Nutrition Series No. 1 : Breakfast Smoothies

Welcome to our blog series called Gluckstein Nutrition for Rehabilitation. Here you will find helpful, healthful nutritional tips and recipes every month to help you and your clients achieve optimal health and well-being.

One of the keys to this delicate balance is proper nutrition.
After sustaining spinal cord damage, digestive function, metabolism and hormone balance are significantly altered and together these can contribute to the development of a host of other secondary health complications which can negatively impact an individual’s ability to carry out day to day activities. Incorporating whole foods into your diet is an important way to help maintain your health, improve daily function, reduce the risk of secondary complications that often develop after spinal cord injury, minimize illness, and maximize your potential.

Let's begin with the most important meal of the day — yes, our mothers were right — breakfast!
It’s been estimated that people with mobility impairments exert seven times the energy to accomplish the same physical tasks as their able-bodied peers, so it’s vital to properly fuel your body every morning. Now before pouring yourself a big bowl of processed cereal or detouring over to your local drive thru for a double-double and toasted bagel to get your morning kick — hold-on! These morning meals are loaded with salt and refined carbohydrates that can contribute to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and low immunity — all common secondary health complications that can develop post-injury. While these foods may give you a quick energy boost, they’ll just as quickly give you an energy crash and before you know it you’ll be reaching for the next quick hit of sugar-laden food again.  It’s this vicious cycle that can lead to packing on unwanted pounds.

What you need is a healthy, quick and easy to prepare meal that also sustains your energy — breakfast smoothies are the perfect answer!
These delicious shakes only take two minutes to make — less time than you spend in line at the drive-thru — and, you’ll never get bored of drinking them because you can add or mix your favorite fruits into them. Smoothies not only contain high energy complex carbohydrates to keep you going all morning, but they’re also packed with muscle-building protein and immune-boosting nutrients. On top of all of these tasty health benefits, Smoothies also help increase your metabolism so they can actually help you lose weight. All you need are the following ingredients and a counter-top or hand blender. Enjoy!

Grounded Earth Protein Smoothie

  • ½              banana
  • 1 ½ cup    unsweetened almond milk (can substitute or rice milk)
  • 2 tsp         almond butter
  • ½ cup       dates (pitted)
  • ½ tsp        spirulina power* (can substitute greens or sea vegetable powder)
  • 1 tbsp       oats

Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth in consistency.

*Spirulina is a nutrient-dense algae that can be found in your local health food store and it doesn’t taste bad — we promise!


Joanne Smith, B.A., BRT Dip, C.N.P and Kylie James, B.Sc. (O.T.), C.N.P
Co-authors of nutrition guide book, Eat Well Live Well with SCI and Other Neurological Disorders.  Launched in August 2013 with sponsors Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers and Henderson Structured Settlements, this first-of-its-kind nutrition guide is a 268-page practical, and comprehensive guide which addresses the specific needs of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and other neurological disorders. 

"As nutritionists whose lives have both been affected by spinal cord injury (SCI), we fully understand the unique challenges that those living with spinal cord injuries or other neurological disorders face trying to stay healthy while living a full and active life. This blog will feature themed highlights from 16 chapters of Eat Well Live Well — perfect for those living with SCI and other neurological disorders, as well as for their families, friends, caregivers, health and medical professionals."  — Kylie and Joanne

For more information, or to purchase book, visit