Toxifying Smoothie

Today’s smoothie was not the pick-me-up cocktail I was expecting. It was more like a nasty knock-me-down surprise.

A couple years back, my mother-in-law gave me one of those NutriBullet machines, and it can liquefy pretty much anything, including a finger if I somehow ever let the razor-sharp blades slice off a digit. After my morning jog, I always come home and throw together a power shake, and then gulp it down over the sink in less than thirty seconds before jumping in the shower and heading out the door for work.

In terms of ingredients, my smoothie-making tends toward the “worse it tastes, the better it is for you” approach. Sure, I’ll throw a banana, strawberries, mango, pear, into the pot. But who wants it to be too tasty? So I’ll also go out of my way to throw in any number of mismatched, un-sweet ingredients, such as a handful of uncooked oats, a bunch of parsley, a green zucchini. The more odd the combo, the more proud I am of being able to chug down the end result.

This morning I came back from my five-miler and put together what I thought was a standard assemblage. Pear, three strawberries, handful of blueberries, fine. But also, mini-cucumber, big carrot, large kale leaf, and a small slightly suspect-looking yellow squash. I was lacking a banana, however, and a smoothie without a banana is not smooth at all. Then I found half of a banana on my five year old’s abandoned breakfast plate on the kitchen table. True, he’s been sick for a couple weeks and is a total snot machine, but I could find no evidence that he’d compromised the banana. So I stripped off the peel and threw the fruit into the container.

Then it was time for final touches. A pinch of salt (to bring out the flavor of the suspect squash, I guess). A few tablespoons of Greek yogurt. And a cup and a half of ice-cold water from the trusty old wine bottle in the fridge. Something about water chilled in a glass container just makes it taste crisper and cleaner to me. And the colder the smoothie, the easier it is to slam it down no matter what the taste.

After blasting it in the NutriBullet I went right to work, chugging four or five swallows over the sink as usual. Man, this was a weird and bitter brew! No matter. I told myself if I can power through a painful five-hour trail marathon, I can power through this little liquid obstacle. But each subsequent sip was harder than the last, to the point where I was close to gagging on the sour concoction. And by the time I had gulped my way to the bottom I had the sudden feeling that I’d added some ingredient that was badly spoiled.

Was that squash worse than I thought? Was my son’s banana more snotty than I’d guessed?

Then came the head rush. I actually had to grab the kitchen counter.

What the heck?

When the dizzy spell passed I took a big sniff of the empty container. And then I knew the trouble I was in for. Because I hadn’t put crisp and clean ice water into the mix. I’d dumped two glassfuls of my wife’s crisp and clean sauvignon blanc into the mixer, and was well on my way to being fully intoxicated just in time for my morning commute to the office.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only guy half in the bag on the subway this morning. But today’s smoothie was not a smooth move at all.