Ah… the smoothies.
Let’s start with a little honesty this morning: smoothies are not my thing. I know, blasphemy, right. Who’s not crazy about smoothies especially smoothly poured in a bowl. Me! Don’t get me wrong, I eat/drink plenty of them, but they’re not really something I get excited about like say, banana pancakes or baked oatmeal. Smoothies are just an easy way for me to get plenty of fruits and veggies into a very convenient and portable container. Nonetheless, if I’m going to eat/drink one, it’s got to taste good and has to pack a serious nutritious punch. Hence this green smoothie. It’s loaded with fruits, veggies and my favourite two supplements.
I keep the more fancy breakfasts for the weekend.
So onto those supplements.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, protein is really important for me. My body functions best when I eat a higher amount of protein on a regular basis. So when I’m making a smoothie, I always add plant protein powder to the mix.
Frankly, I’ve tasted my fair share of chalky, clumpy, off flavoured, protein powders. But after many trials and errors, I’ve nailed it down to two brands that I really enjoy (I’m not endorsed by or affiliated to any of these brands, I just genuinely like the taste). Those two brands are VEGA Sport Protein (mocha or berry) and Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Protein (natural coconut).
Both these brands of protein blend really well, add great flavour to my smoothie and give me the protein boost I need. Here’s what they offer.
- 30 grams plant-based protein
- 6 grams BCAAs
- 1 billion CFU probiotics [bacillus coagulans]
Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Protein:
- contains 20g of fermented dietary protein per serving!
- is the first fully fermented protein which contributes to a healthy gut, overall good health & is easy to digest
- is on-allergenic, soy free and contains a balance of all essential amino acids
Now for the second supplement.
I can’t talk enough about the health benefits of spirulina. This stuff is gold. Green gold. Ok, I’ll admit, it does taste a bit…oceany. But when something packs that good of a nutritious punch, you work around the taste by camouflaging it with other goodies like frozen bananas and mangoes (like in this smoothie).
According to Stephanie Weeks over at Food Matters, “Spirulina is rich in nutrients, some of which aren’t found in the average daily vitamin. According to the FDA, the health benefits of Spirulina include significant amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. Spirulina is a great source of B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium and antioxidants. It also has essential amino acids (compounds that are the building blocks of proteins). In fact, protein makes up about 60 to 70 percent of Spirulina’s dry weight.” Booyah!
Now for those of you who want to pause here and get your mindful moment of the day break, just click here. We’re following up on our precious post and talking about time segments. For those of you who want to continue on with the recipe, keep reading. 🙂
The recipe I’m giving you is the basic recipe I use for my smoothies. You can add whatever else fruit and supplement you like. Other of my top supplement choices are maca, chia seeds, hemp seeds or açai powder. You can also spice it up with turmeric, cinnamon or nutmeg. All offer amazing health benefits and can give you the boost your body needs on a given day.
Let’s look at the health benefits of these nutritional jewels for a minute.
Supplements, herbs and spices
Maca: according to the handsome Dr. Axe, maca is a type of cruciferous vegetable native to the Andes of Peru. Maca has a similar appearance and size as radishes or turnips with green tops and roots that range in color from yellow to purple and black. Maca is rich in antioxidants, enhances energy, mood and memory, improves female sexual health, balances estrogen levels and boosts male fertility.
Chia seeds: according to the folks at Webmed.com, chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds (unlike flaxseeds). One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals.
Hemp seeds: according to the amazing people over at Pure Healing Foods, hemp seeds are a perfect and natural blend of easily digested proteins, essential fats (Omega 3 & 6), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes. All amino acids essential to optimum health are found in hemp seeds, including the rarely found Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). The 17+ grams of omega fats supplied by hemp seeds provides sufficient, continuous energy throughout your day.
Açai: according to Organic Facts, açai berries come from the açai palm, widely found in the Amazon Basin. Açai berries can be a tremendously healthy addition to your diet and help to increase heart health, aids in weight loss, as well as aiding in health issues relating to your skin, digestion, allergies, immune system, and energy levels. Furthermore, research has shown it to be one of the best sources of antioxidants, an aphrodisiac, a brain booster, and a great weapon against premature aging, cancer, and unexplained fatigue or exhaustion. Açai berry is rich in vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin A, E, and C. Amongst minerals, açai berries contain calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium.
These are all pretty amazing suplements if you ask me!
As for the spices mentioned, these are some powerful ones. Here’s a breakdown.
Turmeric: if you’re into healthy eating (which clearly you are!) then you’ve most certainly come across mounts of articles on the health benefits of turmeric and recipes ranging from turmeric lattes to Indian curries. According to Dr. Mercola, the health benefits of turmeric include an improved ability to digest fats, reducing gas and bloating, decreased congestion, and improved skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. More reported health benefits of turmeric include relief from joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, reduced joint swelling, and greater range of motion when used regularly. It’s another case of the spice alone having similar effects to that of a prescription medication, but with fewer symptomatic downsides. Research also suggests that turmeric may be helpful in treating inflammatory bowel diseases, lowering cholesterol counts, protecting the heart, relieving indigestion, improving liver function, and even preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Cancer prevention and inhibited cancer cell growth –specifically cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, and lung, and childhood leukemia – are also on the list of possible benefits.
Cinnamon: cinnamon not only tastes amazing, it is also amazing for you. Going back to Dr. Axe, researchers have concluded that cinnamon health benefits can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder) or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting and potential cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities.
Nutmeg: you can read about the health benefits of nutmeg in my previous post here.
As for the fruits, I find using a base of mangoes and bananas for my smoothies eases the taste of the spirulina. I
f the oceany taste of it doesn’t bother you, by all means switch up the fruits also and add strawberries or pineapples instead. Use whatever fruit you fancy or whatever is in season if you’re one of the lucky ones that lives in a warm climate all year round. Here in Montreal, not many fruits see the light of day during our brutal winter months!
I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. Leave me a comment and let me know how you’ve adapted it to your own tastes and nutritional needs.
- 2 Cups coconut water (can use nut milk if you prefer)
- 1 Tbs spirulina
- 1 Tbs ground flax seeds
- 1 scoop plant protein powder
- 1 frozen banana
- ½ Cup frozen mangoes
- ½ Cup frozen spinach
- Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.