22 Jan 2014

My Smoothie Recipes

Since buying a professional grade blender last year - the JTC Omniblend V - I have become somewhat of a smoothie addict! I highly, highly recommend this blender, it's just as good as the Vitamix for about half the price. If you're serious about smoothies, I would invest in a commercial grade blender. It won't break, rust, and should easily crush and blend ice cubes and frozen fruit to perfection in under a minute. I would get a blender with a tamper stick, to help push down food if it gets stuck along the sides.

NEW: Follow my new Instagram account - JULIASFITDIARY for more Smoothie ideas and much more!

Here are some of my go-to smoothie concoctions. I don't really measure the ingredients, I just dump some in and blend away, but for these recipes I've given you a reference to about how much I add. The berries you can always use fresh or frozen. In the summer I often freeze my bananas in ziploc bags (already peeled) because they brown so fast, and freezing stops the process.

Just a note: You can add leafy greens such as kale or spinach to ANY of these smoothies. If I'm making a breakfast smoothie, I also add a generous handful of raw whole oats, a handful of nuts (almonds, pecans, or cashews), and sometimes 1-2 teaspoons of whole flaxseeds. (A good blender should crush the flax seeds, meaning you get the amazing nutrients within. Uncrushed flax just pass right through you because the shell is too tough for your stomach to dissolve.) This will make the smoothie more filling, but you might have to add more liquid to balance out the dry ingredients. If I'm making a post-workout smoothie, I will just add a scoop of my protein powder to the mix.

Handy tip: Use a sharp knife to peel oranges and other citrus fruits. Cut off the top and bottom navel in one smooth slice, then stand the orange upright on the flat edge, and use the knife to cut away the peel in a convex shape.

Blueberry Splash

3/4 cup blueberries
1 banana
2 Tblsp. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 glass of water
1 tsp Stevia

Green Machine

1 cup fresh spinach leaves
several thick cucumber slices
1 kiwi (peeled)
1/2 a lemon (minus peel)
1/2 glass of water
Stevia to sweeten

Strawberry - Orange Creamsicle

1 cup strawberries
1 whole orange (minus peel)
1 banana
3/4 cup soy or almond milk (or just regular cow milk)
dash of cinnamon
Stevia to sweeten


1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup raspberries
1 whole orange (minus peel)
3/4 glass of soy or almond milk
Stevia to sweeten

Peanut-Almond Milk

2 tsp. natural unsweetened peanut butter
1/2 cup raw whole almonds
1 banana
1/2 glass of soy / almond / rice / dairy milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Coco-Mango Madness

1 cup mango (fresh or frozen)
1/2 banana
1 whole orange (minus peel)
2 Tblsp. plain Green yogurt
3/4 glass of water
2 Tblsp. shredded unsweetened coconut
Stevia to sweeten

Breakfast Muesli Smoothie

1 whole apple (cored, quartered)
3 tblsp. Greek yogurt
3 dates (pitted)
1/2 banana
small handful of oats
small handful of nuts (almonds, pecans, or cashews)
1 tsp. flax seeds
1 glass of water

Watermelon Lemonade

2 cups watermelon (use frozen if you want a really cold lemonade)
1 whole lemon or lime (minus peel)
Few sprigs of fresh mint leaves (can be omitted)
glass of ice cold water
Stevia to sweeten

Pina Colada

1 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1/2 banana
3/4 glass coconut milk or coconut water
1 whole orange (minus peel)

Forest Berry Blend

1 cup mixed berries (blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, currants, raspberries)
1 banana
3 tblsp. Greek yogurt
3/4 glass water
Stevia to sweeten

Let me know if you try any of these out, and how you enjoyed it! Happy Smoothie-making!

3 Jan 2014

My Fitness Diary (11) : Post-Holiday Bulge

Hi everyone, it's been ages since I've written a somewhat personal blog. I honestly don't always enjoy just writing about beauty products and doing product swatches - I find it actually quite boring! So today I thought I'd write something a bit more personal, and also about my fitness and health.

The Christmas and New Year break are now definitely over, and I had such a wonderful time. I loved spending my first Christmas in our new apartment, decorating, buying a huge tree that reaches the ceiling, and spending time with family and friends.

Christmas I spent with my fiancé's family (oh yes, by the way, I got engaged! See here for my Engagement Story) up in the cabin in the Swiss Alps, and it was enchanting. Very wintery, snowy, and super cozy. I actually filmed a little video with some impressions.

We cooked a delicious Christmas dinner up there! Starter was a decadent homemade poultry paté terrine with glazed cinnamon apples and toast, made by soon-to-be mom-in-law. Our main course was veal filet in a whiskey with morrel mushrooms cream sauce, red cabbage with apples and balsamic vinegar, and German bread dumplings. For dessert I had prepared a Limoncello Tiramisu with raspberries, which was both airy and citrusy, but also decadent and rich.

After Christmas we spent a few more days up there skiing and hanging out with family, then came back down from the mountains. For New Year's Eve we decided to celebrate at home in the company of very good friends, so we cooked another nice dinner.

For starters this time I made a Carribbean Shrimp Ceviche as an appetizer (which I'm still lusting after now and can't wait to make again), for the main course I made lamb and fig BBQ skewers in an apricot mint marinade, rosemary herbed potatoes and glazed ginger carrots. For dessert we had homemade German apple Strudel with vanilla custard. Washed it all down with several bottles of red wine and champagne. We had so much fun, and I spent the entire day January 1st recovering on the couch, watching Pixar movies and vegetating.

Now the holidays are over and it's time to get back on the fitness wagon. I admit I didn't really keep up my exercise routine in the time we were away, and that's ok. Part of the festivities is all about relaxing, eating nice food, and not worrying too much about things. Still, it's not an excuse not to do anything afterwards! I gained a few kilograms, and I know for certain that I don't want to keep that extra weight jiggling around into 2014.

When I went skiing, I realized, damn, these ski pants are suddenly really tight!! What the hell happened? I bought them in Vancouver 2 winters ago, when I was extremely fit and svelte. I remember buying them with some room to spare, so that I could wear thick long johns underneath on the super cold days. Now when I put them on, I could still button them but they were slightly uncomfortable.

So now I'm determined to lose the extra weight, it's about 4kgs (8.8 pounds) that I put on within the last few months. Due to my injury in the summer, I was out of commission for so long, and even with starting to work out in the fall, it's just been hard to get back into my old habits. But 4kg really shouldn't be all too hard to lose, with consequent healthy eating and regular work outs.

Today I hit the gym again hard, did 10 minutes of running to warm up my muscles, then stretched, followed by about 30 mins of weight lifting (arms, back, shoulders), and ending with a 5km run. I felt great afterward, and very motivated. I try to hit the gym, or do some kind of a challenging work out, three times a week.

My nutrition basics will look something like this for now until the extra pounds I put on are gone, back to my "maintenance weight" goal. Clean eating!!

  • no refined carbs, any carbs should be whole grain and complex carbs in small quantity (should be low in the Glycemic index)
  • no added sugar at all in tea, coffee, yogurt, etc.
  • less bread and potatoes (my biggest weaknesses in the carbs department!)
  • limit myself to a really rich, sinful dessert once per week (ice cream, cake, etc.)
  • no late night snacking
  • VEGETABLES galore!! Good thing I love veggies so that's ok with me. Lots of dark green and red veggies especially
  • LEAN PROTEINS: Chicken breast, fish, seafood, lean cuts of beef or pork (tenderloin)
  • Fruit - no dried fruits just fresh ones, less bananas, more berries
  • Healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, avocado, seeds
  • Eat breakfast!! Homemade muesli with yogurt, fruits, nuts and seeds, or maybe some eggs with veggies, breakfast smoothie
  • Drink lots of water, reduce alcohol to once or twice per week (I don't drink soda anyway)

That's all I can think of at the moment. Just a really healthy, lean diet that will give me all the nutrients and protein and vitamins I need, leave me feeling full, but allow me to have a caloric deficit in relation to my physical input each day, which will lead to weight loss. Essentially this means you burn more energy each day than the calories you consume, within a healthy range of course. No crash diets and starvation!

Which leads me to my last point: I have a new Instagram account! "JULIASFITDIARY"

I wanted to have a personal, visual record of my exercise routine, what I did that day, and what I eat on a day to day basis, simply as a way of keeping track of my progress. If you want to follow my journey, please check me out on your smart phone under the account JULIASFITDIARY on Instagram.

I don't have much up yet as I just started it today, but I will be posting lots there so make sure to add me on Instagram under that account. I'll still be posting on my primary account HelloJuliaGraf with beauty and life stuff, too.

So, now you know my fitness and health goals for the next few months, what are yours?