Cacao Adaptogen Smoothie (Recipe)

colorful cacao pods
Cacao pods by Penn State

When I started my new job in the beginning of September, I also started working on an adaptogen drink that could help with a few goals: increase resilience to stress and anxiety, bolster immunity, and help with memory and cognition. The days are also starting to get much shorter here, and I’d like to get a jump on SAD1, which I have to some extent or another every year.

My new job is a similar role to the last job I had in Colorado, but this one is a bit more complicated and advanced. Last time I was in this role, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, and I got stuck in a rut of deep anxiety, overwhelming stress, and a ragged immune system. By the time I realized I needed to pay special attention to keeping myself sane/healthy, I was already so burnt out and anxious that it was hard to come back from – especially while I was still at that job! I ended up getting bronchitis in March (second year in a row), and managing my anxiety became my second full-time job.

Luckily, I had several months off between jobs (you know, moving) to recover and rest, and I knew what I was getting myself into this time (and this company has much more reasonable expectations and work-life balance). As I started this role, I wanted to take extra care, especially as I was changing sleep schedules and jumping into the new position just as the seasons were starting to change. Plus, the job also requires a good memory and a lot of analyzing and processing information at a pretty quick speed.

So! Cacao adaptogen smoothie was born.

Continue > “Cacao Adaptogen Smoothie (Recipe)”

Veggie Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie

Veggie Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie

As a night owl, my morning routine revolves around a pretty simple question: could I possibly skip _______ to get more sleep?

My mornings tend to include a lot of smoothies for breakfast. They’re quick, filling, and portable, which make them favorites in my book. Smoothies are also a great way to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat, while making them just a bit easier to digest by breaking down the cell walls before drinking them. My usual “recipe” includes about 50/50 frozen mixed berries and fresh or frozen spinach, unsweetened almond milk, collagen powder, cinnamon/cardamom/ ginger, and a bit of hemp seed.

This past week, though, I was at a bit of a loss. I wanted to keep up my smoothie routine but am also experiencing a flare up of my digestive pain. When that happens, I usually try to eat little to no raw fruits and vegetables to help make digestion a bit easier (among other strategies). But, I hit on what turned out to be a delicious idea: use my pre-made carrot-sweet potato-turmeric “baby food” as a base for a smoothie!

Back up – baby food? Yeah. Another habit I’ve developed when I experience digestive pain is making myself “vegetable purees” (which is pretty much just an adult way to say baby food) to supplement my meals. Essentially, I pressure cook vegetables until soft, then blend with a bit of collagen powder. (An entry with more details is coming…eventually.)

Anyway, this round I made a delicious carrot, sweet potato, and fresh turmeric puree that I’ve been eating with most of my meals. This morning, I used it for my smoothie – and it was delicious! Here is the (super simple!) recipe:

Veggie Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie

  • 1 cup chilled vegetable puree (mine is about 2/3 carrot, 1/3 sweet potato, 1″ fresh turmeric steamed and blended with water used for steaming)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (homemade or purchased)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Great Lakes collagen powder (like this*)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (also try cardamom, ginger, nutmeg…think fall spices)
  • Small pinch of black pepper (helps with absorption of turmeric)
  • Additional turmeric to taste (powdered form)
  1. Prepare and chill the vegetable puree prior to creating smoothie – the puree can keep in the fridge for several days, so feel free to make it ahead on a meal prep day. You could probably also freeze this puree and use a few cubes in each smoothie, if your blender can crush ice cubes.
    • To make the puree, clean and chop the veggies then pressure cook or steam them until quite soft, so that they are easy to blend. I like to cook them in the instant pot, then puree with an immersion blender right in the pot. Chill the puree in the fridge.
  2. When ready to make the smoothie, combine ingredients above in a blender (I use a NutriBullet*) and blend until smooth. Drink up!

Tips & Tricks

While I chose carrots specifically for how easy they are to digest, I can also imagine other vegetables being delicious in this as well – butternut or acorn squash come to mind! Beets may also be fun, but have an acquired “earthy” taste. This smoothie is a beautiful orange color as-is, but would also be fun with purple carrots.

Collagen powder is fantastic to help with digestive permeability and sensitivity, and has a reputation for helping heal inflammation in the digestive tract (among its other great qualities). Its also great for hair, nail, and skin health!

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb, and I try to sneak it into my diet whenever possible. Black pepper increases the bioavailability of the constituents (the “good stuff”) in turmeric, so always consume them together.

If you’re so inclined, you could also add a few capsules worth of probiotics (just pull apart the capsules and empty the contents in the blender) to the smoothie.

What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?

 

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