The Benefits of Baobab, a Fruity Protein Smoothie + Review of Aduna Bars.

img_1319Baobab powder may be new to many of you. I’ve only recently begun using it in smoothies and on porridge and I really like it.

It has a mild, citrus almost sherbet taste and contains protein as well as calcium, iron, thiamin, vitamin C, fibre and potassium.

I use Aduna* brand as I like their ethos: they use vegan, organic ingredients and support small producers in Africa, many of them women (here’s a link to a good article in The Guardian about their business and the impact of growing baobab on local African economies).

I also use their moringa leaf powder which is a green herbal-tasting superfood, a bit like spinach, also with a high protein content, vitamins and minerals.

(My first order came with a personal handwritten thank you note and a couple of recipe cards, which was a nice touch).

(Coincidentally, after I had written and scheduled this post, I won a box of Aduna Moringa and Baobab bars! I have to say, the family love them. The 22 month old who won’t eat anything vaguely resembling a vegetable but loves all kinds of fruit gobbled up a Baobab bar. It has pineapple in and is very flavoursome with a strong citrus taste. I love the Moringa bars with their mango and slightly herbal flavour. They are both highly satisfying. My husband takes a Baobab bar with him on cycle rides). 

Ps Since this post was published I ordered some Aduna Cacao bars – they are lush! They have walnuts, cacao nibs and hibiscus in them and it’s a lovely fruity combination with a bit of a bite from the nuts ‘n’ nibs.

The bars are organic, vegan and gluten-free.

Fruity Protein Smoothie

img_2349This smoothie recipe is also vegan, gluten-free and organic.

If you have time, soak the oats and cashews for 15-20 minutes in the coconut water in the blender. This makes them more digestible.

The grapes and plum contain the anti-ageing reseveratrol, banana is a good source of potassium and energy, the oats and cashews have calming magnesium and the hemp seeds are a good source of protein and healthy omega oils.

Ingredients

Half a Banana

1 Plum

Handful Red Grapes (washed well, they are among the most sprayed crops in the world)

2 Heaped Tbsps Oats

Handful of Cashew pieces

1 Tbsp Baobab Powder*

2 Heaped Tbsps Hemp Seeds

Coconut Water – I used quite a lot this time as I wanted a thin smoothie.

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend well.

https://aduna.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Ellen’s Latex-free Super Berry Smoothie (Just Look at the Colour!)

img_2355Ellen is a writer, she is funny, talented, a new follower and she also happens to have an allergy which causes anaphylaxis. When she told me this, it was in the context of being unable to try most of my recipes and I assumed she meant she was allergic to nuts. I then proceeded to give her a list of potential substitutions. However, I got it very wrong, it seems that Ellen is fine with nuts but allergic to latex.

Now, I assumed that being allergic to latex meant you just had to avoid wearing rubber gloves, but no, it means avoiding a long list of fruits and vegetables too. I decided to set myself the challenge of coming up with a tasty, nutritious smoothie that Ellen could enjoy with complete peace of mind. She warned me how difficult she was to ‘cook’ for, but I pointed out that as I was a vegan, juicing, gluten-free raw foodie, I know how that is!

I had a couple of days to ponder this conundrum while Hurricane Fremily (aka my 2 toddler grandchildren) hit landfall, and I did a bit of research to make sure I understood the issues.

Latex allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in latex and can range from wheezing, itchy skin, hives to full-on anaphylaxic shock. Some people who have latex allergy may also have an allergic response to certain fruits including banana, cherries, plums, papaya, grapes, pineapple, avocado, chestnut, kiwi fruit, mango, passionfruit, fig, strawberry and soy.

Ellen seems ok with berries, oranges, lemons, melon (but not watermelon) and apples but she also can’t have squash, turnip, swede or broad beans due to a lifelong phobia! (Which I can totally understand as I have my parsnip phobia – shudders at the very word! See Pears But No More Parsnips: In Which I Confront My Parsnip Phobia! )

So there you have it, my challenge.

This is my first attempt. It’s an amazing colour! It’s a little tart, so if you want to add a little sweetness, add a medjool date, or reduce the amount of blackberries and add another apple. To ring the changes, you can substitute different berries, use coconut water or other nut milk, add oats to make it more substantial and alternate the superfood powders. I read that açaí is ok, but please do your own research. I understand lucuma has a latex sap when immature so I’m guessing that would best be avoided.

Purple berries contain powerful antioxidants which aid healthy ageing, memory, help prevent cancer and other diseases caused by inflammation. Hemp seeds have protein and healthy omega fats and are smooth and creamy to taste (see Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!) Cashews are a good source of magnesium, which helps keep us calm, is essential for good mental health and prevents muscle cramps (see Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough?). Apples are all-round good for us! They contain soluble fibre and are good for the lungs.

All ingredients are organic where possible, vegan and can be made gluten-free by substituting seeds or Horchata (aka Tiger Nut Milk) if you’re sure you’re not allergic.  Measurements approximate.

Ingredients

Large handful of Blackberries (I used frozen)

Handful of Blueberries

1 Sweet Apple, washed & chopped (peel on)

Heaped Tbsp Hemp Seeds*

Handful of Cashews

1 Tbsp Açaí Powder*

Generous glass of Homemade Almond Milk (click link to see how to make your own, it’s really easy).

 Blend until smooth, and may this gorgeous vibrant smoothie give you a bright start to your day!

(When I was looking for a video to accompany this smoothie recipe, I started typing ‘berry’ and it started coming up with Berry White songs which I found highly amusing and since his outfit matches the colour of the smoothie, I decided to go with it!)

*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Allergic To Latex? Foods And Products To Avoid

http://latexallergyresources.org/latex-cross-reactive-foods-fact-sheet

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Chia Cashew Smoothie

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After seemingly endless cycles of wind, rain, sleet, hail and snow on repeat, the sun came out of hibernation the morning I was having this for breakfast and I was able to sit out in the garden amongst the forget-me-nots, bluebells and tulips. I was joined by variously coloured butterflies and serenaded by a blackbird from the apple tree. So peaceful and so welcome.

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But on to the recipe.

I love cashews. They are delicately sweet, creamy and versatile. And they are good for you! Little parcels of protein, fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, copper, calcium, zinc, iron, selenium, potassium and healthy fats. (They contain the least amount of fat of all the nuts). They can be used in sweet or savoury dishes, whole or blended, or on their own toasted, salted or plain. A couple of handfuls of these tiny titans are also reputed to be as effective as 1 dose of prozac for its calming effects, they contain tryptophan, the precursor to seratonin, a feel-good chemical produced in our brains.

Chia seeds, too, have become a favourite: also versatile, they are a healthy addition to smoothies, breakfast porridge and desserts; mixed with water they can act as egg replacement in recipes and punch far beyond their size in nutrients. These tiny seeds provide high quality protein, fibre, antioxidants, healthy omega fats, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc.

They are usually best used pre-soaked to make them swell, however blended in a smoothie helps with this – they keep you fuller longer and help keep your digestive system moving. Some people like a spoonful of chia seeds soaked in a glass of water for 20-30 minutes with a squeeze of lime juice as a refreshing drink.

All ingredients are organic except the yogurt.

Ingredients

1 Small Ripe Banana

1 Small Handful Cashew Pieces

2 Tbsps Raw Hemp Seeds*

1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp Millet Flakes

Small Handful Blueberries

2 Medjool Dates, pitted

1 Small Glass Unsweetened Coconut Water

1 Tbsp CoYo Plain Yogurt

*

 Blend and serve.

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I was very tempted to add George Harrison’s ‘Here Comes the Sun’ but this You Tube video of Paul McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’ has stunning pictures of a garden blackbird accompanying it, it’s such a gentle song to accompany my peaceful breakfast, I couldn’t resist…

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Magnesium-Rich Hippy Hippy Shake

(It has hemp seeds in it – Hippy? Get it? 😉)

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This shake is like a medicine chest in a glass: rich in magnesium as well as calcium, potassium, omega oils, protein, vitamins and healthy bacteria. It tastes good too! 

Many people are very deficient in Magnesium, which can have serious effects on our bodies from insomnia to chronic fatigue, muscle cramps to migraines, palpitations to chronic inflammatory diseases. For more information on Magnesium Deficiency and Magnesium-rich Plant-based Foods, see my post Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough?

Coconut can help the body absorb Magnesium, Calcium and other Vitamins, thereby maintaining healthy teeth, as well as supporting thyroid function and speeding up the metabolism.

The cultured bacteria in live yogurts help balance the gut and intestinal micro-organisms to aid digestion and support the immune system.

All ingredients are Organic and Gluten-Free.

Ingredients

1 Small Ripe Banana

Handful of Blueberries

Handful of Cashews

1 Heaped Tbsp Gluten-Free Oats

Small to Medium Glass of Cashew Nut Milk (home-made if possible), depending how thick or thin you like it

1 Tbsp Coyo Coconut Yogurt

1 Tbsp Cashew Nut Butter 

1 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds

2 Tbsps Raw Organic Shelled Hemp Seeds*

Optional: 2 Probiotic Capsules* (I open them up and sprinkle them in)

Blend and add a few blueberries on top.

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com

*http://www.juicemaster.com

These 1960’s Hippies seem to like it and are still going great guns! Have fun!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Lemony Tiger Nut Truffles

Tiger nuts aren’t just tiny little balls of protein, they are also versatile in flour and milled form.* I decided to add some milled to these lemony truffles.

(While devising this recipe I found myself humming Mud’s Tiger Feet and discovered this youtube video of Mud live on ToTP 1974. It’s hilarious and can’t fail to make you smile! http://youtu.be/QZvPtzFyrSM)

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