Ever since hearing Rich Roll speak at the Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, PA earlier this month, I’ve been in “ultra” mode. Essentially, I’ve gone from my usual Jillian Michaels and yoga DVDs and have tried to really push myself and my boundaries and get out of my comfort zone. This was one of the driving themes behind Rich Roll’s speech and his book, Finding Ultra. Of course, my ultra isn’t quite the “ultra” that Rich Roll found. He ran two Ultramans, which is comprised of 6.2 miles of swimming, a 261 mile cross-country bike ride, and then a 52.5 mile run over the course of three days (oh, not to mention running 5 iron mans in 5 days a bit later in his life). My ultra? Running a mere 2 miles. But I’m working my way up! Yesterday, I did a 2 mile run and 1 mile walk. Today, I ran 2.25 miles and walked another .75. So, Ultraman here I come!! (Totally just kidding right there, I am not coming for you, Ultraman. Not at all…)
And even though I am a far cry from ever competing in a marathon — let alone an Ultraman — immersing myself in this world works as a wonderful motivator, which is why I’ve been listening to a backlog of Rich Roll podcasts on my recent runs. The “ultra” marathon world is all about leaving our comfort zones and pushing boundaries and limits to exceed what we may even think possible for ourselves. Before leaving for PA, I’d said many times (including on this blog) how much I hated running and that I only do it on rare occasions. So the fact that I’ve found myself on the track two days in a row has exceeded any expectations I may have had for myself in the past.
This protein-packed smoothie has been my new favorite after-workout treat. Not only does it actually taste like a treat, but it provides a nice boost of protein for those more active days, while still nourishing your body with fiber and nutrients. It would also make a filling breakfast smoothie or afternoon snack for those long days at the office.
Green Power Protein Smoothie (single-serving):
1 cup soy milk (almond or rice milk would also work, but not as high in protein)
1 large handful baby spinach or baby kale
1 large collard leaf or curly kale leaf
1/2 large banana, frozen, or 1 small frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen diced pineapple or mango
1 tablespoon vegan protein powder (I used HealthForce Superfoods Purity Protein Enhanced)*
1 packet stevia
1. Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender (such as Vitamix) and blend until smooth, or until desired texture is reached. If not using a high-powered blender, I would suggest using more soy milk to start and blending greens first, before adding other ingredients.
* Don’t have protein powder on hand? Try 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds instead for a natural protein option.