I don't know about y'all, but there are more than a couple of people in my life who have smoothies as a part of their daily ritual. Some of them do it as a quick way to consume their breakfast. Others do it as an energy boost before working out. Some just simply like the taste of 'em. If you happen to fall into any of these categories, first let me say that homemade smoothies, for the most part, are a good thing to have. The nutrients in them can help to strengthen your immunity, improve your digestion, detoxify your body, fill you up with antioxidants, control your cravings and help you to lose weight—yep, all this with just one serving. At the same time, the reason why I said, "for the most part", is because, believe it or not, there is such a thing as a "bad smoothie". It's when you find yourself preparing one in such a way that it can literally do your system more harm than good.
If smoothies are totally your thing, but you want to make sure that you're making the kind that are as healthy as possible, here are some signs that you might be working against this goal—whether you realize it or not.
You’re Making Them with Juice
While fruit is good for you, fruit juice? Eh, not so much. A lot of fruit juice brands are packed with both sugar and calories, so using them as a base for your smoothies is usually working against you, rather than for you. For instance, adding a half-cup of apple juice to your morning smoothie could easily give you 50-70 extra calories and 10-15 grams of sugar. So, if you want your smoothies to be a little less thick, opt for a milk alternative instead. Case in point, there are 30 calories in a cup of almond milk with zero grams of sugar in it (if you go with the original or unsweetened kind). For the most part, milk alternatives instead of juice are definitely the way to go.
You’re Putting in Too Much Fruit (or Only Fruit)
Just because I said that fruit is healthy (and it is), that doesn't mean it's also not packed with a type of sugar known as fructose. If all you have in your smoothie is berries, bananas or pineapples, that could cause your blood sugar levels to spike up. Plus, smoothies are basically meant to serve as mini-meals, so it's best to put more in there anyway. Protein powder, green veggies, seeds (like chia or flaxseed) can up the nutrient value of your smoothie while also balancing out all of the sugar that fruit tends to provide.
You’re Adding WAY Too Much Green Veggies
Kale. Spinach. Cucumber. Zucchini. These are just some of the green veggies that not only are loaded with vitamins and minerals, but actually taste really great in smoothies as well. But again, balance is key. If you eat too much of a good green thing, the fiber could have you in the bathroom for much longer than you ever planned. Plus, kale contains compounds known as goitrogens; too many of them are prone to totally mess with your thyroid—and not in a good way.
So how much is enough? 1-2 cups of fresh raw green vegetables, per smoothie, is pretty cool. Just make sure that you're only doing a smoothie a day in order to keep your green veggie intake on point.
You’re Adding WAY Too Much Protein Too
As women, all we need is 50-60 grams of protein a day. Well, if you're adding collagen, whey and protein powder to each of your smoothies, you're actually giving your body way too much protein. The challenge with that is, not only can that lead to things like nausea, dehydration, exhaustion, diarrhea and intestinal discomfort over time, but when protein rises to excessive levels, it's prone to turn into sugar. That's why, really no more than 10 grams of protein, per smoothie, should be a rule of thumb that you should follow.
You’re Putting Sweeteners In
Lawd, y'all. If you're putting fresh fruit into your smoothie, why in the world would you need to add any sweetener to it? Remember that smoothies aren't just a convenient way to get vitamins and minerals into your body; they're also supposed to benefit you, holistically, long-term. Consuming anything that could low-key turn you into a diabetic isn't helpful. Bottom line, if there's fruit in your smoothie, you've got all of the sweetener that you need. If there's not, a teaspoon of honey or molasses, some dates, or a little bit of flavored yogurt should be all that you need to add a little sweetness to it.
You’re Forgetting About Adding Spices
Here's an interesting question. When's the last time you added some spice (or spices) into your smoothies? Not only do they add a bit of a "kick" to how your smoothies taste, but many of them are really great for your overall health and well-being too. Ginger contains potassium, copper and magnesium, along with anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon is filled with antioxidants and the organic compound cinnamaldehyde which helps to keep bacterial and fungal infections at bay. Sage is dope because it's high in Vitamin K and also has the reputation for reducing cholesterol levels, relieving menopause-related symptoms and improving blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. So, definitely consider adding one of these (or other spices) into your smoothie, the next time that you make one.
Your Smoothies Are HUGE
Back in my Smoothie King days, I used to be amazed by some of the sizes of smoothies that they offered. I mean, who needs a Big Gulp equivalent of a smoothie, right? At the end of the day, all that means is you're packing on more calories and sugar. So, what size should your smoothies actually be? Between 8-12 ounces is best and one a day is good. And what about having a smoothie every day? If it's something like a homemade green smoothie, that shouldn't be a problem, so long as you add some protein into it so that you're not hungry an hour later.
Just make sure that you don't treat your smoothie like it's a drink that is accompanying a meal—even if it's a salad. Too much of a good thing can turn into something that's not-so-good, real quick. Many folks have found themselves packing on pounds after consistently drinking smoothies for a month or so. So, if you're having a smoothie, consider that to be an actual meal, until it's time to eat again.
BONUS: You’re Buying Them
The reason why this article focuses on mistakes that are made when it comes to making smoothies at home is because, when they're the DIY kind, you have full control over what does (and doesn't) go into them. When you're getting them at your local grocery store, not so much. Many commercial brands contain so many additives and preservatives that the word "natural" in the branding is hardly true. And if you get one at a restaurant, oftentimes frozen yogurt, sherbet and all sorts of sweeteners will make it more of a fattening treat than a healthy snack. So, when it comes to getting a smoothie outside of your house, while it might be convenient, it typically isn't your best bet—not if you want to drink one that is actually good for you. Make them at home. It's better for your body—and your budget in the long run.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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In a conversation about her latest role in the Lifetime movie Abducted Off the Street: The Carlesha Gaither Story, The Real Housewives of Atlanta personality opened up to PEOPLE about her “next chapter” following her divorce from ex-husband Marc Daly.
The reality TV star shared that she is currently on a journey of embracing self-love, letting go of self-criticism, and focusing on embracing every part of herself.
"I've never given myself that before; allowed myself the freedom to just let go and walk through life fully embracing every part of myself," Moore says. "That's what I want to do moving forward because I'm tired of holding myself back. This 'next chapter,' as I'm calling it, is all about flourishing, removing myself from those burdens and stepping into me.”
Over the years, Moore, 53, has been open about the criticism that she’s endured from the maternal figures in her life and the impact that it has on her self-esteem. Now, the 1993 Miss USA is releasing herself from the constraints that have been placed on her in the past for a more free and open approach to life.
"I've always judged myself with my grandmother's eyes," Moore says. "She was old-fashioned and very religious, and while I appreciated that and appreciated her morals, I feel like I've been wound a little too tight in the past. I've always contained myself, especially in my personal relationships. And I'm done doing that."
While coming to terms with the end of her marriage, Moore shared that she has long held herself responsible for the divorce and her tendency to self-judge. However, she has since decided not to burden herself with unnecessary blame and guilt around the separation.
"For years, I blamed myself for my divorce — in the same way I judged myself, that was my default," Moore says. "But recently, I looked back at text messages between us, emails, listened to voice recordings, and it finally hit me: It wasn't me. So I said, 'I'm sorry, but I'm not going to do this to myself.'"
"The only thing that I can say with me is that once I did see the red flag, I should have gotten out then," Moore says in hindsight. "I needed to stop being Captain Save-a-Hoe. Some hoes can't be saved!"
Now, the mother and entrepreneur has her sights set on the overall growth of her hair line, Kenya Moore Hair Care, as CEO; and if it’s in the cards, she’s open to entertaining new love in her life — although it’s not her top priority.
"If there's an amazing gentleman that pops up on the horizon who wants to take me to Monaco, and we have a yacht ride or something, then yes — yes. I will," she says jokingly. "Don't ask me twice! And no, I'll not apologize for it either."
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