Currently craving: Zumba and smoothies

2 Jan

A friend and coworker has been going to Zumba® classes for quite a while now. Before the holiday break she sent an email to the office offering to treat anyone who wanted to join her for a Zumba class. I finally couldn’t resist and had the time free, so I joined her for Zumba with Phoebe last Tuesday evening. Zumba is advertised as a way to “party yourself into shape” with Latin-inspired dance-fitness moves and high-energy music. It’s supposed to be fun and burn a ton of calories.

I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up or follow the moves, or worse: look stupid doing them. I worried that I would travel in the wrong direction and run into someone. I was worried I’d be the fattest, most unfit person in the room. Turned out I had none of those things to worry about. Well, I might have looked stupid, but everybody else in the room was focused on following the moves themselves to notice if I looked stupid or not. I didn’t knock anybody over by going the wrong way or flailing my arms too wildly. There were easy ways to modify the moves if I got a little tired, but mostly I kept up just fine. And the couple of moves I couldn’t follow? Neither could a lot of other people. Phoebe, the instructor, was awesome and so welcoming. Her instruction when we were introduced was, “if you get lost, just keep moving and smile.” I can do that 🙂 I had such fun at that class, I went back for more on Saturday morning!

Unfortunately the holiday break from work is nearly over and things will be getting busier again. Many of the Zumba classes are offered at challenging times for me to go. If they’re during the lunch hour, how do I get cleaned up and go back to work? I sweat … a lot. We at least try to go to bed on the early side (9-9:30 PM) so if I go to a class that starts at 7 PM or later, I won’t get home until close to bedtime. When do you eat dinner? And what about a shower? The Tuesday 6 PM class I went to was a decent time, but normally we train dogs Tuesday afternoons, so I wouldn’t have time to get home, feed dogs, change clothes, and get back into town for a class. That just leaves weekend classes, which might be doable on non-race days if we can get our errands done at other times. So that’s what I’ll try to do: a Saturday or Sunday Zumba class and Tuesdays when possible. At least I’ll get a little Zumba fix.

I wasn’t sure how or what to eat before Tuesday evening’s Zumba class. We normally eat dinner between 6-7 PM, which was the time of the class. I knew I needed some energy to get through the workout.

I got an immersion blender about a year ago with the intention of using it for making creamy soups and smoothies. That didn’t happen. I had the excuses: what a hassle to prepare the fruit; I don’t know what I should put in them and in what proportions. So I never made smoothies; soups either for that matter. Chris recently decided he wanted to try making smoothies and I convinced him the immersion blender was the tool to use. He eats lots of yogurt, so we had that around, and one of his colleagues told him where we could find frozen fruit. I know, every grocery store has frozen fruit, but it’s amazing hard it is to find frozen fruit that is just fruit and doesn’t have other stuff added, and even harder to find organic frozen fruit. So far we’ve found strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, a mix of pineapple+peach+strawberries+mango, a berry mix, and cranberries. I love bananas, and don’t mind fresh for smoothies, but I can only eat organic bananas (non-organic ones make my tongue and throat itch) and finding ones that aren’t bright green is a big challenge. Chris is MUCH less picky than me, so he’s been making smoothies with whatever we find. They’re okay, but not something I would crave. I’ve made a few of my own with low-fat yogurt (regular or Greek), a banana, a bit of light soymilk, and frozen strawberries, peaches, and blueberries. I’m guessing on proportions, so they’re kind of soup-like, but they seem to work and I enjoy drinking them. Now I’m looking at what else I could add to smoothies to make them even healthier. I will try switching to fat-free Greek yogurt and keep experimenting with different fruits. I’ve seen some recipes with cocoa powder, peanut butter, and orange juice (not all at the same time) that seem promising. Maybe I should try Chia seeds? Add veggies like carrots or spinach? Possibly.

Here are a few smoothie recipes I’ve found that look promising but I haven’t tried yet:

And I’ll keep looking for other smoothie recipes and ideas for tasty things to put in them. I’m also looking for suggestions on how to take smoothies to work with me for later in the day. Maybe a small thermos? Chris uses a jelly jar. Please leave me a comment if you have suggestions.

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3 Responses to “Currently craving: Zumba and smoothies”

  1. Fairbanksgrrrl January 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    I used to make green smoothies with fresh fruit and kale or romaine all the time. I’m not sure if it will work with an immersion blender though. I used a cup or so of seedless grapes, a handful of greens, a half cup or so of water (or juice I you like it sweeter), and a banana on top. Blend until smooth, then add ice and blend again. You can also throw in apple slices or a few berries.

    • aswingley January 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

      Thanks Heather! Grapes, greens and banana sounds interesting. Amazingly, the immersion blender seems to work better than the regular blender.

  2. buttercupknits January 5, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    One of my favorite smoothies (and my fall back, usually) is a big handful or two of spinach, some light vanilla soymilk (or your dairy/dairy substitute of choice) 2ish cups of your fruit/frozen fruit of choices (mine tends to be a combo of strawberries and blueberries) and a banana. cannot taste the spinach at all, and it makes for a HUGE smoothie.

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