Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

Bananas are one of my favourite fruits!  Not only are the tasty and sweet but they are extremely good for you!  Bananas help to promote good digestion, steady blood sugar and insulin levels, and help you to maintain a healthy weight.  Not only are bananas great in a variety of recipes but they are also a wonderfully convenient snack food.  For these reasons I have decided to create a dreamy, creamy, pie-like smoothie and/or smoothie bowl for you that highlights this essential fruit which should be a part of everyone’s regular diet.

Bananas contain essential nutrients to keep our bodies running smoothly.  They actually contain fairly high amounts of fiber keeping our digestion on point.  There are two types of fiber found in a banana:

  • Pectin: decreasing as it ripens
  • Resistant Starch: found in unripe bananas

Both types of fiber are important for our digestive tract even resistant starch which stays intact during the digestion period flowing into your large intestine where it feeds beneficial gut bacteria (healthline.com).

Bananas have a ton of other benefits as well including essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health.  For example these are the benefits that one medium sized banana (118g) contains:

  • Vitamins B6 & C
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • 24g carbohydrates
  • 3g fiber
  • 1.3g fat

Every banana is roughly around 105 calories and contains little to no fat making it a healthy enjoyable snack on the go and a great way to start your morning giving you a nice boost of energy (medicalnewstoday.com).

Interestingly enough, although bananas are sweet naturally they actually help to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.  Because of the pectin and resistant starch we talked about earlier, these types of fiber help to slow down digestion and the emptying of your stomach causing insulin levels to stay consistent after your meal.  Since bananas have a low to medium glycemic index (GI) they are a good food for maintaining blood sugar levels.  However this may not completely apply to those with diabetes as they should be making sure to avoid overly ripe bananas as they have a higher GI.

Bananas are definitely identified as a weight loss friendly food.  Although bananas are quite large and filling, they have relatively few calories.  They are filled with nutritious fiber aiding in good digestion while also containing resistant starch reducing your appetite (healthline.com).

Pairing such a health promoting fruit with a rich healthy fat like coconut creates a deliciously balanced meal.  Hence why I created the Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie to give you a boost of energy in the morning while keep you full from the fats in the coconut and almonds, keeping you full till mid-afternoon.  I hope you enjoy this tasty guilt-free treat and make sure to leave me a comment about what you think!

 

Banana Creampie Smoothie 2

Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 bananas frozen
  • 4-6 large ice cubes
  • 2 tbsps almonds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 20-30 seconds.  I use my ninja blender and it blends to a very creamy consistency.
  2. Enjoy in the morning with a muffin or in a bowl with granola on top!  Such a deliciously, sweet way to start your morning off right!

    NOTE: If making into a smoothie bowl, add less coconut milk, use frozen bananas, and you may have to add more ice to make it into a thicker consistency.

Vanilla Latté Protein Smoothie

Raise your hand if you’re a coffee lover, I know I am!  It is so comforting waking up in the morning to brew a nice cup of jo and start your day.  But is it good for you?  Caffeine is an addictive drug so surely it does not benefit your health… or does it?

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and as it turns out making coffee a regular daily beverage has loads of benefits to your health.  Coffee has high levels of antioxidants and tons of beneficial nutrients which gives coffee drinkers a much lower risk of serious illness and diseases.

Most people fall in love with coffee during their college and university years in western culture because it can help people feel less tired, increasing their energy levels.  Coffee contains a stimulant called caffeine which is the most popular psychoactive drug in the world, meaning it changes your brain function (ie. mood, behaviour, cognition, and perception).  When caffeine enters your bloodstream and makes it way up to your brain it actually increases the amount of neurotransmitters firing (such as norepinephrine and dopamine) which improves various aspects of brain function including reaction time, energy levels, and memory.

Coffee drinkers also have a much lower risk of type 2 diabetes.  In many studies done including one from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) “the researchers found that the participants who increased their coffee intake by more than one cup a day (on average, an increase of 1.69 cups per day) over a 4-year period had an 11% lower type 2 diabetes risk over the subsequent 4 years, compared with people who did not change their intake”.  Other studies have shown an average of a 23% to 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Studies on coffee have also shown to lower risk of Parkinson’s disease and the stimulant caffeine in coffee also helps those who already have Parkinson’s disease control their movement.  Although it is important to note that those who drink decaf do not have a lower risk of Parkinson’s.

Research has shown that coffee drinkers have a 40% lower chance of developing liver cancer and for those who drink alcohol, coffee consumption can also lower the chances of liver disease by 22%.

Coffee has a ton of antioxidant properties.  In the standard western diet studies have shown that people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined!  Decaf and regular also seem to have the same antioxidant levels.

So now you can enjoy this vanilla latté protein smoothie in the morning or before a workout and all the added benefits that coffee gives your body!

Vanilla Latté Protein Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegan vanilla protein powder (I use tropeka)
  • 1 tsp or tbsp of instant coffee (depending how strong you’d like it)
  • 1 cup oat milk or any other plant based milk you desire
  • 1 ripe banana (frozen for colder smoothie)
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • 1 to 2 medjool dates to sweeten if you’d like (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 10-15 seconds.  I use my ninja blender and it blends to a very creamy consistency.
  2. Enjoy in the morning or afternoon to give yourself a little boost of creamy deliciousness!

Go-To Raw Cereal Bowl

Why is it important to eat fruit?

Fruit has tons of health benefits and research has shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of their regular healthy diet have lower risk of many chronic diseases and illnesses.

Fruit it full of vital nutrients for the body and overall health.  Most fruits are naturally low in sodium, fat, and calories; they also contain no cholesterol.  Fruits contain many essential nutrients that a large percentage of the western world under consume including potassium, folate (folic acid), vitamin C & A, and dietary fiber.  These nutrients reduce the risk for heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes and strokePotassium also helps protect you from developing kidney stones, regulates blood pressure and will keep your bones strong as you age.  Bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, and grapefruit are all fruits to try if you are looking to increase your potassium.

Dietary fiber is found in various fruits and is key to maintaining overall health, as it helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowers the risk of heart disease and keeps the bowels functioning properly.  Fiber also helps you to feel full, helping you eat less and maintain a healthy weight.  Although if dietary fiber is what you are after, make sure you are eating the fruit in it’s whole food form (ie. a whole orange or orange slices) not orange juice or orange popsicles (ice lollies) which contain next to no dietary fiber.

 

Vitamin C is extremely important as well, helping your tissues to grow and repair and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

It is important that pregnant women make sure they are getting enough fruit as well because of the folic acid it provides.  Folic acids helps produce red blood cells which helps protect babies from developing birth defects.

It is recommended to eat around 2-5 servings of fruit a day.  2 servings per day by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 4-5 servings per day by the American Heart Association (AHA).  The general recommendation for fruit consumption is around 400g a day or 5 x 80g servings.  Each serving of fresh fruit is around 1 cup or roughly the size of a tennis ball.

Current nutrition guidelines suggest that even those with diabetes should be consuming 2-4 servings of fruit per day.  Many diabetics worry about the amount of sugar in fruit but studies have shown that when eating whole fruit with the fiber still intact (not fruit juice or sugary dried fruits) it has very little effects on blood sugar levels.

So unless you are on a strict ketogenic diet, there is really no reason you should be limiting your fruit intake.  I hope you found this information to be helpful and will try out this delicious alternative to the sugary cereals that most westerners find themselves eating in the morning.

Cereal Bowl 2

Go-To Raw Cereal Bowl

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 pink lady apples chopped
  • 1 ripe banana sliced
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsps chopped walnuts chopped
  • 1 or 2 tbsps raisins or chopped dates
  • top with any plant based milk of your choosing (I like oat milk but you may choose almond, soya, cashew, rice, or coconut)
  •  

    EXTRA TOPPINGS:

  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 or 2 tbsps mulberries
  • 1 passion fruit to add a wonderfully sour note to compliment the sweetness in this raw cereal bowl
  •  

Directions

  1. Wash and chop your apples into bite sized chunks, add to your bowl.
  2. Slice banana and add to your bowl.
  3. Chop walnuts and add them to your bowl.
  4. Top with chia seeds, raisins, and any other desired toppings you may want.
  5. Pour chilled plant based milk on top and enjoy!
  6. Have with your morning coffee for a delicious, sweet, fibre rich breakfast!

Epic Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

pancakesBlueberries have been named a superfood for a reason!  They are delicious, low in calories, and wildly popular.  Many people say they are their favourite fruit.

Blueberries are known for their many health benefits, being low in calories but high in nutrients.  A 1 cup serving (148g) of blueberries contains:

  • 84 Calories
  • 4g fiber
  • 15g carbohydrates
  • Vitamin C & K
  • Manganese
  • They are around 85% water

Blueberries are full of antioxidants.  Antioxidants protect the body from producing free radicals which damage your cells and contribute to cancer and aging.  These powerful berries also are known to reduce oxidative DNA damage which is natural and occurs tens of thousands of times a day in our bodies being the direct reason why we grow older.

The iron, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K are all equal components of having healthy bones.  These vitamins and minerals which are found in blueberries have been linked to strength and elasticity in bones and joints, calcium absorption, and a reduce in calcium loss.  Healthy bones are very important to be able to have a healthy, active lifestyle.

If you have high blood pressure, then blueberries are the food for you!  Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries (therefore low in sodium) help to reduce those at risk for heart disease by lowering their blood pressure.

Blueberries are also high in vitamin C, a vitamin that helps prevent skin damage.  The vitamin C helps the collagen in the skin to reduce wrinkles and smooth out the skin.  Giving those who consume a healthy amount of fruits high in vitamin C a more youthful appearance.

Studies in animals have also shown that blueberries help increase intelligence, memory, and brain function.  Blueberries have also shown these improvements in human studies as well, one study specifically showing “nine older adults with mild cognitive impairment consumed blueberry juice every day.   After 12 weeks, they experienced improvements in several markers of brain function“.  This is partly because the antioxidants in blueberries help repair damage in the brain from oxidative stress, improving cell signalling in aging neurons.

Blueberries are a great choice of fruit for diabetics.  They are relatively low in sugar compared to most other fruit and the bioactive compounds help to control blood sugar. The “anthocyanins in blueberries also have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism” which has been shown to prove anti-diabetic effects through both blueberry juice and extract, although it always best to consume the whole blueberry to get all the fiber benefits.

Blueberries are loaded with nutrients for the body and mind and should be a staple food in anyone’s regular diet.  They are commonly ranked one of the world’s healthiest foods and sometimes named a superfood.  They can be bought fresh, dried, frozen, freeze dried, in juice, or in form of extract and will amp up many different recipes.  Please try the lemon blueberry pancakes below and enjoy a delicious breakfast treat with antioxidant benefits.

 

Pancakes 2

Epic Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (can substitute 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat depending on your taste)
  • 1 banana (to be blended with 1/3 cup water (additional water)) to substitute adding sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp & 1 tsp ground flax seeds to be mixed with 3 tbsps of water to for a flax egg
  • 1/2 medium lemon zest
  • 1 cup blueberries (preferably fresh, but frozen works too)
  • 2 cups plant based milk (almond/oat/soya/cashew)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (mixed with plant milk to curdle)

Directions

  1. Mix 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsps water and set aside in a small bowl or cup for 5-10 minutes until the mixture forms into a gel-like consistency mimicking an egg.
  2. Mix plant milk in a bowl with lemon juice to curdle.
  3. Begin by blending your banana and 1/3 cup of water until smooth and set aside.  This can also be done by mashing a banana in a small bowl with the water until it is generally smooth (some chunks can be left depending on your taste).
  4. Next add all your dry ingredients into a bowl (the flour, baking powder, cinnamon) and mix.  Create a well in the middle of your dry ingredients.
  5. Add all your wet ingredients into a bowl (banana mixture, vanilla extract, and plant based milk) and mix until combined.
  6. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, add the flax egg and mix until it forms a thick pancake batter consistency.  It is okay if it is thicker then a usual pancake batter as this will create fluffy thick cake-like pancakes.  If you like thinner pancakes almost like crepes then you want to add more water or plant based milk.  You may need to add more water/milk if your pancake batter is becoming too thick, add 2 tbsps at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
  7. Add the lemon zest and blueberries into the batter and give a final mix.  Remember when your pancake batter sits it will thicken so you may want to add more liquid after it sits for a while, while you are cooking the other pancakes.
  8. Scoop out 1/3 cup of batter at a time for each pancake and place in a non-stick frying pan or a regular frying pan with a spray of oil.  When the pancake is beginning to have air bubbles you can flip it to cook the other side.  Remove from heat when fully cooked and has a golden brown colour.
  9. Top with bananas, warm cooked apples, berries, maples syrup or agave (my favourite), or another desired topping and enjoy!