Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

My smoothie game has been wicked strong lately.
But I promise not to bore you with all the reasons why
Make this, and thank me later.

1/2 C almond milk (malk brand)

1/2 C H2O

5 frozen wild cherries 

3 ice cubes

1 C frozen broccoli

1 heaping tbsp PB

2 tsp wild honey 

B L E N D

Note: You don’t need to add honey, or any sweetener for that matter, to smoothies when fruit is added. The fructose in the fruit is sufficient enough! But this honey was local, fresh, and delicious, and you better believe I enjoyed every last drop of it.

This smoothie has all the goods to keep you feelin’ full and fine:
Protein (PB + chia topping)
Fat (PB + Milk)
Fiber (broccoli + cherries)
Carbs (broccoli + cherries)

If you’re using this as a post-workout snack, your body needs carbs AND protein to recover optimally. Don’t fear those carbs, Sandra.

Also- I know people are on this whole “fruit is bad for you” craze, and that is BANANAS. Those aren’t your people. Fruit is SO SO rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are all GOOD for your body. As Americans, TRUST me when I say that fruit is the least of our problems. Added sugar? shoot, yeah. We could do a better job here…but don’t demonize fruit, I beg you.


Let me know what cha think of this recipe if you give it a shot!

P.S. THIS study talks about how tart cherry helps accelerate muscle recovery after exercise!

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Hormone-Balancing Chocolate Mint Drink

Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start!

Today feels like a Wednesday, but thank goodness it’s only Tuesday-packed full of organic chemistry! I have decided to finish the rest of the semester up in the next two weeks before I start a new job that I just accepted (more on this later), which means I don’t have much free time. However, I did manage to procrastinate just long enough to whip this baby up.

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I started off this cold, chilly fall morning thinking, “I’m going to make hot chocolate” but it turned into a frothy morning drink thing. We’re going to call thing a “Mint Chocolate Hormone Balancing Drink”.

This concoction has hormone-balancing ingredients like coconut oil and maca root powder. I read several articles on maca and finally ended up consulting pubmed for more conclusive/reliable research. Many of the healthful claims about maca haven’t been scientifically proven [yet], however, maca does appear to be beneficial in elevating mood (1), regulating estrogen levels, especially in menopausal and post-menopausal women (2) as well as serving as a helpful alternative for persistent pain management (3). Until we know more about maca scientifically, take all the “maca will change your life and your energy levels and help you grow strong, Rapunzel-like hair” with a tiny grain of salt. Yes, it’s a great root starch from the Andes mountains, and yes, it does provide health benefits (and I’m hopeful that with more research we will know more). But remember that in most areas of life, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”…so don’t make maca your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner situation.

Okay. Recipe time. This one is quick and easy, and the balance of the nutty flavor of maca with the cacao powder and mint gives such a satisfying taste without being overbearingly sweet. If you do find your sweet tooth in need of some TLC though, just add a couple of tbsp of organic maple syrup to this recipe- I’m sure that would be a treat!

Mint Chocolate Hormone-Balancing Drink

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Print

A smooth, mildly chocolatey and refreshingly minty morning drink with hormone-balancing benefits.

Ingredients

  • high speed blender
  • 1 C water
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder (I bought a bag for $3.99 from Trader Joe’s, right by the hot cereals)
  • 1 ½ tbsp maca powder (also purchased from Trader Joe’s for $3.99)
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (favorite is linked here!)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves, trust me…
  • 1 C ice cubes

Directions

  1. Pour water, protein and remaining ingredients into blender
  2. Blend on high until ingredients are mixed well. Note: This will be frothy and smooth, not thick and creamy.
  3. Pour and serve. I like to top with fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!

This has been perfect for today’s cold weather. Let me know if you decide to give it a try yourself!


Vega Probiotics

A note on maca powder or cacao powder: make sure the only ingredient on the bag is “maca powder” or “cacao powder”. Sometimes sneaky ingredients like “sugar” will find their way into you pure ingredients, and sugar deserves to be somewhere fun and celebratory-like cake. 🙂

-Stacey

Also note: this isn’t a miracle smoothie that will solve all your hormone troubles. It’s ultimately up to you to eat a balanced diet consistently from whole food sources under the direction of a doctor or a registered dietitian, and I am neither.

Sources
(1)
(2)
(3)


Weekend Recap + Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Happy Monday, Friends!

Hope you had a great weekend!

I drove to my hometown near Houston, TX for an impromptu visit this weekend. My dad was in the hospital fighting an unknown bacterial infection in his pinky bone. A couple surgeries and a lot of antibiotics later, the pinky is saved! Hopefully he will be released sometime this week, but infectious disease is keeping a close eye to ensure the infection is contained without spreading throughout his body.

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He was in good spirits, especially after his Astros beat the Yankees to win the pennant! He cried real, happy tears. If you’ve been an Astros fan for your entire life, I’m sure you understand- so many feels.

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View from Dad’s window- Houston has been through too much this year thanks to Hurricane Harvey. So proud to come from this strong, diverse, vibrant community.

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I love the Texas Medical Center- I’ve been a patient here, I’ve worked here, and I’ve volunteered here. There’s no place like it. Truly.

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We stopped by Pronto’s on Holcomb Blvd for chopped salad with salmon, one of my all time favorites by the med center. I also got a piece of tiramisu, and I highly recommend.

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Then we popped over to a hometown football game to watch my cousin’s homecoming halftime show performance (how cute is she though?!). LOVE small-town football!

The next morning my sister and I went through old boxes of keepsakes in the garage that my parents stored from our childhood. My mom wanted us to go through everything and decide what to keep…still not sure why…but it was entertaining. I learned that I am not particularly a sentimental hoarder about most things, but I did fall victim to Barbie nostalgia. Not pictured: Scuba Barbie, Shaving Ken, and Dentist Barbie.

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Then we found this quaint little spot right behind my old high school for lunch. WHY did places like this not exist ten years ago?! 421 Coffeehouse was fantastic.

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If you ever find yourself in West Columbia, TX, stop by this place! Their chicken salad was divine.

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I stopped by my older sister’s salon to wish her a happy birthday and updated her pricing board for her:

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And then we drove back to Houston to hang out with Dad some more. Sunday morning we began the long drive back to Oklahoma City. Oh- CHECK OUT MY COPILOT:

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Her name is Sophie. She’s 11 weeks old, loves to play fetch and cuddle, and I want to hold her every day. She’s my sister’s dog, and she did fantastic on her first long road trip!

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This morning I caught up on some (much needed) sleep and managed to whip up a mint-chocolate chip smoothie. I actually used some vanilla pea protein from Trader Joe’s for this recipe that was VERY affordable (but not my very favorite taste). Honestly, you’ll appreciate this recipe much more if you use some sort of chocolate-flavored protein. Because of all the nutritious ingredients like frozen cauliflower and frozen avocado (fear not- these are tasteless additions, I promise!), I was quite full after this smoothie.

Mint Chocolate-Chip Smoothie

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Print

A creamy, nutritious chocolate chip smoothie full of healthy fats, veggies, and tasty goodness.

Ingredients

  • high speed blender
  • 1 C almond milk
  • 1 C frozen cauliflower
  • 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves, trust me…
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ C frozen avocado (you won’t taste this ingredient, and it adds rich, creamy texture with healthy fats, keeping you fuller longer!)
  • ½ C ice cubes
  • ¼ C deep dark chocolate chips OR raw cacao nibs
  • one-two hefty, violent shakes of the ground cinnamon bottle
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein. (!!!This would taste better with chocolate protein though!!!)

Directions

  1. Pour milk, protein and remaining ingredients into blender
  2. Blend on “high” until thick and rich texture is visible
  3. Pour and serve. I like to top with melted deep dark chocolate or cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Let me know what cha think if you give this smoothie a shot!

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Cheers to a productive and great Monday! On the books for today: Organic chemistry, laundry, slow-cooker taco soup, banana bread, a 5k jog, and more organic chemistry.

-Stacey


Workout Wednesday + Antioxidant Smoothie

Hi, Friends!

Hope you’re all having a great Wednesday.

Last night’s workout took no time at all but left me feeling accomplished, and here it is:

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I loathe burpees, and today I’m having trouble walking…that’s about all I have to say about yesterday’s workout :). Really good for the legs and REALLY gets the heart rate up.

Antioxidant Smoothie Stuff

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Here’s a great recovery smoothie recipe!

-1/2 C almond milk

-1/2 C yogurt of your choice

-1 tbsp coconut oil

-1/4 C rolled oats

-1 scoop protein of your choice (choose one with glutamine! It’ll  help with muscle recovery. Here’s one of my favorites by Vega).

-handfull of spinach

-3/4 C frozen blueberries

B L E N D & serve

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Enjoy 🙂

We may have our first bout of “severe storms” this week in Oklahoma. How to deal?! Tornados are a thing I have no experience with. Fingers crossed!!! Words of advice welcomed…

-Stacey


A Chocolate Strawberry-Banana Nutty Smoothie

GOOOOD MORNING!

Okay. Ready for a smoothie? I got ‘chu.

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Chocolate Strawberry-Banana Nutty Smoothie

-1 C almond/coconut milk mix

-1 scoop Vega chocolate sport protein

-3/4 banana

-Handfull of strawberries

-2 tbsp peanut buttah

-1 C ice

BLEND!

Top with remaining banana (sliced), two chopped strawberries, a pinch of chia seeds, a pinch of sliced almonds, and a leeetle pinch of shredded coconut.

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This thing is PACKED with healthy fats and protein. Eat with a spoon and it’ll feel like a whole meal instead of a snack. This was today’s breakfast. Not pictured: coffee.

On the running calendar for today: 4 miles tempo…and it is gawgeous outside.

Hope your day is a good one!

-Stacey

Eph 2:8-9 

2 Cor 12:9

1 Peter 5:10


Vanilla Berry Smoothie Recipe

CHECK OUT THAT BLUE SKY!

For the past few days it has been gorgeous outside! Seriously. Wow.

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View from the top floor of a parking garage in OKC. Am I the only person who always parks on the top floor of the parking garage so I don’t forget where I parked my car? I am a grandma.

Last night dinner wins:

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I found a low FODMAP friendly version of delicious shrimp scampi from here (THANK YOU), and discovered that garlic infused olive oil is permitted on low FODMAP- PRAISE!!! I was about to lose my mind (up in here, up in here) over the no garlic rule. Give.Me.Gahhlic. Also, all the brown rice pasta (in moderation). I actually had two heaping helpings- serving sizes be damned.

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Sides were arugula salad with olive oil and lemon drizzle and some walnuts, green beans, and peppered tomatoes…because I was craving them. Zack thinks I’m weird *whips hair*.

Low FODMAP update:
-I have stopped counting how long I have been enduring life without salsa.
-Update: 3 weeks since I started over after eating my body weight in chicken fried steak a few weekends ago (but in my defense, it had been 4+ years since the last time I ate chicken fried steak at all)
-Symptoms are still happening, but I’m in pain far less often- WIN!
-I STARTED RUNNING AGAIN AND THIS IS A HUGE DEAL
-Energy levels…slowly, ever so slowly, increasing! 🙂
-Also on new meds, so shoutout to those bad boys

You can’t win, ulcerative colitis.

Today I made a smoothie thing in an effort to disguise my enteragam protein from the doc.

I’m going to call it this thing a vanilla berry smoothie. And in case you haven’t had granola on top of your smoothie, you are missin’ out. View this post for a homemade pb granola recipe.

Here’s a new smoothie recipe:

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-1 scoop vanilla Vega sport protein (1/2 scoop if you’re low FODMAPpin’)
-1 C water
-2 tbsp pb
-1/2 C frozen raspberries
-1-2 C frozen blueberries
-1/2 C plain Greek yogurt (lactose free yogurt if on low FODMAP/ maintain dairy free diet)
Blend!

Top with granola, eat with a spoon
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Fun facts:
-smoothies should be consumed as snacks, rather than replacement meals, because drinking your calories doesn’t register in the brain the same way food does. You could be drinking more calories than you would be consuming if you were eating them, because drinks just aren’t as satiating as food. You can read more about this here
-Try to blend your smoothie to a consistency where you CAN eat it with a spoon, and make them full of protein and fats to make you feel fuller, creating a more satisfying snack
-Also, be careful not to add TOO much fruit, because it will turn to sugar!
-I wasn’t intentionally doing any sort of marketing by using their glasses, but Saint Arnold Brewery in Houston is worth checking out. They’re big supporters of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and their beer is good.

Hope you’re having a fantastic Friday 🙂 Keep moving forward! YAY WEEKEND!

-Stacey


Recovery Smoothie (Low FODMAP compliant)

Hello!

Hope you’re enjoying your Wednesday! This week is flyin’.

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Smoothie time.

It’s important if you’re working out, you realize that you’re putting (good) stress on your muscles, which can sometimes lead to oxidative stress. To help optimize your body’s recovery process it’s important to include some antioxidants, like blueberries, dark green veggies, or nuts to help combat that oxidative stress. This smoothie is high in antioxidants  AND protein, and it makes for a great recovery snack.

The deets: Did I just say “deets?”

-1 scoop Vega chocolate sport protein, 30g protein (for low FODMAP take a little less than half of the scoop so the pea protein is still compliant, and add some liquid egg whites for extra protein if needed)

-1 tbsp PB, 4 g protein; 8 g (good) fat (over half is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat; and ~30% is polyunsaturated fat) source

-1 cup blueberries

-1/2 cup raspberries

-handful of leafy greens

-1/2 cup plain, lactose-free yogurt (for low FODMAP) OR probiotic Greek yogurt

-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (vanilla almond milk is good, too)

BLEND & serve 🙂

Top with some almonds and strawberries for fun

Hope you enjoy your day! Today is nutrition homework day for me. Keep moving forward!

-Stacey


A Low-FODMAP Compliant Smoothie Snack

Hi, Friends!

Hope you had a great weekend.

This weekend I realized something awful.

Salsa on the low FODMAP elimination diet isn’t a thing.

On the Whole30, I learned to be careful with salsas and even tried making some homemade, but onions and garlic are allowed on Whole30, and they’re strictly NOT on low FODMAP. It’s okay. 5 more weeks. Without salsa. The longest in my Texas-raised life that I have lived without salsa. I will survive.

This weekend we did a ton of house organization stuff. Apparently I am a hoarder and kept every single one of my notebooks from undergrad. Yikes.

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We continued playing with our cool, new kitchen appliances. I was craving a smoothie, so I threw some things in the ninja blender

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and ta-dah! A smoothie snack.

It wasn’t good. I can’t get over the texture left behind from blended cucumbers.

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But this morning’s breakfast smoothie snack was delicious (and less attractive). The best part- it’s low FODMAP 🙂

I was a little concerned about using my favorite protein, Vega brand. One of the main sources of protein it uses is pea protein. After researching, I’m fairly certain that it’s still a qualified low-FODMAP food if consumed in amounts <20g. One whole scoop serving is 44g, so I measured less than half of the scoop.

-A little less than 1/2 scoop of Vega Sport Chocolate protein
-1/2 C almond milk/water mix
-1/2 C coconut milk yogurt (or another lactose-free yogurt)
-1 C ice
-1/2 tbsp peanut butter (or coconut oil! another good source of healthy fat)
-1/2 tbsp chia seeds (another decent source of protein)
Blend!

(I also added a packet of Enteragam protein from my doctor. Doesn’t affect the taste)
I normally like to add frozen fruits or veggies to my smoothies…but I need to go grocery shopping.

Hope you’re all having a really great Monday!

Keep moving forward 🙂

-Stacey