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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Green Mango Coconut Smoothie (Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free)

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that I posted a picture yesterday with a caption that said I was developing a St. Patrick's Day cookie recipe and was trying to make an icing with natural green coloring and that you'd find out today if the plant-based cooking gods were in my corner. Well, clearly, they were not in my corner, and they in fact deserted me and left me high and dry. 

The cookies came out great, the icing however, did not translate so well. I realize my idea (which I thought was brilliant initially) of an avocado coconut cream icing is a bit far-fetched, but it actually tasted fine mixed with some vanilla extract and raw coconut nectar. The problem was that avocado spoils quickly and certainly cannot be left at room temperature. Sure, you could refrigerate the icing and ice the cookie when ready to be eaten, but the cold icing and room temperature cookie just wasn't appealing. Sigh. I do feel better knowing I wasn't the only crazy one who thought about using avocado to make icing because with a quick Google search, I found that another blogger used it on a cake, which I still think is genius.

Anyway, enough about my failed attempt. That's the name of the game when you try anything. At least I was brave enough to try! What is it that they say, not trying is the real mistake, or something like that. Actually, I came across a better quote by Elbert Hubbard related to my experience, "constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping stones of genius." Ah, well if that's the case, I will pencil "make mistakes" into my calendar everyday. ;-)

So, since I didn't have a St. Patrick's Day cookie recipe to share, I thought I'd whip up an easy green smoothie that can be enjoyed for breakfast on the 17th. It's coconut-y, green-y, creamy, dreamy... basically, it is straight up delicious! The green mango coconut smoothie is also rich in beta-carotene (a pre-cursor to vitamin A), vitamins C & K, fiber, healthy fats (MCFAs), potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and manganese. One of my very first posts was my green smoothie recipe, which I still have 5-6 times a week for breakfast. It has remained a constant in my life because it has improved my health profoundly. I call it my liquid gold.

The reason I prefer blending over juicing is because blending keeps the fiber from the fruit and vegetables intact. Juicing provides us with the juice of the fruits and vegetables but the fiber is taken out, which is vital for digestive health. I also like the thickness of a smoothie over a thin juice, but that's just personal preference. Don't get me wrong, juicing is great. The juice from the plant cells give your body an immediate boost and transforms your blood very quickly. Celery is particularly wonderful to juice. Carrots, on the other hand, are high glycemic when juiced so be careful there. Some people can't handle a great deal of fiber so juicing is a great option for them, though I suggest integrating a combination of blending and juicing to fit your needs or what your body tells you it needs, rather.

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Green Coconut Smoothie

YIELD: 1 serving (approx. 20 oz.)

INGREDIENTS
• 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
• 1 cup packed spinach
• 1/2 green apple, cored and chopped
• 1 large banana
• 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks
• 1 tsp spirulina (optional)
• Unsweetened shredded coconut, for topping (optional)
• Goji berries, for topping (optional - you can buy them at a health food store)

DIRECTIONS
1. In a high-speed blender (I use a Vitamix - find a discount here), add the first six ingredients and blend until silky smooth. Pour into a glass and top with shredded coconut and goji berries, if desired.

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams

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