How contracting a disease forced me to find creative ways to intake as much nutrition as possible
I first realized that smoothies had endless nutrient potential when I caught valley fever (also known as desert rheumatism) 14 years ago. Valley fever is a fungal disease that is prevalent in arid regions of the U.S. (San Joaquin Valley, CA, southern AZ, parts of Utah, Texas, New Mexico and Mexico). You get it when you breathe in a soil-dwelling fungus called Coccidioides immitis. I got it during my first 2 years living in the desert because I did a lot of digging in my new garden. I had no antibodies against the fungus because none of my ancestors ever lived in the desert regions where Coccidioides immitis grows. The antibody had not been passed down to me.
The fungal colonies that grow in your lungs have a serious impact on your health and can take months to kick. Once it attaches itself to your lungs, it starts to proliferate, and can actually kill you if you don’t take conscious, daily care to rid yourself of the disease. I myself suffered for two solid months, during which time I was barely able to function, got hot sweats anytime I did anything other than lay on the couch and had breathing problems. A colony of these fungi that had set up camp in my left lung, scarring it irreparably. The two Z packs the doctors gave me did nothing to fight the illness. What cured me was my daily smoothie and supplement regimen. At the time, I had a good friend who was a naturopathic doctor. She instructed me on everything I should take: Exorbitant amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Greens powders, herbs, and tons of (yuck) grapefruit seed extract. I was one of the lucky ones, and not only survived but have not had an issue with it since. There will always be remnants of Coccidioides immitis in my bloodstream, but because I was so conscious about my vitamin and supplement care during the active stage of the disease, I gave my body the time and ammo it needed to successfully produce antibodies to the Valley Fever fungus. Having contracted a disease that could actually kill me left me more scared for my life than I had ever been before. I have since taken my nutrition and supplementation very seriously and am a better (and healthier and happier) person for it. I could quite honestly say that smoothies saved my life.
My smoothies and I have gone through every nutrient craze out there. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve put various combinations of the following into my morning health drink (just to name a few): wheat germ, flax meal, spirulina powder, liquid vitamins, limonene, powdered calcium, moringa powder, chlorella powder, pure cocoa powder, coconut oil, avocados, oats…if some health professional said it was good for me, and its flavor could either enhance the smoothie or disappear into it, I put it in my morning smoothie. I’m not saying that all of these were good ideas or well-used, or even enjoyable, but I felt good about myself for doing it. I changed the ingredients I put into my morning drink based on whatever I needed at the time. There was a brief period when I needed to gain weight, hence the oatmeal and avocado. Other times, I was detoxing or supporting my immune system.
With so many health professionals out there (including me) telling people to increase their nutrition intake and to take such and such supplements for such and such health benefits, it really helps to be able to put some of those suggestions into a tasty liquid meal. The number of capsules, gel tabs, horse pills, etc. you end up ingesting when you’re consciously taking good care of yourself, can make you gag just thinking about it.
Something to keep in mind when taking supplements:
Some vitamins are fat-soluble, while others are water-soluble. What that means is the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) need to be taken with a digestible fat in order to be digested and absorbed into your system properly. The water-soluble vitamins (B and C) need to be taken with water in order to break down and assimilate into your body properly. This is a very important concept to keep in mind. Absorbability and usability are actually huge topics in the supplement industry today. The high-quality supplement manufacturers and researchers are working hard to find the most highly-absorbable, and most highly-usable forms of vitamins, and vitamin combinations, including various types of fermentation processes, and liposomal encapsulation technology. (More on this topic in future articles)
Drops of D3 in my morning smoothie
For the purposes of this article, let’s keep it simple: Smoothies are a great way to intake your fat-soluble supplements, extracts, and enzymes. Most truly yummy smoothies are milk-based, whether that be milk from cows or any type of vegan milk substitute. I always add a generous portion of almond butter to my morning smoothie, so my fat-soluble vitamins will be well digested and absorbed. Whole fat coconut milk is also a great option if you want to make sure you have a significant amount of fat in your smoothie for your fat-soluble vitamins. On the other hand, it’s best to take your B’s and C’s with a good old glass of pure drinking water.
After becoming a supplement supplier to my clients, friends and family members, the ‘extra’ ingredients in my smoothies have taken a step up. Currently, I put Premier Research Labs (PRL) Fermented Beets or Fermented mushroom powder, PRL EPA/DHA liquid, PRL Cherry Exilade, PRL Greens Powder, and PRL D3 serum in my morning drink. The fermented beets and mushroom powders have been excellent for my digestion, immune system, and blood sugar levels. The Cherry Exilade adds a yummy cherry flavor to my smoothies and provides me with an increase in energy. The D3 is a supplement we all need for mood, sleep, and brain health, so I take at least 3,000 IU of it every day.
How it feels to have a conscious relationship with your health
Yes, I feel great because I’m taking all the extra support I need to be well, but I also feel good about myself because I’m putting time, effort and intention into my well-being. I have a conscious relationship with my health, and every time I make that morning smoothie, I am reinforcing that. I’ve been doing this for so long, that I don’t question my ability to take good care of myself. I’ve set up self-trust, and dependability by choosing one *easy* healthy choice each day, for years. Throwing a bunch of supplements into the blender or a cup with other smoothie ingredients takes almost no effort. It’s important to pick health practices that you can uphold over time. That’s why I love this breakfast routine. It’s easy, the supplements I use in it make it fun and impactful, and it’s something I actually enjoy drinking. If you’re looking for a positive health change in your life, this is one health practice I can recommend trying. Do your research, or set up a coaching session with me, to find the supplements you need most in this phase of your life. Below, I provide my life-affirming, time-tested smoothie recipe. Enjoy!
Makes one pitcher (one full-size home blender) of Melissa’s Smoothie:
1 large, ripe banana (or two small)
2.5–3 cups of frozen berries
3/4 cup of almond or cashew butter
2 scoops of vanilla or chocolate protein powder (I use Sun Warrior brand)
3 scoops of PRL Greens Powder
4–6 cups of milk or milk alternative (I use almond milk or rice milk)
Peel the banana and break up into pieces, throwing them in the bottom of the blender. Pour in your frozen fruit, nut butter, protein powder, Fermented Beets or Mushroom powder and greens powder in. Pour in milk, until you reach the ‘fill line’ in your blender. You may have to play with the fruit-to-liquid ratio a bit. Every blender is different, in reference to capacity as well as speed/ power of the blades.
Then, stir the following into each individual 16-oz serving:
3 or more drops of PRL D3 serum
1 TSPN PRL EPA/DHA liquid
I hope you enjoy the above recipe. If you come up with your own variations that you think are awesome, please send them to me. I’m always up for a new healthy recipe!