New Year New You

Superfood-y Smoothie Add-Ons

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By: Alicia Cesaro

You know that scene in What Happens in Vegas where Cameron Diaz has her smoothies in those to-go cups (complete with matching straws)? She basically epitomizes the whole Hollywood trope of a Type A, working woman who is just so busy (but cares about her health/girl's gotta eat). So like clockwork, every single morning, she fills her blender with the appropriate fruits and sprouts, blends, and is out the door with her liquid breakfast and the power walk (in 5-inch heels) to accompany it. Truthfully, we wish we could be a bit more like Cameron in the A.M. For us though, the weekday breakfast thing is firstly a struggle between actually avoiding the whole croissant and latte situation, and then having enough ingredients on hand to even throw in our Magic Bullet (that we wish was a Vitamix) in the first place. Most times we end up with almond milk, berries and a measly handful of spinach. And there's really no better time to least pack our first meal with as much of the good stuff (fibre, protein, vitamins) as we can before indulging later on. So we turned to McKel, the founder of Nutrition Stripped (and registered dietitian nutritionist), to fill us in on the ingredients we should be supplementing our drinks with. From the expected (spirulina) to the kind of unexpected (mushrooms?), keep these next to your blender and it'll make the decision between pain au chocolate and chocolate-banana-hemp-seed that much easier.

Spirulina

"Adding two tablespoons will give you about 8g of easy to digest and absorb protein, yet the kicker with spirulina is you kind of love it or hate it. It has a very unique flavor and some say it has a hint of vanilla or cocoa whereas others say it screams of the ocean floor! You be the judge, either way this one is always a go-to in my smoothies."

Hemp Seeds

"Two tablespoons of hemp seeds yield about 10g of protein along with healthy fats (mainly omega-3 fatty acids), fiber, vitamin E and they taste delicious. When blended they’ll add a slightly creamy consistency without altering the flavor too much and a mild nutty flavor."

Cinnamon  

"Nature's blood sugar stabilizer in a delicious flavor. Try adding a couple dashes to any smoothie especially those with a lot of carbohydrates to help balance your blood sugars. Cinnamon is very easy to use, so adjust to taste."

Chia & Flax Seeds

"Two tablespoons will give you about 5g of protein, fiber, and healthy fats (omega-3s specifically). Think of chia and flax seeds as being an internal 'broom' that helps keep our digestive systems happy and moving along!"

Tumeric 

"The queen spice and my holy grail in the spice rack! Turmeric is key to fighting inflammation and a little can go a long way. Try adding ¼ teaspoon of turmeric in your smoothie to start and gradually go to about ½ teaspoon—the more you put in the smoothie, the more you’ll taste the strong and bold flavor. Turmeric always goes really well with citrus."

Coconut

"Coconut water is a great way to add liquid to any smoothie, it naturally contains sugar so it’ll slightly sweeten the smoothie with small amounts of electrolytes. Coconut milk adds a creamy texture without altering the flavor too much, and also gives the smoothie a boost of healthy saturated fats."

Cayenne Pepper   

"Add a little warmth and kick to any smoothie whether it’s a green smoothie or a chocolate-based smoothie, just adding a couple dashes can help warm you from the inside and slightly raises your metabolism (but don’t add in loads of calories just because of cayenne’s metabolism boosting properties—it takes quite a bit to do that!)."

Medicinal Mushrooms 

"These are the big players here—they’re purposeful, they’re earthy, and go best with chocolate-based smoothies. They’ll pack nutrients that help fight inflammation and provide amazing antioxidants that keep your cells happy (especially during cold season). Start small with mushrooms, use about ¼ teaspoon daily and gradually build up. Reishi, Chaga and Ashwagandha (not a mushroom but a great herb powder to use) are my favorites."

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