Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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A Culinary Nutrition &

Holistic Lifestyle Blog

Cacao-Maca Banana Smoothie

November 19, 2016

 

A chocolate-flavoured smoothie is my jam, so any smoothie with raw cacao as an ingredient is calling my name!

 

Given the many nutritional benefits of raw cacao (see nutritional highlights below), it allows for guilt-free intake of this smoothie, whether it be for breakfast, as a snack, or as pre- or post-exercise fuel. As a balanced recipe containing complex carbohydrates (i.e. banana), a high-quality source of protein (i.e. hemp seeds and fermented protein powder) and a high-quality source of fat (i.e. coconut oil), you're good to go! Hemp seeds are a complete protein, containing every amino acid (the building blocks of protein) your body requires! The fermented aspect of the protein powder provides a source of "good" bacteria for your gut, nourishing and enhancing the state of your immune system and keeping that microbiome in check!

 

*Raw cacao powder does contain a small amount of caffeine, so be mindful!

 

*Please note that pregnant women should not consume maca powder, due to its involvement with balancing hormones in the body.

 

The Recipe

 

Yield: 1 mason jar

 

Ingredients:

 

1-1.5 cups almond milk (I used homemade almond milk)

 

1 frozen banana

 

1 heaping tbsp. raw cacao powder

 

2 tbsp. hemp seeds

 

1 tbsp. protein powder (I used fermented protein powder, for probiotic power!)

 

1 tbsp. coconut oil

 

1 tsp. maca powder

 

1 tbsp. aloe vera juice

 

Dash of cinnamon

 

Sprinkling of sea salt (I used pink, Himalayan sea salt)

 

Directions:

 

Combine all ingredients in a blender, adding the almond milk first.  Having fluid surrounding the blades of your blender will assist in maintaining the integrity of the blades.

 

Blend on high until smooth and creamy, adding additional almond milk to thin out the blend as desired.

 

Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

 

Nutritional Highlights

 

Raw Cacao - 

 

  • The unprocessed version of the cacao bean, retaining its rich levels of antioxidants due to being unrefined and unprocessed

  • The highest plant-based source of iron

  • One of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, a commonly-deficient mineral

  • Magnesium contributes to a healthy heart, assisting with the conversion of glucose (blood sugar) into energy/fuel for the body

  • Rich in calcium

  • A rich source of “bliss” chemicals, including serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with comforting feelings of well-being, happiness and contentment[i]

 

Maca Powder –

 

  • A cruciferous root, native to Peru

  • Traditionally used in South America, to enhance fertility and libido and balance hormones

  • High in sulphoraphrane (an anti-cancer compound in cruciferous vegetables), that assists with the detoxification of the liver

  • A powerful adaptogen - a naturally-occurring substance that assists the body with adapting to stress, working to normalize body processes

  • Rich in iron, to assist with fatigue

  • High in calcium, contributing to the maintenance of strong bones

  • Possesses a nutty, malted, butterscotch flavour

  • Suitable to add to smoothies, milks, sauces and dressings

 

Aloe Vera –

 

  • Strengthens the immune system

  • Reduces arthritic pain

  • Heals wounds

  • Assists with repairing ulcers

  • Lowers blood sugar levels

  • Promotes hair growth

  • Soothes acid reflux symptoms[ii]

 

 

ENDNOTES

 

[i] BeGoodOrganics.  Cacao: 5 Little Known Benefits of this Amazonian Superfood.  Retrieved November 14, 2016 from http://begoodorganics.com/blogs/subscriber-only-recipes/7991527-cacao-5-little-known-benefits-of-this-amazonian-superfood

 

[ii] Organic Facts.  Health Benefits of Aloe Vera.  Retrieved November 14, 2016 from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-aloe-vera.html

 

 

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