Smoothie Booster

nutivaThought I would mix it up a bit on the blog with a non-playlist post.  I’m always learning of new products/workouts/gear through blogs and I wanted to share with my readers a smoothie booster that has quickly become one of my favorite products.

I was recently introduced to hemp protein powder (not to worry, this is not a sponsored post!) and it is now a regular staple in my morning routine.  If you haven’t tried hemp protein powder, it offers similar protein benefits as whey, but is plant-based and unlike soy, has not been subjected to genetic modification.  Hemp contains all of the 21 known amino acids, and is a comparatively safer plant source of protein.

Two tablespoons of hemp protein powder can provide around 13-15 grams of protein and also contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAA).  These amino acids are particularly important, because along with carbohydrates, they are a fuel that the muscles burn for energy.  To do this, BCAA metabolism is direct and undergoes less processing by the liver, unlike other types of proteins.

In addition to the health benefits, hemp protein powder is pretty tasty.  I blend with one banana and one cup of almond milk (unsweetened vanilla is my favorite) and it makes for a delicious smoothie for a snack or breakfast treat.  I’ve also added berries, flax and chia seeds, so mix it up and find a blend you like!  There are lots of different hemp protein powders out there, so I encourage you to find a brand and price point that works for you.  I stumbled upon Nutiva while trying to max out my Amazon Pantry order.  It’s organic, full of nutrients and delicious!  Happy blending!

Smoothie Boosters

It is no secret: I love smoothies.  They are a great way to satisfy daily fruit, protein and nutrient needs, plus it is a fun experiment to find the tastiest, healthiest combination.  I love mixing random fruits (remember the banana and avocado smoothie?) and testing other healthy ways to boost the nutritional value.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Flax Seed.  I have mentioned this before, but I am a huge fan of this powerful seed.  I pretty much put it on everything: eggs, greek yogurt, salads, and of course I add it to each smoothie I make.  Flax seed is rich in Omega-3s — powerful fatty acids that strengthen immunity and promote healthy heart and artery health.
  • Wheat Germ.  Wheat germ is an excellent source of fiber, folate and the antioxidant Vitamin E.  Wheat germ provides one gram of dietary fiber per tablespoon (approx 25 calories per tablespoon).
  • Spinach.  Ok, when you’re thinking of a yummy berry smoothie, the last thing you probably want to add is spinach.  But seriously– you can barely taste it!  Spinach is a great way to add iron, calcium and fiber to your favorite smoothie.
  • Chia Seeds.  Chia seeds are a great way to add in protein and both soluble and insoluble fiber to aid in blood sugar stabilization.  The seeds soak and retain water, so I soak them in a water for abit before adding to the smoothie.  Another small way to help you stay hydrated throughout the day!

Most of these boosters are super easy to find at your local grocery or health foods store.  I always use almond milk for my smoothies (too many documentaries have scared me away from regular milk!) and also add in a whey protein powder.

Something to keep in mind with your protein intake– your body can only absorb a certain amount of protein based on your weight and physical activity.  Sorry folks, but eating 500g of protein a day is not going to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger.  If you’re moderately active in weight training, you should consume approx. 1.2g per kg of your body weight — weight in lbs x 0.45 (converting lbs to kgs) x 1.2 = your daily intake of protein.  So, a 180lb man should consume 97g of protein per day.  The protein requirement is less if you are a non-active adult and greater if you are an endurance/strength athlete.  You should consult a personal trainer or nutritionist if you have any questions about how much protein you should be taking in each day!

Enjoy!  Let me know what you think or if you have other suggestions!

Don’t Stop Blending: Avocado Banana Smoothie

my latest smoothie adventure combines a few of my favorite ingredients: avocado, bananas and almonds.  avocado may seem like an interesting choice for a smoothie ingredient, but the flavor is subtle and is a great complement to the banana and almonds.  in addition to a yummy source of fiber, potassium, vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid, avocados are also a “nutrient booster” as they enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein.  you could easily add spinach to this recipe and benefit from a more complete absorption of the leafy green’s beta-carotenes.

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of almond milk  (this depends on how thick you like your smoothies)
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of ground flax seed
  • 1/4 of a regular sized avocado
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of sliced almonds

the first three ingredients are pretty much the base of every smoothie i make.  this smoothie didn’t incorporate frozen ingredients or ice, so the almonds were great to give a slight crunchy texture.  to mix it up in the future, i may add a frozen banana or a few cubes of ice.

enjoy this healthy treat!


Don’t Stop Blending : Spinach and Blueberry Smoothie

this is the first installment of a new Jollyspins feature : don’t stop blending.  i had wanted healthy recipes to be a part of the Jollyspins blog, but since my cooking skills are still hit & miss, i decided to start with something that is totally yummy and requires zero cooking — smoothies!

i recently purchased a magic bullet blender, and it has easily become my favorite appliance (model similar to the one i have).  true to non-cooking form, i have only used it for smoothies, but there are a ton of other uses!  it is super easy, i just load my ingredients and then lock down for 15-20 seconds, unlock and give it a good shake, and blend again until i have the consistency i’m looking for.

this week’s smoothie is a yummy spinach and blueberry smoothie.  my proportions are based on the magic bullet container, so feel free to adjust if you are making for more than one person in a regular blender.

  • 3/4 cup of soy or almond milk (i used soy here, but i also love trader joe’s vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed meal (here is the one i use)
  • 1 loose cup / handful of fresh, baby spinach.
  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries

given the spinach and flax seed this smoothie has an earthy, nutty flavor, and is a totally yummy and healthy way to start your morning!  i have been putting ground flax seed on everything lately and will share the benefits of this super ingredient in a later post.