Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The topic of this post is how to contend with purchased produce that has reached its final hours in a way that is healthy, quick, and inexpensive.

As someone undergoing the ravages of our bad economy, I have learned that salvaging, processing, and freezing produce is one of the most economical ways to eat. It is also my most recent discovery that blended drinks provide the least expensive, healthiest, and tastiest alternative to wasting food.

On the subject of health:

 It is a well known fact that a lifelong diet of fruit and vegetables­ is one of the most reassuring lifestyle choices for the prevention of fatal diseases like cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes.

Books such as the Okinawa Program, and the China Study, discuss the specifics of how eastern cultures, who indulge in low calorie vegetarian diets (both through choice and the limitations of poverty), have shown a delayed and reduced occurrence to the "affluent diseases of the West,” as well as generously extended life-spans.

Other benefits to a low calorie high nutrient diet  include a natural, slow, and steady weight loss. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live diet program highly recommends the health benefits of eating large amounts of hearty cruciferous vegetables like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard; all of which are frequently sold at Quest and easy to include in blended drinks, and which add extra nutrients/antioxidants and roughage.

On the subject of cost:

For the past three months I have been using my blender, freezer, and Quest card religiously to help maintain my healthy and humble diet. So far I have purchased:

  • 30 pounds of blood oranges ($9.00 at 30 cents a pound)
  • 30 peeled and frozen bananas ($2.40 at 80 cents a 2.5 lb bag)
  • 5 x 1 lb bags of pre-washed parsley ($7.50 at 1.50 at bag)
  • 3 x 2.5 lb bags of kale ($9.00 at 3.00 at bag)
  • 10 lb of pears ($1.00 at 10 cents a pound
  • 8 x 1.89 litre carton of soy milk ($2.00 at 25 cents/carton)

    • Total Mass: 96 lb                                                      
    • Total Cost: $30.90
    • Average cost per pound: 32 cents   

With an average cost per pound at 32 cents, this means that for every liberally sized breakfast drink I create (an approximate 2.5 lb), I am spending 80 cents- UNDER A DOLLAR!

I usually chop oranges, bananas, and other large fruit into one inch pieces before freezing them, so that it's easier and faster for the blender to process. If you want to spend the extra time, you can freeze them first on baking sheets so that the pieces of fruit don't stick together when you put them into the bags. All of this, of course, takes time and effort, but for a healthy and wholesome breakfast at 80 cents a serving, I think it's time is well spent.

When it comes to the hardware in this equation, blenders can be purchased at your own risk from places like Craigslist and Value Village. Big box stores also have frequent sales on blending devices like the magic bullets which can work equally as well.

On the Subject of taste:

It would be silly of me to write a post on the benefits of a blended breakfast diet without including a recipe. The following is one that I find particularly refreshing, and it is comprised of ingredients that are available at Quest on an ongoing basis:

2 large handfuls of Parsley
2 Whole Blood Oranges  (washed quartered and unpeeled)
1.5 cup of Strawberry Soy Milk
2 tablespoons of Flax Seeds
1 Frozen Banana (peeled)
1 cup water
5 cubes of ice (if none of the fruit is already frozen)

I won't patronize you by giving you instructions on what to do with these ingredients, except to say that if any of the ingredients are frozen, you may want to start blending the softer ingredients first- it's easier on the mechanics of the blender. Enjoy!

 Author: Sarah Smith (Quest Volunteer)