Have you considered switching out your berries for orange in your daily (or weekly) smoothie?  I’m not talking about replacing your almond milk with orange juice, but rather using the whole orange in place of your usual fruit. An orange smoothie, spiked with vanilla for that take-me-back-to-ice-cream-bar kind of flavor, has been the theme in my Vita-mix all week.

Geen Orange Chia Creamsicle Smoothie

Green Orange Chia Creamsicle Smoothie

I used to have a saying in my restaurant, which was “you are only as good as your set up”.  The other day, I was talking to my friend, Julie, who is a triathlon coach.  We both were bemused that there are some triathletes spend who spend copious amounts of money on race fees, nutritional supplements, gear, coaching and gym memberships, but fail on the side of basic, easy good nutrition because they typically feel strapped for time.   To perform well in anything, what you put into your body MATTERS.   If producing healthy food is problematic for you, I would recommend taking a hour toward the end of the week to plan your menus and shopping lists for the following week. Take Sunday and shop and do some basic prep.  Having your frig full of proper grocery items is 75 % of the battle.  My day-to-day eating is pretty simple.  I like to make a least one creative vegan meal during the week and I also cook breakfast and dinner for Geoff and pack his lunch on most days, so I need to have a stocked frig come Sunday night.    Last Sunday, in fleshing out my smoothie prep for the week, I peeled and cut up 12 bananas and 6 oranges and froze them. As my smoothie journey has progressed, I have discovered that I prefer frozen fruit to fresh fruit + ice for that perfect creamy-smooth slightly icy texture.  Having a little foresight into what I was going to be making for snacks the coming week, I froze my fruit ahead of time.  I do the same thing re: vegetables and soups.  I typically will roast 5-10 pounds of veggies, cook a pot of quinoa and make a couple of pots of stews and/or soups.  There is always something in the frig during the week when I’m pressed for time.
Okay, so off my saltbox and back to Smoothie-ville.  I was at Whole Foods the other day and they had 10-pound bags of local, organic Stehly Farm Valencia oranges on sale for $7.99.  That’s .79/lb. Even when you factor in that you are going not going to use the peels, you will still yield about 75-80 percent of fruit out of the orange, which works out to about $1.00-$1.10 per pound (phew……….thank god for the Culinary Math class at the Culinary Institute of America).  Organic Berries usually run about $6-$10 a pound, so oranges are really cheap in comparison, not to mention loaded with Vitamins A & C and calcium and TASTE GREAT.
Delicious Valencia Oranges from Stehly Farms

Delicious Valencia Oranges from Stehly Farms

Chef’s Tip The secret to getting a real orange-y flavor is to shave off a small piece of zest.  I do this with a wide mouth peeler. The zest is where all of the fragrant oils are held. You could try this with a lime in a Mango-Lime-Coconut smoothie or with a lemon in a Lemon-Vanilla Smoothie.  I draw the line at grapefruit, as I’ve never really craved a pronounced grapefruit taste in anything.
A small 1 inch piece of orange zest.  I often cut 12-15 pieces and freeze them, then I have them on hand when I need a punch of orange flavor

A small 1 inch piece of orange zest. I often cut 12-15 pieces and freeze them, then I have them on hand when I need a punch of orange flavor

You will note the absence of “milk” in this smoothie. I use cashews + water in place of milk.  I do this a fair amount as I don’t love the taste of milk-in-a-carton and prefer to make my own.  Time did get the best of me last week and I failed to make any milk.  Bad triathlete no smoothie!  “the best laid plans of mice and men………”
Chia Green and  Orange “Creamsicle” Smoothie

  • 1 each whole Orange-peeled and white pith removed* (Mine was frozen)
  • 1 each 1”piece orange zest
  • ½ Banana (mine was frozen)
  • 1/4 Whole Vanilla Bean or 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ Cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp Raw Cashews
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 2 handfuls Spinach


  • Blend on high speed for 1 minute or until creamy. I use my Vita-mix high speed blender

In the training department, this week has started out promising. I managed to string together some master’s swims, some biking and strength training.  The swim workouts were very challenging—if you want some serious swim training, hit Gracie’s 11:45 Monday masters’ swim at the Solana Beach Boys and Girls club or Encinitas masters’ at the YMCA.  I swear, my arms practically fell off by the end of yesterday.
Which begs the question: How will ever make my smoothie if my arms are too sore? #northcountyproblems