Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This is the full, unedited version of a recipe post I wrote for MindBodyGreen:

I am generally not a big fan of drinking my calories with the following three exceptions:
  1. As a post-workout recovery shake after a high intensity workout
  2. As an occasional meal replacement for convenience sake
  3. Drinking some nice wine or even tequila while socializing 
For the first two exceptions, I’ve devised a Paleo-friendly smoothie that is brimming with nutrition from healthy fats, probiotics, omega-3s, complete protein, natural electrolytes, antioxidants, fiber and a minimal amount of low glycemic carbohydrates. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? 

Let me first give you the recipe and then I’ll explain why I’ve selected each of the ingredients and also some vegan alternatives. 

120mL (1/2 cup) of organic coconut water
120mL (1/2 cup) of goat milk kefir
70g (1/2 cup) of frozen organic blueberries
1 whole pastured raw egg
1 scoop (23g) of grass-fed unflavored natural whey protein
1 tbsp (15g) of Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil
2 tsp (10g) of raw organic cocoa powder
1 scoop (7g) of collagen powder type 1 & 3 (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for around 10-15 seconds. Add some water if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Nutrition Numbers:
462 calories
30g protein
30g fat
18g carb

270 cal from fat (58%)
120 cal from protein (26%)
72 cal from carbs (16%)

Nutrition rationale:
I believe that healthy fats from whole foods are the optimal source of nutrition for humans. Our requirement for protein is often overstated and our body is incredibly capable at self-regulating protein consumption according to our need for it. Carbohydrates play a role in human nutrition but are generally grossly over-consumed in our modern society and we require far less than conventional wisdom would have you believe.

For this reason almost 60 per cent of the nutrition from this super smoothie consists of healthy fats from kefir, MCT oil, raw egg yolk and cocoa powder. 

Protein is important for satiety and also for post workout recovery, which is why I incorporate a high quality natural grass-fed whey protein. 

Let’s look in detail at each ingredient, and some vegetarian/vegan alternatives. 

Coconut water is an excellent source of five electrolytes - potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium and phosphorus. It is relatively low in fructose and half a cup contains less than six grams of sugar. It also tastes great and adds some sweetness. 

Alternatives - unsweetened almond milk or water

Kefir is a form of fermented dairy. It is a very rich source of probiotics and live cultures, containing over 20 billion per serve. Goat milk is preferable to cows milk as it tends to be less allergenic, more easily digested and is generally well tolerated. Goat milk is more nutritious than cow milk in many ways - with twice the short chain fatty acids and the highest level of L-glutamine of any dairy.

Alternatives - greek style cow milk kefir, coconut kefir, coconut cream or coconut milk

Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants. They are also fibrous and relatively low in fructose and total sugar. Frozen blueberries are more convenient than fresh ones and add a nice chill to the smoothie. Always opt for organic berries if you can. 

Alternatives - fresh blueberries, fresh or frozen raspberries

Egg yolks are one of the most nutrient dense foods available. The big caveat to this is that the quality of store bought eggs varies greatly and is often poor. Your best option is to find a local farmer (at a farmers’ market) who raises pastured happy hens or even better, raise your own! Healthy pastured eggs are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, D, and E, omega-3 and iodine. 

Alternative - half a small avocado

Whey protein is considered the most complete and most efficient source of supplemental protein. Once again quality is the key here. The whey protein should be grass-fed, ensuring that it is rBGH, antibiotic and pesticide free. It should be 100 per cent whey protein from milk, not cheese bi-products, with no additional ingredients such as sweeteners or flavoring.

Alternatives - hemp protein or another high quality vegan protein alternative

Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a unique source of fat because they are burned almost immediately for instant energy and are not easily stored as fat. You can think of MCT oil as a more concentrated form of coconut oil, which acts like rocket fuel for your body. Other cited benefits of MCT include improved fat metabolism, blood sugar regulation and brain function, by enhancing ketone production. 

Alternative - organic extra virgin coconut oil

Raw cocoa powder contains healthy fats, polyphenols and magnesium, and has been shown to reduce blood pressure. It also adds a great flavor and texture to the smoothie without adding any sugar.

Collagen is a vital nutrient that is lacking in most modern diets. Collagen protein is crucial to tissue repair, bone renewal and recovery after exercise or surgery. It is also vital to our skin and joints and can help to prevent premature aging. If you are vegetarian or vegan feel free to omit this supplement from your smoothie. 

This smoothie is an energy and nutrient dense meal. At just 16 per cent carbohydrate by calories it is very low carb and will provide sustained energy for several hours. It is incredibly satiating. If you find this recipe too “grown up” (not sweet enough) you could potentially add some Stevia, some more coconut water or half a banana if you require additional carbohydrates. 

With a bit of tinkering and substitutions this Power Smoothie can be a valuable addition to any diet from low carb Paleo to raw vegan. I hope you give it a try! 

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1 comment:

  1. This Low Carb High Fat Paleo Super Smoothie is such a power-packed drink that I can drink after my workouts. Thanks for this! Recently, I just finished the 3 Day Military Diet and lost 7 pounds. I’m excited to try this Smoothie during my “off” days with the diet. I do the diet for 3 days and “rest” for 4 days. I’ve heard so much about MCT oil and can’t wait to try it on this drink. If ever you want to make a review and take a look at the military diet, here’s a good resource page. As one of your readers, I’m looking forward to another great article and hope this helps http://3daysmilitarydiet.com/results-reviews/3-day-military-diet-reviews.html