Natural Living

By Laura Peterson

No time for a healthy breakfast? Puh-leeze! Once you check out these smoothie recipes, you can never make that excuse again. Not only are most of these ingredients considered “super foods,” meaning they are jam packed with mega vitamins, antioxidants and even healing properties, but they also taste amazing. And let’s face it ladies, that’s really what you want out your most important meal of the day. (If that weren’t true, then Cinnabon would have gone out of business years ago.)

The tools you’ll need for these Super Smoothies are: a blender, or one of those great hand-held blending wands, a clean coffee grinder and a nice big cup. See? It’s not like you’ll be cooking or anything! Oh, and one item I recommend putting in all of your smoothies is unrefined, virgin coconut oil. (Make sure it’s not refined. When else in life does that statement make sense?) The amazing benefits of unrefined coconut oil include softer, more youthful skin, silkier hair, balanced thyroid functions, and numerous other health benefits. It’s one of the best “good fats” you can add to your diet. Don’t believe me? Just look at the skin on Southeast Asian women. ‘Nuff said.

Raw Chocolate Smoothie
Trying to cut back on or even quit (gasp!) coffee? What if I told you you could just substitute a chocolate smoothie for your morning brew and you’d never even miss that mug o’ joe? No, I’m not toying with you. Raw chocolate, or Cacao (pronounced cack-ow, and found in the raw food section of many natural food markets) is an amazing antioxidant that has anti-aging properties, not to mention potent libido boosters and a long-lasting, non-crashing pick-me-up that coffee wishes it had. By adding ground pumpkin seeds, which help wipe out that wiped out feeling, you can increase your energy naturally without Starbucks. Plus raw cacao is missing the fat and excess calories of processed, sweetened chocolate. Yes, it’s chocolate without the guilt!

Give this smoothie a whirl, but remember – without the sugar added, it’s not like eating Hershey Kisses. This is dark chocolate to the max.

12oz of soy, rice, almond or oat milk (whichever you prefer)
2 Tablespoons of finely ground cacao
1 Tablespoon of ground pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon of unrefined coconut oil

Blend until mixed well

Mega Berry Smoothie
At this time of year you can use fresh berries, or if you want an already frosty smoothie, just use organic frozen berries. While you’re haunting the raw food section of your market, keep an eye out for a very special berry – the Goji berry. This powerhouse berry is known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the number one food for health and longevity. Goji berries are 14% protein and contain potent immune boosting properties, and lucky for us, they also taste great. They are sold dried, so they can be easily ground for smoothies. Many raw food companies offer packages of ground cacao and goji berries together, for you more adventurous types. Nothing wrong with adding a little raw chocolate to your berry shake, if you so desire.

Other berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. will also provide you with antioxidants, vitamin C and a just-sweet-enough taste that isn’t loaded with sugar. You’ll enjoy this shake “berry” much. (I had to say that.)

12oz of soy, rice or oat milk
1 Tablespoon ground goji berries, or goji/cacao blend
¼ cup of fresh or frozen berries
1 teaspoon of unrefined coconut oil

Blend until smooth

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
If you suffer from stomach ulcers, IBD, or just love Thanksgiving, adding pumpkin into your diet will make you a very happy camper. Pumpkin contains incredible soothing and healing properties, as well as serving as the perfect fiber. This tasty smoothie is one of my favorites because I add some ginger to it, which calms a tumultuous tummy, as well as cinnamon, which just puts me in a good mood, and a bit of raw honey, which contains live enzymes that also help to heal the stomach and intestines.

12oz rice or oat milk (do not use soy if you suffer from stomach or intestinal problems)
¼ cup of canned solid pack pumpkin (make sure it’s NOT the pumpkin pie mix!)
1 teaspoon of raw honey (not processed)
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
¼ teaspoon of powdered ginger
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Blend until smooth

A few super foods you may want to have on hand to throw in with any of these smoothies include:

Maca powder – A powdered root vegetable from Peru, Maca is invigorating, an aphrodisiac and helps balance thyroid functions for people with hypothyroid. This is a great ingredient for any woman that has lost that lovin’ feeling due to hormonal changes!

Spirulina – This sea veggie is the best non-animal source of protein, offering 60% protein. It’s also the world’s highest beta carotene food. Spirulina is rich in iron, magnesium and trace minerals, and is easier to absorb than iron supplements, plus it’s one of the highest sources of vitamin B-12. This stuff is awesome, but let me warn you – it turns your smoothies a nasty green! It’s well worth the visual gross out factor, though.

Bee pollen – Used for over 2500 years for its health benefits, bee pollen can help people lose weight, increase stamina and sex drive, enhance the immune system, slow the aging process, relieve seasonal allergy and asthma symptoms, and prevent cancer. Whew! No wonder they call those buggers “busy bees.” Bee pollen actually contains every vitamin and nutrient we need to live, except vitamins D and K. Pretty cool, huh?

Sesame Seeds – If you want an excellent vegan source of calcium, try adding a couple of tablespoons of ground sesame seeds into your smoothie. Sesame seeds, used for 5000 years by Hindu nations (and reduced in the western world to bun toppings) contain almost every mineral a body needs. They are rich in calcium, thiamin, folate, riboflavine, niacine, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, as well as being high in protein (about 18%) They also contain the amino acid methionine, making them especially good for the heart and blood vessels, contributing to a strong body with better endurance.

Try to keep your smoothies chock full of nutrients and vitamins and avoid using sweeteners that will cause you to crash a few hours after consumption. Since the processed nut and grain milks in these ingredients are all sweetened, there’s no need to add any further sweeteners, unless you are using a bit of honey for medicinal reasons. Once you are completely sold on the smoothie lifestyle, you can wean yourself off the milks and start using beverages like coconut water or herbal teas as your smoothie base. Sweet is for starters, but bitter is better for you.

You can find raw super foods in the raw foods section of Whole Foods, Westerly Market and numerous other natural food markets. Check out local raw food company Eat Raw, www.eatraw.com out of Brooklyn, for their Super Food Liquid Nutrition Kit.

Originally published July 2006
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