1000 Calorie Smoothie Recipe

by Kirke on November 9, 2015

If you’ve visited chefnurtured.com recently you may have noticed that I have not posted anything in quite a while. Last winter I was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, manifested by a tumor at the juncture of the esophagus with the stomach, infecting both organs. I first realized something was wrong when swallowing became increasingly uncomfortable. There are two types of esophageal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. I had contracted the latter, which affects gland cells that line the esophagus. This type is thought to be largely caused by acid reflux; stomach acid going where it isn’t wanted. Conspicuous consumption likely played a part, to which I happily plead guilty as charged.

Often, the prognosis associated with esophageal cancer of any type lean toward negative outcomes, and in short order. After soliciting second, third and fourth opinions, I was assured that if I followed the prescribed aggressive protocol, I would be able to replace the big ‘C’ of cancer with the big ‘C’ of cured. The plan was to hit me with immediate simultaneous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation for six weeks, followed soon after with what is known as the Ivor-Lewis surgery. No, it is not named after the 1950’s Hollywood comedy team.

If there really is a Devil, and there really are demons who develop custom afflictions designed to hit each person where they live, mine would be due for a commendation. My tormentor delivered the first blow a few years ago by degenerating a vertebral disc, cutting my endurance to stand and cook from twelve hours to 20 minutes. Now the goblins tried to finish me off, attacking the very machinery I need to consume, enjoy, and digest any meal in a normal fashion.

Well, you better back off now demon or I’ll find a nice walk-in freezer for your retirement. My surgery was as successful as possible, and the prognosis is no longer bleak. I would like to share one of the weapons I developed to battle my demon: a recipe to help maintain body weight while receiving chemo/radiation therapy and for post-surgery, when eating real food can seem like a strange, unfamiliar experience. Gaining and/or keeping weight on is a very important factor in achieving positive outcomes with certain diseases, particularly cancer. Doing it successfully becomes harder as treatment progresses. Difficulty swallowing and symptoms like nausea and pain make weight goals seem impossible. I found that nutrition supplements available on the market can do the job, if you don’t mind chocolate flavored meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While I can’t compete with the convenience of pre-packaged nutrition, I knew I could create a fairly easy to make smoothie recipe using fresh, whole-food ingredients that even a queasy patient might find palatable.

The 1000 (or so) Calorie Smoothie Recipe:

¼ cup Yogurt with live cultures 50 calories
1 cup Whole milk 150 calories
4 oz. Fruit nectar drink 80 calories
One scoop Dry pea powder 120 calories
2 each Dried pitted prunes 50 calories
½ cup Fresh strawberries, stem plucked, washed 25 calories
¼ cup Fresh blackberries, (or blue)washed 16 calories
½ each Ripe pear 43 calories
1 tbs. Honey 64 calories
3 tbs. Organic canola oil 360 calories
=958 calories

 

Liovi Active Culture Liquid Yogurt
Liovi Active Culture Liquid Yogurt
Liovi Active Culture Liquid Yogurt

 

Feel free to make substitutions reflecting your taste, and/or availability. For example, the yogurt I use is fairly new to the marketplace and might be hard to find. Any plain yogurt with live cultures will suffice. Berries were available here in California, but any two or three fruits will work as well; such as bananas, melon or stone fruit. Use whatever looks ripe and tasty. I used prunes to help with constipation, but include or eliminate this ingredient according to your personal needs. In the same vein, peel applicable fruit if you are just beginning to start back on regular food, it will be easier to digest.

Mixed Berries
Mixed Berries
Mixed Berries

 

Consuming a high protein diet is especially important following surgery, when your cells are working hard on healing. Consumer Labs found that the consumption of pea protein isolate contributed to strength and muscle thickness to the same degree as whey protein. Like whey protein, pea powder is a complete protein, rich in essential branched chain amino acids. The NOW brand of powdered dried yellow peas I used was sourced from Whole Foods. It contains no additives and is organic and GMO-free. Whey protein is a perfectly good substitute, but the pea powder I chose is unflavored, unlike many whey protein products, yielding a better flavor profile. One recipe contributes about half the protein (24 grams) the average person requires for one day. Check with your doctor or nutritionist to determine your exact protein needs.

Pea Protein Powder
Pea Protein Powder
Pea Protein Powder

 

About a third of the calories in the smoothie come from Spectrum brand organic, expeller pressed (read: extra virgin) canola oil. Canola oil is still considered one of the healthiest dietary vegetable oils available. Extra virgin olive oil is not a good substitute. Believe me, I tried it just to make sure, and the flavors are definitely not compatible. Besides, canola oil is higher in Omega 3’s and lower in saturated fat. Adding a bit of fruit nectar beverage to the mix bumps the sweetness up a notch. Also, I found that when I was having a particularly difficult time swallowing a smoothie, a chaser of pineapple, orange, guava Nantucket Nectars helped ‘the medicine go down.’

In the accompanying video, I am pictured using an immersion blender, which works just fine, but a counter top blender is probably the best tool for this recipe. In commercial kitchens, many chefs use an immersion blender that is 3-4 ft. long, which is often referred to as ‘the bazooka.’ They are particularly useful for pureeing 20 gallons of hot soup right in the pot. Perhaps my fondness for the tool stems from my bad experience with counter top blenders. I once used a large commercial stainless steel, two gallon counter top blender to puree hot lobster bisque, shells and all. Apparently, I filled it a little too full (early in my career, mind you), because after turning the machine on, lobster bisque was decorating the ceiling! Keep your food fresh and your mouth smiling. 😉

 

Pre-surgery insides
Pre-surgery insides
Pre-surgery insides
Post Surgery ICU
Post Surgery ICU
Post Surgery ICU
Post Surgery Still Tube Feeding
Post Surgery Still Tube Feeding
Post Surgery Still Tube Feeding
My Beautiful Home Nurse and The Will to Carry On!
My Beautiful Home Nurse and The Will to Carry On!
My Beautiful Home Nurse and The Will to Carry On!

 

References:

Product review: Protein powders and drinks review. (2013, June 11). Retrieved October 17, 2015, from Consumer labs website: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Protein_Powders_Shakes_Drinks_Sports_%20Meal_Diet/NutritionDrinks/#buying

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Julie Ambrose November 22, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Nice work chef!

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