Smoothies are a great way to nourish the body with powerful antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients. The best times to consume them are either first thing in the morning or post-workout, during warmer seasons (spring, summer, and part of autumn), and during seasonal transitions with the intention of detoxification. As far as what to add to your smoothies use the following recipes as guidelines — meaning get creative with vibrant ingredients and be sure to listen in in regards to what your physical body is craving.
Vegetarian protein powder is a popular add-in for many people although I don’t normally recommend it. Plant proteins in particular are not ideal since they contain concentrated amounts of plant protecting anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, lectin, and saponins, and may contain trace amounts of heavy metals as a result of the manufacturing process. In general, foods that are extremely processed and further away from nature’s whole state is harder for the body to ‘read’ and digest.
If you choose to swap protein powder with whole plant proteins add dark greens (2 – 3 grams protein per 1 cup) and 1/4 cup of sprouted pumpkin seeds or hempseed (7 – 10 grams protein). Add in 1/2 cup of frozen green peas and your smoothie will total around 17 grams of plant based protein. If you feel you need some extra protein follow up 10 – 30 minutes later with a protein square, meat muffin, quality-sourced sausages, pastured eggs, or quinoa-chia porridge.
Maybe you have blood sugar imbalance, chronic illness, or are a fitness enthusiast and require more amino acids to maintain strength and to initiate regeneration, repair, and healing. In these cases I recommend Organika Enhanced Collagen derived from grass-fed cows. This easy-to-digest, odourless, flavourless, rapidly dissolving protein powder is ideal since it contains all of the essential amino acids, including glycine, proline, alanine, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids are needed to maintain collagen and help to reduce the formation and appearance of skin wrinkles (collagen makes up 70% of our skin) and promotes hair and nail growth. Collagen is vital for our bones, joints, and skeletal structure as well.
For vegans and vegetarians I would recommend any minimalist and crap-free plant-based protein powder without any unnecessary ingredients, such as Pumpkin Seed Protein. The goal here is to find something that is easy to digest, without added ‘natural flavours’, sugars, carageenen, gums, etc. Hemp, pea, and pumpkin protein powders are a little gritty so you will have to add a ‘smooth and creamy’ ingredient to balance them out, such as frozen banana, avocado, mango, and/or nut or seed butter. To maintain tolerance to your proteins I recommend rotating them with each smoothie.
According to energetic nutrition, cold liquids such as smoothies can ‘bog’ your digestive fire, weaken your spleen qi, and exacerbate dampness. If you have spleen qi deficiency, as educated by your acupuncturist or TCM doctor, you will want to focus on warm and cooked breakfasts instead, or simply don’t use frozen fruit or liquids in your smoothie and add warming herbs and liquids. Add a little fresh ginger and/or cinnamon to your smoothies to warm them up a bit and still chew the liquid to stimulate your digestive enzyme secretions. Ask your acupuncturist about warming and damp-resolving ingredients you can add to your smoothie. If you follow up with animal protein or grains wait for at least 10 minutes after drinking your smoothie to eat these.
For those who lift weights and exercise often. . consume your post-workout smoothie right after you workout with protein powder and an easy-to-digest fruit such as a frozen ripe banana or a couple of pitted medjool dates with cinnamon and an apple. A low-fat smoothie rich in carbohydrates and protein will rapidly assist in replenishing muscle glycogen stores after a workout.
AIP ladies and gents. . Omit seeds, nuts, cacao, and other non-AIP compliant ingredients if listed below. Coconut (milk and butter) is the best substitution for nuts and seeds and carob can be substituted for cacao.
For all of the recipes below, blend for approximately 20 seconds or until smooth. For best results, use a Vitamix blender.
Smoothies 101, there you have it! If you have any questions about smoothies please comment below.
FAVOURITE BANANA-FREE BERRY
Yields: 2 cups
1 cup frozen or fresh berries, eg. blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.
1/3 of a small ripe avocado or 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
2 Tbsp. hemp hearts or sprouted pumpkin seed
2 Tbsp. collagen protein powder
1/2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 medjool date, pitted, optional
1 – 2 cups fresh veg (cucumber, spinach, and/or red leaf lettuce)
1/2 inch piece of kelp or 1 inch dulse, optional
1 tsp. spirulina, optional, or supplement ad-ins (ie. vitamin D, triphala powder, algae omega 3, etc.)
Pinch of ginger
1/2 – 1 cup cup green tea, to desired consistency
BASIC BERRY BANANA
Yields: 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups
3 Tbsp. hemp seed
1 cup water
1 large frozen banana, sliced and frozen (slice into 1/2 inch sections and freeze in a glass container)
1 – 2 cups fresh spinach or romaine
1 cup berries of choice (frozen or fresh)
1 scoop protein powder, optional
Yields: 2 servings
1 large frozen banana
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 – 1 1/2 cups water or steeped (and cooled) roasted dandelion root tea
1/4 – 1/3 cup hempseed or macadamia nuts
2 Tbsp. cacao nibs or 1 – 2 Tbsp. cacao powder or carob powder
1 Tbsp. cashew or pumpkin seed butter (optional)
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 tsp. maca powder (optional)
Large handful of spinach or kale
2 – 3 ice cubes
Optional additions: fresh ginger, cinnamon, vanilla powder
Yields: 2 1/2 cups
1 mango, peeled and sliced, or 1 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup frozen pitted cherries or red grapes
1 cup cucumber, sliced (remove peel if you want a warm colour)
1 orange, peeled and seeds removed
1/2 lemon or lime, peeled and seeds removed
1 – 2 Tbsp. whole chia seed
3 Tbsp. full fat coconut milk, optional
2 Tbsp. collagen protein
1 cup kombucha or mineral water
1 tsp. camu camu powder (optional)
2 – 3 ice cubes
Yields: 2 1/2 cups
2 cups cucumber, chopped
Small handful fresh parsley or cilantro, stems removed, chopped
1 cup spinach, kale, or microgreens
1 green apple, cored and sliced
1/2 lemon, peeled and seeds removed
1/2 ripe avocado
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 cup coconut water or water
3 ice cubes, optional
I hope my post has given you insight today. If you’re interested in acupuncture and nutrition I’d be happy to guide you along. Please visit www.vcaspa.com to book online or call 250-590-4341. To learn more about my acupuncture practice, follow @hayley_stobbs on Instagram.
Wishing you love & vitality,
Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC