This entire school year has been filled with scratchy throats, upset stomachs, and exhaustion. We've had ER trips for breathing problems, and missed birthday parties. Both my sons have had more school absences than we'd like, and in general we haven't been able to do as much as we'd want because it seems as though someone is always sick.
My youngest son is a competitive gymnast. Unfortunately, his gymnastics season mirrors the prime sickness season. He trains all year to do a quick series of meets from December through March, with only those athletes who qualify attending Championship meets in April and May. The aim for gymnasts his level is to first qualify for the State Championship, and then subsequently qualify for the Regional Championship. (Once he gets to the more advanced levels, he'll have the chance to qualify for the National Championship; but for now, Regionals is the highest he can go.)
Keeping my family healthy is important in general, but is especially critical during the brief gymnastics season. It is so disappointing to not do well at a meet (or miss the competition completely) because of illness, since there are so few meets in any given season.
Meanwhile, Stonyfield asked if I might be interested in trying their OP Organic Protein smoothies. I'm a big fan of their yogurt, and adore smoothies, so it was a natural match. At the start of this month, I received samples of their vanilla and strawberry flavors. I put them in the fridge, and was planning to drink them myself as a quick breakfast-on-the-run.
Well, the very next day my gymnast son fell ill. He skipped school, but didn't skip workout (shhhh!) because he was gearing up for the State Championships. (Luckily, he qualified for States back in December, before the seemingly never-ending string of various bugs started marching around his school.)
Of course he was simultaneously hungry and not-hungry. He couldn't not eat right before a strenuous workout, but he also couldn't consume something that would irritate his stomach while he was already under the weather.
Nearly everything in the fridge was deemed too spicy, or too heavy, or too bland. I wanted him to have some yogurt since I figured the active cultures would be good for his queasy tummy, but he told me he wasn't in the mood for the flavors we had available. I asked if he wanted to try the Stonyfield OP vanilla smoothie and his eyes lit up. I explained it was essentially drinkable yogurt. He was thrilled, and --after a long, satisfying sip-- told me it was delicious.
He quickly depleted the stash that Stonyfield had sent.
"You got to get more of this!" he told me.
Fortunately, I found both the vanilla and strawberry flavors at my local Whole Foods, plus the chocolate OP! I was able to buy a bunch of smoothies, which meant I finally got a chance to try them myself. (Yum!) Although my son loves to just drink them straight, I've found it is fun to add things like strawberries to the strawberry flavor, or banana to the chocolate flavor. Of course they are perfect to just "grab and go," but I've enjoyed adding other ingredients to them as well. During the summer, I think I'll try blending them with a bunch of ice to create slushees - fun!
This past weekend, as we packed for State Championships, I asked my son what he wanted to bring to the hotel. "Vanilla yogurt smoothies!" was his quick answer. He told me his plan was to drink one before bed and another the next morning before competition. I was pretty thrilled that instead of craving junk food to calm his nerves, he wanted something healthful that could actually power his body in a positive way.
I'm sure you can guess the outcome of the meet: Yes, my son qualified for the Regional competition. (And, he earned 5th place on parallel bars and 6th on pommel.) Despite a very nervous stomach, he was able to digest something nutritious thanks to Stonyfield OP smoothies.
(I'm guessing we'll have to find a Whole Foods near the Regionals site so he'll be ready for his final meet of the season!)
I've been a fan of Stonyfield for a long time, as you can tell by the YoGetter badge that's been in my sidebar for years. I love that Stonyfield is always inventing new products that meet their quality standards: organic, no pesticides, no hormones, no antibiotics, and no GMOs. (That's a lot of "no" that adds up to a big "YES.") OP is gluten-free, and is the first organic protein smoothie with 5 live active yogurt cultures and no artificial sweeteners. I love that OP is portable, filling, and tasty in addition to being healthful. Yum!
The products Stonyfield send me are free in exchange for my spreading the word about them. (In this case, Stonyfield sent me a few, and then I bought a whole bunch more on my own dime!) Likewise, I do receive a stipend for my work with them. But, as you readers know, I only mention products that I truly believe in.