Anatomy of a Power Smoothie

by Gena on February 26, 2011

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Glad you liked the Mexican “rice!” I was happy to hear how many of you are already fans of cauliflower and jicama rice dishes. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section of that post—I always love hearing what you guys like to make at home.

So as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, the theme of the next few weeks (months, years?) is going to be power foods. Typically in raw circles, expressions like “power food” refer to Himalayan berries and maca powder and deep sea algae. What I mean by it is pretty simple: foods that are nutrient dense, easy to assimilate, and that give me a boost of energy and focus. Per this post, those foods can be as straightforward and everyday as kale or winter squash. Lately, my superfoods of choice have included all of the original ten I mentioned in my “super foods” post, but the focus has been on dark leafy greens, hemp, chia, and nutritional yeast. Oftentimes, I find myself blending all or a few of those into a killer morning smoothie.

Take this one, for example. Here’s the recipe:

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Choosing Raw Power Smoothie (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Serves 1

1 large frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango (OK, full disclosure: I’m really not a mango fan. But that’s the only frozen fruit you can find at Gristede’s at 7 am on a Saturday. I think pears or berries would be great here, too)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 cup almond milk (maybe slightly less, if you have a high speed blender)
5 large romaine leaves (my new favorite way to cozy up to green smoothies!)

Place all ingredients in a blender, blend, and serve.

Let’s step back for a second to analyze the ingredients, and what makes them so powerful. Our hemp and chia seeds give us Omega 3 and 5 fatty acids, complete protein, fiber, and calcium:

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Mango and banana load us up with vitamins B-2 and C, fresh enzymes, potassium, and magnesium:

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While the romaine is responsible for vitamins C, A, K, and folate.

Rounded out with the almond milk, this is a seriously nutritious breakfast.

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And if it wasn’t power-ful enough, I sprinkled it with some dulse flakes. I love these in many ways—on salads, in soups, basically anytime I’d want salt—but I find their saltiness to be particularly fun on top of sweet smoothies. And we all need our iodine!

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A powerful way to start the day.

What’s your favorite power breakfast? What makes it powerful, anyway? Tell me your ingredients!

xo

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Evan Thomas February 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm

After my first taste of chia was less than tasty I never would have expected myself liking it. But now I’m out and frantically waiting for a new bag to come in the mail. Those little seeds are powerfully addicting!

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VeggieGirl February 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Powerful and DELICIOUS!!

My power breakfast has chia seeds.

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Freya February 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm

That recipe is basically the exact kinda smoothie I make all the time – I LOVE that blend! Green smoothies are the best :) But adding the saltiness on top – clever! I want to try that now :D

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Michelle vogiyogi February 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I love green smoothies and have one every day! But I love how you served it in a bowl! I like how eating it with a spoon encourages the mindful slow eating… especially in the morning! Thanks for the idea!:)

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Hannah February 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I just had my morning smoothie with banana, blueberries, collard greens, and zucchini. And I’m going to go for some of your hemp-chia pudding (whipped it up last night) for a snack a little later :)

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Gina February 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

My power breakfast is anything topped with banana soft-serve! (waffles, oatmeal) I mix vanilla protein powder in with the banana soft-serve and its heavenly! Also, filling :)

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Amy February 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I am trying to have green smoothies every day for breakfast. I’m looking forward to adding this into my rotation. I just bought chia seeds and haven’t tried them yet, but am looking forward to trying them instead of only flax seeds.

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Ricki February 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Like you, I tend to go for chia seeds, nutrient-dense greens and healthy fruits in my smoothies–a favorite way to ingest a lot of nutrients in one delicious place. I just made what I called a Carrot Cake Smoothie with greens, carrot, pineapple and protein powder (plus a few other things) that kept me feeling full and happy until mid-afternoon. I also love salads that include a bunch of veggies, nuts, seeds and/or legumes. And, of course, raw collard wraps with hummus or other fillings and shredded veggies are one of the best ways to eat power foods!

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm

That sure is packing a punch! I love smoothies because you can pack so many nutrients into one drink!

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Anon February 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I love how thick your smoothies are. I worry I should eat grains or something in the morning; but smoothies seem comforting (?) or easily digestible to me, maybe.
I had 1 cup full of blueberries today and that doesn’t ring right with me. I worry that a full banana and more berries is way too much fruit. (I eat alot of fruit during the day anyway; and at least half of an avocado – which is a fruit). I have protein powder in mine though. I wish I could make them thicker like that and easily digestible without the gums stuff. I also need to find a way to add calories so I can have a bigger breakfast Without disrupting digestion. Thats my trouble: I want to bulk up the cals to gain weight – but every time I add it triggers my tummy. I can’t win :(
I used to use chia seeds and hemp seeds, but not anymore. I question all these superfoods and their expensive and so tiny; but I am not vegan either and adhere to a different kind of regimen altogether I guess!

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Jennifer and Jaclyn @ sketch-free vegan February 26, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Never thought of adding dulse on top! I love sweet and salty together so I think that would taste pretty good…I made a green smoothie w/ hemp powder, spinach, grapefruit and frozen cherries this morning. My fav combo!

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Ela February 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I love that you distinguish between ‘fancy’ superfoods and all the easily available ones that are still super. Love the pudding-smoothie in a bowl and the dulse flakes topping.

Berries are superfoods to me and I love blueberries in smoothies. Chia/flax are a good thing, but lately I’ve been experimenting with lowering PUFA consumption and for that gel effect I _love_ irish moss in smoothies. I’m also a fan of algae–both spirulina and chlorella–and of maca. The algae I consider whole foods, and I actually like the taste. Something coconut is an essential for me too: coconut products have made a huge difference in my general well-being over the years. I tend to make coconut milk rather than almond milk, and add a bit of coconut oil too.

Thanks again for your comment on my raw/cooked post: there’s so much more that’s come up that I’m preparing a followup post to it, should go up today.
cheers,
Ela

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Smoothies are my favorite! My morning usually go a little like this:

Apple, cucumber, kale, and lemon green smoothie.

A bit of grapefruit.

And finished off with what I like to call a Cookie Dough Bowl: one scoop Vega Sport Performance Protein in vanilla for protein and sweetness, one tablespoon chia seeds + one tablespoon ground flax for protein and healthy fats, one teaspoon raw maca for its aphrodesiac properties and energy boost, and one tablespoon carob and cacao nibs for fun:) (optional). I mix it with half to three quarters cup water (enough to make it stirrable, but not liquidy) and then leave in the fridge for at least half an hour (usually overnight).

In the morning, I add a half cup of sprouted or cooked quinoa/buckwheat/amaranth. Then I top with berries for antioxidants and vitamins, and shredded coconut for taste and healthy fats! Sometimes I also top with cacao nibs!

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Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama February 26, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I am officially inspired. Smoothies are the perfect way to get a ton of nutrition in one glass. I need to take advantage of that more.

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emma @ emmakgray.blogspot.com February 26, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I love chia seeds in my smoothie! I’ve also started adding green matcha to my smoothies and I have soo much more energy in my day!
Love your blog, great info!!!

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Kelsey @ Unmitigated Grub February 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

This looks so clean and delicious!

I just posted about my power breakfast today and it was protein-packed peanut butter banana pancakes with peanut flour, chia seeds, and hemp (although usually I just go for overnight oats with some combo of flax, hemp, and/or chia seeds).

I would love to start incorporating more greens into my morning eats, though, and I think a smoothie/pudding would be a great way to start. (Note to self: GET A BLENDER!!)

P.S. I loved the discussion you ignited this past week about veganism/relationships. It really made me think, so thanks! :)

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm

My fave power breakfast is really hot coffee :)

Kidding. But I do love coffee.

For me, any time I can incorporate carbs + protein + fat, it’s a power breakfast. I have a microwave banana oat cake (and various themes to it, i.e. adding blueberries and fruit) and that combines everything I need when I slather the top of it with coconut butter or PB.

I don’t “love” smoothies as much as food that I can chew so I gravitate more toward “Chew” and less toward “slurp”…but when I do make smoothies, chia seeds and/or hemp seeds usually go in mine, too.

Love the recipe, mmmm, I feel power coming on already!

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Kristen's Raw February 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Lol on the coffee. ;)

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Clare @ Fitting It All In February 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm

My standard weekday breakfast is oats with cinnamon and chia seeds, topped with banana and sunflower seed butter. The oats are whole grains, cinnamon helps with blood pressure and blood sugar, and the chia seeds add omega 3s and protein. The banana has tons of potassium and natural sugars for sweetness and the sunflower seed butter has healthy fats! Perfect!

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Jessica February 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm

My favorite breakfast over this winter was quinoa porridge or oatmeal. As for the power part, I like using black strap molasses for iron and calcium and a touch of virgin coconut oil for some healthy fat and a little extra yummyness. Add a handful of walnuts on top and I’m good to go!

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Nae76 February 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Is there a substitute for hemp seeds? I dislike them. :o(

Me

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melissa February 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

i wanted you to know that i finally got a packet of vanilla chai vega food optimizer powder. holy whoa! so yummy! i added a couple chunks of crystallized ginger to the mix for some zing. def gonna be a treat as it’s quite pricey for a tub! i usually stick to my jarrow hemp protein for smoothies. guess what’s also back…your version of the mint-avocado smoothie from ani. i swear it tastes like the shamrock shake. tis the season!

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Namaste Gurl February 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Yum- your power smoothie looks delicious! I just picked up a thing of hemp seeds from my local health food stores bulk, due to being inspired by you :) YOu can never get enough omega 3s, protein, fiber and amino acids, can you? :)

My ultimate, ideal power- super food smoothie would contain blueberries, coconut, flax, chia seeds, avocado and cocoa :)

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Hannah February 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Right now I’m obsessed with my “charcoal smoothies” (they’re grey, obviously :P) with are frozen banana, frozen blueberries, a salad mix that has raddichio, milk/water, chia, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and agave. I’m absolutely going to try and track down dulse flakes now!

P.S. Thank you for highlighting the fact that super/power foods aren’t just the uber-expensive, hard-to-track down items so many people herald. Half of such fancypants ingredients I can’t even find in Australia! (Hemp here is classified as pet food, for example!)

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Ian February 26, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I put chopped spinach and almonds into my oatmeal/warm grain cereal of choice each morning!

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Tawney February 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I start every morning with a smoothie. Favorites lately:
- frozen banana, hemp protein, chlorella and spinach
- frozen banana, chocolate Vega, frozen blueberries

I have skipped out on the spinach lately because the organic was rather expensive. I miss it! I tried kale instead, and although I love kale (especially cheezy natcho kale chips…) it didn’t wow me in the smoothie. How does romaine lettuce stack up nutritionally compared to spinach?

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BakeMe February 27, 2011 at 12:22 am

Your blender is amazing! I love how creamy your drinks look. Mine still comes out a bit “chunkier” than I’d like and makes it harder to down the greens at times…

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bitt February 27, 2011 at 1:42 am

yikes my other comment gotten eaten.

it’s been too cold here for smoothies! I have been having chia puddings and green juices instead. I am with you on the mango. I’d rather have berries too.

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Lisa February 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

Definitely…have my smoothies out of a bowl.

I make all kinds and add lots of chia, hemp, maca, sun warrior…etc.

Lately, romaine, spinach, water, cacao, maca, sun warrior and stevia. Blended totally smooth, I swear it’s like a chocolate milkshake!

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A Tablespoon of Liz February 27, 2011 at 10:05 am

yum, this looks so good! I’ve put greens in smoothies before, but never lettuce. I’ll have to try it out!

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Meagan February 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Awesome. The other day I made an oatmeal, banana, pineapple, almond milk, and flax seed smoothie that was quite lovely (totally craving the sweets). As I looked through my cupboards this morning, I wondered if chia seeds would work in that too. And now I know! My favorite breakfast smoothie is banana, mango, OJ (or fruit herbal tea if I’m being good), and tons of spinach. Yummo. I’m definitely going to have to try your recipe for a nice mix of two of my favorites!

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Christine (The Raw Project) February 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Smoothies are my favorite power breakfasts too and I try to alternate the veggies, protein powders, seeds and fruits I add to them for well-rounded nutrients. Lately I’ve been enjoying Vega Whole Health Optimizer in my smoothies for a super nutrient boost and mix of vegan protein powders, it’s been perfect for my intense half-marathon training and has had a noticeable improvement on my energy and recovery after long runs.

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Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) February 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

A post after my own heart!

Here’s my morning formula:
1 frozen banana
1 pear or 1 apple or a big handful of grapes or mango or berries
1 tbsp ground flaxseed or chia
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
then any or all of the following: celery, cucumber, romaine lettuce, fresh or frozen kale, fresh or frozen spinach, carrot, and/or alfalfa sprouts
6 ice cubes

it can be more sweet with the addition of one large date or less sweet with the use of less banana and other fruit

Gena-I like your addition of hemp seeds. I’ve only bought two small bags at Whole Foods because they are soooo expensive. Do you know of a cheaper source of them?

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GirlonRaw February 27, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Nice one, especially love the idea of salty dulse flakes on top of your sweet as smoothie in a bowl. Totally have to try it.

My breakfast of champions and perfect for an expectant mum like me who needs to ensure enough iron at the moment is a protein and iron packed smoothie of
2 frozen bananas
1 cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen) – Vit C to help body absorb the iron in the hemp
1 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of packed spinach (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup of hemp seeds (mine are hulled)
3 cups of water

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melissa February 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Looks like a delicious breakfast bowl. I must admit, dulse makes me gag, but everything else sounds powerfully good.

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Allie February 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm

A couple of bananas and some flax oatmeal OR a green smoothie with 2 bananas, matcha, TONS of greens, ice, blueberries and a teaspoon of cinnamon. The cinnamon makes all the difference.

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Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day February 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Wow.. dulse flakes in a smoothie? I’m not sure I’d be that brave. haha!

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Christin@purplebirdblog February 28, 2011 at 1:53 am

My favorite power breakfasts always have peanut butter… love that staying power from the healthy fats!

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Kathryn February 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm

SPROUTS! Those are my new power food. I love sprouted buckwheat with chopped banana and almond milk. I also put whatever kind of sprout is haning out in the fridge into my smoothies. I’m totally sprout obsessed right now.

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Magda February 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm

wow, this is almost exactly the same as my morning smoothie except that I sub spinach or kale for the romaine and I add vanilla. Sometimes I also add lucuma or sub blueberries for the mango. I think it is so cool that our smoothies are so similar… guess great minds think alike!

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Diana (Soap & Chocolate) March 4, 2011 at 10:54 am

I’m behind, as usual. But better late than never. Work is super busy this season and now I’m teaching in much of my spare time, so I thought I’d pop in to say that I appreciate the smoothie recipe! I teach a 9am Zumba class Saturday mornings and while I can’t dance full-out w/o fueling up somehwat, I’ll be damned if I’m going to eat a whole breakfast beforehand and teach carrying a food baby. Enter the smoothie. A nice nutrient-dense smoothie goes down quick, so I don’t have to wake up super early to prep and digest, and I get the energy I need double quick. I’ll add your recipe into rotation. :)

xoxo

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Karen March 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Gena..you’ve done it again! This may not look so appetizing but it is delicious! I almost feel like I’m eating icecream and I like my sweets (understatement). Thank you for helping me to change my eating habits one recipe and one weekend at a time. I’m off to find another one of your hummus recipes. I adored the sweet potato hummus and am tempted to just make that again but I want to extend my recipe base. Karen

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leslie March 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm

This is very similar to my favorite morning smoothie- I love a banana, almond milk, spinach, chia, flax seeds, nooch, and some berries. Yum yum!

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Mary L. March 29, 2011 at 10:03 am

I get a produce box and often have more lettuce than I can go through (I may be vegan, but I’m not a huge fan of salads.)

What a great idea to blend the lettuce!

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