This smoothie was part of our Max Challenge and was one of the favorites. The combination of savory almond butter and coconut oil with sweet fruit and a little cinnamon and maple syrup worked very well with the natural vanilla/berry flavor of Maximum Vibrance.
Why is this smoothie so great? Well, for starters it's a filling meal replacement if you're looking for that sort of thing. You could put a full 2 scoops of Max in here, but we chose to do only 1 because we all agreed that was enough to fill us up and also, because we wanted all the flavors to be present. Maximum Vibance contains 80 plants, an organic plant-based multi-vitamin, package, 25 billion probiotics, 23 g plant protein, and much more!
Let's highlight some huge benfits of the two main savory/sweet components:
Almond Butter: This ingredient is loved for its potential heart benefits. Almond butter contains monounsaturated fats, which are the types of fat that reduce cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart ailments. By lowering cholesterol it has also helped in lowering blood pressure. These two go hand in hand because when cholesterol accumulates in the blood vessels of the body it makes it difficult for blood to flow freely, which slows down blood flow and can lead to high blood pressure. Almond butter is also naturally sweet but doesn't affect blood sugar levels negatively. In other words, it won't give you that "spike" and crash. It's also a great antioxidant source containing Vitamin E and flavonoids. Since nuts like almonds are high in calories those trying to lose weight don't typically think to include them in their diets. Contrary to that thought process, almonds are rich in protein, fiber, and those monounsaturated fats so they are filling and can actually help in weight loss.
Maple Syrup: So you hear maple syrup and think of a huge pile of pancakes and so much sugar and calories, right? No, that's wrong! Well, not that you're wrong to think about those things (pancakes are delicious), but you should reassess your feelings on maple syrup. It can boost your immune system, age-proof your skin, calm an upset stomach, and more. Now, just so we're clear: I'm talking real maple syrup – not that "pancake syrup" they sell alongside it that contains corn syrup. Pure maple syrup should be the ONLY ingredient. The pure stuff is loaded with polyphenols – those plant-based antioxidant compounds we're always talking about – which help to scavenge free radicals and environmental damages in our bodies. You could even use maple syrup as part of a natural face wash! Next time you bake something (or make a smoothie!) try swapping sugar for maple syrup as it's less likely to cause indigestion, gas, and bloating. It's what I would call a "good sugar," but of course it's still a sugar so don't guzzle it or anything.
The other ingredients like coconut oil, raspberries, and cinnamon we all kind of naturally know are good for us. But, what I really want to show you with this week's smoothie is that just because something contains fat & sugar, does not make it bad. Maple syrup even contains essential nutrients zinc and manganese which can help protect us against colds & flus.
Not getting enough GOOD FATS in our diets is more common thank you think and can actually be the reason why some people struggle to lose weight. Vitamins A, D, E, & K are fat soluble vitamins, which means they need to dissolve in fat before they can be carried through the bloodstream to perform their functions. Fats also help in maintaining body heat and giving needed padding for internal organs. Good fats are monounsaturated (almond butter, remember?) and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6's). Omega-3 fats help in fighting inflammation necessary for weight loss and are necessary for healthy brain function. I like to think of fats as the lube or oil that keep everything moving properly and shining healthily.
BAD FATS – think processed foods – are trans fats. Try to avoid these like the plague. In the past you may have heard that saturated fats are the bad fats. However, new research shows that while the majority of them might not be ideal, we do need some saturated fat in our diets. When eaten in moderation, their benefits might be compared to that of unsaturated fats.
So how do you know if you're getting enough (good) fats in your diet?
If you're eating regularly but you are still hungry – you might not be getting enough fat.
If you have very dry skin and/or itchy flaky skin – you might not be getting enough fat.
If your body has trouble "picking a temperature" – you might not be getting enough fat.
If your menstrual cycle has stopped ladies, and you've ruled out other reasons – you might not be getting enough fat.
What about good sugars vs. bad sugars? When sugar comes from whole foods (like fruits and vegetables – or in this case maple syrup) it is acoompanied by vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar, moderating the effect on blood sugar. These are good sugars. When sugar is added to foods during processing, at the table, or cooking you are getting sugar without the vitamins & minerals – a.k.a. empty calories (think soda). These are bad sugars. We do require sugar in our diets. Think about it: we require fruits & vegetables for instance – which contain good sugars, so if sugar is a part of something we need then it must be important. Our primary source of energy is glucose, which we get naturally in our diets. Here's a tip: read your labels & if you see a lot of words ending in "-ose" those are added sugars – avoid them.
As well all have heard, moderation is key. But, how can we moderate if we don't fully understand what's good for us, what's bad, and most importantly: WHY?
Superfood month of April kicks off with this home run smoothie
1/2 cup Raspberries
1 tbsp Almond Butter
1 tsp coconut oil
Dash Maple Syrup
1 scoop Maximum Vibrance
Optional: Top with Goji Berries, Chia Seeds, Cacao & Lemon Wedge
Directions: Blend until smooth and enjoy
About the author: Kate Shanley is the Social Media Coordinator & Pet Health Consultant for Vibrant Health. She holds a B.S. in Animal Science and is also a board certified Holistic Health Coach, has a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University, and she's a dog trainer.