Tag Archives: banana

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Okay, I know this is a stretch for the prompt. It is suppose to be something grey, which is actually pretty hard to make. I guess I could make biscuits and gravy, but that’s a regional meal that have never looked appetizing to me. But the prompt made me think right away when I worked at Animo. The owner Joe, would get there pretty early, around 5 or 6, with a 30 minute drive. So he usually asked one of the workers to make his morning smoothie.

Well, since he owned the shop, he went NUTS on the add ons. One day we figured out the price of his smoothie, and I think ended up being something like $16 smoothie. So what was in it? I remember it being something like a cup of unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of spiru-tein, spirulina, an acai puree packet, a banana, fresh strawberries, and sprouted flax seed. I kid you not when I say the drink was cement grey. But as you can see- there are lots of expensive ingredients!

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My drink is still pretty intense, but not as pricey. I have pumped it with lots of awesome foods that are perfect for any pregnant lady. For starters I have a soy milk base that is high in protein, but is fortified in lots of goodies. I am getting most of my calcium from the milk, and sure it is fortified, but cow’s milk sold for humans has been fortified with vitamins and minerals as well (particularly skim milk). I have also found that soy milks are now often fortified with B12, which is a nice add on. And if anyone is wondering why calcium is such a big deal, it is pretty much the only thing that a baby “leeches” from the body. A good diet while pregnant is always strongly encouraged because what you eat makes a different of what the baby eats. If you don’t eat much vitamin K, the baby isn’t going to take if from your body. For some reason calcium is different. Technically pregnant women don’t require more calcium, but if you aren’t hitting your daily requirements, you might want to start focusing on your intake.

Then we have the more “supplemented” foods that I add in- spirulina and DHA omega-3s. Many studies show that DHA helps with brain development with children, and that is partly why you have so many people saying to eat fish while pregnant. But vegans can cut out the middle man and just jump to the direct source of DHA- algae! I toss in 10 drops of Deva’s DHA liquid vitamins. To be perfectly clear, we as humans make our own DHA. Some people speculate that it is possible that humans can’t produce enough DHA during certain times, like if you are sick or pregnant. So I take the better safe than sorry approach. You can easily leave out this ingredient.

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If you have read my spirulina page, you will know that algae is really high in iron. This is perfect for a pregnant lady who needs a whopping 27mg of iron! To put that into perspective, most women who haven’t gone through menopause need 18mg, and most everyone else needs only about 10mg or less. So it is helpful to pack a big punch in one food source. One teaspoon of spirulina powder gives 7mg of iron!

Where else am I getting the iron? Well, chocolate! Yes, chocolate has lots of iron in it, but it often isn’t talked about because we normally make desserts with chocolates. This smoothie doesn’t have much added sugar or fats, so it is a healthy way to eat lots of cocoa. I like to use a mix of cocoa- one tablespoon of normal cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons of special dark chocolate. The special dark helps keep a “chocolate” color next to the greens, but it usually has higher levels of iron than regular cocoa. So that adds 4mg of iron. What’s next? Greens! I switch the greens I add to my smoothie according to what looks good at the store. Sometimes chard, sometimes collards, sometimes kale. Whatever really. That will usually add about 1-3mg of iron.

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Now this shake isn’t the only way to add lots of iron to your diet. The Full Helping has a great page devoted to the specifics of iron intake, and great combos to build up your iron intake. I strongly recommend checking that out if this is something that concerns you. Keep in mind that many pregnant women, vegan or not have problem with low iron levels. Between my two blood work tests, I have never been told I test for low iron levels. I think I have this shake to thank.

So what’s the nutrition? Well, funny thing is that keep forgetting that I am pregnant, so I added some nutritional facts on the blog earlier for Vegan MOFO, and the percentages are wrong since they are calibrated for my pregnancy needs. Oops. But I will keep that since I am promoting this drink as one perfect for pregnancy! Quick macros- 47 grams of carbs (14 grams fiber, half of the daily requirements), 10 grams fat (100% omega-3, not including the DHA supplements), and 17 grams of protein (almost 30 grams if you add two tablespoons protein powder). I left the screen capped specs below, and take note that the percentages are for a 9 month pregnant lady, so if you are an average woman, you are probably getting most of your iron from this shake (the suggested for women ages 18-40 is only 18mg, everyone else needs about 8-10mg)

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superduper0

I am not a huge Saint Patricks day fan. I think it is because I lived in Center City Philadelphia for four years. The entire week of Saint Patricks Day was a big party. It was quite annoying going to class and seeing people stumble out of bars at 10 in the morning. Some years it seemed like it was a two week party marathon, depending on which day of the week Saint Patricks Day landed on.

I know live in a walking distance of about 5 bars (I live between two dry towns, if that explains it) but it seems like we can be pretty secluded from the holiday. Because of that, I am finding myself starting to warm up to the holiday. Well, up until I got stuck in traffic on route 76 due to the Saint Patricks Day parade yesterday. Ugh!

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Truthfully there is nothing special about this smoothie. I am not 100% being modest, this is just my typical morning shake. It is pretty much the same shake I have before running or starting me day. Sure I make modifications here and there like swapping out water for a milk or blending in an orange over a banana. I am so unfazed by this green drink that when asked by guest what I’m drinking, I just say it is a smoothie. But I love this shake. It gives me just the right amount of energy to run, but not be too filling that I feel like I’ll need to hurl.

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Since I have “perfected” this shake I figured I would share it in honor of Saint Patricks Day. Okay I am a little late, but I’m a rebel like that. I tend to not to follow holiday standards for food. I am actually confused half the time what people serve for some holidays. Like what do people serve for Easter aside from ham? What is a classic Easter dessert? As a kid that answer would be jelly beans and chocolate.

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What I love about this smoothie is how much nutrition is packed in here. It counts at around 250 calories per drink, and if you need more calories you can use a milk instead of water, or you can add some protein powder. The shake I made in the photograph actually has some hemp protein powder in it, making it even more green. I like to use whichever greens I have on hand, lettuce, chard, kale, collard green, spinach, whatever. It is particularly handy during the summer when it is a mystery what I will get from my CSA. Depending on your green you can get anywhere from 9-15% calcium and 17-25% iron! 

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chocobananatrail

I had this recipe sitting in the drafts section for a few months now… 7 months to be exact. Which is a shame because these are great cookies to make with non-vegan friends. It calls for almost all “normal” ingredients. Meaning there isn’t any fake butter, or things you wouldn’t find in the pantry. There is technically 2 tbsp of soy milk, but you can sub it for water. And there is flax and chia seeds, but you can take them out, you’ll just have a more tender cookie.

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We make a drink at work called “The MD.” It’s high in vitamin C and contains spirulina to help boost the immune system. Of course, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “What is Spirulina?” Usually, I give a vague answer. It is a blue-green algae that is chock full of vitamins and nutrients. Aside from that, I really don’t know where to start. It is like trying to explain why spinach is good for you; sure it is high in iron, but there are many other reasons to eat it. (Spirulina is actually more nutritious than Spinach anyway.) So much it would be pretty silly to just belt out all of its vitamins.  So I’ve decided to break it all down here.

Hi, there! We are spirulina!

Hi, there! We are spirulina!

What the heck is Spirulina

Spirulina is a “sea vegetable,” a popular term to make algae and seaweed seem less “freaky.” Spirulina comes from the Arthrospira genus, one of the earliest living organisms to grow on earth. Although there are many different species, the ones cultivated for food are Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima. It was previously thought that Spirulina was part of the Spirulina genus, due to the similarity of the shape. Dispite the change of genus, the name sticks when it comes to its common name. The name Spirulina derives from the spiral shape of the organism when viewed under a microscope. Spirulina’s native romping grounds are Africa, Asia, Central and South America.

Spirulina’s taste can be difficult for people to articulate. Some people love the strong taste, me being one of them. And some people find it overwhelming. It can be pretty hard to eat more than one teaspoon to a tablespoon in one sitting. But keep in mind, one brand of spirulina tastes different from another. Think of it like any form of produce, it will taste different depending on the conditions it needs to grow in.

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