First, a quick word about this category, which I’m calling “Epiphanies.” Wikipedia defines Epiphany as “an experience of sudden and striking realization.” Though very often this striking realization may be something completely new, an Epiphany can also be something you’ve always known, but then something happens that opens your eyes, and it’s like you realize it for the first time and it’s like…”Wow! Yes! I can’t believe I missed that!”
I have both kinds of Epiphanies, on a fairly regular basis. Being “old” hasn’t stopped my mind from working efficiently (sometimes, I’m afraid, too efficiently…) So here’s where I’ll start recording my Epiphanies, and this one, though rather minor, is one of those “I guess I’ve always known this, but now I REALLY know it” kind of moments.
First Epiphany: a smoothie can be greatly improved by the addition of ice cubes.
Yeah, that’s it. I told you it was not really a big deal.
So, let me set an elaborate backdrop for what is really an extremely simple story.
Two years ago when I went for my OBGYN appointment, I had my first bone density test, and the doctor informed me I have osteopenia. Bummer! I pride myself on being reasonably healthy, so hearing this did not come down in the plus column. But I decided to do what I always do when faced by a problem: I think it through and come up with a solution. (Russ sometimes calls me “The Problem Solver.”)
Obviously, the solution to osteopenia is to do whatever you can to make bones stronger, or stop, or at least slow the progression of bone loss. The doctor recommended calcium supplements, which is not actually the best solution, as supplements can have their own particular issues. But I did the research, and I’ve been taking a low dose of calcium along with the complimentary magnesium, D and K, so as not to do too much harm to myself. (I’m actually in the middle of readjusting my supplement schedule, but that’s another story for another day. Let’s get back on track…)
I’ve also flirted with the idea of building bones by doing more resistance exercises, but really, I’ve been doing more flirting than actual exercise. I have a complicated relationship with exercise—which will be the subject of yet another future post, I’m sure.
But as for strategies, how about this one? Drink more milk! Right? Only I’ve never been a big fan of cow’s milk. I like the way it tastes, but years ago I read quite a bit about how cow’s milk is not really that good for you, it causes mucus (yuck!) and actually, many countries that consume the most dairy products actually have the highest rates of osteoporosis. (Like the good old USA.) So, I’ll have a glass of milk on rare occasion, put cream in my occasional coffee and have been known to eat a bit of yogurt now and then, but basically I’m low-dairy.
Fortunately, over the last several years I’ve discovered plant and nut milks! Almond milk and cashew milk are my favorites, and they are actually higher in calcium than cow’s milk, and tastes great if you mix them in a smoothie!
I quite frequently make smoothies on my Nutribullet, and now that I’m battling osteopenia, I’m trying to turn that “frequently” into “just about every day.” Because I spend more time at work than at home, these days, my Nutribullet lives in my office, rather than my kitchen.
So, getting on with my story: yesterday, at lunchtime I had an iced tea at McDonald’s. Yes, yes, I know…caffeine…not good if you’re trying to build bones. But let’s think this through: I don’t drink several cups of coffee a day, like so many people do, and I don’t drink soda at all. My main source of caffeine is iced tea, which is HEAVY on the ice. And the rest is tea, much lower in caffeine than coffee. And I always take my tea unsweetened, so unless you’re going to drink plain water, unsweetened tea is just about the healthiest thing you can drink, with all those flavonoids and antioxidants.
Boy, I’m digressing. Let’s get back on track.
So, I’m back at work, at my desk, with only a bit of ice left at the bottom of my McDonald’s Styrofoam cup, and I’m getting ready to make my afternoon smoothie, and suddenly I think, “What the heck! Let’s throw in these ice cubes!”
Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of people regularly add ice to their smoothies, but I never have before, and when I did, it was an eye-opening experience! Because the ice makes it really really COLD. (And, frankly, there’s nothing worse than a warm smoothie.)
So this definitely comes down in the category of “things I’ve always known (or at least should have known) but I don’t REALLY know it until I try it for myself.” And also in the category of “Things I’ll Have to Do Again.”
I will probably have tons more to say about smoothies as this blog progresses, but for the time being, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page:
Ice is AWESOME when blended into a smoothie!