While making breakfast for myself this week, I pondered over the many ideas I had for my next blog post: the perfect veggie burger, another go-to salad, savory oatmeal with a poached egg, my favorite fermented carrots….the ideas are endless and I always struggle to choose one. Then, I looked down at my smoothie and thought “Why don’t I post this?!”. Its my favorite meal of the week so why not share it?! I have been keeping my blender quite busy lately with fresh fruit smoothies to cool me down in this hot weather while supplying my body with all the nourishment it could possibly need.
Smoothies might be one of the quickest and most wholesome meals we can feed ourselves. Its easy to get so many different nutrients into one cup, along with wonder foods you may not normally eat on their own (for example: who is going to down a spoonful of bee pollen or sprinkle lecithin granules on their salad?!). It also gives our digestive system a much-needed break because the food has already been broken down. Digestion starts in the mouth and often times we eat far too fast, expecting our stomach, pancreas and small intestine to do all the work.
Since this is my first post on smoothies, I’m going to give you a bit of a 411 on smoothie making. Below, I have listed the different categories to choose from when making a smoothie. By combining fiber, protein and fat in the smoothie, your blood sugar will remain steady throughout the morning and you will stay full and satisfied right through lunch. Play around and see what you can come up with!
START WITH A BASE:
- almond milk
- organic soy milk
- organic cows milk
- coconut milk
- fresh fruit and vegetable juice
- pear or apple: the skin contains fiber so don’t peel it!
- stone fruits like peaches or plums
- whatever is fresh at your market
*high sugar fruits like pineapple, mango, papaya, and banana should be used with caution. Their glycemic index is high so they release sugar quickly into the blood stream and can cause blood sugar spikes if not combined properly. Diabetics are encouraged to stay away from these.
- cucumber (so delicious with pear!)
- parsley, basil, mint
- whatever is fresh at your market!
- nut butter
- seed butter
- flaxseed oil
- pumpkin seed oil
- hemp seed oil
- hemp seeds (don’t use if you used hemp seed oil above; switch it up!)
- organic plain yogurt
- vega protein powder or your favourite protein powder
- nut butter
*by adding fiber, this will slow down the digestion of the smoothie, and keep you fuller longer
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- whole grains such as oats or millet
- apple or pear with the skin
- many vegetables contain fiber as well, so get wild!
SWEETENERS *if needed
- maple syrup
I hate categorizing certain whole foods as “superfoods” because I believe every food has super powers in some way for each of us. So I’ll use the words “smoothie boosters” for my wonder-food smoothie additions. I always choose 2-3 for each smoothie and rotate my smoothie boosters to ensure I’m getting a variety of benefits. I could dedicate a blog post to each of these, but to give you a quick run down of each for your smoothie experimenting purposes, I have listed a few key benefits below.
- Chia seeds – a perfect balance of soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is needed to remove excess hormones and cholesterol while helping to keep the bowels moving properly in order to avoid constipation and autointoxication. Soluble fiber also aids in weight loss by slowing down the digestion of food and giving a full feeling. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, cleans the bowels and improves bowel disorders.
- Maca – an adaptogenic plant that helps balance hormones. Adaptogens are magical foods that help balance each body’s imbalances based on individual needs. I just discovered them this past year and they intrigue me so! Adaptogens help balance your body systems by bringing you back to homeostasis. Maca, specifically, nourishes and balances the body’s endocrine system, which is in charge of your hormones and many other functions related to stress, digestion, cellular metabolism, reproduction and mineral homeostasis to name a few. Maca also helps energize naturally and enhances fertility.
- Bee pollen – a concentrated source of energy that improves endurance. Many use bee pollen to combat stress, enhance immunity and lose weight, however, none of these claims are well supported by scientific studies yet.
- Lecithin granules – my favorite smoothie booster! Our body makes acetylcholine from lecithin which is needed for memory and proper brain function.
- Kefir – a fermented drink that has a bit of a sour taste so start small and increase your amount . Fermented foods enhance the balance of good gut microbes to bad microbes. These microbes perform many functions like helping to break down food, produce certain vitamins and produce their own antibiotics. Gut flora compromises 80% of our immune system so by supporting our beneficial gut flora, we are improving immunity!
- Acai berries – a natural energy booster and helps enhance nerve and brain function. They promote a healthy cardiovascular system and immune system.
- Shizandra – said to be “the herb that does it all”! Another adaptogen with many benefits for women such as supporting vitality and beauty. Schizandra is said to help purify the blood, support the mind, help maintain a strong memory, and help maintain sexual energy and sexual functions in both men and women.
- Chlorella – a green algae that contains the highest amount of chlorophyll, the life force of plants. It also contains more B vitamins than liver! Chlorella strengthens the immune system, helps detoxify the body and promotes bowel health. For the ladies: chlorella is also said to improve premenstrual symptoms as well as perimenopause fatigue and mood swings.
- Spirulina – a blue-green algae that contains chlorophyll, essential fatty acids and is the only vegetarian source of B12. Spirulina is beneficial during a cleanse as it supplies nutrients needed for cleansing and healing while curbing the appetite.
- Cacao – high in magnesium which stimulates relaxation. Also provides alertness, attention, concentration, bliss, joy and sexual arousal.
- Ginger – anti-inflammatory, used to improve weak digestion, stimulates bile flow to help eliminate cholesterol and emulsify fats, and aids in circulation.
For this smoothie, I chose oats for soluble fiber to slow down digestion and keep you full longer. Cherries help remove toxins from bodily tissues; something that can accumulate from stress, smoking, gut toxins and environmental toxins. The almond butter provides healthy fats as well as protein and is a high source of calcium – no cows milk needed! The hemp seeds offer protein and by soaking them beforehand and blending them with a bit of water and almond milk, it turns the hemp seeds into a cream for a rich and decadent smoothie. You should soak all raw grains, beans and nuts to get rid of anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, which blocks mineral absorption and enzyme inhibitors, which block digestion. Nuts also contain oxalic acid which can block calcium assimilation and lead to kidney stones. This can be easily remedied by soaking them overnight in pure water and straining the water the next morning before eating or cooking. The benefits of maca are listed above and do I even need to explain why I used cacao?! Because its awesome!
- 1 cup of cherries
- 1 cup soaked hemp seeds
- ½ cup pure water
- ½ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup gluten free rolled oats
- 4 dates
- ½ banana
- 1 navel orange
- 1 Tablespoon almond butter
- 1 Tablespoon cacao powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon maca powder
- ½ Tablespoon flaxseed oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- handful of spinach (more or less depending on your taste)
- Remove the pit and stem from the cherries and quickly pulse the cherries in a blender so they still have a chunky consistency. Pour the crushed cherries into 2 glasses. Blend all remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender and pour the smoothie over the cherries. Enjoy immediately!
- I don't like using ice as I find it waters down smoothies. However, if you put all these ingredients in a blender the night before and blend in the morning, its just as cold and will save you time in the am!