Lately I have been making smoothies like they’re going out of style!  They’re a quick and easy way to pack in a lot of nutrients in one tasty package, and the perfect on-the-go meal for just about anyone who has a busy schedule and a thermos, Klean Kanteen, or travel mug.  This recipe won’t cost you five bucks and a hundred grams of sugar, either; it’s a high-protein, moderate-fat, nutritive meal.

I’m going to give you my favorite version, adapted from the lovely recipe in Jessica Prentice’s Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection, and then break down the formula so that you can create your own special blend.  As with everything creative, it helps to know the structure before you play with it.

THE RECIPE: MY FAVORITE SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:
1/2 cup berries (frozen mixed berries are my favorite)
1 cup kefir or yogurt, preferably raw
1 Tbsp cod liver oil (orange or lemon flavor basically disappear)
1 tsp bee pollen
1/2 tsp high-vitamin butter oil or 1 tsp grass-fed butter, preferably raw
1 tsp carob powder, dark chocolate (80% or higher) or raw cacao nibs
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup almond butter
water as needed for consistency (or juice, but watch your sugar content)

Mix all ingredients except coconut oil in your blender, and turn on to the desired speed.  Once ingredients have started blending smoothly, open up the hole in the top of your blender cap and pour in the coconut oil.  Mix for another 10-15 seconds to thoroughly distribute the oil.  Pour into a glass and enjoy.

THE FORMULA: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SPECIAL BLEND

There are three basic components of my superfood smoothie: sweetness, staying power, and superfoods.

SWEETNESS:  My favorite choice is berries, because as fruits go, they are relatively low on the glycemic index so they don’t spike insulin.  Berries are also quite nutrient-dense, so they serve as a bit of a superfood, too.  Other popular choices to provide sweetness are cherries, bananas, dates, papaya, mango – really, any fruit of your choice.  Also, a favorite sweetener can do the trick – honey, maple syrup, molasses, etc.

STAYING POWER: Protein and fat turn a smoothie from a sugar rush in a glass, into a meal that can start your day off with a bang or keep you light on your feet (but not light in the head) between breakfast and dinner.  Kefir and yogurt are protein-rich foods that also provide a good amount of healthy fat; use raw dairy for even more nutritional value.  Coconut milk is a good alternative if you’re dairy-free, providing a good amount of healthy fats but not protein, so make sure you supplement with a protein source.  Almond butter or raw egg yolks (I only trust pastured eggs to be eaten raw) also provide protein-packed staying power.  While not a traditional food by any means, I sometimes use whey protein powder because it helps me reach my daily goal for protein, and I use Jay-Robb because it’s the cleanest I’ve found; the whey is sourced from grass-fed cows not treated with rBGH, it’s sweetened with stevia instead of more harmful artificial sweeteners, and contains no additives or preservatives.

SUPERFOODS:  This is, in my opinion, where smoothies can really shine.

Cod liver oil and butter oil are highly-prized traditional foods, often fed to young couples in the months before conceiving a child, and to the mother throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Both are high in crucial fat-soluble vitamins A and D, which Weston A. Price found in the foods of all traditional cultures he studied, in amounts ten times higher than today’s typical American diet.  Since many people today might cringe at the idea of taking cod liver oil, smoothies are a perfect way to get it into your family’s diet without any whining.

Bee pollen is a surprisingly potent superfood, “containing 22 amino acids including the eight essential ones, 27 minerals, and the full gamut of vitamins, hormones and fatty acids.”  (Quote from the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Guide to Superfoods.)  It also contains 5,000 enzymes and coenzymes that help with digestion and a number of other important processes in the body.  Who knew the bees could do all that and make delicious honey?

Coconut oil continues to astound with its long list of health benefits.  It is highly satiating, tremendously nourishing, and has the distinction of being the only fat that can actually raise your metabolism to burn fat better – holla!

I like to add some raw cacao nibs to my smoothie because, well, let’s be honest, I bought a bag of ’em a while back and always look for tasty ways to use them up.  Besides, blended in with the almond butter, I get a bit of peanut-butter-cup deliciousness that makes me smile.  Cocoa/cacao is a stimulant and not a favorite of traditional-foods folks, but its high magnesium and antioxidant content do make it nutritious in moderate amounts.  Carob is a substitute (although some will say that there is no substitute for chocolate!) that aids digestion and offers a good source of calcium, magnesium and potassium.  So take your pick.

However you put it together, a smoothie that has sweetness, staying power and superfoods is an excellent addition to your repertoire.

Reminder: My first giveaway is still open until Sunday, April 3rd!  Please scoot on over, take the quick survey, and leave a comment on that post to be eligible for the prize!

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