Wild Blueberry & Cacao Superfood Smoothie
Good morning sweet ones! In an effort to adhere to my “blogging schedule,” my intention is to share one new “Vegenista” recipe over the weekend. Two if I am feeling ambitious. This weekend, I had hoped to publish two, but time got away from me. With yesterday’s Boycott Sea World Rally & my yoga immersion with Bhava Ram this afternoon, I just don’t have enough time. However, I wanted to honor my commitment to post a new recipe, so here it is. And it is my new favorite.
This smoothie was inspired by a "Cacao Bliss Smoothie" that was mentioned in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. There was no recipe mentioned, just a run down of a few ingredients (hemp milk, banana, cacao powder, almonds, coconut oil) that gave me enough inspiration to run with it & make it my own. I added a few extra “superfoods” to make it extra wholesome. Oh, & can we just talk about the cacao bit from Portlandia? Kinda hard not to giggle a bit when I think about the word - “cacao.”
Blueberries are anti-inflammatory & packed with antioxidants & phytoflavinoids, as well as high in potassium & vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors & nutritionists.
Cacao powder is also top source of antioxidants, it contains an abundance of magnesium & iron, & is a concentrated form of dietary fiber.
Coconut oil is said to have a variety of profound health benefits, such as: improving your heart health, boosting your thyroid, increasing your metabolism promoting a lean body & weight loss, & supporting your immune system. It also is known for it’s antibacterial, antifungal & antiviral properties. I’ve been getting into the habit of adding it to my smoothies, but I also love to cook & bake with it, as it tolerates high heat. I recently read that it can be a great supplement for dogs who get dry itchy skin, which my puggie suffers from in the winter time, but I need to do a bit more research before I give it to her.
Chia seeds are a total powerhouse & are said to have: 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain, 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones, 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas, 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries, 3 times more iron than spinach, & copious amounts of omega 3 & omega 6, which are essential fatty acids. They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. In order to get maximum absorption & benefits from chia seeds it is important to soak them so they create a “gel.” They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water & they absorb it very rapidly - in under 10 minutes. To make a basic chia gel, simply add 1/3 cup of seeds (2oz) to 2 cups of water. Stir the mixture well, to avoid clumping, then leave it in your fridge, in a sealed jar. This will yield around 17oz of chia gel. (source)
So, essentially, this delicious smoothie is jam packed with goodness & is delicious to boot! I mean…who doesn’t want to start their morning with chocolate?
"Wild Blueberry & Cacao Superfood Smoothie"
- 1 cup homemade almond milk (recipe below)
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup frozen organic wild blueberries
- 1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder (Nativas Naturals)
- 1 Tbsp. organic virgin coconut oil (Dr. Bronner’s)
- 1 Tbsp. soaked chia seeds
- ice cubes
- Place all ingredients in a regular or high speed blender & blend until smooth. Top with extra goodies & enjoy!
And now for my “go-to” almond milk recipe. After reading all the scary stuff about carrageenan, which is a common additive in food & on every store bought almond milk label I’ve studied, I have decided to stick to the source & only make it myself. It just takes a bit of foresight to remember to soak the almonds, but if you follow Isa’s advice - "ABS: Always Be Soakin’" - then there will be no need to worry. It’s quite easy, & if you buy the almonds in bulk at a health food store or the co-op, it can be cost effective. And, it tastes so much better. Sometimes I’ll make an unsweetened version, if I will be adding it to soups or savory dishes, but when I know I will be using it as a smoothie base, I’ll add some natural sweetener & vanilla bean seeds.
"Basic Homemade Almond Milk"
***Yields approximately 3 cups
- one cup raw almonds, soaked over night
- 3 cups pure water
- optional: 1 tsp. of brown rice syrup & seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth & creamy, approximately 3 minutes.
- Strain liquid through cheesecloth or a “nut milk” bag. Reserve pulp to dehydrate & use as almond meal, or discard. Will last for 2-3 days, refrigerated.
Enjoy your Sunday, my friends. I’ll be back tomorrow with an announcement about a new Monday series that I am really excited about. And surprise! It has nothing to do with food, but has everything to do about living mindfully & compassionately. See you soon! xo