Overcoming Anxiety: Five Tips to Help You Thrive

It had been a long and stressful week.

I was physically and mentally exhausted.

And, worried.

“What if this flops or what if it's a horrible tragic failure?”

These thoughts were racing through my head as I got ready for one of the most important nights of my life. I became almost catatonic as I moved slowly through the room to get ready for the launch of a new magazine that I had founded.

Only just a few weeks ago when I announced the launch of the magazine, someone had anonymously predicted its demise. Actually, they had taken it upon themselves to start a fake account to viciously attack me and my co-founder. This person called us names that I wouldn’t even repeat to my worst enemy. And as I much as I hate to admit it, those were the words that came back to my subconscious as I started to get ready that night.

Suddenly I was filled with so many bad thoughts and tears flooded my face. I just sat on the edge of the bed and didn’t move, not wanting to face anyone at that present moment.

When my friend, Rosie, came into the room to check on me, she knew something wasn't right and immediately started praying. I can still hear her words right now, “Papa, we pray peace over Yoyo…”

Slowly I felt the peace of God rush over me as she prayed and interceded for me that night. That evening turned out great in spite of how it began in that upstairs bedroom. The magazine, which you are reading now is now in its eighth month and our team is growing in so many ways.

Yet, that wasn’t the first or last time that something like what happened in that room has happened to me. The first "attack" happened when I was 16 years old. I remember feeling overwhelmed and hopeless all at once and I started crying hysterically in the vestibule of the church I was attending at the time. Over the years, similar incidents would occur when I was stressed, sleep deprived and overwhelmed. I've written about them here and here. I also began to notice that these events were always tied to a church or ministry-related activity so one could easily conclude that "the devil was out to stop me from doing God's work." 

Depending on your worldview, you may call that a spiritual attack or mental breakdown. But whatever you call it, it was a serious incident that had the potential to alter my life if not dealt with appropriately.

How do you know when a situation like this calls for prayer, meditation, medication, or all of the above? Is there a difference between a spiritual or demonic attack, an emotional or mental breakdown, and mental illness?

What used to commonly be called a “nervous breakdown” is now being called an “emotional health crisis” or “mental health crisis.” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:  

  • 1 in 5 adults in the U.S., about 44 million, experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • About 16 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

  • 18.1 percent experiences an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or specific phobias.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10-14 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15 – 24.

In fact, Prevention.com defines a mental breakdown as “a period of mental illness during which intense feelings of depression, stress, or anxiety result in an inability to function in daily life. The person suffering is emotionally overwhelmed. They might feel that life is hopeless, that they are ‘going crazy,’ and that they will never be able to get back to normal.”

Having a mental or emotional health crisis is nothing to be ashamed about, as anyone can experience it and it is more likely when the following things are present, according to Healthline.com:

  • persistent work (or school) stress

  • a recent traumatic event such as a death in the family

  • major life changes such as a divorce or financial crisis

  • poor sleep and relaxation

  • personal or family history of anxiety disorders

  • recent injury or illness that makes daily life difficult to manage

In my case, I had had very little sleep that week and had taken on new responsibilities at work in addition to the magazine launch. This was also coming off a very busy first half of the year when I was juggling work and graduate school. While prayer helped me to get through that night, I had to take very practical steps over the next few months to safeguard my mental and emotional health and well-being such as developing a self-care routine.

My self-care routine currently includes:

  • Prayer. I have been journaling my prayers for the last few years and it helps me to really wrestle with my emotions and thoughts and give them to God. I notice the difference in my emotional health when I am intentional about praying about the things that can cause stress or anxiety in my life.

  • Reducing the number of things that I have on my proverbial plate at any moment. That includes saying no to ministry, career, or personal commitments if it’s more than I can handle. As someone who is known as a “busy” person, I’m working to change this narrative in my life.

  • Spending less time on social media. This isn’t always easy because my full-time job includes managing a social media advocacy platform. However, when I notice that I am, even subconsciously, playing the comparison game on social media, I know I need to take a break. That means putting down the phone for a few hours for either self-reflection and affirmation or connecting with a friend off of the ‘gram.

  • Reading books that strengthen my emotional and spiritual core. The books that I have read recently are:

    • The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Pete Scazzero – This book and The Emotionally Healthy Woman by Geri Scazzero (formerly titled “I Quit”) have been instrumental in helping me designate a “Sabbath” or “self-care” day each week.

    • She Is Free by Andi Andrew – sometimes you just need to know that you are not alone and that is what Andi does by sharing her story about breaking free from the lies that hold you captive.

    • Rising Strong by Brene Brown – I highly recommend anything by Brene Brown and this book is just one way that she helps us tackle our stories of hurt, shame, and rejection to overcome defeat or loss.

    • The Bible – There are so many truths and affirmations in the Bible that have helped me to fight through daily struggles. Here are some of my favorite:

      • 1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

      • Romans 8: 26 – 39 – “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

While these are some of the things that have helped me in the past, this is by no means an exhaustive list of treatment options for someone who is dealing with an emotional or mental crisis. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we will continue this conversation by sharing more stories from our team and highlight when you should seek professional help, how to connect with a therapist and when medication may be appropriate.

Remember, you’re not alone.

Additional resources:

With my friend, Rosie, on launch night. 

With my friend, Rosie, on launch night. 

Renew Your Mind and Body With Elizabeth Denton

Photo: Kristen Swain 

Photo: Kristen Swain 

by Yolande Michelle

Elizabeth Denton is an integrative nutrition health coach, personal trainer, and metabolism expert. She sat down to chat with us recently about health, fitness, nutrition and how her faith has guided her to become healthier – inside and out.

Yolande: Tell us about your personal journey with health and fitness.  

Elizabeth: "My journey with health and fitness started in 2010 when I was traveling to South America. I was into eating healthy but I wasn’t doing much else. I was also eating a raw vegan diet which wasn’t really good for my body but at the time I thought this was the healthiest thing that I could be eating. So I went to South America for three months and I stayed vegan but I couldn’t eat raw there – I was eating things like rice and beans and I gained thirty pounds in three months because my body wasn’t used to metabolizing carbohydrates."

Yolande: What did you do at this point? 

Elizabeth: "I didn’t know what was happening then because I had never put on so much weight before. When I got back to the U.S., I got a personal trainer and he helped me with my diet. He told me I could remain a vegan but not a raw vegan because he couldn't ensure that I would get enough protein. He helped me establish a healthy diet and I just fell in love with working out. So I continued working out and I stayed on my vegan diet for a while. I also moved back to New York, from Las Vegas, and I couldn’t afford a trainer here and so I decided to start bodybuilding. At the same time, I was writing a health blog just for fun. The bodybuilding paired with my blog made me feel like I needed to be doing something that I was passionate about, so I quit my job in fashion and started training and went back to school for nutrition. I made money by working as a trainer."

Yolande: What was it like to work full-time doing your passion? 

Elizabeth: "Being a trainer is like an illusion career because you think that because you’re in the gym all day that you have all this free time. It’s so draining because you’re working from 5:00AM to 5:00PM sometimes and you may only five clients, and you don’t make any money, especially in the beginning when you’re trying to build up your business. I remember telling my parents that I was going to leave my salaried job to be a trainer and then go back to school to be an integrative nutrition health coach. They said, 'why would you do that? You have a good job and a salary and it’s safe.' I told them that I was happy and I wanted to do something that I was passionate about. I saw how much changing my diet helped to change my life, I want others to feel the same way. Also the freedom, especially for women to know that we have control over what we put in our bodies and that comes out in the way that we act, feel, and look. I want women to feel well. I think they are used to not feeling well and just “kind of ok” and we accept it. There are so many things that we can do to feel better, more energetic and more in control of our bodies."

Yolande: What advice would you give to people who think they can’t ever be healthy or fit?

Elizabeth: "I would say start with small achievable goals. I think that people get overwhelmed because they think that they have to completely overhaul their diet and start going to the gym everyday and they don’t have to do that. You can make really small changes to see big rewards. I usually start by telling my clients to drink more water. It seems so insignificant but the health benefits of it are just insane. And most women are severely dehydrated so when you start drinking more water you start losing weight. Our bodies need water to function and our organs need water to function. If you’re not drinking enough water your body is going to hold on to as much water as it can to make sure your organs keep functioning so you can stay alive. But when you start giving your body enough water everyday, it knows and expects that it’s going to get that much water everyday and so it starts flushing out that excess because it doesn’t have to hold onto it anymore."

Yolande: Any other recommendations?

Elizabeth: "Instead of saying ‘I’m not going to eat pizza anymore – because it stresses people out and that’s all they think about – say 'I’m going to eat more fruits and vegetables.' Actively including more healthy foods in your diet because then you’ll start to crave those and naturally cut out the bad stuff without thinking about it. Plus, I find when you put things off-limits, it becomes an obsession and then it becomes, “I’m going to eat as much of it as I can before I start my diet.” So you create this unhealthy relationship with food. Start adding in more healthy foods instead of cutting out foods that you think are bad."

Yolande: What are some of your go-to foods or products that help you stay healthy?

Elizabeth: "I just gave up coffee which is really difficult for me since I have been drinking it my whole life. I love matcha and I’ll drink a matcha latte everyday. I like avocados because they are really filling, a lot of healthy fat and you can eat them with almost anything. I eat a lot of salmon because I’ve found that my body prefers fats over carbs so I try to incorporate a lot of healthy fats into my diet. I do a lot of eggs and I really like salad greens with good dressing. I think that’s something that you don’t have to give up. If it’s going to get you to eat more vegetables, keep your salad dressing."

Yolande: So none of that was vegan. Would you say that it’s difficult to stay away from carbs and still be a vegan and be healthy?

Elizabeth: "Well I was a vegan for six years and when I was a vegan I wasn’t as concerned with weight loss or what I looked like because I hadn’t ever had a weight problem at that point. I find that most vegans actually eat a lot of carbs because they aren’t eating that much protein. So I think that if you want to be a vegan for like health or other reasons, it’s fine, you just need to be aware of how you’re balancing your meals throughout the day. I feel better eating animal protein now but I don’t eat very much. I’ll eat eggs in the morning and I’ll have fish or chicken at night, and occasionally beef. I don’t usually eat meat in the middle of the day. So you can be a healthy vegan and not overdo it on the carbs but you really have to plan out your meals, which you should be doing anyway as a vegan to make sure you are getting enough nutrients.

I also think that some of these diets work differently for men than they do for women. Our bodies are so intricate and our hormones come into play. Our hormones are so sensitive to our diet and men are different. Men metabolize caffeine and alcohol easily and women can’t. It goes through our system very slowly. Things like soy should always be in moderation for men and women. For a raw vegan diet, a lot of men can tolerate it but my digestive system was way too slow for that. So you would think that it would have been really cleansing for me but it did the opposite. I was severely constipated. We have different needs as women to help balance out our hormones and keep our blood sugar steady. Sometimes with a vegan diet, you’re trying to watch your carbohydrates so you’re not keeping your blood sugar steady.

Yolande: Tell us about your Masterclass and how we can be a part of it.

Elizabeth: "It’s a six-week web-based program that’s mostly self-study. Each week there is a new module with a video with some handouts and worksheets, including my nutrition guide. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask me questions live. It’s a self-study program for women who want some guidance on changing their diet and lifestyle. The course is aimed at teaching you how to create your own personal prescription for health. My blog is called The Glow Remedy and my thought process behind is that when someone is healthy, they get compliments like, 'your skin is glowing.' The same thing with pregnant women, brides, etc – so being healthy is just another way that you can glow. Also, what I eat may not be what you need to eat to get that glow. So at the end of the course, you’ll get to write out a diet that works for you. I just wanted to give people the power to create something for themselves."

Yolande: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Elizabeth: "It’s funny because I’ve had so many health struggles along this fitness journey but all of it has prepared me to help more people, so I am thankful for them. However, if I could go back, I would tell myself that everything is going to be okay and my body is perfect just the way it is … at any stage. My weight has fluctuated so much. I have been in this healthy range for two years now but I have been 30 pounds less than this and I have been 20 pounds more in the past five years. So my body has really been through a lot and it’s easy to look at your body and say mean things about it. But the truth is, we are created in God’s image so when we hate our bodies or hate something about our bodies, we are hating something about God. So yes, we might be able to take better care of our bodies, and we should because I think that is good stewardship. But we don’t need to hate where we are right now. We are still created in God’s image, no matter what the scale says or how our clothes fit. We can choose to honor God by making better choices to honor our bodies."

If you want to learn more about Elizabeth and sign up for her Master Class, click here: http://www.elizabethdentonhealth.com/

Yolande is a writer and designer living in Brooklyn. She is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wit + Grace Magazine. Follow @witandgracemag on social media to connect and join the #renewalchallenge. 

Healthy Tips to Detoxify Your Mind and Body

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

by Vanessa Santiago

When we chose to remodel our home or office space, we also make the choice to get rid of the old, useless items that have accumulated over time.  While it may seem dreadful or time-consuming, this cleansing process is absolutely vital to remodeling everything in over lives. If you apply this cleansing process to our bodies, you will understand why detoxification is so important.

Personally speaking, I know there have been countless times that I have made poor choices about what to eat or snack on, which led to weight gain. I’ve spent years ignoring my health or the consequences of these poor choices, telling myself that, “It’s just a cookie,” to justify my indulgence. But I’ve always known this: self-care and self-improvement is important. The same is true about renewing my mind because instead of allowing God’s truths about me to resonate within my heart and mind, I have allowed disappointments, traumas, and the opinions of others’  to affect my self worth. Instead of embracing such beautifully profound truths as, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow],” (Psalm 147:3) I would hide from the pain by filling my body with unhealthy foods to comfort or numb  my emotions. When we consume something our bodies cannot recognize or use, such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial colorings, or preservatives, these toxins are stored within fat cells, causing further internal harm. The best way to truly rid ourselves of the excess weight is by removing these poisonous chemicals. 

Here are two ways to cleanse and detoxify our bodies: 

Drink water:

Water is essential to our bodies natural detoxification process. While water itself doesn’t flush out toxins, it aids the internal processes that do. Water assists the intestines in removing waste regularly, it keeps our muscles working, our brains hydrated and our bodies clean. We all know it is vital to our survival and yet can struggle to remember to even drink it on a regular basis. Everywhere we turn there seems to be a flood of bottles of water from which to choose. In fact, it is so promoted at our local grocery stores, that water options today look more like a fine wine collection. Ultimately, you can select any water you want and make it even more powerful by adding some detoxifying elements.

Add fruits, herbs or vegetables:

Adding various fruits, herbs, or vegetables to your water can begin a powerful yet gentle detox. The nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals found in natural foods can aid in the body's detoxification process when it is overloaded with unnatural foods. Here are some to try: 

  • Citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime are the most popular, and for good reasons. They are loaded with vitamin C, which repairs organ and blood vessel tissue, burns fat, and is able to recognize and destroy artificial and harmful chemicals.

  • Apple cider vinegar is a miracle for weight loss through detox. It is full of enzymes, good bacteria, and acetic acid, which burns up starches in food we digest.

  • Cucumbers are diuretics, which help remove and prevent water retention.

  • Ginger aids in digestion, is an anti-inflammatory, and due to its spiciness can cause us to sweat, which is the bodies fastest form of removing higher concentrations of toxins.

  • Herbs as mint, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and parsley all infuse water with soothing benefits to our digestion system, but also act as magnets attracting harmful heavy metals. Cilantro is excellent at removing aluminum, mercury and even lead from our bodies.  

  • Raw unfiltered honey in small doses helps to improve the flavor but also add a boost of energy and loads of antioxidants, among many other of its benefits.

  • Essential oils I love using seltzer water and adding ginger and wild orange essential oils with a teaspoon of honey. It’s a  homemade ginger ale filled with medicinal benefits. Lemon oil is so powerful, you can put a drop on styrofoam and watch it immediately begin to sizzle and burn right through the toxic material. Combine a drop of lemon oil and peppermint oil to reap incredible benefits. Peppermint oil can enhance other flavors while adding a refreshing and cooling taste to your water. Grapefruit oil, which is one of my favorite scents, aids in digestion and detoxifying fat cells. If you decide to use these powerful detoxifying oils, you must only use certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils, that have been approved for ingestion. Doterra brand is the only essential oil brand I use. You can read more about essential oils here.

The best way to make these fun and interesting waters is to prepare it the night before and let the water absorb the nutrients. Because these detox waters are so powerful at breaking down toxins it is best to avoid using plastic bottles as you will be consuming what you’re trying to remove from your body. Especially if you are using essential oils, you will notice the way the appearance of the plastic begins to look fuzzy and not completely transparent, also it will slightly distort its shape. Stainless steel, or glass bottles are your best bet and are readily available for purchase online or in stores. Take them with you so when you finish the water you can refill them during the day, and continue to benefit from these fragrant and tasty detox waters.

I personally love combining cucumbers, lemons, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a little raw honey. I find within a few days that uncomfortable feeling of being bloated has gone, and notice a significant increase in my energy. I am sure you will find the same results once you begin the process of remodeling your bodies by washing them clean with these incredible detoxifying waters.



Mental Health: Remove the Stigma

Photo by wundervisuals/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by wundervisuals/iStock / Getty Images

by Tasha Levi

A recent survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research found that “a third of Americans – and nearly half of evangelical, fundamentalist, or born-again Christians – believe prayer and Bible study alone can overcome serious mental illness.”

After losing his son, Matthew, to suicide, Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, launched a mental health literacy campaign called Hope for Mental Health. At an annual conference, he said it’s important for the body of Christ to better understand mental health.  "When families have a mental illness crisis, the first person they call is not the school district or an attorney. The first person they call is not even a doctor. The first person they call, typically, when there is a crisis, is their [church].”

It can be hard to talk about mental health because of fear or lack of knowledge. In an interview I had with christian licensed mental health counselor Eileen Hawkins, she discussed common misconceptions about mental health and how we can  empower ourselves with the knowledge and resources to best support our Christian brothers and sisters with acute mental illnesses including depression and bipolar disorder.

Common misconceptions about mental illness debunked:

  • Mental illness is always a sign of demonic possession or oppression.

False: There are many different known components to how someone may develop mental illness. It may be genetic, or environmental like war, trauma, or loss of a loved one. It’s okay not to know. Just don’t assume.

  • True Christians rejoice at all times.

False: Get comfortable with uncomfortable emotions. Grief is okay. We see this with sackcloth and ashes in the bible, used as a sign of repentance      and mourning. Esther 4:1, Mordecai tears his clothes wailing loudly and bitterly. There is a time to grieve, a time to mourn.

  • Mental illness is a sign of spiritual weakness.

False: In fact, a LifeWay research report suggests that a proper diagnosis, and medication, if necessary, can better help someone with mental illness thrive as a Christian.


Empower yourself with knowledge:

  • Know your strengths: Churches play an important role  in creating a support system for people with acute mental illness. Even if they seek professional counseling, the more support, the better. The church is equipped with a gospel of compassion and community, and therefore, better situated to support and love those in need.

  • Know when to escalate: When should a pastor or leader invite a mental health professional into their counseling session? When it starts to impact their daily life functions. Look out for behavioral changes like difficulty getting to work, or focusing in school, or when someone starts to pull away from relationships or things they used to enjoy.

  • Know who to escalate to: Have a deferral system to a professional or counseling service you feel comfortable with.

  • Be present:  Be a supporter and not a fixer. Hawkins, says that the tendency to want to “fix” people is rampant. You don't need to tell the person what to do. When we feel like we have to fix it, it becomes more about us.

We need to start treating mental health as importantly as we treat physical health. Entrepreneur and clean water activist, Sanu Delie says, “Being honest about how we feel doesn’t make us weak. It makes us human.” If you or a loved one needs help, don’t hesitate to seek it out. It will only make you stronger.

If you know someone battling a mental health condition in the NY area, please contact:

Redeemer Counseling Services - Phone: 212-370-0475 or Email: rcs@redeemer.com

Blanton Peale Institute - Phone: 212-725-7850 or Email: info@blantonpeale.org

Wellsprings Counseling Center - Phone: 646-957-2322

Sobeyda Ellis - Phone: 917-922-8821 or Email: heartmattersnyc@gmail.com

Healthy Minds NY - Phone: 929-399-7120 or Email: care@healthyminds.nyc



Tasha Levi

Tasha is a proud Brooklyn-native who enjoys reading, writing, interior decorating, and traveling. She earned a B.A. in Political Science (with a focus on political inequality) from Temple University. Her favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Khaled Hosseini. 


Tasha Levi

Tasha Levi is a proud Brooklyn-native who enjoys reading, writing, interior decorating and traveling. She earned a B.A. at Temple University studying Political Science with a focus on political inequality. Her favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Khaled Hosseini. 

Can I Lose Weight by Sitting on the Sofa Watching Netflix?

Photo credit: Instagram/@thatbrooklynbreakfast 

Photo credit: Instagram/@thatbrooklynbreakfast 

by Vanessa Santiago

A friend asked me this at a recent holiday get-together.  While it sounds funny, the truth is yes, you can absolutely practice self-care while still catching up on the latest series on Netflix. These harsh winter days filled with freezing temperatures and bomb-cyclones makes us long to take refuge on our sofas under a quilt that doubles as a cloud of warmth and safety. We may feel tempted to pick up snacks and order take-out, piling on the empty calories with loads of guilt, convincing ourselves we could never reach our fitness goals as long as there are icicles that form in our nostrils if we step outside. So we might opt instead to flip on Netflix and place our desire and the importance of self-care on the proverbial back burner.

Well, there is a smarter way to kickstart our bodies in a healthier direction, which does not include jogging through piles of ice and snow at 5 AM. One way is to be sure to snack on foods that will nourish your body while also indulging your sweet tooth. Typically we may be tempted to grab a pint of ice cream, or some other salty or sugary snack, but instead, you can choose one that actually begins the weight loss process of reducing inflammation and detoxifying our bodies.  

Delicious smoothies are a great substitute for those shame-carrying snacks like ice-cream and buttery popcorn. Smoothies are highly customizable to what flavors and textures you prefer. From decadent chocolate almond smoothies to tropical green smoothies (say spinach and kale mixed with pineapple, mango, and a pinch of ginger), I have found smoothies to be a richly satisfying and nutritious meal replacement, snack, or even dessert.

There are key ingredients you can add to a smoothie that detoxify your body, as well as reduce fat and inflammation, which is the cause of most ailments and disease. Chia seeds, almond butter, and avocado all contain soluble fiber which slows down digestion keeping you fuller for longer periods of time after eating. Fiber also acts as a broom cleaning out various toxins, waste materials, and fats sluggishly laying around in your gut. Cinnamon, raw honey, cherries and raw cacao are high in antioxidants, which prevent oxidative damage. Think of an apple when it is sliced open, it immediately begins to turn brown. That is the process of oxidation. But, antioxidants help protect our cells against such exposure to harmful free radicals and repair damage already done. Specifically, it prevents the appearance of aging which means our skin maintains a healthy glow. Studies have found cherries are anti-inflammatory and have even been proven to reduce painful gout in patients. When you consume such ingredients, your body greatly benefits from their nutritional goodness, but your tastebuds benefit from their delicious rich flavors.

So next time you decide to lounge in front of your favorite movie, know that you don’t have to sacrifice self-care or flavor to enjoy a decadent Chocolate Almond Smoothie. Try the recipe posted below and let us know what you think or share your own favorite smoothie ideas.

Netflix Binge Smoothie (not pictured)

1 cup Almond milk (to desired thickness)

Handful of frozen cherries

½ of a ripe Avocado or banana

2 tablespoons of Raw or Dry Roasted Almond Butter

1 tablespoon of Raw Cacao

Pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

1 teaspoon of raw honey (optional)

Pour all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth. Add extra milk if you prefer a thinner smoothie. Remember, you can add or remove items based on what you like or dislike. Make it the way you like it best!