Archive for June, 2013

Vitamin-A Packed Mango-Goji-Carrot Smoothie

Smoothies have turned out to be the neatest trick to getting more veggies into my diet.  Today I decided to experiment with a new vegetable (and a new color): carrots.

I’ve been pretty successful when matching the same color fruit and vegetable, so I opted for a mango-carrot smoothie.  To amp up the nutritional value and to make it more filling, I added goji berries, avocado, and chia seeds.

This smoothie is packed with Vitamin A.  So what’s the big deal about this vitamin?  Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin, teeth, mucus membranes, and skeletal tissue, and it promotes good vision.  This smoothie delivers about 300% of your daily vitamin A needs – 1 cup of mango has 25% of your daily need for vitamin A, while 1/2 cup chopped carrots has over 200% and goji berries contain about 68% in 2 tablespoons.  Although Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and thus can be toxic if ingested in large amounts, this is highly unlikely to happen from consuming foods (only from vitamins), as your body only converts the amount of Vitamin A that it needs.  That’s just another reason that, when possible, we should get our nutrients from whole foods, not vitamins!

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They key ingredients for the mango-goji smoothie.

Mango-Goji Smoothie

  • 1 large mango, peeled and cubed
  • 3 small or 1 large carrot, peeled (about 1/2 cup, chopped)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons goji berries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond or coconut (or almond-coconut) milk
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in blender.  Enjoy!

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Healthy Chili-Mango Lassi Popsicles

What better way to improve the best-tasting food out there than by combining the best of two culinary traditions?  I learned this when eating Mexican-inspired sushi at a Japanese-Mexican fusion restaurant in San Antonio.  And I decided to apply this lesson when creating my chili-mango lassi popsicles.

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These pops were  first inspired by the popsicles featured on Joe Cross’ site.  I tried this recipe, but did not enjoy the banana taste mixed in with my mango.  I also wanted to spice things up a bit, and since living in south Texas I have loved adding chili to my fruit.  I did, however, like the combination of mango and coconut milk, which tasted like the Indian lassi drink.  So the combination of these wonderful Indian and Mexican-inspired flavors resulted in these great popsicles.

I’m proud to say that these popsicles are raw.  They are also dairy free, sugar-free (free of added sugars, at least), gluten-free, and soy-free.  They are also really delicious.  Start light on the chili if you are not used to  heavy chili flavor with your sweets.

Ingredients (makes 4 popsicles):

  • 2 ataulfo mangos, pit removed and scored, plus extra mango pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coconut or light coconut milk (I like to make my own light coconut milk by combining equal parts coconut milk and water)
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powser, optional (or quantity to taste)

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Directions:

1.) Place some of the extra mango pieces (if using) in the bottoms of the popsicle molds.  Scoop out the scored mango flesh and place in blender.

2.) Add the coconut milk and ice to blender and blend completely.

3.) Add chili powder to taste.  I recommend adding it little by little to ensure you like the taste.  If you do not enjoy the taste of the popsicle in liquid form, you won’t like it in popsicle form!  Blend.

4.) Pour liquid into the molds, leaving a bit of space at the top if you are planning on adding more mango pieces.  Add these pieces to the molds and push in with the end of the popsicle stick (so that the mango pieces are spread throughout the popsicle).

5.) Freeze and enjoy!

Potassium-Packed Green Apple Smoothie

Yes, it’s nice to start my day with a chocolate smoothie that reminds me of a milkshake.  However, there is nothing that energizes me more than a green smoothie full of light-tasting fruits and veggies.  Drinking one of these smoothies is not only a yummy experience, but also makes me feel “cleaner” and revitalized.  I thought that this was purely psychological until I looked up the nutrition info. for this smoothie and learned that it contains half of the daily recommended value of potassium.

I get frequent muscle cramps, which is where my interest in potassium began.  As I researched more on the Mayo Clinic website, I learned that potassium is needed to maintain muscle health, including a regular heartbeat, and that the daily recommendation is 1600 to 2000 milligrams a day.  It is found naturally in many fruits, vegetables, and legumes, as well as other foods.  As I did further research, I learned that the way minerals operate and interact in our bodies is not yet known for sure, but minerals such as potassium are critical to our health.

To make the smoothie prep easier in the morning, I like to place the dry ingredients in the blender the night beforehand and chill in the fridge.  In the morning, I just add the liquid ingredients and blend.

Below, my recipe for a Potassium-Packed Apple Smoothie.

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Energizing Green Apple Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, preferable green, sliced and core removed
  • 1 pear, sliced and core removed
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp protein (optional)
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 3/4-1 cup almond milk
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

Nutrition Information: 355 calories, 929 mg potassium (Calculations based on information from the Calorie Counter from CalorieKing.com).