Morning routine

Mar 11

Thanks for all the comments/tips/advice on the leg pain and shoe suggestions.  I will definitely look into it.  My latest shoes, however, were fitted by one of the guru’s at the running store, and they have less than 100 miles logged.  But I’m willing to look at it again!  I appreciate all the ideas and inspiration you gave me, and I will follow up soon.

On the bright side, I was able to run four pain-free miles yesterday after a two week running break.  I consider that to be a huge victory.  I’m heading back to the pool today (still using my free pass), so hopefully I’ll be able to continue changing up the workouts and get into a 30-minutes-a-day routine.

Since I got such helpful suggestions on the running front, I thought I would ask another question about my morning smoothie recipe.  Last summer, I started making smoothies for breakfast.  My go-to morning recipe is this:

Jen’s Green Machine:

1 cup Almond Milk (unflavored, unsweetened)

1 big handful fresh organic spinach

1 pinch (1/4 cup) broccoli sprouts  (if your smoothie has an earthy flavor, you added too much)

1 peeled frozen banana

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 packet of instant chocolate breakfast

2 ice cubes

(Variations that Brad often uses: ground flax seed instead of chia seeds, add peanut butter)

I blend it until it is completely smooth (we have a Vitamix, purchased from their “refurbished” section on the website), and drink it through a straw.  Be forewarned, it is bright green!  I don’t get hungry before lunchtime (amazing for me!), and I enjoy drinking it.  I love chocolate, and including the chocolate mix is the difference-maker that keeps me coming back to this healthy breakfast every morning, so it is worth it.

However, I am interested if anyone knows of a healthier alternative to the generic chocolate mix I’ve been buying in the cereal aisle?  I’m trying to avoid hormones in my food (my cancer was estrogen and progesterone positive), so whey protein and soy protein are not good choices.  Less sugar and artificial sweeteners would also be good.  Does anyone have any other chocolate-y ideas for me?  Is there a healthy, hormone-free, little/no sugar chocolate product in existence?  Even as I ask they question, I’m thinking: I bet if there is, it tastes terrible!  We’ll see if anyone has any ideas.

Regardless, I like having an easy, healthy, filling breakfast.  Sometimes Maren has one too, but picky Greta won’t partake yet.  The Vitamix was a major purchase for us, but I use it 6-7 days/week so we really feel like we’ve gotten our money out of it.  Brad would like to use it every day too, but he is usually having breakfast before the kids are awake, and the one downside is that it is LOUD.  So he sacrifices for our sleep–what a guy!


  1. unsweetened cocoa powder and some raw honey to sweeten. And did you say ‘unpeeled’ banana??

    • Kelly /

      I agree with Kelly, unsweetened raw coco powder. I bought mine at whole foods and it was expensive, but one bag has lasted me a year, a little goes a long way!!!!

  2. Hi Jen!

    We use a product called Garden of Life -Perfect Food Raw, Chocolate flavor. Its made with 34 Nutrient Dense Raw Organic Greens Sprouts and Veggies. (took that from the container :-P) Its a little pricier but we have found through our research & taste tests that it lives up to it. Plus we’ve found it to last through a month. We really like the Garden of Life products overall. The webaite is or 🙂

  3. Brenda /

    I buy this from amazon to use in my smoothie.
    Navitas Naturals, Raw Chocolate Powder, Organic, 16-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 2)

    I too have a vitamix recipe similar to yours. Almond milk (use organic raw ones from Spain), banana, raw honey, raw choc powder, amazing grass greens and ice. Love it!

  4. Got another recipe for you on the protein drinks.

    I usually make 2-3 servings, keep it in the frig..I never measure, so this is bachelor rounding methods.

    cup and a half of yougurt (usually vanilla)
    Put in decent amount of Kale and about a cup of raw almonds.
    Blend until kale and almonds are chopped into small pieces. (put in a decent amount Kale, you won’t taste it.)

    Add a small amount of cinnamon.

    Add in cup of frozen blueberries and cup frozen strawberries and banana…maybe 2 bananas. Add Almond milk when it gets too thick.

    I’ve taken to adding a small amount of oatmeal to this when substituting it as a meal…little protein powder if you have it.

    I’ve mixed in other fruits from time to time just to mix it up(…kiwis add a good flavor)

    Makes a 2-3 in the frig. This one is very thick, but very good.

  5. Owengirl79 /

    Check out Unjury online. It is protein powder used for diabetics and those who have had weight loss surgery. It does taste good!

  6. sandileigh /

    Go to Great recipes and lots of health info!

  7. sandileigh /

    And why are you eating banana peels? Yuck!

  8. Christina /

    Amazing Grass Green Superfood Chocolate Powder drink. Vegan, raw, less than one gram of sugar! Found it on amazon and it’s my favorite so far (and believe me, I’ve tried a lot). The price is nice, too (especially for a family with 6 kids, one income, and a set budget).

  9. I drink Bolthouse Protien drinks that are Gluten Free ~ I am sure you could use their Chocolate one to your mixture 🙂 My son & his 2 daughters love Green Goodness 🙂 Happy Mixing 🙂

  10. Sarah /

    I think the cocoa powder and honey mentioned above would be worth a shot. I use Hersey’s Special Dark for baking and adding to Greek yogurt as a treat. It’s 100% cacao and has no sugar.

  11. Debby /

    I use Chocolate Peanut Butter made by Peanut Butter and Company.

  12. My kiddos and I love our berry spinach smoothies. We do two big handfuls of spinach, some frozen mixed fruit, some frozen mixed berries, a banana, part orange juice, part water, and some chia seeds. They are so yummy, so maybe worth alternating with your recipe? We’ve yet to try chocolate, but we might just have to try yours out, too. I also want to add some sort of protein…one of my friends uses hemp powder, but she says it makes them less kid-friendly,so she just adds it to hers. She is one of the founders of and they have a ton of good recipes there, too.

  13. I use cacao powder and a little honey for chocolate and hemp powder (smooth texture) or hemp hearts (adds bits of texture like tapioca bits) for protein.

  14. Meredith Gvozdas /

    What abou Nutella? Is that healthy/suitable “chocolate” substitute or flavor? Continuously praying for you, your precious fam, and your team of very cleverly and appropriately named doctors!!

  15. Shorty /

    Jen, I agree with the unsweetened cocoa powder & honey or pure maple syrup.

  16. I agree with the unsweeted cocoa powder–that is what I use. Then I throw in a squeeze of honey or agave to sweeten. I’ve also been known to use Chocolate Ovaltine, which has lots of vitamins added. Admittedly, also sugar and probably other sketchy things, but it works!

  17. I have the perfect product for you. I’m on a dairy and soy free diet and wanted something that wasn’t gross that I could add to smoothies for some protein. I found Amazing Meal powder and it is right for me. I really like the chocolate flavor. It is very dark chocolatey. It isn’t cheap, but it is good for you. I buy it on Amazon, and I use to track the price and find a good deal.

  18. jayne /

    Cocao powder is best. Natural and get unsweetened. Avoid the honey/maple sugar if you can, at the end of the day it’s still sugar.
    I’m confused I thought you were Her 2 positive, since your doing Herceptin?.. I read your Blog but I haven’t ever commented. I live in Australia and I met your Aunty who works at Bed Bath and Table and I always have a chat to her and she states that I remind her of you. She told me about your blog, and I always enjoy reading your funny antidotes. Keep up the good work. !!

  19. Sun Warrior Protein Powder in Chocolate! It’s pricey, but good stuff.

    I also add frozen banana chunks, vanilla Greek yogurt, agave if needed, almond/peanut butter, and the other good green stuff you mentioned.

    Check out my friend’s wellness clinic page on Facebook….she’s always sharing great vita mixer recipes and she’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to making progressive, healthy choices:

  20. Kathy Swim /

    Thanks for the recipe Jen. I also use a vitamix every day and love it! Try straight chocolate (like baking chocolate) and stevia (a healthy sugar substitute) or I found stevia chocolate bars at a health food store under the name “Lilly’s”. They were a great snack. There are stevia cookbooks out there and the sweetener comes in different forms for different uses. It’s actually good for you! It’s a plant! Good luck!

  21. peggy /

    Have you looked at pea protein powders as a substitute for whey? I use Xymogen Products (available from wellness doctors or at certain compounding pharmacies). One 8 ounce serving has 21 grams of protein. The chocolate flavor is very nice.