It's no surprise that I'm a health nut. Since I was in my teens in the 20th century, health food stores and coffee shops offered these cold, slushy beverages. I've adopted a Californian fruit, nuts, and organic foods type of eating style. Enter: smoothies. Simply put, it's a blended sweetened drink. Frozen fruit, ice, and honey are part of the thick drink. Yogurt or ice cream can give it a slushy texture. And smoothies still wow health-conscious people, like me, who add other ingredients for the health of it. And on the South Shore, you can find smoothies at different hot spots, like I have, and the experience always takes me back in time.
When I was a grad student at San Francisco State University, one day after studying for months, I stood in line at the student union smoothie stand before taking my oral exams. This was a grueling ordeal, where I had to sit down in a small room facing a panel of three intellectual professors who set out to grill me about three of my favorite authors (John Steinbeck, Edward Albee, and George Eliot). While waiting for an energizing smoothie, the student in front of me opened a package of salad dressing and the orange goo zoomed into my eye (red from reading 12-14 hour days) and worse, hit my new white silk blouse. He shrugged his shoulders, laughed and darted, "Sorry. Sue me." He fled. I wanted to cry, but my eyes burned from dry eye. I sipped a peach smoothie to chill. Afterward, I hid my stained top with a sweater wrapped around my shoulders. It wasn't my plan, but it worked.
On Wednesday, as I continued to promote my new book about the perks of coffee (dealing with ups and downs of selling), I created a smoothie and recalled that bittersweet story. The thing is, while that ordeal was a challenge, l've learned that while we get hit with life's curve balls (or dressing packages), smoothies can help take the edge off a bit.
Health Nut Peach Smoothie
2 peaches, fresh, diced
5 small ice cubes
1/4 cup 2 percent low-fat organic milk
1 cup all-natural premium vanilla ice cream
1/2-3/4 cup all natural peach sorbet
1 tablespoon wheat germ
Sweeten with honey and cinnamon
Whipped cream (optional)
In a blender, mix fruit and ice. Add ice cream, sorbet and wheat germ. Add honey and cinnamon. Pour into a large milkshake glass. Top with whipped cream and serve with a straw and spoon. Serves one or two.
The consistency of a smoothie, like this one, is thick and semisweet. Its flavor is like a slice of peach cobbler or sliced peaches with cream. While the day had its ups and downs, such as tending to my youngest Brittany's health woes, the smoothie did its job again and reminded me that I did pass the exams, despite the pain of it all. And puppy? He did OK, too, during his vet visit and is holding his own. I give thanks to his doctor and the power of smoothies.
Motto: You can make life's sour moments sweeter by taking a time out. Whipping up a smoothie with your favorite foods can help you cope while repeating the mantra, "This, too, shall pass."
- Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. "The Healing Powers of Coffee" and "Animal Attraction: A Collection of Tales & Tails" will be released this summer. Her website is www.calorey.com.