a simple breakfast smoothie II

simple breakfast smoothie | the vanilla bean blog

‘Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby- awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess.’ – Lemony Snicket

If you follow along my Instagram account, you know that I’ve been baking a lot lately. I’ve been enjoying all the likes and new followers my cakes and muffins and cookies have been getting, but after spending a few days in reflection, I’ve decided I need to take a little break from all the sugar and butter that’s been flying around my kitchen. There are many reasons involved here, but the main one is my food lifestyle has not been a healthy one as of late. I’ve found myself stress-eating and finding comfort in layers of puff pastry, instead of working through problems and issues that I need to face.

Several times over the course of this blog, I’ve written about needing to change the way I eat. It’s been dramatic, and hopeful, but never long lasting, or very fruitful. And I hesitate to write about it here again. Food has always been a touchy subject for me, as I spent most of junior high and high school slightly overweight and very insecure. The hallways of my high school were not safe to me; my size and shape were frequently pointed out (and, on particularily bad days, mooed at). I escaped in books and food.  I moved on to college, and set my mind on ‘becoming skinny,’  but lost weight in a very unhealthy way. I had finally obtained the frame I always hoped for, but I couldn’t love that body, either. Each look in the mirror was a critical one. I only heard the names I had been called growing up; I only saw an overweight girl looking back at me. The rest of the years played out mostly the same: a constant struggle of slightly gaining weight and then slightly losing it, but always obsessing about it. These last few years have only seen gain; after having two children, working through a friend’s death and some other personal issues, baking and eating has been a way to deal with the stress, to soothe the places of brokenness.

Two days ago my daughter came up to me and gently said, ‘I just think you’ve had too many treats today Mommy.’ This winter was brutal to us, cold and never-ending, with my family sick most of the time. I found myself in the kitchen more than ever. I’ve never met a kinder soul than my daughter, and her little voice, her sincere concern, really struck me. I decided then and there it was time to try, again, to make a change.

I’ve hesitated about posting this. This space was created to write a family food history, and while I want my chocolate cake and banana bread to be here, I think the struggle has a place, too. My normal tendency would be to start dieting or only eat fruits and vegetables for weeks and then burn out, but I know now the real issue is learning moderation, and finding a place of balance. This has always been the hardest lesson for me. I still have a few jobs that require baking, and I believe that celebrations require a cake, so there will still be butter and sugar in my life. The hard part is to work baking into my day or week, while eating well the rest of the time. I’ve taught myself an all or nothing approach, and now it’s time to learn balance. And while my last few years have taught me that there is no such thing as perfect balance, I think it’s important to try for it all the same.

So here’s my simple breakfast smoothie. It’s filling and delicious, with yogurt, bananas, berries, spinach, and honey. I’ve been making it the night before, and with a gentle stir in the morning, it’s ready and waiting to start your day off right.
simple breakfast smoothie | the vanilla bean blog
simple breakfast smoothie | the vanilla bean blog
simple breakfast smoothie | the vanilla bean blog
simple breakfast smoothie | the vanilla bean blog

simple breakfast smoothie | the vanilla bean blog
A Simple Breakfast Smoothie

2 cups yogurt
2 bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup spinach
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
juice of 1 orange

In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve. Serves 3-4.
simple breakfast smoothie | the vanilla bean blog

  • Reply
    Monday, November 8, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Its weird because I know they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day but for whatever reason I am never hungry when I wake up. Maybe if I start drinking smoothies when I wake up it will change things,

  • Reply
    Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I came across your blog and stumbled upon this post about balance and it struck a chord with me. My uncle and his son created a website they call NutriMirror. It’s about finding nutritional balance and either loosing weight or maintaining weight.
    It’s a small family run business; my aunt also works on it plus my mother and I post a weekly recipe.
    Thanks for sharing your story and all the best!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Yummi! Great combination..and stay strong. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 9:13 am

    This is beautiful, Sarah. So honest and heartfelt. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Femke D.
    Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 3:12 am

    It’s brave of you to share this very personal post. I can relate to the fact that it’s so difficult to cut of sugar, start with super healthy foods and stay in that zone. Trying to take a break from sugar myself, so thanks for this blogpost. It sounds like a nice smoothie, going to try it later! And good luck with your new healthy regime, I’m sure it will work out!
    Just started following your blog! Have a nice day!
    Femke / somewheresomethingblog.com

  • Reply
    Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 1:49 am

    I commend you, friend. On your honesty and vulnerability, and for speaking your truth. Who hasn’t had their issues with food? I, too, love my bread and sweets and carbs. I don’t believe in the all or nothing approach, but I do think it’s good to reset, and reestablish healthy habits when you feel you’re using food as a way to ‘treat’ other issues. Sending you much love and support. xo

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Hello Sarah,

    Thank you for being so honest and sharing your struggle with your readers. I know this post will be very helpful to others because it is a feeling I believe many can relate to. You have a beautiful blog, and I am excited to see what recipes your start coming out with next. Thanks again for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Sarah, Thank you for writing this. My experience is so similar to yours, it could have been me writing those words. It’s so hard for me to find a balance between healthy eating and my love of baking all things rich and decadent. So thank you for posting this – I’m glad to know I’m not alone. Additionally, I’ve been having nearly identical smoothies for breakfast every morning – though I’m going to take your cue and add some vanilla and spinach to the next one. Yum!

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Learning moderation is the hardest thing. I’m still struggling. Love your cakes. And love this beautiful smoothie too. Gorgeous.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 4:36 am

    Thank you for sharing your struggle Sarah, I think it’s something that a lot of us can relate to – I know I certainly can. In some ways I think that blogging has helped me to have a much more healthy attitude towards food but it does also mean that there is, as you say, an awful lot of butter and sugar to lose myself in at times. Much love and strength to you xo

  • Reply
    Monday, March 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Thank you for such brave honesty, Sarah. Your memories of school brought me right back to being an 10-year old who went through puberty years earlier than my classmates. I still carry the identity as “the big girl” with me after all those years. Pregnancy and the last few months of new motherhood have really tested my aptitude for “balance” with eating and caring for myself. These struggles are real and true for so many women, and I deeply appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable with us readers. You have such a tremendous gift with words and truth – thank you for sharing it with us. We all have nothing but support and encouragement for you. Big hug!

  • Reply
    Monday, March 10, 2014 at 11:56 am

    oh, sarah. you brave, wonderful thing, you. of course you’re in good company. of course this is the thread of all food, here, today, no? and of course, you’ve landed at just the right spot. for now. ebb and flow, ebb and flow, and above all, it takes time, yes?

    well done, you. day by day, bird by bird.


  • Reply
    sara forte
    Monday, March 10, 2014 at 11:08 am

    sweet sarah. So honest and yes, struggle has a place on your blog. I think painting the realistic pictures are what draw people into knowing you from miles away. I see a theme amongst all of my food loving blog friends, that at some time or another, we’ve all struggled with our relationship with food. Maybe we are all so passionate about it because it has seemed animate at some point or another. Both in good and bad ways – at least I know it has seemed that way for me. Sometimes the pivotal part of my happiest days, feeding friends and enjoying cake and other times the one thing that made me despise myself and my body. I hope there is peace and moderation for you in this new leaf and how extremely special to have a daughter who can say something so gently to you. That is rare and so special! What an angel. Look forward to seeing more of your healthy ideas here, your creativity is always an inspiration. xoxo

  • Reply
    Monday, March 10, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I love your honesty here! It really is so difficult to find a balance for just about anything in life – food especially! Keep up the beautiful blog work!

    // Regina

  • Reply
    Monday, March 10, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Beautiful smoothies and beautiful words! I try to the phrase “everything in moderation, including moderation,” but sometimes, especially when there are delicious baked items around, I find that it IS really hard to say no…. Thanks for your honest words and I wish you well on your re-found health(ier) journey 🙂

  • Reply
    Monday, March 10, 2014 at 8:28 am

    sarah, such honesty and truth! you have seemed to outline what so many women struggle with, and you’ve shared it here so beautifully. as you said, balance is key – not all or nothing. what a lovely little wakeup call you have in your little girl, may we all be as fortunate!

  • Reply
    Monday, March 10, 2014 at 5:03 am

    You are not alone, please know that. Everything you said rings true for me too and the struggle is real. Don’t hesitate to share your successes and failures because they both make you the person you are and one isn’t more important than the other. thank you for your post – sometimes blogs are made to look perfect but the people behind them are just human.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    It’s brave of you to share this 🙂 What a beautiful smoothie.

  • Reply
    Jen @ Savory Simple
    Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I love this post. I’ve been dealing with the exact same issue and have discussed it a bit on my own site this year. Juicing and mostly cutting out sugar and refined carbs has been a huge help but I have a long way to go. It’s hard to talk about and I appreciate your honesty. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I know what you mean! I feel sometimes, I get obsessed with making desserts and treats because baking and ice cream making are so much fun. I do my best to eat clean, maintaining that balance is so hard sometimes. Kudos to your little girl for her healthy choices and of course to you Sarah, for being a great mom!

  • Reply
    Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 7:55 am

    I, very truthfully, find moderation really difficult as well. I’ve had the all or nothing approach in the back of my mind for most of my life–all vegan all the time, tons of protein for a phase, the juice fasting, the raw food thing… It all just added up to stress, talking myself down from things and no “results” as it were. Changing habits and mindsets is hard. There’s a million books and pinterest boards and wellness experts to inspire, but most of the time it’s easier/more natural-seeming to eat a slice of cake in the dead of winter when everything outside is grey.

    All of this is just to say that I too have lived this and I’m grateful that you shared it here, however difficult it was. You must be so proud of that little gal of yours, inspiring the big changes from a place of pure love. I’ll be thinking of you when I get to making my daily smoothie today. xo

  • Reply
    Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Beautiful recipe! Thank you for sharing!


  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    First, I love your Lemony Snicket quote. As a tech teacher, one year I gave an entire how to use the “MS Word Toolbar” lesson using nothing by Lemony Snicket quotes. One of my personal faves: “It is one of life’s bitterest truths that bedtime so often arrives just when things are really getting interesting.” I had a ton of fun with that lesson (and so did the kids). Next… Lovely post – thank you for sharing. Like you, I believe few things are more comforting than baking (especially when things are cold and dark and life is a bit rough)… but I’ve found it does feel good to indulge in healthier foods as well. The trick for me is to make the healthy cooking interesting and fun… seems you’re off to a great start with the smoothie. (Yum!) Best of luck to you…

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Thank you for this. Your honesty is really encouraging.

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I admire your bravery and for writing down and sharing your thoughts. Don’t be so hard on yourself. The smoothie looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I completely relate to the difficulty of finding balance and maintaining healthy habits. I’ve often felt myself that when I’ve tried and failed, I wasn’t worthy of trying again. But there’s no shame in trying again. It’s probably even better than just trying. You get better at it (better at trying) and if anything, that helps you to be more compassionate with yourself.

  • Reply
    Kathy Jollimore
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I think many of us struggle to find the balance, especially if we work with food. But with a diet based in real food I’d like to believe we can have our cake and eat it too. Besides a scratch made cake with butter and sugar and most importantly love – like our ancestors made – is worlds better than anything “light’ full of corn syrup and margarine.

    Wishing you all the success finding your own balance whatever that may be.

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Check out thephilosophie.com – you can order superfood blends, in powder form,, to add to your smoothies or anything. There are healthy recipes, and Sophie the owner of the company is awesome! Since I started using her superfoods, I haven’t stopped- it’s been almost a year now, and I try to spread the love to anyone I can!

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Helpfully honest and absolutely beautiful, friend. Sending hugs from here. xo

  • Reply
    Amanda Paa
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

    To all of this, so well put and real. Food can be complicated….. and so can life. Know that you’re not alone. And you’re a beautiful, strong woman.

  • Reply
    Emma Galloway
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

    I’m so rediculosly proud of you my friend. I’ve lived in your words before. Sending you much love xxx

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 7:34 am

    LOVE this post, Sarah. And, as a mom of two kids who has made it through a southern version of a tough winter (nothing near the brutal cold of yours, but still), I totally relate. The internet seems so much to love sweets and confections of all kinds. And butter? It’s the best. Since January, I have been quietly trying to change my own eating and cooking and exercise habits for the better, so just know that you are not alone. And this smoothie and the images are just beautiful. All that gorgeous color is a treat in and of itself.

  • Reply
    Sini | my blue&white kitchen
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 7:10 am

    This is such a great, honest post. I’m sure many have dealt with the same issues you have and still do. I hope they all find empowerment in your words. And you know, I don’t come here solely for the cakes and other sweet baked goods. I come here to hear your voice – you are an utterly talented, insightful writer, Sarah. Thank you for sharing.


  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 5:53 am

    I think you speaking honestly like this is what everyone needs to hear – and I’m with you! Food is definitely my comfy place, and sometimes it gets a bit too comfy. The good thing about smoothies is that they totally FEEL like a treat! And I’m totally treating myself with one. Great post!

  • Reply
    Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 5:38 am

    I know exactly how you feel. As a trained pastry chef and baker I’m constantly surrounded by cakes and sweet treats and although I try to eat healthy. I’m pretty sure I put on weight by just looking at food, but I’m totally having this smoothie for breakfast right now

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Smoothies are a great! I’m not much of a breakfast eater, at all. These babies tide me over well into lunch. I add a heaping tablespoon of organic coconut oil to the base of the smoothie, along with chia seeds, and ground flax meal, even a whole avacado. My kids wont touch it with a ten foot pole… me however slurp them up. Great post! 🙂

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 12:48 am

    i use cooking as a salve as well. i think we all do, at least in these parts. just now, i was going to ‘exercise’ and get back in shape, but just found myself thinking up a storm of thoughts – painful ones. reading your words, it’s encouraging. i wrote about some personal struggles as well – i feel like i’ve been writing it all week, maybe for years even. but to find the strength to share it as you have… i love you for your talent, but most of all your candor and strength.

    xoxo/ phi

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 12:26 am

    I so admire your honesty as a blogger, mother, and human being with a past, present, and future. I was going to wish you strength, but instead, wish you luck in utilizing the strength you already have to the best of your abilities. It can, and will, take you far.

    Remember: When the sky falls, it does not mean the world caves, too.

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Bookbag
    Friday, March 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    ah Miss Sarah, what a lovely post. you hang in there, winter cannot last forever! (although this year, i have this theory that perhaps there won’t be spring, there will only be winter and then summer.) i haven’t been able to do as much walking as I normally do, due to rain, winter doldrums, and more rain. and i find myself seeking solace in a cookie. at those times i remind myself that i would enjoy (and feel better afterwards) a cup of chamomile or green tea just as much as that cookie (i try and play mind tricks on myself!).

    XO to you!

  • Reply
    Friday, March 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Such gorgeous photos. I love the little hands! The ultimate breakfast smoothie for sure!

  • Reply
    Friday, March 7, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    I know all too well the feeling of trying to find the right balance with food. Moderation is definitely an important part of that but the way you choose to eat must become part of your lifestyle. Being on a diet and eating a healthy diet are two completely different things. The first sounds absolutely miserable, depriving, and almost always short-term while the second is positive and typically a life-long affair. I’m very much into fitness and in the beginning found myself very strict on the foods I ate with the fear that I would sabotage all my efforts at the gym but now that I’ve settled into it a bit more, I’m much more flexible with what I eat and am feeling much happier overall.

    The color of these smoothies makes me smile! So vibrant and gorgeous. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors for a healthier, more balanced life. This is the goal that all of us food bloggers work to attain, am I right? 🙂

  • Reply
    Friday, March 7, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    I’ve never seen my vanilla look so pretty.

    *Hugs* I’m rooting for ya, lady. <3

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