Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothie

 

Smoothies are a fantastic way to get a lot of nutrients into you in one go, simply due to the volume of fruits and vegetables you are able to consume this way. Take a green smoothie for example, you can literally pack an entire salad or plate of greens into one glass, yet it’s easy to finish and you don’t feel overly full afterwards. The reason for this is the smoothie ingredients and their nutrients are partially broken down by the blender blades, which means they are more readily digested and absorbed by your body. This in turn means your body doesn’t have to put as much time and energy into digestion and can turn its attention to other important processes such as detoxification and healing.

The other great thing about smoothies is the ingredients are entirely raw so all the nutrients are in their original, unprocessed state. All the antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals remain intact, along with the foods inherent living enzymes which are often killed by heat. These living enzymes assist in the absorption of the nutrients which also helps to take some of the load off your digestive system. So by eating raw food in the form of a smoothie, you can maximise your nutrient intake in a very easy way.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing food that you’ll be eating raw is to consider buying organic, spray-free produce. Or an even better, much more affordable option is to grown your own if you can. The reason for this is produce that is covered in pesticides creates more work for your digestive system and liver, which essentially defeats the purpose of eating raw (easily digestible) food.

Making your own smoothies is much more cost effective than buying them and allows you to control the quality of ingredients and flavour combinations. One important thing to look out for if you are buying a smoothie (especially the pre-packaged type from the supermarket) is to check the label for added sugar. This can often be disguised as “fruit juice” or “juice concentrate” which is essentially fruit that has been stripped of it’s fibre and nutrients leaving a high concentration of fructose and not much else. Fructose can’t be used for energy by the body and can only be metabolised by the liver, which turns it into fat and stores it in the body. Alternatively by using whole fruit in a smoothie, the fibre and nutrients act to slow down the fructose absorption and the benefits of the vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals far out weigh out any negative effects from fructose. Therefore if you are going to buy a smoothie, the best places to do so are those where you know the smoothie is being made from scratch using whole, raw fruit and vegetables, such as quality cafes, raw food eateries or smoothie bars.

If you are new to green smoothies you may prefer to ease yourself into them by starting off with a fruit base, rather than going straight to an entirely green vegetable smoothie which can be an acquired taste. A good way to start is by adding a little fruit like a pear, a small handful of fresh pineapple or half a banana.

The following minty green smoothie recipe is one of my favourites and is a nice mild option to start with. It’s a mix of greens, tropical fruit and coconut water. It tastes best when chilled, so one of my top tips is to chop up a bunch of fruit and store it in your freezer. That way your smoothies will always come out chilled, even after high speed blending, and you will always have a stash of frozen fruit ready for the next one!

Use this green smoothie recipe as a base, swapping in different fruits and greens to create your own favourite smoothie combinations. Enjoy!

 

Super Green Smoothie
 

Green Smoothie

Makes: 1 large smoothie
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 cup of coconut water or filtered drinking water
1 cup of spinach or kale, washed
1 2inch/6cm piece cucumber
1 cup of pineapple, chopped, preferably frozen
1 kiwifruit, peeled, chopped, preferably frozen
1/2 frozen banana
1 handful of fresh mint
1 handful ice
squeeze of lemon or lime

Place all the ingredients in the blender and slowly work up to maximum speed. You may have to stop the blender and give the ingredients a stir if you’re using frozen fruit, or use the blender stirring stick. Blend until smooth, pour into a tall glass and drink immediately. Alternatively this smoothie can be stored in the fridge in a sealed bottle for up to 2 days.

Note: This makes quite a thick, icy green smoothie. For a more liquid version just add extra coconut water or filtered drinking water, or leave out the ice.

 

Salted Caramel & Strawberry Flavoured Cashew Milks

Salted Caramel & Strawberry Flavoured Cashew Milks

Strawberry & Caramel Flavoured Cashew Milks

 

This recipe for salted caramel and strawberry cashew milks is one of the favourite recipes from a food workshop I held last week. The workshop was in collaboration with the Collected workshop series and covered unrefined sugars and raw foods.

We discussed which unrefined sugars are available in New Zealand, the definition of raw food and it’s benefits, how to soak nuts and make cashew milks, the benefits of smoothies with hints and tips for successfully creating your own blends.

During the workshop I demonstrated 6 recipes, two of which were these raw desserts: raw chocolate avocado mousse and raw chocolate and raspberry brownies. As well as one breakfast recipe (pictured below), two smoothie recipes from my Inspired Smoothies e-book, and these two flavoured cashew milks.

 

 

Salted Caramel & Strawberry Flavoured Cashew Milks

 

One of the best things about these types of workshop is everyone gets a taster once I’ve finished demonstrating a recipe and I get their feedback on the spot!

In case you’re curious, the winning recipes of the night were the raw cacao avocado mousse (they couldn’t believe how delicious it tasted despite containing avocado), the strawberry cashew milk (everyone agreed far better than any bought strawberry flavoured milk), and the green smoothie (they loved the refreshing hint of mint).

 

Raw Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie

Natava Superfoods kindly contributed some of their amazing organic ingredients for the workshop, such as raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, raw cacao butter, coconut sugar, chlorophyll powder, chia seeds and virgin coconut oil.

Check out their online store here to see their full range, plus they have some great deals on shipping too.

All the workshop participants went home with a jam packed goodie bag full of gifts, special offers and edible treats, and a heap of new recipe ideas and inspiration.

 

 

 

 

Cashew milk is my favourite nut milk to make because it is one of quickest and easiest. Cashews only require 2-4 hours soaking, and because they absorb the water so well, they blend very easily into a smooth creamy milk that doesn’t require any filtering through a nut milk bag.

Cashews are a great source of magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese and phosphorus. Magnesium helps the proper growth and maintenance of bones, maintains normal nerve and muscle function and supports a healthy immune system. Copper plays a role in a wide range of physiological processes including iron utilisation, elimination of free radicals, the production of melanin and development of bone and connective tissue. So one could easily argue that cashew milk is just as healthy for your bones (if not more!), as traditional cow’s milk.

Fresh cashew milk has a mild creamy flavour that lends itself beautifully to other flavours. You can keep it simple and add a little sweetener e.g. a medjool date, pure maple syrup or rice syrup, and some vanilla for a creamy vanilla flavoured milk. Or you can go crazy with flavours like salted caramel, choco banana or strawberry mint! Use the recipe below as a guide and feel free to get creative with your own flavour combinations. Enjoy.

 

Cashew Milk (Base recipe)

2 cups raw cashew nuts
6 cups filtered water
1 pinch salt

Place the cashew nuts into a bowl, cover with water and stand for 2-4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews thoroughly. Place the cashews into a blender with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Add the remaining water and blend to combine. The cashews should blend so completely that there is no need to strain this milk.
Store the cashew milk in a sealed bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Strawberry Cashew Milk

2 cups cashew milk
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder/essence or scraped vanilla pod
pinch himalayan pink salt

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth. This milk can be served immediately as the frozen strawberries chill it nicely. Alternatively store in a sealed bottle or jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Salted Caramel Cashew Milk

2 cups cashew milk
4 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
1 tsp vanilla powder/essence or scraped vanilla pod

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth. This milk needs to be chilled a little before serving to taste the best. Store in a sealed bottle or jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.