
Whether you are an educator, a student, or someone else who is in need of a quick and healthy meal on the go, I hope you will enjoy this smoothie. Just don’t go standing on any furniture at work if it will get you in too much trouble!
Carpe diem! Give it a try, and please leave a comment.