Smoothie Bowls are the New Green Juice

Smoothie Bowls

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So I am sure you have seen them trending, smoothie bowls are hugely popular right now. This chilly dish has been a staple treat in my diet since my first trip to Rincon, Puerto Rico a few years ago. Prior to this trip I was sloshing my overly thick green smoothies into a bowl after yoga and topping with chia and raisins. My icy greens were yummy but they lacked direction and presentation. I still remember my first “Acai Bowl” while visiting my friend in San Diego. It was a mixture of acai, banana, oats and honey. In Rincon I experienced more topping ideas and here I am today adding everything but the kitchen sink to my bowl.

I like Smoothie bowls because they are more satiating then drinking the same fruit medley, plus the ability to add toppings adds the crunch and extra flavor I need to call it a meal. You can eat these at any point in the day as a small meal or snack. They are great after a hot outdoor workout, as breakfast or even as a light dinner. I like to have a bowl before I go teach evening yoga because it will keep me full through the night without weighing me down.

I love to eat, and when a meal looks appealing and has presentation I tend to be more satisfied. I usually use berry medleys rather than acai. Acai is pretty expensive to eat frequently and while it is popular for its antioxidant content, blueberries are chock full of antioxidants. Plus with how busy and active I am, I need the extra vitamin C from strawberries. My immune system is fragile with my early mornings and the physical strain of being up and active all day.

While I change up the ingredients I use for each bowl the base is typically a frozen banana, berries and coconut milk. When I need extra greens I will add raw kale or spinach. After a hard workout I will add protein powder and I almost always add toppings. My favorite toppings are fresh or dried fruit, coconut flakes, chia seeds, hemp hearts, granola, walnuts, sliced almonds and nut butter.

I know everyone likes a direct recipe so below is my basic smoothie bowl:

In a blender add half a frozen banana and 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries) and half a cup coconut milk. You can use any kind of milk but I prefer coconut, almond or cashew. Pulse the three ingredients in blender or food processor and add additional liquid if necessary. Do not over blend. You want to have a thick consistency. Pour the mixture into a pretty bowl and top with chia, coconut flakes and fresh fruit.

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Want extra protein? Add your favorite protein powder! Need extra greens? Add spinach or kale. Adjust the recipe to fit your dietary needs or tastebuds. When Im starving I slosh a big spoon of almond or cashew butter on top.  I usually keep the green bowls pretty simple since Kale and nut butter clash…

Share your favorites!

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Choco Coconut Protein Bars

When you spend most your mornings on the go like I do, it is hard to sit down and eat a balanced clean meal before the sunrises. I have been making gluten free breads, but this week I wanted something a little higher in protein and whole grains.

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Let me introduce you to my Choco Coconut Protein Bars. The ingredients are simple, clean and you most likely have everything you need sitting in your pantry! Here is what you will need:

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup chia seeds
1 cup dried fruit/nut blend of your choice
½ cup chocolate protein powder
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp raw honey
3 tbsp coconut butter or oil
¾ cup organic peanut or almond butter
¼ cup tahini

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degree. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread your oats and quinoa, then toast for about 10 minutes. While the grains are toasting line a 9X13 with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl combine coconut, dried fruit/nut blend, protein powder, chia seeds and the toasted oats and quinoa. Now combine the salt, raw honey, coconut butter (or oil), peanut butter (or almond butter) and tahini in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Pour the heated mixture into the dry ingredients. Move the combined mixture into the 9×13 pan, patting down firmly into the rectangle. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely, for about an hour. When cooled cut into individual servings and wrap each piece in plastic wrap or in mini plastic bags. Yum breakfast!

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I have posted picture of the raw honey, protein powder and coconut butter I used in this recipe. When buying coconut make sure you purchase the unsweet flakes. When it comes to quinoa I try and buy the unsprouted version. I used peanut butter in this recipe as well as jumbo raisins, raw almonds, raw walnuts and raw pecans.

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These bars are toasty, earthy and the perfect amount of sweetness.

The Scoop on Healthy Skoop Powders

Product Review: Healthy Skoop Powders

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I feel like the hunt for the perfect protein powder is ongoing.  I certainly have my go to whey and plant based powders, but I love to experiment with new brands.  If you follow my posts you probably have seen my favorite whey powder, Warrior Whey by Defense Nutrition.  When it comes to plant based protein powder my current favorite is Phood by Plant Fusion.

That being said, I have never tried a greens mix, which is something that Skoop offers.  Skoop sells powders for different nutrition goals, but advertises the product lines as an all encompassing package. While for the most part I consume plenty of greens and antioxidants, there are days where many of my meals are on the go.  I was grateful when Skoop offered to send me a generous sample package.  I hope you enjoy my review!

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Skoop a variety of powders: A GAME, B STRONG & B LOVELY.  All three powders are gluten-free and GMO-free.

Skoop A Game Is a powder you can wake up with. Phytonutrients, micronutrients, and adaptogens are said to help increase your energy level.  Since I don’t drink coffee I saw this as a great early  morning option.  The contents of A Game allow you to start your day with fiber and probiotics.  In my mind A Game stands up against my usual powders with its ORAC equivalent of 10 servings of fruits and veggies. Some days I am on the go all day. The ability to get my greens and antioxidants with just a shaker and some cold water is a huge plus. There are two A Game flavors, Chocofresh and Supergreens.  I have been shaking both with just cold water, but also adding them to my smoothies. I add Chocofresh to my chocolate protein powder along with a frozen banana, almond milk and chia seeds.  I add the Supergreens powder to my green smoothie.

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Overall, I liked having A game as part of my regimen.  I did feel a bit more energized when I included the powder in my first meal of the day.  The flavor took a little getting used to, its a bit bold.  I was adjusted to the taste by day five.  A Game is 50 calories per scoop and only 2 grams of sugar.

B Strong is the Protein powder.  It is plant based, soy-free and dairy-free as well as gluten-free and GMO-free.  The great thing about B Strong is it’s prebiotic fibers that assist your gut in breaking down and absorbing the protein.  This will allow you to use the 16 grams of protein and additional fatty acids to build muscle and recover quickly.

I tried the vanilla powder, which makes it harder for me to compare because I usually go with chocolate protein powder.  I do feel that my Warrior Whey is a bit smoother, but it is also whey protein.  There could be a compromise due to the extra prebiotics and antioxidants in Skoop.   If you are looking for a clean plant based protein powder I would certainly recommend Skoop.

Last, we have B Lovely.  This is actually a skincare product you consume.   B Lovely contains natural herbs, antioxidants and fiber.  You can help combat oxidative stress, repair damaged collagen and promote circulation with just 20 calories of this powder.  I cannot tell you if it works, I only tried the powder twice, but I can tell you how it tastes.  I was not a fan.  I am a tea drinker, so when I added the powder to my warm water I was expecting it to taste like a floral tea, I am sure it I could hide the taste in a smoothie or protein shake, but I only need one shake a day.

Overall, I found Skoop powders to be clean and easy to digest.  I suffer from a lot of stomach and GI issues, and I am easily irritated by many powders.  I had absolutely no issues with Skoop.

 

Gut Health Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Fall is officially here in Virginia.  The nights are in the low 40’s and Trader Joes is stocked with all things pumpkin.  I don’t usually like the taste of  most pumpkin flavored products.  They all taste artificial and not much like pumpkin if you ask me.  I remember trying the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks a few years ago.  It was so disappointing, I ended up taking two sips and dumping it in the trash before I left the store.  Now Starbucks is being slammed with criticism for using caramel coloring and other artificial ingredients.

So maybe pumpkin packaged goods are icky, but you can still celebrate fall by making delicious and healthy homemade recipes with fall squash.  Pumpkin is a super food.   So why not add it to everything?

Pumpkin Packs:

  • Lots of dietary fiber
  • Low calorie count
  • Antioxidants to improve skin and sight
  • Vitamins A& B
  • Folates
  • Minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus

Recently I have been on a quest to improve my gut health. Going dairy, grain, soy and legume free has made breakfast a challenge.  I have had to get creative to find things that keep me full when I don’t have time for eggs and veggies in the morning.  So let me present you with my Gut Healthy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp organic honey
  • splash of unsweetened coconut milk (or as much as needed)
  • few dashes of cinnamon
  • 1 dash of nutmeg
  • 1 dash of ground cloves

Simply add all your ingredients together, blend and enjoy at home or on the road! Happy fall y’all 🙂

Hydrate with Antioxidants

My new favorite way to drink water = Ice Cold H20 + Splash of Pomegranate Juice We could all use a little extra hydration in the summer months, but sometimes tap water is…unexciting. I keep a bottle of Pom Wonderful at … Continue reading

Green Lunches

I am not a nutritionist or even close to one (disclaimer), but I love to prepare and devour nutrient dense food.  Above are six Green Lunches that I have made in the past week.  I am not a recipe person.  I just buy whatever is on sale (usually what is in season) and roast, saute or enjoy raw.  From the top we have….

  • Sunny Side Up Kale: Sauteed kale with a sunny side up egg and half a banana
  • Green Bowl: 1/2 frozen banana, 1/4 mango, 1 pear, 1/2 fuji apple, 1/2 avacado, 2 kale leaves in the blender. Topped with banana chips, coconut ribbon and raisins
  • Sauteed Kale and Roasted Japanese Sweet Potato: I use Himalayan sea salt, basil leaves and ground peppercorn to season
  • Kale, Brussels and Alfalfa Sprout Salad: Chopped and tossed with avocado, pumpkin seeds and my homemade vinaigrette (Dijon mustard, EVOO and balsamic)
  • Cabbage and Brussels Sprout Scramble: Cabbage and brussels sprouts sauteed with one egg scrambled in and served with half a banana
  • Mashed Delicata Squash with Lentils, Quinoa, Cannelloni Beans and Brussels Sprouts: This is kind of a “Hodge Podge”. I happened to have the lentils and quinoa already cooked so I mixed them in with my Delicata.  Delicata can be microwaved for 5+ minutes and scooped out of the skin for a mashed consistency.   I will make a batch of lentils in the beginning of the week so I can just throw them into dishes to add bulk and a nutty flavor.

I don’t plan my meals much more than a couple hours (or minutes in advance). This is because my mood and my physical state determines what I eat.  I suffer from a lot of stomach issues and sometimes I lack an appetite for certain foods or any appetite at all.  I hope my green meals give you some lunch time inspiration! Feel free to comment with questions or your own lunchtime suggestions!

Here are some fun nutrition facts on some of my most used winter foods:

KALE

  • High in fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin K, A and C
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Anti inflammatory and Cholesterol (LDL) lowering properties
  • Great Detoxify-er

CABBAGE

  • Contains Folate for women of child bearing age
  • Natural Electrolytes
  • Great Detoxify-er

LENTILS

  • Folate: Lentils contain more of this B vitamin than any other unfortified plant food. In addition to protecting against coronary artery, folate helps prevent birth defects
  • Fiber: half cup of lentils provides around a third of your daily requirements. We absorb the energy from lentils slowly, which helps keep blood-sugar levels even
  • Iron
  • Lentils are a significant (and virtually fat-free) source of protein

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

  • Great Detoxify-er
  • Antioxidants
  • Improves Digestive Health