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!
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.
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.
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)
1Place all ingredients in the blender, preferably in the listed order. It will blend easiest this way. 2Blend on high until everything is smooth. 3Pour in a very large glass and enjoy right away. *Feel free to use ANY plant based milks. **I used two type of cocoa powder. Feel free to use whatever you want, including cacao powder, which actually has HIGHER levels of iron. ***Feel free to play around with the sweetener levels. I use stevia but started to switch to other options recently. You may want less sweetener if you are using sweetened milk.