Call me a rebel but I like eating salad for breakfast. Spinach is the featured ingredient in this smoothie bowl because it is a champion at providing many vitamins and minerals including the following inflammation-fighters: vitamins K, A, C and B6. It’s also an excellent source of folate, magnesium, and calcium. I included vitamin C-rich strawberries to help with iron absorption (if you are trying to boost your iron intake, greens like kale and swiss chard may be more beneficial than spinach). Most uniquely, spinach contains various plant compounds including kaempferol, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, and nitrates, which have been shown to decrease blood pressure.
Avocado is the other green superfood featured in this breakfast bowl. A meta-analysis published earlier this year concluded that including avocado in our diets can assist in lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, its omega-3 content can help lower inflammation.
P.S. This smoothie bowl is banana-free! Previously, frozen bananas were my not-so-secret ingredient for achieving a thick consistency, however, in an effort to decrease my banana consumption I have discovered dairy-free yogurt makes a great alternative. Do you have other ideas for replacing frozen bananas? Let me know in the comments below!
2 handfuls of spinach (organic if possible)
0.5 cup dairy-free yogurt (I use plain or vanilla coconut milk yogurt)
Plan and prep your toppings so they are ready for decorating.
Blend spinach, avocado, and yogurt together using a blender or food processor.
Add protein powder and liquid (only enough to blend completely).
Pour (or scoop) thick smoothie into a bowl. TIP: If I want it colder I sometimes pop it in the freezer now for about 20 minutes as I get myself ready for the day OR place a few ice cubes at the bottom of the bowl. Sneaky, right?
Decorate with toppings and admire your work of art.
spinach = anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, anti-cancer effects, excellent source of magnesium & calcium, avoid large amounts if prone to kidney stones or taking blood thinners
avocado = anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, high in fiber, may help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain normal serum total cholesterol levels, contains glutathione which has anti-carcinogenic properties and may boost immunity
Learn why beets and ginger are staples in my medicine cabinet.
Last week I pleasantly surprised my senses with this spur-of-the-moment, disease-fighting smoothie. Read on to learn why beets and ginger are staples in my medicine cabinet.
Beets offer many health benefits due to their numerous antioxidants. For starters, they contain betalains which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, therefore, promoting cardiovascular and metabolic health. Betalains have even been shown to help suppress tumor growth in studies on multiple cancer cell lines and animal models. Other antioxidants found in beets include manganese, which helps regulate glucose metabolism, and vitamin C (in the greens). Beet greens also contain lutein which is known for maintaining eye health. For women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, beets’ folate, vitamin B and iron content makes this vegetable a worthy smoothie addition. Finally, betaine, an amino acid found in beets, can act as an antidepressant.
Ginger has been used as a herbal medicine for years and is currently one of the most researched spices. Last year a study reported that daily ginger consumption lowered fasting blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. Previously, a randomized controlled trial demonstrated that ginger decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These promising results demonstrate how beneficial ginger may be for women with PCOS.
3 small fresh beets (steamed or raw) or 6 small canned beets (I store prepped beets in the freezer for a thicker smoothie)
Add all ingredients to blender and go for a whirl! If it is not blending easily add more coconut water or water.
beets = good source of folate, anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood pressure, may help lower cholesterol, shown to reduce cancerous tumors in various animal models, beet leaves are high in iron (eat in moderation due to high oxalate content which can worsen gout and kidney stones)
ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol and triglycerides
hemp protein = helps decrease high cholesterol and manage insulin resistance, helps build lean muscle mass
‘Tis the season for tangerines and copious amounts of chocolate (I’m talking about that tempting box of chocolates sitting in the lunchroom at the office that seems to keep reappearing just when you think the box is empty). My favorite way to get my chocolate fix is by adding unsweetened raw cocoa powder to smoothies and oatmeal. Cocoa is an amazing source of antioxidants, which fight cancer and heart disease, and also may act as an antidepressant by boosting serotonin. Try some cocoa in your next smoothie bowl and discover this sweet breakfast that could even pass for dessert.
1 cup raspberries, frozen
splash of almond milk
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp flax seeds
pinch of cinnamon
1 small tangerine
Blend the raspberries in a food processor (pour a splash of almond milk in to get it moving, and pause to scrape down the sides).
Add cocoa, peanut butter, flax seeds & cinnamon and blend until you get a smooth consistency.
Serve immediately and top with kiwi, tangerine and seeds.
tangerines/oranges = high in vitamin C & fibre which reduce lipid profiles and fight free radicals, high in pectin which has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, low glycemic load
kiwifruits = high in vitamin C, fibre, and vitamin E which lower triglycerides, high in potassium which may prevent insulin resistance, low glycemic load
flax seeds = contain lignans which may increase sex hormone-binding globulin and therefore lower blood testosterone levels, may reduce blood pressure
raspberries = low glycemic load, high in anti-oxidants, may help lower inflammation and prevent cancer