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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Avoiding Muscle Cramps & My Potassium Packed Green Smoothie

Muscle Cramps: for the most part we know how to prevent them, but we don’t always make the time to take preventative action.  After multiple clients stopped to hold their cramping legs, feet and toes during our workouts in the past week, I figured this topic deserved a blog post.  I in particular get them in my toes while I am stretching after a hard workout or in the middle of the night, but this week I had clients cramping mid circuit.  So here we go:

  1. Are you hydrated? If you are not drinking enough water for you weight and activity level this could be your problem.  So start logging your water.  Try the app waterlogged to train yourself to make water consumption a priority.  Plus, being hydrated will make you feel better, look better and help curb hunger between meals.
  2. Are you stretching adequately?  If you are partaking in any distance running, HIIT Training, or cycling you need to stretch a lot! For example: the repetitive nature of running tightens up your hamstrings, hips and calves when you are logging miles.  So stretch after you run and invest in a foam roller.  Happy hamstrings make a happy athlete.  If you cramp up while you are sleeping, stretch before bed.
  3. Are you getting enough potassium? People always think bananas when they are reaching for potassium, but potassium can be found in so many everyday foods.  Try a baked potato (sweet if you are watching your sugar), avocado, raw kale, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, white beans, salmon, yogurt, the list goes on.  Click here to see the Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium.
  4. Are your sodium levels depleted? If you are an endurance athlete or a heavy/salty sweater, you may be deficient in the electrolyte sodium.  This can easily be balanced by consuming sports drinks when you are working out for more than an hour or during extra sweaty sessions.  (I am one of those salty sweaters.  I always have a white film on my face and body after an endurance run, it’s a good look)
  5. Are you getting enough carbohydrates? You have to replenish your glycogen stores when you are working out for over an hour.  You also need to have adequate glycogen stores before you begin exercise.  If your muscles do not have fuel, they cannot perform optimally and you will cramp.  You can replenish with sports products like GU or sports drinks but for the most part, a small snack an hour before your session will do.  See my post on Pre Workout Snacks! Remember, fat burns in a carbohydrate flame.

Potassium

I was feeling inspired by the muscle cramp topic and decided to make a potassium packed smoothie after my Saturday workouts. Here is what it consisted of:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup of kale
  • 1 cup of pineapple
  • 3-4 stalks of celery
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • splash of vanilla unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk)

The majority of the potassium in this recipe comes from the first three ingredients (Banana, Avocado & Kale).  In addition, chia seeds are great for ridding your body of toxins.  The gelatinous nature of the seeds help pick up unwanted toxins that are often stuck in the small intestine and reabsorbed into the blood stream.  The key with chia seeds is to let them soak.  A great way to accomplish this is by allowing them to soak them in the almond milk (or coconut milk) you use for your recipes.   Fill a ball jar with almond milk and a 1/2 cup of chia so you have them handy in your refrigerator.  If you need to fill up and feel good, I recommend making this after a hard workout or a weekend of too much drinking and eating out (sodium detox).

 

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