Based on newsletter feedback, for April I am creating all “banana-free” smoothies. My first creation is a Blueberry Energy Superfood Green Smoothie – filled with antioxidant power plus a variety of superfoods to keep your energy going for hours after enjoying this green smoothie.
Since all of my green smoothies have had banana in them, this was a great experience to start to work on banana-free recipes. What I like about this recipe is that the frozen acai mix makes the smoothie have a somewhat “icee” texture while still tasting smoothie-like.
It’s important to remember that green smoothies are awesome because you can throw in whatever you have, hit blend and it will come out great. The big benefit of using banana in smoothies is that it helps to make the smoothie have a creamy texture.
If you don’t like bananas or are allergic to the fruit, my general recommendation is to use avocado in place as both will provide the same level of creaminess in your green smoothie.
For this smoothie I selected the following superfoods: acai (in the frozen mix), maca and chia seeds. The chia seeds can help thicken the smoothie as well. I like the maca because I feel like it gives me an energy burst and makes me feel alive.
Check out some of the health benefits of acai (from Eat This):
Purple acai has been found in studies to have high levels of antioxidant activity.
There have been some promising results in studies that show acai may help with the symptoms of diseases due to chronic inflammation such as asthma and autoimmune disorders.
The antioxidants in acai, including high levels of vitamin c, may help to boost the immune system.
A study published in the journal Nutrition found that rats fed high fat diets along with acai pulp had lower levels of total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol than rats who were fed high fat diets without acai pulp. The anthocyanins in acai may also help to lower cholesterol levels.
What about chia seeds? They aren’t just for pets anymore! I like chia because it’s one of the least expensive superfoods and has great health benefits including:
Just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, 2282 mg of Omega 3 and 752 mg of Omega 6 fatty acids!
A significant concentration of fiber combined with their ability to absorb 10 times their weight in water also makes chia seeds excellent for maintaining regularity. This fiber content also helps normalize blood glucose levels by slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
Chia seeds contain respectable concentrations of potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and manganese.
Chia seeds are extremely nutrient-dense, with one of the highest antioxidant concentrations of any known food. (from mother nature network)
I don’t really know why I ignore the baskets of pears at the market. It seems like I go for apples over pears even though to me they seem like they are part of the same family. I also have to admit I don’t know a lot about pears – they seem less sweet than apples. If you are as new to pears as I am, check out this guide about the different varieties of pears. At my market they had bartlett, anjou and bosc and after discussion with the farmer, I went with bartlett for this smoothie as I wanted to keep it on the sweet side.
Check out some of the health benefits of pears from fitsugar:
Pears are high in fiber. One medium-sized pear contains six grams of fiber.
Pears contain a fair amount of vitamins A, C, K, B2, B3, and B6 and they also contain folate. Pears also contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.
The hydroxycinnamic acid found in pears is also associated with preventing stomach and lung cancer.
Wow this one is pretty neat – pears are a hypo-allergenic fruit. That means those with food sensitivities can usually eat pears with no adverse effects.
Pear skin contains Quercetin which helps prevent cancer and artery damage that can lead to heart problems.
For this smoothie I decided to go with pomegranate powder and flax seeds as the superfoods. You can certainly add other superfoods like chia or acai, or leave out the superfoods if you don’t have them on hand.
Pear Lemonade Superfood Smoothie Recipe
Author: Allen Stern
Recipe type: Drinks
1 bartlett pear
juice of 1 lemon (if you like it tart, go for 1.5 lemons)
1 frozen banana
4 ounces orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
4 ounces water
2-3 handfuls of spinach
2 tablespoons pomegranate powder
2 tablespoons flax seeds
cacao nibs (optional for topping after blending)
liquid stevia – start with one dropper and then adjust as needed
I’ve started to love salads over the past few months. Here’s a super simple salad recipe with a few secret ingredients that will get non-salad eaters to eat their greens and veggies! I guarantee it!
Since I started this healthy journey, salads were definitely something that I didn’t dive into. Eventually I found that eating a package of spring mix worked but it became boring and frankly seemed to take forever for me to chew. Then I started drinking green smoothies so the spinach went mainly into the smoothies so the spring mix wasn’t needed anymore.
When I attended a Whole Foods cooking class last year, I learned how to make a raw kale salad which I’ve enjoyed several times since and served to friends who also thought it was awesome (one of them couldn’t believe they were eating kale!). Last month I posted a bunch of salad recipes that I tested the past couple of months and slowly but surely I have realized I really enjoy a good salad.
First, I can get a salad basically anywhere so if friends or family want to go somewhere that might not be super healthy, as long as they have a salad on the menu, I will be fine. Second, here’s a tip I learned…salads are just like smoothies, just throw a bunch of veggies you like together and you will be good to go. There are 87 million salad recipes and all of them can be modified to your liking, you don’t need to be precise with a salad like you would with a baked pastry for example.
Now here is the secret that I learned about making salads that have awesome flavor, crunch and keep me coming back for more. Add some strawberries or apple cubes to the salad! I know this might sound odd but seriously, the first time I tried a salad with strawberries in it, I was shocked at how awesome it was. You don’t need a lot of strawberries, just 2-3 sliced and immediately the salad with have more flavor and won’t feel so “flat”. I am not into salad dressings and what I’ve found is that the juice from the strawberries gives the overall salad a flavor of a dressing without the weight of oil, etc.
Here is the super simple salad recipe that I keep going back to. I like it because there are enough different textures in the salad to keep it crunchy and it’s not just a bunch of green leafy veggies.
Super Simple Salad Recipe
Author: Allen Stern
5 ounces fresh spinach
½ cucumber (I like the English cucumber)
handful of fresh peas
1 carrot shredded
8 grape tomatoes sliced in half
8 green beans – trim ends and cut in half
½ green apple cut in small chunks
3 strawberries sliced thinly
fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice (optional)
Put all the stuff in a bowl, toss and enjoy. Can’t get easier than that!
You could also add some peppers or onions for even more crunchy-ness. I like to top the salad with a lime grilled chicken to make a great dinner.
The SXSW conference/festival was here in town the past two weeks and I wanted to create a smoothie that could work as a frozen treat for my friends in town. This Orange Lemonade Smoothie recipe works perfectly as either a regular green smoothie or as a frozen treat very similar to the italian ice I ate growing up in NYC.
Almost any type of orange will work for this recipe. I tried it several times with cara cara oranges, navel oranges, the “cuties” and the recipe below which uses tangelos which isn’t really an orange but more like a combo of a grapefruit and a tangerine. The popular brand name for tangelos is “honeybells”.
Don’t forget to check out my new post about how to buy superfoods – I’ve received several emails that it has saved people money which is awesome.
If you decide to make the frozen pops, they will stay in the freezer for a good while and are perfect for kids as an after school snack. So much better than those “freezer pops” which are full of artificial crap and are full of hfcs and sugar. Make the healthy choice for your kids
Regularly consuming vitamin C retards the development of hardening of the arteries.
The alkaloid synephrine found under the orange peel can reduce the liver’s production of cholesterol.
An orange a day is sufficient for a man to keep his sperm healthy.
The strong content of vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection, naturally building a good immune system.
Drinking orange juice daily can significantly drop the risk of formation of calcium oxalate stones in the kidney.
I decided on Goji powder and chia seeds as the superfoods for this smoothie. As I always say, if you don’t have the superfoods or if you have others that you like, use them or make the smoothie without them. The best part about green smoothies is that you can throw in whatever you like and it will taste great!
Orange Lemonade Superfood Smoothie Recipe
Author: Allen Stern
Recipe type: Drinks
6 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice (can also use tangelos)
While picking up my latest batch of green juice supplies at Sprouts, I noticed blackerries were on a huge sale. I hadn’t tried blackberries yet so wanted to create something with the fruit. But I wasn’t interested in a smoothie so I decided to create my first healthy cocktail, a Blackberry Mojito Cocktail, for my friends during the SXSW conference that is here in town this week.
I don’t drink alcohol but I want to be able to offer healthy drinks to my friends when they come to visit or for a dinner party. I think the key is to create healthy alternatives to the popular sugar-rich cocktails that are served at bars and clubs. I’ve found that using stevia instead of white table sugar has worked perfectly in all of the applications I’ve tried so far.
Since I am not a drinker, I went on a research mission to review blackberry mojito cocktail recipes. I took the first 50 recipes on Google, analyzed the ingredients and created 3 recipes for me to test. The recipe below was the best of the three and I am sure you and your guests will enjoy it. Below the recipe is the alcohol-free option for non-drinkers or for kids. Just make sure you remember which glass is which
I am not suggesting that you should drink alcoholic drinks all the time – you should be drinking green smoothies all the time! Linda, the nutritionist I worked with, told me in one of our early sessions that a drink once in a while is ok.
This recipe uses a new term for me, “muddle”. This basically means mush up – you can either use a muddle tool or I used a potato masher and it worked fine (ha!). The idea is to make a mush from the blackberries but not puree them like in a blender.
Blackberry Mojito Healthy Cocktail
Author: Allen Stern
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 1 or 2
6 oz blackberries
3-4 mint leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
one dropper liquid stevia
¼ cup plain vodka or rum
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ cups seltzer water or club soda (no sugar added)
4 ice cubes crushed
Put the blackberries, mint, lemon juice, lime juice into the glass(es).
Muddle the mixture
Add seltzer or club soda and vodka or rum
Add ice cubes and serve
If you want to make this blackberry mojito alcohol-free, remove the rum or vodka and replace with an additional 1/4 cup seltzer water. Also, a fun way to serve the cocktail (either version) is to freeze some of the blackberries and serve them on top of the drink in place of 2 ice cubes – the frozen fruit will keep the drink cold and makes for a nice presentation.