Smoothies are a quick and easy way to start your day. So why not fill them with foods that are nutritional super-foods? Although I have a lot of information on various protein powders on the market on this website, I have become less and less fond of them because they are so highly processed. A smoothie filled with fruits, veggies, and a few of the ingredients you’ll find below, is not only healthier, but easier on the pocketbook.
Cottage Cheese- Protein powders are not only pricey, they’re also a highly processed food. Cottage cheese is a fabulous replacement, as it’s high in protein, low in fat, and inexpensive. It doesn’t change the consistency or flavor (but it does add a lot of salt so I don’t add much- usually 1/4 cup).
Gelatin- a surprising and extremely healthy source of protein, gelatin contains zero carbs and 6 grams of protein per tablespoon. A fabulous source of collagen that is great for strong bones, teeth and joints, if you have any joint or inflammation issues, adding gelatin to your diet is a must! As it is derived from the bones, joints and cartilage of an animal, it is very important to buy gelatin from a reputable source. Click here for the only gelatin that I buy.
To use: bloom 1-2 Tbs of gelatin in liquid (water, juice, coconut milk) before adding to your blender.
Nutritional Yeast Flakes- Also known as Brewer’s Yeast, this is not the yeast your mom used to make bread with. Filled with those wonderful B vitamins, nutritional yeast flakes contain 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbs (which are mostly cancelled out by 6 grams of fiber) in 1.5 tablespoons (always check your label as this varies). Where to buy nutritional yeast flakes.
Peanut, Almond, Cashew or Coconut Butter– Another ingredient to add to achieve the ultimate in staying power are nuts, or nut butters. Also, if you aren’t a fan of nuts but would like to add a few into your diet, smoothies are a great way to sneak them in. If you have a powerful blender (like a Vitamix) you can just throw in the (preferably soaked) nuts themselves. However if you don’t, use the butters so you don’t end up with a chunky smoothie! Learn how to make homemade Coconut Butter here.
Adding healthy fats to a daily smoothie is an essential component, as eating too much protein, without any fat, rapidly depletes vitamin A stores (an essential nutrient). Additionally, it slows down the absorption of the protein so that you will stay full longer.
Avocado– Not only do avocado’s make a smoothie creamy, they also have the benefit of adding healthy fat, which keeps us fuller longer, as well as satiated (that “ahhh, I’m full” feeling). I usually add 1/4 of an avocado and skip the banana.
Young Coconut – If you love fresh coconut water then you likely have some young coconut meat that needs using up. A smoothie is the perfect place! This could also be put in the “healthy carb” section. However, because they contain so much fiber, the carbs are “cancelled out.” Not loaded with fat (like a mature coconut), but still containing some, the young coconut is filled with manganese, potassium, and magnesium (which influences energy production and plays a role in the function of your muscles and kidneys). To learn the difference between a young and old coconut, as well as how to open both, click here for my video.
Raw Egg Yolks- Although most of the protein resides in the whites of an egg, the yolks are the power house of nutrition. This is where all of the vitamins and minerals are stored. Adding raw egg yolks makes a smoothie rich and creamy, all the while adding vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Worried about cholesterol? Read this.
*Please make sure to eat only fresh, raw egg yolks from pasture raised, organic eggs (generally NOT from a store).
Frozen Raw Beef Liver- Liver is a superfood that is rich in protein, iron, vitamin A and D, copper and zinc. Make sure to buy only pastured, organic beef liver as the liver is where toxins are stored. Not a fan of liver myself, this is a great (and inexpensive way) to take liver in small doses. I think of it as adding a vitamin to my smoothie. In order to kill off any pathogens and parasites you MUST freeze the liver for 14 days (minimum).
To Prepare: Rinse, then soak the liver for 2 hours in water and sea salt (this helps eliminate any toxins it may contain), cut into small chunks and freeze on a flat surface (like a cookie sheet) before packaging it up in a little container. (This makes grabbing one piece of liver at a time a cinch). *Because liver has a stronger flavor I like to use both carob or cocoa powder and blueberries when I add liver.
Sweet Potatoes- Cooked sweet potatoes are an amazing addition to any smoothie. Sweet, rich and oh-so healthy, you’ll be surprised by just how much you like sweet potatoes for breakfast. Possibly one of the healthiest carbs on the planet, these little sweeties are filled with antioxidants, beta carotene, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, and even iron.
*Keep in mind that sweet potatoes do contain a small amount of oxalates, so if you suffer from any kidney or gall bladder issue, talk with your doctor or Naturopath about a suitable serving size for your body.
Pumpkin- I love to add cooked pumpkin to my smoothies. Not only does it add a lovely flavor and a creamy texture, but it’s a great way to get down extra Vitamin A (when pumpkin pie isn’t available). Here’s a smoothie I developed using pumpkin that any fan of pumpkin pie will love!
Black Beans– For you 4-Hour Body followers, a tablespoon or two of black beans will add protein, healthy carbs, and will keep you full for a longer amount of time.
If you have trouble digesting beans, try soaking dried beans overnight in a solution of 1 Tbs of sea salt, to 1 quart of filtered water. Rinse well, cover beans with at least an inch of water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, skim off any foam, then simmer on low until tender. Store in their own “water” for up to a week.
Green Vegetables- Not a fan of chard, kale or spinach? Just throw them in the smoothie. You’ll never even know they are there! Green vegetables are technically a carb ( however, you’d have to eat A LOT for them to add up to something like a sweet potato.
If you find that you don’t digest raw green veggies easily, feel free to steam them for a few minutes (or heck, even steam ahead, freeze and then add), let them cool and add to your smoothie. Again, watch out for those oxalates. Too many raw greens can cause problems for people with kidney or gall bladder issues.
Stevia-Either in powdered or liquid form, stevia is the only alternative sweetener I’ll touch with a *ten foot pole! A few drops of stevia in my smoothie can make all the difference between it tasting like a vitamin, or a luxurious drink.
*Nope, I’m not a fan of xylitol- find out why here. Please remember that Stevia is best used in small quantities as it can cause abscesses in the mouth when used in abundance.
Raw Honey- Anytime I can use raw honey without heating it, I’m game. A super-food that is filled with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and more. Just a touch goes a long way!
Please make sure to purchase your honey from a reputable resource that you trust. I don’t recommend purchasing honey from a store, but from a local bee keeper who is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and is willing to give you a tour of his operation.
With so many options, smoothies keep breakfast interesting. Don’t forget to make extra for the kids!
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