04/22/2012 11:54 am ET Updated Jun 17, 2012

Day 6: Blend Up a Power Smoothie

Well, today I'm going to go easy on you. I'm going to introduce you to my delish Power Smoothie.

It's one of my favorite ways to get some protein, a superfood, and... wait for it... a veggie! Yep, you heard that right, a veggie. In a smoothie. You'll get all the benefits of eating something green and wholesome, and you'll never even know it's there.

Get out your blender. Add 6 to 8 ounces of ice-cold coconut water or plain water. I like coconut water because it's fat-free, super low in sugar (be sure to get one without added sugar, by the way), and it restores your electrolytes better than the sugary, chemical waters you find on your grocer's shelves. And check this out: Coconut water is so close in composition to our own blood plasma that it can be used intravenously in an emergency! I'm not talking about the milk, mind you, but rather coconut water. You can also use plain old water if you want to skip the coconut and save a little money.

Toss in a few cubes of ice. Add a scoop of protein powder; I like Vega Sport, Life's Basics, Sun Warrior Raw Protein, and Solaray Soytein because they are not sweetened with anything that will spike your blood sugar. You can find generic brands online or made by your favorite health food store. You want to look for pea, hemp, brown rice, and/or soy; steer clear of whey and casein protein, as they are dairy and not part of the Lean plan.

Next, add in a cup or so of fresh or frozen blueberries. If you need a little sweetener, add some stevia or agave. And here's the kicker: Toss in five or six frozen broccoli florets. I promise you won't even taste the broccoli (but definitely use frozen, because you'll taste it if it's raw and fresh), and the purple color from the blueberries will mask the green.

Blend until smooth.

Have this delicious smoothie as one of your snacks, preferably right after exercise. Why then? Because if you feed your body protein within 30 minutes of exercising (the sooner the better, actually), especially strength training, you will help along the process of your muscles' recovery and the building of new muscle mass. The better the muscle mass, the better the calorie burn.

A very common mistake people make when they are trying to lose weight is to skip food after a workout, thinking that fat burning will continue at a higher rate because their appetite is depressed. In reality, it's better to ingest some plant protein immediately after exercise, especially if it's a prolonged or high-intensity workout. A lack of protein will result in unbalanced blood sugar levels, and you'll feel the hunger.

You read all about blueberries when we talked about superfoods; they're loaded with nutrients and obviously they add great taste. But why the broccoli? Because broccoli's a great cleansing food. It's a member of the cruciferous vegetable group; it creates a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which stimulates enzymes in the liver that detoxify carcinogens before they can damage cells. Broccoli is also a great source of potassium (good for your nervous system and brain function, and it promotes muscle growth), iron, calcium and magnesium, and of course, vitamin C (great for the immune system!). Most exciting about the humble broccoli is that it contains something called indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant that thwarts the growth of breast, prostate, and cervical cancer.

And as for weight loss, broccoli is high in fiber and helps maintain stable blood sugar, which will stave off the hunger beast.

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Here, again, your Power Smoothie recipe:

  • 6-8 ounces water or coconut water
  • Few cubes of ice
  • Scoop of protein powder made from soy, rice, hemp, and/or pea
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 5 frozen broccoli florets
  • Stevia or agave to taste (only if needed)

What to Do Today:

✓ Eat a Hearty Breakfast

✓ Make Your Lunch Without Animal Products

✓ Eat a Super Food

✓ Trade Up the Milk and Butter

✓ Put a Little On It

✓ Blend Up a Power Smoothie

(Optional) What You'll Need For Tomorrow Bonus Recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion

½ cup green onions

2 cloves garlic

1 green pepper

1 red pepper

1 jalapeño pepper

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes

¾ cup vegetable stock

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans

1 ripe plantain (or banana)

1 ripe mango

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons shredded coconut for garnish

"Thanks for taking The 7-Day Lean Challenge with me! The Lean is a 30-day Plan for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss. It's designed to help you crowd out bad habits and replace them with new healthier ones. I'd love for you to join me for the whole 30-day plan. Please visit to preview more steps! The Lean is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound."

For more by Kathy Freston, click here.

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