1. Raw cacao powder and nibs: Cacao beans contain natural chemicals called flavanoids, which are a type of antioxidant that promotes general health and may lower your risk of many chronic diseases. Cacao is particularly high in the flavanoids anthocyanidin and epicatechins. It is also a rich source of Magnesium. In it's raw state, these compounds are powerful antioxidants that can destroy free radicals which are linked to chronic disease. The processing involved in making chocolate destroys some of the nutrients, and of course adds fat and sugar. Raw cacao nibs and powder allows you to reap the benefits of adding chocolate to your diet without the processing, and without the sugar and milk. I find that raw cacao nibs add a nice crunchy to smoothies, and are great for topping oatmeal and smoothie bowls. They are bitter, but combined with let's say a banana in a smoothie, they can be delicious! I use the powder to make smoothies taste chocolately, or to make chocolatey baked goods.
2. Hempseeds: Hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor. They are a good source of protein and contain all 10 essential amino acids, which is hard to find in a plant food. The seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids including GLA. They are high fiber and contain magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. Add to smoothies, and top yogurt and oatmeal. Can also be added to baked goods.
3. Ground Flaxseeds: Must buy ground, or grind yourself, to digest properly and reap the benefits. Flaxseeds contain soluble fiber to help maintain cholesterol levels and promote bowel regularity. It provides Omega-6 fatty acids. Ground flaxseeds can be added to oatmeal, baked goods, smoothies, and yogurt. They are also a great egg substitute for vegan baking (one egg= 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water. Sitr and let stand until thick/gel).
4. Chia Seeds: A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. When combined with liquid, they form a gel and can help maintain satiety for a longer time. They are great mixed into smoothies, and oatmeal, and to top yogurt. Chia seeds contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, and are a complete protein. They can be used the exact same way as flaxseeds as an egg substitute. A great way to use chia seeds to is to make Chia Pudding. (see recipe below)
5. Maca: a root indigenous to Peru. It is rich in vitamins B, C, E and minerals calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. It is linked to improvement in mood and energy, anecdotally.
6. Organic Wheatgrass Powder: Wheatgrass is the young grass of the wheat plant. It is a potent source of chlorophyll. Despite it's name, it is actually wheat/gluten free. Wheatgrass is primarily used as a concentrated source of nutrients. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, iron, and amino acids. 8 grams of powder contains 2 grams of powerful plant protein.
7. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes: Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of Medium Chain Triglyceride. Medium Chain Triglycerides are diffused directly from the GI tract to the portal system, bypassing the lymphatic system. They do not require bile salts to digest. Thus, they require less energy for absorption and utilization. Not all saturated fats are created equal, and while the jury is still out on saturated fat in general, it is generally recognized and has been shown that lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. Unsweentened coconut flakes are much different than the sweetened coconut in the baking aisle. Unsweetened coconut flakes are purely the "meat" of the coconut, dried. They are amazing on top of oatmeal and yogurt.
8. Matcha: the only form of green tea in which the entire leaf is consumed. In addition to providing trace minerals and vitamins, matcha is rich in catechin polyphenols - compounds with high antioxidant activity. Buy organic, ceremonial grade Matcha to be sure of what you are getting!
9. Organic Plant Based Protein Powder: I just tried this Sprout Living Epic Protein for the first time. It contains 19 grams per serving of plant based protein from sprouted brown rice, sacha inchi, and yellow pea. In addition, this one uses stevia as a sweetener. It contains a cacao and maca root blend, cinnamon and Himalayan pink sea salt. In general, look for a protein powder from organic, non-GMO plant based sources (pea, hemp, brown rice, sachi inchi), with very few added ingredients and without added sugar. I also like SunWarrior Vegan Warrior Blend, and Vega Sport Performance Protein. Per serving, look for a product that provides between 10-20 gm protein. There is no need for excess.
Favorite Green Smoothie:
6 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk (buy one that does not contain Carrageenan, or make your own!)
Handful spinach leaves (soft)- about 2/3 cup. Can sub Kale leaves instead
¼ of a medium ripe avocado
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
1 heaping tbsp hempseeds or chia seeds
½ frozen banana (I pre-freeze mine in 1/4 of banana chunks and store in the freezer)
1/4 cup frozen wild organic blueberries
16-32 grams plant based protein powder
1 tsp maca powder
Blend and enjoy!
I create "smoothie cups" the night before, so all I have to do in the morning is throw it in the blender.
- ⅓ cup gluten-free steel cut oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ⅔ cup milk of your choice- I go w/ unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 banana, mashed (can also sub 2 tbsp of organic canned pumpkin to make a pumpkin variation)
- 1 tsp raw cacao nibs
- 1 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes
- Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine
- Refrigerate overnight.
- When you wake up, top with cacao and coconut flakes and enjoy!