The Ultimate Recovery Smoothie

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KashiPlantPower #GOTOGETHER #CollectiveBias

The ultimate recovery smoothie is packed with ingredients to boost recovery after a hard workout, along with Kashi's new plant powered shake! 

Remember when I ran a half marathon earlier this year and was all like, "it's one and done! I just want to prove that I can do it!" Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, I've signed up for another half marathon this fall.

This time I'm running the Greenville Spinx Run Fest in October along with a group of girlfriends. My husband, who is the kinda guy who can just run 13.1 miles with no training whatsoever (ugh, I hate him) may or may not be joining. It's Halloween weekend so he really wants to dress as a T-Rex and have me dress as Laura Dern from Jurassic Park. I am all over this idea.

So my official training started this week and with that means paying a little bit more attention to how I'm feeding myself. That was one of the big lessons for me last time I trained. Even though I knew all about sports nutrition, experiencing for myself what running felt like after not fueling myself adequately drove the point home!

This time I'm training during these insanely hot South Carolina days, so I know ice cold smoothies are going to play a vital role! When I got the opportunity to partner with Kashi to highlight their new Kashi® GOLEAN™ Plant Powered Shakes, I knew I wanted to show you how to make my ultimate recovery smoothie.

So what makes this smoothie special?

Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Shake in Dark Cocoa // After a strenuous run, it's important to get a nice dose of protein to switch the catabolic hormones (break down muscle) to anabolic hormones (build muscle). Kashi's brand new shake contains 21 grams of plant powered protein from dried peas, sprouted beans, flax and hemp - all natural and good for you ingredients. It's gluten free, vegan and contains 1 billion CFU of probiotics to support gut health. Like Kashi Organic Breakfast Superblends (another one of their new products) both are convenient for an on-the-go lifestyle - both can be simply mixed with water or your choice of dairy to make an easy protein shake, or blend into your favorite smoothie recipe. It's available at Target.com.

I chose dark cocoa because not only does it taste like a chocolate milkshake, but chocolate also contains antioxidants that help reduce post workout soreness! Chocolate is also great for preworkout snacking as it contains antioxidants called epicatechins that improve blood flow to muscles, improving endurance. 

Tart Cherry Juice // The sour taste of tart cherry juice is an indication of high levels of anthocyanins, an antioxidant that helps reduce post workout pain and soreness. Look for pure tart cherry juice in the drink aisle along with the other juices bottled in glass jars.

Medjool Dates // With their sweet, caramel like taste, dates are one of my favorite ways to sweeten foods.Dates are mineral rich which helps replace what was lost in sweat. They also provide a concentrated source of natural sugars, which your body needs after a workout to restore glycogen stores.

Banana // Potassium!! A ton of it is lost in sweat when you're running outside. Bananas are a concentrated source of potassium, as well as natural sugars to boost glycogen stores.

Spirulina // I call spirulina nature's multi-vitamin. Spirulina is an algae that's commonly used as a supplement because of it's nutrient density. It contains more nutrients, and a wider variety of nutrients than just about any food out there. If you use a small amount, you won't taste it, so start with 1/4 of a teaspoon.

Coconut Water // Often called "nature's sports drink" because of the sodium and potassium it contains, I love the light and refreshing flavor it adds to this smoothie.

If you'd like to try Kashi's new GOLEAN Plant Powered Shake or their Organic Breakfast Superblends, enjoy $10 off using the discount code: TGTKASHI.

Connect with Kashi:

Ultimate Recovery Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks

  • 1 scoop Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Shake in Chocolate Vinyasa

  • 2 dates, pitted

  • 2/3 cup coconut water

  • 1/3 cup tart cherry juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon spirulina

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients together in a blender and blend until pureed. Serve immediately.

Peach Buttermilk Chai Smoothie

This peach buttermilk chai smoothie is packed with probiotics from buttermilk and antioxidants from chai tea! 

Yay for smoothie weather! Time to share my latest smoothie obsession - this peach smoothie spiked with chai tea!

While it feels like peach weather, it's not quite peach season, so we'll have to rely on frozen peaches to make this bad boy. I'm such a huge fan of frozen peaches. I absolutely adore fresh peaches, especially living in South Carolina, aka the real peach state. But I really think someone put a curse on me when it comes to peaches. I'll get the freshest, most beautiful peaches from the farmers market and they'll go from perfect to moldy, mushy mess in 24 hours at our house. Drives me absolutely nuts! I get a case of seasonal binge eating disorder every time I see peaches at the farmers market in my attempt to eat them all before they go bad!

The peach chai combination might sound a bit odd, but peaches have a similar flavor profile to mango, a fruit commonly used in Indian cuisine and a natural pairing with chai spices. This recipe was inspired by one from Root to Leaf, one of my favorite seasonal cookbooks.

Peach Buttermilk Chai Smoothie

Serves 1 

If you'd like to add some protein to your smoothie, I prefer Kura for grassfed whey protein or Vega for vegan protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • 1 bag chai tea

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until pureed. Serve immediately.

More recipes for smoothie season:

Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Red Velvet Smoothie
Red Velvet Smoothie
Classic Green Smoothie
Classic Green Smoothie

The Creamiest Vanilla Chia Smoothie Bowl + A Giveaway!

Learn my trick for making the creamiest vanilla chia smoothie bowl with a protein boost from Kura smoothie powder! Don't forget to enter the giveaway for 3 bags of Kura AND a new blender! 

This post was sponsored by Kura Nutrition. I was provided with products and compensated for my time. Thanks for supporting the quality brands I love that make this blog possible! 

Eat less. Move more.

If you've ever dieted, it's a phrase you're familiar with. Heck, if you've ever opened a magazine, been to a doctors office, accidentally clicked on one of those spammy dieting articles, or stumbled across literally any government sponsored health promotion material, you've heard the saying.

And if we're being honest, it's a mantra I definitely spouted. It makes me cringe to think about it, but yes, there was a time I thought weight loss was as simple as eat less and move more.

Since then, I've been enlightened. Enlightened with both experience, and with plenty of new research showing weight is much more complex than a mathematical equation.

Eat less, move more is what I would consider a half truth. Calories are a measure of the energy in food. That goes for any food, not just chips, pizza, and double chocolate chunk ice cream. Extra calories we eat that aren't used for energy are stored as fat. One way to utilize more calories is to exercise more.

Knowing that, one might deduce that to lose weight, they must eat less and move more. And if one wants to loose a lot a of weight or lose weight quickly, they might eat a lot less and move a lot more.

This is why so many people turn to deprivation to lose weight. It's why you see 1200 calorie diets advertised on the cover of magazines. It's why people spend hours of their week pounding away on an elliptical. It's why I just saw an acquaintance post on facebook how disappointed she was in 'only' losing half a pound after practically starving herself doing one of those 3 day fix things. It's why hunger is considered a sign that you're 'doing things right.

That's the problem with simplifying weight control as eat less, move more - deprivation is the obvious conclusion. But it doesn't work. If we were machines rather than complex living creatures, sure, we could plug in the weight we want to be, when we want to be there and arrive at our destination. However we are humans, and it's a bit more complicated.

We know deprivation works for rapid, short term weight loss, but it backfires in the long run. Here's why. When you lose weight, your body responds by lowering its metabolic rate to fit your smaller size. When weight loss is rapid, metabolism drops at a faster rate than expected. To continue losing weight, you would have to eat less and less. To maintain, you could never go "off" your diet, even for short periods. With a lowered metabolic rate, it would  trigger weight regain, much more so than if you had lost the weight using slower, more sustainable changes.

There are so many other factors that impact weight besides the usual diet and exercise. Stress doesn't only trigger weight gain by causing you to run into the arms of Ben & Jerry - increases in stress hormones like cortisol trigger fat storage. Recent research is showing the role gut bacteria plays in weight. Then there's sleep. Did you know just 30 minutes less sleep than what you need can affect weight?

I can't tell you how many men and women I've worked with through the years who have whittled down what they eat to practically nothing, pound away at the gym, and still not lose weight.

As a final nail in the deprivation coffin, know that approximately 95% of people who lose weight through drastic measures will regain the weight they lost. And then some.

So we can all agree now - deprivation is the literal worst. And there's know way to know what your healthy weight is, which is opposite of what we're told. We don't have control over our weight, despite what diet culture tells us, but we do have control over behaviors. So let's start engaging in health promoting ones and let our body settle where it's supposed to. 

  1. Nourish your body - Focus on nourishment, not deprivation. When you focus on filling up on nutrient-dense whole foods, you automatically crowd out rich, sugary or processed foods. Plus, whole foods are naturally more filling, so you'll feel satisfied too.
  2. Feed your gut - Give your gut it's favorite food - fiber! That means lots of fruit, vegetables, and beans. Replenish your gut bacteria with fermented food and/or probiotics.
  3. Eat less added sugar - Enjoy sugar in things that are really delicious, like an extra gooey and chocolatey brownie. Avoid added sugar coming from foods hidden sources, like snack foods, dressings and protein shakes.
  4. Build muscle - Cardio burns calories, but it also makes you pretty hungry. That right, you're not the only one craving an entire pizza after a long run. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories at rest.

Kura Nutrition, the makers of the tastiest smoothie protein powder I've ever tried, covers all four of those bases. It's made with 14 grams of grassfed dairy protein from happy cows, which is packed with the amino acid leucine, the rock star of muscle growth. One serving contains 4 billion CFU (colony forming units) of probiotics as well as prebiotics to feed their growth. Kura contains 26 vitamins and minerals and provides a nice little dose of omega 3 fats on top of what naturally occurs in grassfed dairy. Best of all, it's made with no added sugar, just the hint of sweetness from the naturally occurring sugars in dairy!

What I appreciate most about Kura is that the company is committed to the same principles of nourishment over deprivation that I talk about all the time over here on Avocado. So why not start your day by nourishing your body with this extra creamy smoothie bowl, made with Kura's vanilla protein smoothie powder. Guys, I'm not kidding when I tell you it's the best smoothie bowl I've ever made! The trick is using an easy, overnight chia pudding instead of milk, which gives it a thick, pudding-like consistency. It's basically socially acceptable breakfast ice cream!

Don't miss your chance to try Kura at home! Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win 3 bags of Kura plus a new blender!

*CLOSED*

Vanilla Chia Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

The trick to making the worlds creamiest smoothie bowl is blending in chia seeds soaked in plant milk. I made a big batch and scooped out 1/2 cup of chia pudding as needed. Also delish with chocolate and berry Kura protein smoothie powder too!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 frozen banana, in chunks
  • 1 packet or scoop Kura vanilla protein smoothie powder
  • Toppings: freeze dried fruit, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, nut butter

Instructions

  1. The night before, mix chia seeds and plant milk in a small bowl. Let sit, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next morning, when ready to eat, blend chia mixture, banana and Kura protein powder in a food processor until creamy. Serve with optional toppings, or as I like to call them, sprinkles!

Classic Green Smoothie + Review of The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook

This classic green smoothie is naturally sweetened with mango, watermelon and strawberries. Easily digestible and packed with nutrients to jump start your day! 

Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook. I was not compensated to write this review. 

Remember back in the day when your facebook news feed was filled with pictures from going out the night before and slightly un-PC status updates (which have since been deleted because OMG WHAT DO YOU MEAN FACEBOOK ISN'T PRIVATE?!?!?). Sigh. Those were the days...

Now it's babies. Baby announcements, babies being born, babies in oversized onesies, babies growing into toddlers, toddlers throwing tantrums, toddlers making a mess, toddlers growing into kids, kids throwing tantrums, kids saying totally inappropriate yet hilarious things (my personal favorite of the bunch). Yup, at 31, we're at that age.

Babies just aren't in the cards for the hubs and I (so if that's where you thought this was going, sorry to disappoint). While we love our friends and families kids with all our heart (because we love our friends and families with all our heart), we are just not baby people. I can't think of two people who know less about babies than the two of us. Recently, when Scott saw our friends 2 1/2 year old walking and talking, he exclaimed, "I didn't realize they were already functional at that age!" I made fun of him, but secretly, I was surprised as well.

Except for the basics on how it starts, there's just one thing I know about pregnancy. It's scary. Apparently, there are all these awful people who drown pregnant women with unsolicited advice, especially about diet, leaving them feeling completely overwhelmed and fearful that everything they eat will cause their baby to come out with two heads. And then they judge you if you do not accept said advice.

What jerks.

My pregnant or trying to become pregnant friends frequently come to me for nutrition tips or with questions about dubious advice they were given. Being honest, I'm not the expert when it comes to nutrition during pregnancy. There's a lot I learned for the test then promptly forgot!

So when my friend Dr. Sonali Ruder of The Foodie Physician reached out to see if I'd like to check out her new cookbook, The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook, I happily accepted. Clearly my personal knowledge ain't cuttin' it!

The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook is more than a cookbook. It's as comprehensive a resource on nutrition for pregnancy as you can get without being overwhelming. It discusses everything from healthy weight gain, food safety, nutrients of concern, pregnancy cravings and side effects. And of course, there are tasty recipes for pregnancy that are simple enough to make after the little one comes along. I've got my eye on her salmon oreganata, miso roasted brussels sprouts and roasted butternut squash salad with maple dijon vinaigrette ;)

One other thing I know about pregnancy: morning sickness is awful. I shared an office with someone through two pregnancies. I remember the retching. Consider me traumatized.

It can be difficult to get the much needed nutrients in when you're feeling nauseous. Cold and easily digestible smoothies can be helpful since they don't have a strong scent, which can trigger nausea. Throwing some greens in your smoothie is always a good idea, but especially so during pregnancy. Greens are an excellent source of folate and iron, two critical nutrients during pregnancy.

This green smoothie from The Natural Pregnancy Cookbook is pretty fantastic as a basic smoothie recipe. It's nice and light, but you could always dress it up with a scoop of nut butter or even a little plain protein powder. The recipe calls for watermelon which is out of season right now, but luckily I had some frozen cubes leftover from making my Hawaiian fruit freezes. If you can't get your hands on any, just use extra strawberry. If you're feeling nauseous, throw some ginger in this. Not only is it delicious, but it's been shown to be an effective treatment for morning sickness. 

Also, totally unrelated but I wanted to share pictures from a fun photoshoot I did recently with the lovely Celia of Celia G Photographie. I've been wanting to get professional pictures done for the blog and media work, and I am so so happy with how they turned out! She perfectly captured the joy and easy going attitude I want to convey with my brand. Celia is an absolutely fabulous person and super talented - trust me, I'm much more awkward in real life ;) These pictures are even more special now after the flood. The riverwalk, one of my favorite spots in Columbia where we took most of the pictures, was completely devastated.

Classic Green Smoothie

Serves 2

Feel free to use all spinach or kale if you don't feel like purchasing both.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, preferably organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon spirulina (optional)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Divide into two glasses and serve.

More smoothie recipes from the archives:

Raspberry Rooibos and Gingery Green Tea Smoothies
Raspberry Rooibos and Gingery Green Tea Smoothies
Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Wild Blueberry and Ginger Smoothie
Wild Blueberry and Ginger Smoothie

Formula Meal: Freezer Smoothie Bags

Formula Meal: Freezer Smoothie Bags

Learn my trick for making a smoothie in less than 2 minutes! Freezer smoothie bags are perfect for a quick breakfast, snack or post-workout replenishment. Make a few different ones and store in the freezer so you've got tons of options for different flavors. 

Read More

Sexy Strawberry Cream Vegan Milkshakes

Wanna guess my favorite kind of smoothie? One that's really actually a milkshake.

What, did you think I was going to say a kale smoothie?? Pffffttt!

But before we get to this amazingly creamy, dreamy milkshake/smoothie hybrid, I should probably explain why I'm sharing this luxurious treat when everyone in the world is searching for salads and green smoothies. Today, the Miyagi of the dietitian blogger world, Regan Jones (of Healthy Aperture, Blog Brulee, RDs for Disclosure and Recipe Redux fame) turns forty. She has done so much for her fellow dietitian bloggers, and in the process, gaining the respect and admiration of her colleagues. And for that, a whopping forty of us got together to throw her a virtual birthday party by sharing healthy cocktails or gluten free desserts in her honor!

Cue the confetti and champagne toast!

I've said it before, but one of the best things about becoming a blogger was  joining this incredible community. It would be easy for us to view each other as competition, bash and belittle each other, but instead we support, uplift and help each other grow and succeed. Regan is a huge reason for this, really setting the standard for how to treat others within our community. She works with brand contacts to create sponsorship opportunities for us smaller bloggers. She's developed an entire recipe sharing network through Healthy Aperture to highlight the healthy food blogger. She spent an entire year organizing Blog Brulee, an inspiring blogging conference that we all agreed, did so much more than teach us about photography and search engine optimization (although it did that too!). Regan is funny, bossy (in a good way!), motivated, enthusiastic, creative and talented...it's no wonder we all love her so!

Plus, she even shared one of my all-time favorite blogging tips - how to make food look sexy, hence the title.

Regan, wishing you the happiest of birthdays! Thank you so much for all your support and for welcoming me into this community with open arms! The inspiration I gained at Blog Brulee helped make 2014 the best year yet, and I wish the same for you in your fortieth!

Now, on to this milkshake. Err, smoothie. Because ingredient-wise, it has absolutely nothing in common with a milkshake. However if you factor taste and creaminess, it's got everything in common with a milkshake.

Frozen bananas are the secret to getting that milkshake consistency. The creamy, sugar dense fruit not only sweetens the smoothie, but makes it thick and creamy. I added macadamia nuts for even more creamy, fatty mouthfeel. Plus, I love the rich flavor it gives along with the coconut milk.

I used unsweetened coconut milk, the thinner kind they sell by the soy and almond milks. You could use canned coconut milk, which would make it pretty thick, but hey, when has anyone complained about their milkshake being too thick?? Considering the amount of coconut used in the recipe, canned coconut milk would make it a bit of a calorie bomb. A delicious whole food calorie-bomb...but a calorie bomb nonetheless.

To save time, you could skip making the strawberry sauce and blend frozen strawberries into it. But, we know how Regan likes her food sexy, and what's hotter than swirls of bright red, vanilla-scented strawberry bits running through a creamy, white base? Not much. Not much at all.

Sexy Strawberry Cream Vegan Milkshakes

2 servings

Ingredients

Strawberry Sauce:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon honey

    Shake:

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk

  • 2 medium frozen bananas

  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts

Instructions

  1. Place strawberries, vanilla and honey in a small pot on medium heat. Bring to a simmer. mashing with a potato masher or the back of a spoon as the juices release. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. Remove and set aside to cool.

  2. Add coconut milk, bananas and macadamia nuts to a blender. Blend until smooth.

  3. Divide strawberry sauce between two glasses, Top with milkshake. Swirl together a bit with a spoon and enjoy!