Sometimes people ask me how I make time to write blog posts for Breaking Thirty. What works for me when I’m in writing mode is to carve out one hour upon waking up. Doing this requires some discipline as I have to get up at around 6:00am and to skip my favourite meal: breakfast. Yep, a creative life requires some harsh and brutal sacrifices in order to be pursued. Many artists and creative people give up their careers, or their mental sanity, or financial security, or their lives at age 27. In my case, I gave up breakfast.
Prior to Breaking Thirty, breakfast has always been part of my morning routine, no matter its shape or form. I’ve been through many breakfast phases before eventually landing into the artistic one. I started like every other Italian with the bread and Nutella phase. Then I denied my origins by picking up the English Breakfast tea and digestive cookies phase. Afterwards, I moved abroad and went through the chocolate cookies phase and the Bircher muesli phase. I later reclaimed my origins with an upgraded bread with Nutella AND butter phase (butter is to witness that I went abroad and assimilated other cultures). Then I got into the avocado+cheese+apple salad phase (yeah, I was in a very bad place at that time), followed by the scrambled eggs and ham phase. Lastly, the smoothie phase begun.
I got into smoothies thanks to a recipe book for smoothies and juices that was gifted to me by my ex-ex boyfriend. “For your physical and mental health” said his dedication. (At that time, I was into the nasty avocado+cheese+apple salad phase and maybe that is why that dedication didn’t feel out of place nor offensive.) Anyway, the smoothie phase lasted for almost two years, long enough to burn the engine of two blenders. I would diligently follow the recipes of that book, which meant I would blend anything. Bananas, berries, (pitted) dates, almonds, walnuts, cachews, yoghurt, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, kale, pears, pumpkin (had to cook it beforehand because they don’t sell canned pumpkin puree here in Europe and I absolutely wanted to have the Autumn Boost Smoothie for my autumn breakfasts). Then spinach, maca powder, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, coconut butter, mint, cacao powder, cacao nibs, blueberries, raspberries, gogji berries, avocado, oat, coffee, butter.
I quickly became a pro at smoothies. However, one of the things that frustrated me the most was that according to many food bloggers (especially the vegan and organic ones), drinking a smoothie was the cheapest and fastest way to have breakfast in the morning. What? How come then my weekly groceries expenditures went from 80 Euro to almost 130 Euro? And how come quitting with smoothies freed up those 30-40 minutes each morning that were key to work on Breaking Thirty? How dare those organic vegan bloggers call their recipes “5-minute breakfast smoothie for busy mums who want to start their business while their kids are sleeping and their husband is on a work trip cheating on them” when blending prevented me to even find the time to water the mint plant I was supposed to put in the Chocolate Mint Smoothie?
Anyway, I’m over it right now. I’m in the artistic phase, which means I just have a coffee in the morning (or a green tea when I really feel artistic!). But still, those two years of blending left some clues. Clues about how to make the process of blending… smoother and less painful. And of course I broke down those tricks for your to read in the following. Enjoy!
Make your own almond milk. Carrying around fresh fruit, jars of coconut oil and a pumpkin rigorously with tissue bags and by walking on foot to ensure the “Km 0” provenance of the food you bought can become cumbersome. One of the most heavy things to carry is milk (at least the vegan milk requested in the recipes). I figured early on that I could make my own almond milk by soaking a handful of almonds overnight, drain them, and then blend them with a liter of water. This would make my commute from the supermarket less painful and also reduce waste. For once, environmental friendliness is a byproduct of commodity!
Use caustic soda to unclog the drain in the kitchen. Sometimes I really felt that those smoothie recipes where made for blocking the drain in the kitchen. When you add together chia seeds, coconut oil and a banana to make the Blue Hippie Smoothie, the sticky and greasy mud created in the sink was just unbelievable. Plus all that mud would stick to the sponge, so that I had to change it weekly not to get me and my flatmates grossed out by it. And of course changing sponge every week is polluting! So I figured that before the sponge would touch the blender, I should rinse it thoroughly. But still that mud can clog the drain. If you add some caustic soda while rinsing, you can be sure that that’s a green way not to find your kitchen one morning covered by a calcified chia seeds&coconut oil layer smelling of banana.
Substitute nuts with nut butter. Soaking almonds and, in general, nuts is not just to make milk. Blending nuts gives a better consistency to your smoothie while adding at the same time some protein and good fats. For this second purpose, nuts are usually soaked overnight to make the blender last longer. But if you forgot to do so last night, beat yourself up no more! Use almond butter instead. And a lot of it! It takes approximately four liters of water to grow a single almond in California, where 80% of world’s almonds are produced. Thus, because you are saving water by not soaking them first, feel entitled to splurge on almond butter for your smoothie and don’t feel guilty never again because you’re not a good meal planner!
Use frozen fruits rather than fresh fruits. This is a classic trick to make smoothies less expensive and faster, but it’s worth repeating it. You’re absolutely right when you still want to have your Berries&Walnuts Smoothie in winter. Everybody knows that the combination of walnuts and berries is good for your brain and you certainly can’t afford becoming stupid just because it’s cold outside. Following the cycles and rhythm of nature is nonsense. That is why freezers were invented in the first place and why we should use them: not to accept that everything has its own time and season to happen and not to have to adapt to it. Thus, feel free to freeze berries, bananas, your lunches for the next twenty days and even your eggs together with your youth if you’re up for it. After all, this is rather a fight against human stupidity than a delusional attempt to slow down time, so you have all the rights to engage into that fight.
There you have it. Four tips for you to smoothly go through your mornings with a filled stomach and a light hearth! But if you fill I miss some useful tips, please feel free to comment below. Also, if you’re interest in more tricks and hacks for a guilty-free life, then don’t forget to subscribe to the Breaking Thirty Newsletter for more!