(Sweet Potato and Papaya Smoothie)
Prep time: 30 minutes (to roast sweet potatoes and soften goji berries/dates); Bake/Blend time: 2 minutes.
Recently, I had the good fortune of getting to visit the Berrics and skating the hallowed ground I covet via computer screen daily. As is often the case when I visit a new park or spot, I quickly realized that there was a very large disparity between what I thought I could do in that park after watching it onscreen for a decade vs what I could actually do in that park. I have no doubt that skating the Berrics over a longer period of time could whip my overly-cautious skating into shape, but an afternoon alone apparently won’t work miracles. All of this is to say that yes, everything you see there is real, raw talent. The hubbas aren’t deceptively tiny, nor are the ramps deceptively mellow.
I was also lucky enough to skate it on what I understand was a very low-traffic day. Essentially, most of the afternoon it was just myself, a couple of locals, Yuto Horigome and Micky Papa. What’s even more humbling than realizing the large disparity between the fantasy and reality of my imagined skill is realizing that there’s literally no difference between how Micky and Yuto skate on-screen and how they skate in real life. Their consistency, technical capabilities and style are every bit as incredible as you’d expect.
What struck me more than I expected was their endurance. Even in my prime, I would have thrown out maybe half a dozen attempts at something on the 10-stair (let’s not be coy, an ollie would have been a victory) and called it a day. Micky, on the other hand, sessioned that beast for the better part of the afternoon, rifling off trick after trick (after trick), often first or second try. He only took breaks to (1) land the occasional first-try switch flip back smith on the box and (2) let me bug him about making a recipe for him (thanks, Micky).
If you need a reminder of how insanely good Micky is (and the constant barrage of Instagram clips and SLS somehow hasn’t jogged your memory), here’s his “Blinded” part from 2015:
I usually pride myself on inventing truly useless puns, but while I was discussing this one with him, Micky threw out “papaya” right out the gate, and I have to say, it’s gold. We also waxed poetic on the benefits of clean eating and the anti-inflammatory effects sweet potatoes confer on the joints. With this little bit of inspiration (combined with re-watching his “Blinded” part several times), I was determined to make a pun-centric, functionally nutritious recipe in honor of Micky Papa; the only parameter for the recipe was that it had to involve papaya (for his name) and sweet potatoes (per our discussion).
On the flight home, I repeatedly pinched myself (I skated at the Berrics!) and sipped one of the Noka smoothie pouches I had bought in the airport. Much to my surprise, the sweet potato / goji berry pouch was delicious and made me wonder how I could customize it to offer just a little bit more to the skater who spends upwards of two hours jumping down stairs. The sweet potato was a must – not only are sweet potatoes a great source of vitamin A and dietary fiber, they are also a power-house of anti-inflammatory vitamins to keep your joints from locking up when switch hardflipping a 10-stair second try (or in my case off a curb 20th try).
In addition to the sweet potato, this smoothie uses fresh papaya as a base. Papaya is a delicious fruit that just happens to be loaded with antioxidants, carotenes, vitamin C, folate, magnesium (bye, hangovers) and fiber. As with sweet potatoes, papaya has been shown to help lower inflammation in the body, as well as support the body’s immune system and protect against macular degeneration.
Much to my delight, the sweetness in sweet potatoes blends perfectly with juicy papaya. Add to that excellent pairing some bananas and dates for flavor and extra potassium, some goji berries for extra antioxidants, and some hemp protein to get your recovery going, and the result is a sweet, creamy, nutrient-dense post-skating meal that’ll cool you off and fill you up after a long session.
I present to you, Micky Papa(ya)’s “Blended” Part.
- 150g papaya
- 150g roasted sweet potato
- 1 medium banana
- 1 medjool date
- 2 tbsp dried goji berries
- ¼ cup hemp protein powder (or powder of choice)
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Crushed ice / cold water, to preferred thickness/temperature
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Cut the sweet potato in half and place face down on a baking sheet. Roast the sweet potato for 30 minutes.
- Pit the date and then put it in a glass container with the goji berries. Pour ½ cup of hot or boiling water into the container and soak the date and goji berries for 5-10 minutes.
- Once the sweet potato is roasted and the goji berries and date have soaked, throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blend it up until it’s a tempting tropical orange smoothie.
- Guzzle it down after a long session and go watch one of Micky Papa(ya)’s parts.Happy shredding,
- Per serving: 530 calories; 5g fat; 110g carbs; 27g protein.