A quick guide to smoothies.

6

January 15, 2013 by theoghartiens

tired%20womanNow that the new year has come and gone, it’s time to get back on track! Kids are back in school, house has been officially cleaned and cleared of holiday clutter. I’m in full post-holiday recovery mode. Over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday we traveled all over Texas and I ate tons of food I usually don’t eat. I celebrated a birthday, spent time with family, and had a great vacation with my husband and kids. My biggest accomplishment was making our Christmas dinner with all vegan sides (from scratch, oy!).

Leaving the holidays behind means that I want to add more smoothies back into my daily routine. I’ve been asked by friends to list some of the “go to” ingredients that I keep on hand. Here are a few that I would highly recommend, along with some delicious smoothie recipes to keep your energy levels high.

My top three smoothie add-ins:
  • Chia! I know this has been a very popular little seed lately. Several friends have heard about it through mainstream media. I’m thrilled! I’ve been using chia seeds for the past year with great success. From the Dr. Oz website: The chia seeds are “super” because, like a superfruit, they deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories. The nutritional benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and much more – even protein! Chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight and expands to curb your appetite, so adding just an ounce or so of chia seeds to your diet can reduce caloric intake and help lower the energy density (or calories) of foods, plus double the amount of fiber you receive.

There are several ways to incorporate chia into your diet – including chia seed puddings, adding chia to your smoothies, or taking it orally as a “gel.” I buy organic chia seeds from my local grocery store, or from Amazon. I like to soak the seeds in a large jar so that I have them on hand to add to my smoothies. In an airtight container (I use a mason jar) add 1/4 cup of chia to 4 cups of water, shake and/or stir well, then cover and refrigerate. This will last for one week, and you can add 1/2 cup of the mixture to every batch of smoothie.

  • Raw cacao powder. According to HealthyEating.com, cacao beans contain natural chemicals called flavonoids, a type of antioxidant compound that promotes general health and might lower your risk of several diseases. One type of flavonoid, called anthocyanidin, is especially high in cacao beans, along with other compounds called epicatechins.Antioxidants stabilize and ultimately destroy free radicals in your cells and tissues. These potentially damaging chemicals are natural by-products of metabolism. They also form when your body breaks down environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke and organic solvents.

I am a big fan of the Tisano brand of cacao, which is fair trade and organic. Tisano works direct with the farmers to ensure fair trade prices are paid and sustainable farming practices are implemented. I use this powder in my smoothies at least once or twice a week, and it can also be used to make homemade chocolate desserts!

Chocolate covered cherry smoothieraw chocolate

2-3 cups coconut water

1/2 cup soaked chia seeds

1 1/2 bananas

1 scoop SunWarrior protein powder (protein powder is optional, and any type would work!)

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

2 tablespoons agave or raw honey

2 handfuls of spinach

1 dropper full of liquid stevia

Blend room temperature ingredients until smooth, then add 1/2 package frozen cherries and 1 package frozen strawberries. Powerful, uplifting, energizing!

Chocolate superfood smoothiechocolate smoothie

2-3 cups coconut water, plus 1 cup filtered water (or more as needed to thin)

2 bananas

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon spirulina powder

2 cups spinach

2 dates, pitted (for sweetness)

1/2 cup soaked chia seeds

1/4 cup fresh coconut fruit

1 “cutie” orange (or any orange)

1 bag of frozen blueberries

1/2 bag frozen raspberries

My final favorite add-in for smoothies is:

  • A high quality protein powder. I am a big fan of hemp protein. I find it to be easily digested, highly nutritious, and affordable. From Livestrong.com: Hemp protein is a protein found in the seed of the cannabis sativa plant.   Despite its origin, hempseed does not contain psychoactive compounds and is an  excellent source of protein, essential fatty acids and various nutrients.  Hemp  has many benefits over other protein sources, such as a broader range of amino  acids, easier digestibility, and a more balanced ratio of essential fatty acids.

My favorite brand is Nutiva, but I also like Navitas Naturals. I generally add protein powder to my smoothies on days when I am going to be very busy, or exercising more than usual. I am not a big fan of the flavored powders, such as vanilla or chocolate, because I find them to have a more “artificial” after taste!

Raspberry Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Raspberry-Smoothie-22 cups coconut water + 2 cups cold, filtered water

2 cups spinach

1 banana

2 dates, pitted (can sub 1 dropper of liquid stevia or one extra banana)

1/2 cup soaked chia seeds

2 tablespoons coconut butter

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 inch fresh vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

1 scoop hemp protein powder

1 bag frozen raspberries

Blend all room temperature ingredients together, then add frozen raspberries. The color will be more green once you add the spinach, but you could certainly make this without spinach to get the deep pink color of the smoothie pictured! Enjoy!

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