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Smoothie Skeptic Turned Believer + a recipe

photo-3 I have always been a smoothie skeptic. Fruit, sweeteners, ice cream- SUGAR! I struggle with a good piece of dark chocolate calling my name from the freezer, no need to add the temptation of more sugar in a liquid form that is all too easy {and tasty!} to suck down.

Most of my clients are dealing with blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance. The last thing I want them to do is add in simple sugars that spike glucose levels and feed the vicious cycle of sugar cravings and imbalance.

It wasn’t until I did some research on how to put together a healthy smoothie {because let’s be honest, they sure are quick and easy!} that I began using them in my own healthy lifestyle and in time, recommending them to my clients.

Smoothies can pack a punch of superfood power and provide the macronutrients {carbohydrates, protein, fat} to make the perfect breakfast or post-workout meal.

Here are five tips to build the perfect, nutrient-dense smoothie!

5 Nourishing Tips to Build the Perfect Smoothie

  1. Chose the perfect base. I recommend using a homemade almond or coconut milk. If you’re running short on time, use a canned coconut milk that does not have any additives {I like this one}. You can also use raw milk {if well tolerated}, kefir, coconut water or plain ol’ water. Add your liquid of choice to your high-powered blender first.
  2. Add organic, frozen fruit {preferably a low sugar option like blueberries or raspberries} and fresh vegetables. I also like to add a ¼ to ½ of a ripe banana to help create a creamy smoothie. Depending on whom the smoothie is for, you can add fruits like pineapple, mango or peaches, but do not forget the next step! As for vegetables, spinach is one of the easiest greens to add to a smoothie, along with kale. But don’t stop there! Consider adding cucumber, beets, basil, cilantro or celery to pack some veggie punch!
  3. Add a high quality fat source to help balance the blood sugar reaction, feed healthy metabolism and keep you fuller, longer. You can use coconut oil, avocado, MCT oil {I love this one}, raw cream, egg yolk {from pastured eggs only}, coconut manna/butter or coconut flakes, raw nuts or nut butters. Chose one or two for your smoothie creation and reap the many benefits of healthy fats!
  4. Superfood your smoothie. Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for health and wellbeing {according to Google}. Maca root powder, lucuma, acai, raw cocoa, bee pollen, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc. All touted for their vitamin, mineral and antioxidant punch, these items are a great addition to any smoothie. I am currently loving raw cocoa, maca root powder and chia seeds!
  5. To protein or not to protein? {Shakespeare anyone?} My humble opinion is that it is better to get your protein from real foods, but I understand that many people are looking for an on-the-go meal or need to add in extra protein. Chose a high quality protein powder that is free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, synthetic vitamins and added nonsense {read the label, my friends!}. I like Jay Robb, Raw Organic Whey and One World Whey brands, which can all be purchased online.

There are endless possibilities for building smoothies and I surely have not touched on all of them here. Play with your taste and food combinations to find the smoothies that rock your world. They are a great way to add in nutrient-dense foods, especially for children! You can even add your powdered probiotic! The hiding capabilities are endless parents!

One of my favorite smoothies combines raw cocoa powder, almond butter and banana…can you say milk shake for breakfast!? Nourishing the busy mama to the professional athlete, this antioxidant and nutrient powerhouse is the perfect meal or snack to include in a health-bent lifestyle!

Cocoa Powerhouse Smoothie

Serves 2

  • 2 cups homemade almond or coconut milk
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach, washed and patted try
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of raw almond butter OR organic peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil OR ½ avocado
  • 1 tablespoon maca root powder, optional
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-5 drops vanilla stevia
  • 2 teaspoons organic cocoa nibs, for garnish

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth. Pour into your favorite smoothie vessel and garnish with a teaspoon of cocoa nibs and enjoy!

Shine Bright and live well!

 

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Apple Cider Vinegar Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Dried Cherries and Pecans

It is 2014, a brand spanking New Year, full of possibility and opportunity! Ah, I love it!

The air is warm here in Southern California and the sky is clear {for once}. Every morning I peek out our bedroom window to check out the “situation in the sky”. Day after day, a great, big smile beams on my face with these beautiful, clear, blue skies. Thank you Lord!

I guess the cook in me loves a blue sky because I have been in a nice, steady cooking mood, enjoying some good ol' recipes, but also trying some new.

One of my favorite restaurants, Lounge 22 in Redlands, makes the BEST Brussels sprouts. Ever. These Brussels are coated in a potent apple cider vinegar reduction and topped with a dollop of goat cheese…heavenly.

I thought I’d give it a go, how hard could it be?

Brussels, check. Apple cider vinegar, check. Oven, check. We got this.

photo 1

After a few practice runs, I discovered a pretty yummy variation. My version ended up being quite a bit different, but the bottom line is that it is nourishing and totally tasty.

After all, real food should be simple and full of flavor. Period.

Apple Cider Vinegar Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

1 lb Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved

½ small purple onion, sliced (I used yellow onions in the photo)

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar

¼ cup pecans (soaked and dehydrated), roughly chopped

2 tablespoons dried cherries

Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, mustard, maple syrup and vinegar. Place Brussels sprouts, onion, pecans and cherries in large bowl and pour vinegar mixture over; toss to combine. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and spread the Brussels sprouts out evenly. Roast for about 20 minutes, tossing half-way through, until lightly golden.

Enjoy my friends!

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