- Choose your base
I like to use a combination of nut milk and water. Coconut milk is my preferred choice – not only is it readily available, but it is also soothing on the digestive tract, and helps to heal our digestive lining. Exposure to antibiotics and environmental toxins can often lead to some form of digestive disorder, and healing the digestive tract and gut lining is an important consideration.
I always include quarter of an avocado in my smoothies. It helps achieve a nice consistency, plus avocados are rich in mono-unsaturated fat, which raises levels of good cholesterol while lowering the bad. Avocados are high in protein and also a good source of vitamin E, which is one of the best anti-aging nutrients for your skin.
- Protein powder
Next up is a scoop of protein powder. I’m a fan of good old vanilla, it adds a creaminess to the smoothie without detracting from the star ingredients. I choose a good quality protein powder that is naturally sweetened with stevia. This also means I don't need to add any extra sweetener to my smoothie, which helps to keep the calories in check. If you prefer not to use protein powder, nuts such as cashews and almonds are another good form of protein. Almonds will need to be soaked beforehand to make them easier to blend, but cashews are good to go.
- The main ingredients
This is where it’s good to exercise a bit of caution. Throwing six pieces of fruit into one smoothie is overkill and turns your otherwise healthy fix into a sugar bomb. I like to use berries, as they are naturally low in sugar, as well as being a good source of anti-oxidants. Bananas are a great source of potassium, but so are avocados; great for that creamy consistency, but so are avocados. And avocados have way less sugar. So, up to you, but you know what I’m putting my money on. As an occasional treat, raw cacao is delicious if you're looking for a chocolatey fix, and cacao is an awesome source of magnesium.
My advice – stick to your naturally sweetened protein powder. But if you feel you need a little extra then add one soaked medjool date, or add half a teaspoon of a natural sweetener such as honey.
- Extras – choose one or two of the following:
- Maca powder – great for balancing hormones, plus it naturally revitalizes and energizes. Maca is also a natural antioxidant, contains over 20 amino acids (including eight essential ones), is a rich source of phyto-nutrients and contains vitamins and minerals such as potassium, selenium, magnesium and zinc. Add a heaped teaspoon to your smoothie.
- Matcha powder – full of antioxidants and chlorophyll to enhance the body’s natural detoxification processes. Matcha is a natural energy booster, and studies have found it increases metabolism and helps burn calories. Add matcha to a green smoothie, or make it the star ingredient.
- LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds) – is a great source of protein fiber and omega 3s. All three ingredients contain vital fatty acids that help cleanse the liver. Add a tablespoon to your smoothie.
- Chia seeds – full of omegas that are great for our skin, hair and nails. They contain eight times the amount of omegas than salmon. Plus, chia seeds are full of the fiber and protein that will help keep you feeling satiated for longer. Add a tablespoon to your smoothie.
Now all that’s left to do is blend, sit back, and enjoy.
Angela Merrie is the founder of Pretty Damn Good For You, inspiring people to live better through nutritionally balanced, whole food, plant-based recipes. Angela is on the board of several companies that invest in environmental projects globally. She holds a degree in Fine Art, and recently graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York as a Health Coach and Holistic Nutritionist. Find out more at www.prettydamngoodforyou.com and follow @angela_merrie on Instagram.
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