FUNCTIONAL FOOD | So fresh and so clean, clean!

Hello, everyone! I hope you are enjoying the summer and everything that comes with it.

I decided to change my original post for this week since a good number of you have asked me for new post-workout-smoothie ideas. With this scorching heat, this mint chip smoothie is not only going to give some of you (if not all) a mouthgasm, but it will be both nutritious and refreshing–Alimental G style.

Now that we are on the topic of smoothies, I have to mention that it has come to my attention that many of you little grasshoppers have the tendency to add raw cruciferous vegetables into your smoothies (broccoli, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and excessive amounts of kale). While these vegetables have a humongous array of benefits, they also have a time and a place, and it ain’t in your smoothie my darlings!

Cruciferous vegetables, as amazing as they are, can be harder to digest and have the tendency to make us bloated and gassy (no thanks) when eaten raw, even more so when combined with fruits, protein powders and any other wonders you decide to throw in your smoothies. I will explain this in detail in a future post but, for now, try to leave the broccoli and collard greens out of your morning smoothies please :)

Anyway, back to the recipe at hand. This recipe serves 1. Your other half or roommate is going to have to make their own (you can always split this serving ;) You can keep any extra in the fridge for later; don’t underestimate how filling this smoothie can be. So let’s do it, already!

You will need:

Blender (or Vitamix)
2 frozen bananas (make sure you peel them before putting them in the freezer ;)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup of fresh peppermint (or mint) leaves (Add more if that’s what you fancy)
½ tsp of chlorella
⅓ cup coconut meat or unsweetened coconut flakes
⅓ cup coconut water (You can always replace with any plant-based milk like hemp, almond milk or cashew milk)
2 tbsp organic plant protein powder (Optional but great to include if you are having this post workout)
1 tbsp of cacao nibs (you will add these at the end)


Instructions:

Put all ingredients in the blender. (I personally like to be able to chew the cacao nibs so, if you are like me, don’t add the cacao nibs yet ;)
Blend
Once the ingredients (except the cacao nibs) are nice and blended, add the cacao nibs and blend for 5 seconds only.
Done!

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS

Peppermint leaves (or mint): Typically used as a digestive aid; it can help relieve spasms of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract–and the indigestion that can accompany it–and gas. It can also be effective relieving IBS symptoms. Additionally, it contains a powerful antioxidant (rosmarinic acid) that has been shown to help relieve allergic symptoms such as nasal inflammation (hay fever).
Rich in provitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.

Banana: They might just be one of the most perfect post-workout foods. They replenish our bodies with much needed carbohydrates, and are an amazing source of magnesium and potassium. They are essential in maintaining electrolyte balance, regulating fluid and pH balance, and alleviating tension from those sore muscles!

Chlorella: A vitamin and mineral powerhouse. Chlorella is a green algae with remarkably high amounts of chlorophyll. It is rich in all essential amino acids, many B vitamins, provitamin A, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and even contains omega-3 fatty acids. I talked about the many wonders of sea vegetables in a former post if you want to check that out! Chlorella is usually sold in dried form and you can find it at most health food stores (Lassens, Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc).
A ½ - 1 tsp amount is a quick and easy way to get a good boost of vitamins and minerals in your diet.

Pumpkin seeds:  Unless you slurp oysters every day, chances are you are not getting enough zinc. Pumpkin seeds are a truly great source of zinc. Zinc is a mineral that is essential for healthy hair, skin and nails. It also supports our immune systems, our thyroid, and our adrenal glands–which help us manage stress. Zinc is commonly depleted in women who take birth control pills, so pumpkin seeds really are a staple to consider. They also contain potassium, magnesium and iron.

Coconut meat: I’ve said it many times but I will keep saying it: Real, unprocessed and unrefined fats play an essential role in glowing skin and healthy hair, cognitive functions, hormone production (fat is needed to make hormones) and keeping us full! Don’t be afraid of whole-food fats. Coconut meat can actually help increase HDL–the good cholesterol–while containing many anti-bacterial properties that can help destroy disease-causing organisms. It also contains fiber, manganese, iron, selenium and copper, among other minerals. Plus, adding it to your smoothie will make it oh, so creamy!

Cacao nibs: Crumbled from whole, fermented cacao beans, these little nibs are high in antioxidants, iron and the relaxation and blood sugar balancing mineral - magnesium. These will give you the crunch that you would get from chocolate chips without the added sugar and processing.


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Every two weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G.