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Archive for the ‘Beverages’ Category

Mint Smoothie 1

When I was growing up, my Grandpa brought us Baskin Robbins every single Wednesday night. We were never allowed to actually eat it when he arrived. This wasn’t parental torture – it was too late in the evening to eat ice cream, so we enjoyed it on Thursday nights for dessert.

I always chose the same flavour: mint chocolate chip. Chocolate and mint has always held a magical pull on me.

I have dreamy, fond memories of Baskin Robbins, but now I realize that its mint chocolate chip ice cream is filled with corn syrup, artificial flavours and my ultimate nemesis carrageenan – a thickener that aggravates symptoms of IBD.

This smoothie is like drinking my childhood. Minty, chocolatey heaven. Decadent? Yup. But in the best possible way, because it bathes you in healing nutrients.

Spinach is like eating a multivitamin, avocado is packed with good fats, peppermint aids digestion and cacao nibs flood you with antioxidants. This isn’t a smoothie you’d eat every day, but it was the perfect weekend treat.

What childhood favourite would you like to recreate?

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie
gluten-free,dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free

1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
large fistful of spinach (about 1 lightly packed cup)
1/2 an avocado
1 drop of food grade peppermint oil
sweetener to taste (I used dates)
1 tbsp cacao nibs or vegan chocolate chips  (I used both!)

Put the coconut milk, water, spinach, avocado, peppermint and sweetener into a blender and blend until smooth.

Stir in the chocolate by hand.

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In the last year, I’ve made a variety of nut and seed milks.

But for some reason, I found coconut milk intimidating. I worried I couldn’t create a version that tasted as delicious as one that came from a carton or a can.

You know what? Making coconut milk uses exactly the same process as other nut milks, and tastes fantastic.

Silly Sondi.

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

Homemade Coconut Milk
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less

1 cup organic, unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cups hot water, divided

Add the shredded coconut and two cups of the water to a blender and blend away for a minute or two.

Strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the pulp.

Add the pulp back into the blender with the remaining one cup of water. Blend for a minute, then strain through a strainer again.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

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A short while ago, I attended a strange yoga class.

Limbs were flying. Breath was quick and heated. The music was spunky. I could certainly see why other people were enjoying themselves, but it wasn’t the gentle, soothing flow I needed and it made me grumpy.

To top it all off, when the class was over, the skies opened up and I didn’t have an umbrella. I ducked into a local restaurant to grab a smoothie and wait out the rain.

I decided on a vegan mango lassi and let me tell you, that thing was freaking sunshine in a glass. Given its simplicity, I knew I could recreate it at home.

This lassi is absolutely delightful – smooth, creamy, sweet, with a hint of tartness. Guaranteed to make you happy.

What’s the weirdest yoga class you’ve ever attended?

Love desserts? Me too! That’s why I wrote an e-book about how to make them healthy. Take a peek here.

Vegan Mango Lassi
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, soy-free, five ingredients or less

1/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup water
1 heaping cup frozen mango
3 small dates, pitted

Put the cashews and water into a blender and whirl until smooth. Add the mango and dates, then blend again until everything is smooth.

You may need to add an additional tablespoon or two of water, depending on how thick you want your lassi to be.

Enjoy!

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I hate to sound like a broken record, but salads are not my favourite thing. If you twist my arm I’ll admit they’re growing on me, though they still remain a few rungs above extreme distaste in my hierarchy.

So when I discovered last year that green smoothies were to become my staple breakfast during the raw food challenge, I was not pleased. And more than a little scared.

Since then, I have mentioned several times how much I love my green smoothies and can’t imagine my diet without them. They are alkalizing, packed with an array of vitamins and minerals and loaded with chlorophyll (which is also known as the blood of plants). So they’re really, really awesome at preventing disease.

I didn’t realize, until this week, that I’ve never actually posted a green smoothie recipe.

I’ll now amend that error.

This is one of my standbys. I used a mix of spinach and kale for my greens – if you’ve never had a green smoothie before, start off with something milder like spinach or romaine and then work your way up to the bitter greens.

I chose blueberries and raspberries for the fruit component. Again, if you are a green smoothie newbie you could choose sweeter fruits like mango and banana, which were my staples for many, many, many months.

And remember, green smoothies are a very personal, individual preference. Play around with it until you find the combo that works for you.

What is your favourite smoothie recipe?

PS – having trouble sleeping? Head on over to my guest post on the Making Love in the Kitchen blog for sleep solutions!

Green Smoothie

½ – ¾ cup filtered water
1 tsp chlorella powder
1 tsp l-glutamine powder (l-glutamine is an amino acid that helps repair the cells in the intestinal lining)
½ tsp mushroom powder
½ tsp maca powder
½ tsp camu camu powder
1 generous cup of greens
¾ cup fruit of choice
½ of an avocado
1 tbsp hemp oil or flax oil

optional add-ins: dates, honey, coconut oil, hemp seeds, lucuma, cacao powder, blackstrap molasses, chia seeds, Irish moss, etc.

In a blender, layer all ingredients in the order listed above except for the hemp oil. Blend and add water until you reach your desired consistency. Stir in the oil by hand.

Enjoy!

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Everyone wants to peek inside a nutritionist’s kitchen, right?

Don’t deny it. We have an innate curiosity about how the healthy folks live and want to know their secrets so we can copy them.

I spent the last three months working for a gal who cured herself of Crohn’s disease, and I was as eager as anyone else to figure out all her tricks.

I was surprised to discover that for a nutritionist who runs a cooking school, Meghan doesn’t really eat all that much. Rather, she drinks.

Now, before you begin crafting images in your head of Meghan nibbling on crudités and sucking back martinis, that’s not what she does. Instead, she packs nutrition into all sorts of imaginative super-powered juices, smoothies and elixirs so that every sip is bursting with energy-giving medicine.

It really got me thinking beyond my hardy green smoothie.

Now that I’m back home with my husband, my Vitamix and my superfoods, it’s the perfect time explore my inner mixologist.

What I came up with was this warming, satiating drink that is oozing with healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants. (Just so we’re clear – it doesn’t ooze literally.) Plus, because it’s blended, this drink is far easier on my digestive tract, setting the stage for nourishment and healing.

What is your favourite go-to superfood elixir?

Spicy Cinnamon Superfood Hot Chocolate

1 ¼ cup hot water
1 heaping tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp Irish Moss
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp cacao butter
1 tsp lucuma powder
¼ tsp mushroom powder
1 drop food-grade cinnamon essential oil (this one will change your life), or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
teensy bit of cayenne, or more to taste
coconut sugar to taste

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and whirl until smooth.

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Each morning, I faithfully drink a green smoothie. It’s not a chore to me like it was when I began the raw food challenge. I truly enjoy greens in my smoothies – it’s reassuring for me to start off my day with a nutrient-packed punch.

Still, every so often I treat myself to something different – a creamy drink that tastes like a sinful milkshake. But there’s nothing to feel guilty about here.

This smoothie is modeled after the ‘Superexpialidelicious’ at Organic Lives, which I learned to make during my holistic food prep course.

Want to hear why it’s healthy? Of course you do.

– Lucuma is high in beta-carotene, iron and vitamin B3.

– Maca is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and B vitamins. It’s also known to increase energy, reduce anxiety and improve libido.

– Mesquite contains lysine, an essential amino acid that is necessary for growth and development. Lysine is also well-known for fighting cold sores.

– Raw cacao is full of antioxidants – nearly 25,000 in every spoonful!

I estimated the amounts of the powders, as I don’t remember how much we used when we learned to create the smoothie. I haven’t been able to get it to taste exactly the same, and yet it still wows me every time I make it.

What’s your favourite decadent-but-healthy smoothie recipe?

Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Adapted from Organic Lives

¾ cup – 1 cup almond milk
1 tsp lucuma powder
½ tsp maca powder
½ tsp mesquite powder
2 tsp raw cacao powder
1 cup frozen bananas
1 tbsp flax oil

Add all ingredients except for the flax oil to a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Add additional almond milk as needed to reach your desired consistency. Stir in flax oil by hand.

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There are two forms of iron out there: heme iron from animal products and non-heme iron found in vegetables. The heme form is absorbed more easily – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get enough iron from vegetable sources.

Iron deficiency is definitely a risk for vegans and vegetarians if they don’t eat properly. However, if they’re conscious of nutrient intake, there are several studies that show  a plant-based diet can deliver an adequate supply of iron.

I’ve been anemic or borderline anemic for more than 10 years. After popping countless iron supplements, I recently came to realize the futility of taking them. Until I get my digestion on track, I’m not going to absorb anything.

Now that I’m focused on healing my gut, I feel more equipped to bolster my iron stores. Being a foodie, I’d love to get as much as I can through things like pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, spinach and tofu.

I always knew that blackstrap molasses was high in iron, but never wanted to take it by the spoonful and didn’t really know how to use it. Which is why I was excited when this smoothie came along.

This recipe was really tasty, and reminded me of the banana bread smoothie I made a few months back. I went easy on the molasses, so it didn’t have an overwhelming gingerbread flavour, but next time I’d definitely add more.

Are you concerned about your iron levels?

Iron Woman Gingerbread Smoothie
From Oh She Glows

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used homemade almond milk)
1-2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients except for the molasses into the blender and blend until smooth. Now add the molasses, a bit at a time, to taste. Serves one.

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