Sunday, 3 July 2016

App of the Month: 30 Day Smoothie Challenge

The summer months are upon us but unfortunately that bikini body of mine isn’t looking so trim, so in an attempt to undo all the harm done by my study snacks and junk food binges I decided to try and kick start a bit of weight loss and my journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle with the Green Smoothie 30 Day Challenge. (Note: This is not the only 30 Day Green Smoothie Day Challenge available on most App Stores)

Name: Daily Green Smoothie Challenge
Category: Lifestyle
Price: Free
Available On: iPhone, iPad and iTouch

The aim of this app is pretty simple: to help to add extra nutrients to your diet through drinking one smoothie a day for a month in hopes to kick start a smoothie habit that will last a lifetime. Sounds like some pretty good intentions, right? So after having received my first ever smoothie maker for my birthday I was excited to try out a variety of new recipes. Problem was I neither had the money to buy a lovely new recipe book (#StudentProblems) nor the patience to spend hours online looking up good recipes, so a free app seemed like the best option. This one seemed to offer me just what I was after. 

App Features
Obviously this app contains all the recipes you’ll need for your 30 smoothies! But of course just that wouldn’t really be that much to shout about as you can find free smoothie recipes practically anywhere or even just make up your own if you’re feeling adventurous.
I found this a wonderfully inclusive app. There is a shopping planner which allows you to quickly calculate your shopping list 5 days at a time, yet while useful this was not my favourite feature. Although you got a list of everything you needed, things weren’t bundled together. For instance, your shopping planner may say 16 Strawberries and then a little further down the list read 3oz Strawberries, which was a little irritating to say the least. In fact, for me, it rendered the feature pretty pointless as I’d end up writing out my own shopping lists so I wouldn’t have to be running back and forth around Supermarkets or doing quick conversions and calculations to try and work out exactly how much of everything I needed.

What I did like was knowing what little health kick my smoothie would be giving me each day. Listed under each smoothie’s ingredients was the Nutrition Facts for each drink, this helped me keep an eye of the amount of extra sugars and calories I was consuming so that I could anticipate how I might want to adjust my diet each day. One thing that did worry me when deciding whether to take up this challenge was the foreboding articles I’d found online warning us all of the risk of a huge sugar spikes caused by smoothies. However, I think I managed to avoid this pretty well by preparing my daily diet in advance and is something I’d recommend to receive maximum benefits.
The app also advertises the benefits of each smoothie, whether that be a particular ingredient or combination (If the former I’d always add a generous amount of whatever that might be!).

Also a favourite feature was the ability to  customise your 30 Day challenge in advance. Due to suffering from Crohns Disease I can’t handle anything too citrusy, so it was great that I could purposely customise my challenge to avoid the more ‘acidic’ of smoothies and make up any leftover days by repeating my favourites.  The app also features a guide of substitute ingredients so you can opt in and out of ingredients if you do have allergies, intolerances or just don’t like something.

So that’s all well and good but are the smoothies worth making?  

A Glimpse into my 30 Days of Green Smoothies:

Day 1: Banana Ginger Smoothie
This was really easy and quick to make! Due to my current diet I supplemented two non-vegan ingredients, honey and low-fat yogurt with agave nectar and soya yogurt.
For me, I thought there was a bit too much ginger but I’m not much of a ginger fan! There was a mighty ‘zing’ to it from said ginger but otherwise it was lovely!  The set quantities didn’t amount to much of a portion, coming out at 300ml, so I was able to finish it easily enough.  
Despite my low tolerance of it, the ginger is the essential ingredient in this particular smoothie. According to the app ginger is supposed to help soothe digestion, heartburn, nausea and other stomach trouble.

Day 2: Green Tea, Blueberry and Banana
There was one thing about the recipe that confused me, the green tea bag… Maybe it’s just because I’m new to the smoothie making world but it seemed like an odd ingredient and was bewildered as to how to add it. Like do you brew the tea bag first? In the end I just opted for ripping out the contents and banging it all in which seemed to work okay. On this occasion I only had to switch one ingredient, again saying goodbye to honey and opting for agave nectar instead. I didn’t add any ice as unfortunately I don’t have an ice tray, yet still the frozen berries made it cold enough on what was a rare warm day.  
Fair warning the bitty quality of this smoothie means your teeth and tongue might go a little purple and are likely to be sporting random bits of seed or pulp so it’s probably not a good choice if you’re planning to drink it on the go!
Despite my lack of knowledge on the tea bag protocol the result was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed this fairly thick and sweet. Yummy yummy! For the first two days I opted as having my smoothie alongside a light meal in the evening, but am finding they could easily supplement a meal. This is not something I would recommend without research and a thorough understanding of the effects so from this point on I switched to enjoying each smoothie as a late afternoon snack instead!

Day 3: Very Berry
When a chance of choice came up on the ingredients list, ‘40g pitted cherries or raspberries’, I opted to go with adding the extra portion of raspberries. My reasoning for this was the noted Smoothie Benefits for this recipe informed me that the raspberries were the source of the health kick. Apparently they contain a great diversity of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients!
I made this smoothie with the intention of taking it along to a hard day of studying at the library, and if I had been wise enough to taste it before leaving I would had added in a little extra agave nectar. Although I was presented with another enjoyable drink, I did find it initially a little tart for my tastes.

Day 4: Banana-Strawberry Smoothie
Yum yum yum! I think Strawberry and Banana smoothies are the classic guarantee for a delicious smoothie, and this one was no exception. I actually couldn’t help but making an extra large portion because it was so delicious. Of course taste isn’t everything but luckily that’s not all this smoothie offers, it’s also packed with fibre and antioxidants.

Day 5: Pineapple Passion
I kinda messed up with this smoothie and having miscalculated how much plain soy yogurt I would need for my first week of smoothies. I was left to improvise with vanilla flavoured soy yogurt. Vanilla and Pineapple…. Yeah I didn’t think it would be a good mix but surprise, surprise I somehow created a delicious smoothie that tasted like some form of pineapple sorbet ice cream hybrid. On such a rainy day as it was, this smoothie was all I needed to fuel my daydreams of escape to Mediterranean sands. 

Day 6: Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie
This strawberry-kiwi smoothie turned into a raspberry-kiwi smoothie due to another miscalculation when I did my last grocery shop, yet it tasted like a raspberry-banana smoothie… Quite removed from what I thought today’s drink would be. I’ve started to wonder why it’s called a smoothie challenge though, where’s the challenge? Easy to make, not exactly a drain on the bank balance, and a health kick for a month… Challenge is totally the wrong word for the breeze that this has been so far.

Day 7: Banana-Blueberry-Soy Smoothie
Another blueberry smoothie, I’m pretty sure they’re my favourite but then again it can be hard to tell with so many delicious recipes being available everywhere. But for now at least, I’m categorising myself as a berry lover. Although, maybe it’s something I should keep a check on as having blueberries in my porridge every morning and loading up with them in my smoothie’s might cause an overdose. Is that a thing? If so what are the symptoms? Because, personally, if it’s turning purple and uber flexible like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I am totally okay with that… Good thing purple’s my favourite colour!
Anyhoo, the weather was in a good mood on this particular day so I opted for using frozen blueberries instead of the usual fresh and was pleasantly surprised with the cooler I ended up with. It simply made the sun more enjoyable, that is until the brain freeze hit – but that was my own fault for downing the delicious nectar that was this week’s smoothie in under 10 seconds… Maybe I am an addict.

Day 8: Tropical Papaya Perfection
By day 8 I’d started to experiment a bit more with my smoothie making, which means not always following the recipes to the tee, but rather substituting ingredients and playing around with the quantities used. In this case I threw in a bit more papaya than listed and upped the yogurt content, however for the first time the results weren’t as good as I’d hoped! Unfortunately, this was the first smoothie which I struggled to drink.  
One criticism I have had for these drinks is there isn’t usually enough of them! In fact, most of the app’s recipes don’t ever provide you with 500 ml of a smoothie, and 350ml just isn’t enough to meet my smoothie cravings. I’d never tried papaya before, and was pleasantly surprised with the results if not completely blown away. If you’ve ever had sweet potato juice, it was kind of like a more tropical thicker version of that… An acquired but very moreish taste.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my 30 days of smoothies and hope to keep the habit going. I feel I know have the confidence to experiment a bit more with flavours and now know my way around a blender. If you’re new to smoothies then I think this is a great app to introduce you to them, and if not then the delicious smoothies on offer should be enough for you to be hitting download.

If you enjoyed this post why not have a read of:

Is it Vegan?      |      Pacer

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