Portland’s summer weather has finally arrived (at least officially in my book), and it was around 85 degrees out today. Living on the third floor of an old vintage apartment building, the ventilation and heat is a bit of an issue from time to time, so whenever I’m in that conundrum, I turn to my handy dandy blender to try to cool off of course!
I felt inspired to use some of the ingredients I had just purchased at the grocery store today to start making some healthier breakfasts and drinks, such as chia seeds, spirulina, cacao nibs, peanut butter powder, dates, and fresh strawberries in the mix. And this is what I got: a Chocolate Chia PB&J Smoothie.
It may sound a little bit strange, but I assure you it’s totally delicious. Tart, chocolatey, chunky (from the cacao nib, date and chia seeds), sweet and smooth. This makes two servings so make sure you got a special someone around to share it with, or just halve the recipe. I was really glad how this turned out on the first try, and was excited that it made exact proportions to fill up two mason jars! It’s the little things… here’s a little description on some of the “super foods” that made it into this wholesome, nutritious shake:
-Chia seeds: According to The Green Smoothie Bible, chia seeds are regarded to have the highest amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids, essential for the functions of the nervous system, brain, skin and joints. It’s also considered a complete amino acid, helping to form skin and muscle tissue. They’re also high in protein and fiber! And here’s my favorite one: tryptophan–a key amino acid responsible for helping to induce sleep, relaxation, and to regulate mood and thyroid metabolism. When added to liquids or smoothies, they thicken and take on a gelatinous consistency. (Hence why you can also apparently make jam out of them.) Oh, and by the way, if that freaks you out, at least know that they’re tasteless.
-Spirulina: AKA micro-algae, boost immunity and has antibacterial/antifungal/antiviral properties. They help improve mental capabilities, detoxify the body, fight cancer and are anti-inflammatory. Also considered the easiest of all other micro-algaes (ie. chlorella, AFA, MMP) to digest. In addition to chia seeds, spirulina also contains essential fatty acids (mostly omega-6),
-Cacao nibs: Cacao contains hundreds of nutrients, phytochemicals (chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants), and antioxidants. In its raw form, cacao has one of the highest antioxidant values of any plant in the world (similar to the acai berry)! It’s also low in fat, high in fiber, and is rich in more of those awesome omega-6′s. Mostly rich with magnesium and iron, it is great for bone and cardiovascular health. And apparently the reason cacao makes us feel so good is that it contains substances such as PEA (phenylethylamine), a “love chemical”, as well as tryptophan. Convinced to eat more cacao now?
-PB2: I have been wanting to try this peanut butter powder out for years now and finally took the plunge today. It’s basically a dry form of peanut butter that you add to liquids and it retains the same flavor as regular PB but is low fat and high in fiber. I was super excited to try it out in this smoothie today since I regularly add peanut butter to practically all of my smoothies. You get the flavor, but miss some of the creamy, crunchy (if that’s how you roll) goodness. I liked it, for sure, I just need to experiment with it a bit longer!
Chocolate Chia PB&J Smoothie
Makes two 6-8 oz smoothies (kitty not included)
- 1 frozen banana
- 8 fresh strawberries, stems removed
- 2 ice cubes
- 2 Tablespoons PB2 powder
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon raw cacao nibs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla whey protein powder
- 1/2 teaspoon spirulina
- 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
- 2 dates, pitted
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- raw honey, to taste
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend away! Pour into two individual servings. Enjoy!