The Joys of Making and Drinking Fruit Smoothies

I have recently discovered the joys of making and drinking fruit smoothies. In fact I’m drinking a strawberry and banana smoothie as I write this.

I really haven’t been able to eat fruit since my GB surgery. Something about the bulk of most fruits – especially the fruits that I liked best such as watermelon and cantaloupe – made them feel as if they were stuck in my throat, unable to be swallowed. Needless to say, this is not a good feeling and I often threw-up any fruit that I dared to eat.

As said, my favorite fruits are watermelon and cantaloupe.  I also love strawberries, blueberries, grapes of all sorts, kiwi, peaches, pineapple, plumbs and pears. While not my favorite, I certainly have had and enjoyed plenty of grapefruit, apples, bananas, cherries, raspberries, and oranges in my life, and some of the more exotic fruits such as mango, pomegranate or papaya.

One problem with not eating fruits, especially considering the special needs of the GB patient (getting needed levels of vitamins, calcium, protein and other nutrients while eating very small meals from limited food options), is that you lose out on a great source of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and many phyto-nutrients (plant derived micronutrients).

Making a fruit smoothie isn’t exactly rocket science. You blend fruit with milk and/or juice and ice in a blender and you’ve got a drink that is – depending on the ratios of fruit, ice and liquid you use – anywhere from an easy flowing cold drink, to a rich smoothie you drink with a straw, to a thick shake that eats better with a spoon.

To this basic formula (and let me just say that there is nothing wrong with the simplest of smoothies – you can whip one up quick, with little mess and easy clean up) you can add a range of ingredients to introduce flavors, foods or supplements that bring specific nutrients or vitamins ( protein powders), low-cal sweeteners, thickeners, low-fat puddings, or low carb/sugar yogurt.

Several times during the years since my surgery I’ve been motivated to find a way to consume fruits – to add them to my meal options and gain from their nutritional gifts.

One of the limiting factors I dealt with trying to make fruit smoothies is that all I had to work with was a $39.99 “BlueLight special” blender. It wasn’t strong enough to crush ice to a size less than ¼ inches cubes (too big to be the ‘smooth’ required for a ‘smoothie’), or fully pulverize the fruit and other ingredients.

I tried juicing to meet my fruit-sourced nutrition targets. I purchasing the ‘gold standard’ of juicing, the Champion, a 30 pound heavy motor driven appliance that looks a bit like a jet engine off a 747 and sounds like one while tearing apart all varieties of fruit, separating the juice from the skin, seeds, core, fibers and stems. The Champion is great. You can turn pounds of grapes into a gallon of grape juice, or a bushel of apples into a fountain of apple juice.

One problem with both of the old blender and the juicer is that they make a mess and need more clean up time than I’d like. With the juicer you have all the separated pulp and bulk that needs to be scraped and washed off.

Another problem with both is that I don’t really need gallons of any fruit juice.   I can’t drink gallons at a time, nor would I want to drink gallons of raw fruit juice (imagine that stomach ache!). I’m looking to gain the nutritional gifts of fruit, not fill a swimming pool.

So it was with great excitement that I received the Ninja food blender/processor as a gift from my wife for Christmas this year. The Ninja addresses the two needs described above – the design is easy to make a single serving smoothie and the appliance is easy to clean and I use it several times a day to make Colleen and I a variety of delicious, healthy and nutritionally valuable shakes and smoothies.

With a little patience, creativity, adaptability, experimentation and a wish to find a way to feed your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs to deliver for you, there is no reason a GB patient can’t eat as healthy and enjoyably as anyone. It’s not always easy, but it sure is worth it – and you can do it! Enjoy.




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