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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Watermelon Mango Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

Last 4th of July, I had just gone vegetarian a few weeks prior. We had family over so I was nervous about what I was going to make for everyone to enjoy. I wasn't eating cheese either so I had my work cut out for me. I made brown rice and Daiya cheese burritos and thankfully, everyone really liked them! This year is different though. I really have my work cut out for me as a vegan, but the difference is, I am much more confident than last year in my plant-based cooking abilities, though I still consider myself a novice. It just makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside that I am feeding myself and others outrageously nutritious food without sacrificing flavor and without sacrificing lives.

I was sooo crazy excited coming up with the 4th of July menu! I knew the first thing I wanted to whip up was a watermelon beverage, because let's face it, 4th of July isn't complete without watermelon. This smoothie really, really, really hits the spot. It is oh so flavorful, refreshing, hydrating, and naturally sweet. I didn't know what to call it because it's not thick like a lot of smoothies are. Its consistency is somewhere between a juice and smoothie. I know it will be a crowd pleaser! Make sure to double or triple the recipe for a bigger crowd.

Stay tuned for my next post where I'll list out a vegan 4th of July menu that'll give you some ideas of what you can bring to a party or provide for your guests! :-)

Today, we shine the ingredient spotlight on...

• Watermelon - If you feel dehydrated or lethargic in the summer, watermelon is your best friend! It is 92% water and contains electrolytes, which are necessary for fluid balance in the body and muscle and nerve function. Electrolytes, such as sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, can be lost through sweat so it is important to replenish them by way of food. Watermelon is also high in vitamin A, an antioxidant that is important for strong vision, immunity and skin. It contains antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene, which are cancer-fighting flavonoids. Watermelon is also a good source of potassium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and manganese. [source]

The key to picking a perfectly ripe watermelon is to choose one that has a large, creamy yellow spot on its underside, indicating that it ripened in the sun on the ground for a long time. Also, it should be heavy, firm and without bruises or dents.

Watermelon Mango Smoothie
Yield: 30 oz. / 2 (15 oz.) servings or 3 (10 oz.) servings

INGREDIENTS
• 2 1/2 cups watermelon chunks
• 3/4 cup pure unsweetened coconut water
• 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
• 1 frozen banana, chopped
• Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 small lemon
• 1-2 tsp raw coconut nectar, or to taste (optional - I used 2 tsp & it was really sweet)
• Watermelon wedge, to garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

"I love, because my love is not dependent on the object of love. My love is dependent on my state of being. So whether the other person changes, becomes different, friend turns into a foe, does not matter, because my love was never dependent on the other person. My love is my state of being. I simply love." Osho

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