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The life of a Dad who strives to be the best dad possible

The Veggie Shake – Revealed!

People frequently ask me what I am doing to my kids.  They hear that I make this “vegetable shake” for my kids and assume it is some kind of torture or punishment.  So, as a way to educate a few and hopefully alleviate peoples’ concern for the well-being of my children, I thought a little background and information would be in order.

The Creation

It all started about two years ago, in a land known as my kitchen.  At that time, my wonderful, and yet rather stubborn, daughter Amelia was making the leap from bottles to baby food.  My wife and I did all the typical stuff: only one new thing at a time, fruits first, and so on.  Even though we followed these “rules”, which worked perfectly for our son, Amelia was another story.  She was, in short, challenging.

Anytime anything remotely close to a vegetable, and even some rather tasty fruits, came near her, she knew it.  If I had the audacity to suggest sweet potatoes, total rejection.  Now, after years in undergraduate and law school, one would think I would be totally accustomed to rejection from females, but this was different.  Biologically, she was in theory at least half mine.  Plus, as The Dad, wasn’t I supposed to be in charge?  Shouldn’t I be the one controlling food intake?  Not in her mind.  She was rather picky and flat-out totally unwilling to eat much beyond a few of the most basic staples.

I needed an alternative solution.  I needed a plan.  Thus, the Veggie Shake was born.  I didn’t think she could handle moving out on her own and I was unwilling to simply slip into insanity while she continued to avoid vegetables.  The Veggie Shake became my alternative solution.

I will admit, it started poorly.  Burning through two blenders to create, at best, a C-minus drink was not ideal.  But, I kept tinkering and trying.  I bought a Vita-Mix blender from CostCo as I learned that the more liquid the vegetables were, the better they tasted.  I experimented with different fruits.  I tried different variations of milk (e.g., soy, almond, hemp, regular, and coconut) and even different flavors of milk (e.g., regular, chocolate, and vanilla).  Slowly, over time, my concoction improved.  Eventually, it actually started tasting good.

My kids don’t always love it now, but they generally eat it pretty happily.  The effort can be a bit much, but for them, nothing is too much.  I think the current version is a solid A-minus, the kids love it, and even my wife admits it is yummy.  Candidly, I don’t think I can make it any better.  There’s only so much one can do with spinach, kale, and the like!

So, without further ado…

The Recipe

  1. Blend approx. 1 Cup of Vanilla coconut milk with 2 cups fresh, organic spinach and 1 cup kale.  Blend until as liquified as possible.
  2. Add 1 whole banana, 1-1.5 cups frozen blueberries, 2 scoops of Vanilla protein powder, and 3 servings of organic Flax Seed.
  3. Blend until thoroughly chopped and mixed.  Note, the mixture will thicken substantially.
  4. Add approx. 2 “handfuls” of other frozen fruits.  I prefer a tropical mixture containing papaya, mango, strawberries, and pineapple.
  5. Again, blend until thoroughly chopped and mixed.  Note, the mixture will thicken even further.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

A few notes, when creating this, one of my goals/rules was that all ingredients (other than the fresh produce) had to come from Costco.  This remains the case, other than the Vanilla coconut milk.  Previously, I was using almond milk from Costco, but the Vanilla coconut milk just has a slightly better texture and sweetness than the almond.  The protein powder, flax seed, and frozen fruits all come from Costco.

Also, I use spinach and kale because they have the easiest flavors to mask.  I have tried all the “greens” (e.g., collard, mustard, dandelion, etc.) to no avail.  I love the nutrition in collard green, but they have a flavor that is impossible to cover.  Endive is even worse.  I would welcome any suggestions of other leafy greens to include, but for now spinach and kale are the standard against which others will be judged.

Now, don’t get all judgy on me here.  Most people grimace and turn their noses when I tell them how I make the shakes.  They (wrongly) assume the shakes much taste terrible.  I mean, no ice cream?  no artificial sweeteners?  How can they possibly not be nasty???  Just to demonstrate how delicious they can be, using the most biased and discerning palates known to humankind (a two and a three year old), enjoy the video below of a recent making of some veggie shakes and the consumption afterwards!  My only request is two-fold: one, please leave a comment, regardless of the nature, if you have one, and two, if you make a shake, please let me know what you thought and if you made any improvements!  Thanks!


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