Spring has definitely sprung here on the island, with sunny warm days in abundance. As a result I find myself reaching for smoothies and salads with increasing frequency. I am a big fan of smoothies first thing in the morning, they allow for a wonderful combination of healthy fats and protein, along with superfoods that help maximize nutritional input. So many breakfast options are carbohydrate based (oatmeal, cereal, muffins, pancakes) which in my experience means they don't tend to stick with you for very long. Packing a smoothie full of healthy fats (in this case avocado and coconut oil) and protein (hemp seeds and protein powder) ensures that I stay full until lunch. For a full overview of the importance of fat & protein for breakfast, you can read Meghan Telpner's excellent article here.
I have been experimenting with a sprouted rice protein powder from Sun Warrior in the last little while, with mixed results. I often find that the texture is a bit too chalky for my taste. With this smoothie the resulting texture is thick and creamy, with no detectable traces of protein powder - exactly what I was looking for. This made me very happy, as I am very hesitant to eat something just for the sake of being healthy. I need my food to taste good too! I am also not a huge fan of lots of sweet flavours first thing in the morning. I love that this smoothie uses fresh fruit as a natural sweetener, and that the overall glycemic load is tempered by the healthy fats and proteins I have included. I have been doing lots of reading about the health benefits of turmeric recently, and decided to include some in this recipe as an anti-inflammatory boost!
Some of the Superfoods I included in this smoothie are as follows:
Hemp Seeds are high in essential fatty acids (including Omega 3), easily digestible protein, amino acids, fibre, and minerals. They are also one of the few alkaline seeds out there!
Flax Seeds are also high in essential fatty acids (including Omega 3) and rich in lignans, which help to balance hormone levels. Flax seeds are also an excellent source of fibre, but need to be ground before use, to prevent them from moving through your body whole. I like to grind mine just before I use them, to maintain the freshness of the essential fatty acids they contain.
Protein Powder can provide a nice boost of (you guessed it!) protein in shakes and puddings. I am a fan of Sun Warrior and Genuine Health's products.
Coconut Oil contains medium chain fatty acids, which help boost your metabolism, lauric acids, which act as a powerful antiviral, as well as anti fungal and anti microbial properties. Coconut oil is a healthy fat that can help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K).
Avocado contains heart healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids, high levels of potassium, vitamin K, magnesium and fibre. For a full rundown of the multitude of benefits of avocados, you can read more here.
Turmeric contains an abundance of health benefits including anti inflammatory properties, due to its curcumin content. It provides support for liver function and is a handy ingredient to have in your tool kit for cancer prevention. The World's Healthiest Foods has a great overview here. I also love Dr Michael Gregor's video on the role Turmeric has to play in protecting DNA, which you can watch here.
Camu Camu is an Amazonian berry with high amounts of easy to assimilate vitamin C, antioxidants, vitamins & minerals.
Tropical Paradise Smoothie
1 1/2 cup frozen mango
1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tbsp protein powder (I really like the Sun Warrior Sprouted Rice Protein Powder)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vitamineral green
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp camu camu (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
3 cups filtered water
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth.