Last week we were well into February there were was about a foot and a half of fresh snow in Vancouver. I shouldn't be craving smoothies this time of year but somehow all I could think about that morning was making a thick cold coffee and chocolatey flavoured smoothie.
Even in the warmer seasons, smoothies are not normally the type of breakfast I crave. These days however, my cravings are off the charts. Maybe because my body is still settling into the rhythm of regular monthly cycles or that my muscles have been so sore lately from changing up my workout routine. So in the spirit of intuitive eating and giving your body what it needs, I went into the kitchen to make myself that rich creamy smoothie I was dreaming of.
If you know me at all, you'd know that I am always looking for local and seasonal alternatives to foods that don't come from BC. While a chocolate smoothie made with cold coffee, coconut milk and avocado sounds so good I could easily have two, those ingredients are a far cry from local to me in Vancouver. So I thought this could be a great opportunity to come up with a superfood smoothie that satisfies the chocolate craving with ingredients mostly from this part of the world.
I was quite impressed by my efforts - if I didn't know this smoothie completely lacked cacao and cold coffee, I would have probably guessed I was drinking just that! Lately I have been trying to really cut back on my coffee intake; coffee in the morning is my vice! I've tried many replacements over the last year but the one that seems to best satisfy my craving and has worked perfectly blended into a Bulletproof-style drink has been a combination of dandelion and chicory root. I originally got the ideal to try making my Bulletproof coffee with dandelion and chicory from this post 'AIP "Bulletproof" Style Dandelion/Chicory Coffee' over at the Autoimmune Wellness Blog. My new routine is to steep my whole french press with this brew, use 3/4 for my blended morning drink and chill the rest for smoothies. This is also something I do with left over tea - nothing goes to waste in my kitchen! If you're curious about where I picked up the dandelion and chicory root, the chicory is from a local herbal dispensary and supplement shop in downtown Port Coquitlam called Poco Naturals. The brand of dandelion root I picked up was 'Dandy Blend' from Pomme Natural Market also in Port Coquitlam. Both of these items could be easily found online.
There are two things that make this smoothie so great, one of them is the Nuez Rose Almond Milk I used! While the rose flavour was subtle, it had just the sweetness and aromatic qualities that this smoothie needed to minimize the very earthy and bitter flavour of the 5 Mushroom Powder. Nuez Beverage Co. is a local business in the Vancouver area that makes organic, raw, cold pressed nut milks out of fair trade ingredients! Their products come frozen, meaning you have to simply blend them with hot water to reconstitute them into a milk. I think this is totally genius. Why? Well although you have to go through with the extra steps to prepare this product, this really cuts down on waste! In each bag of Nuez milks, you get two packages that you can open and prepare when ready. Mind you...with such decadent flavours like Rose, Lavender, Date, Honey Vanilla and Cacao, it is doubtful that any of these delicious quality milks would go wasted anyway.
The second thing that has got me excited about this smoothie, has everything to do with mushrooms! In this part of North America we are fortunate to live in the ideal climate for the growth of a wide variety of edible and medicinal mushrooms. They are a resourceful and resilient form of life, as they can grow and thrive off of dead organic matter from other plants and animals. Their decomposition recycles valuable carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere, remineralizing the soil and improving the soils moisture holding capacity and aeration.
Okay...mushrooms in nature are clearly quite beneficial for the ecosystem and the atmosphere, how about people? Well indeed they are! Mushrooms offer an impressive array of nutritional and therapeutic qualities for humans. Everything from immune system supporting, adrenal and liver loving, nervous system calming, cardiovascular and blood sugar regulating - these locally foraged and harvested superfoods provide so much benefit to our health.
In this smoothie I used a teaspoon of Harmonic Arts Dual Extracted 5 Mushroom Powder, which has a blend of Reishi, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Chaga and Lions Mane. I love supporting Harmonic Arts because they are also a local business run by two herbalists Angela and Yarrow WIllard and based out of the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. They source their products from organic, sustainable, local or wild-foraged when possible and are mindful to create quality low-impact herbal goods. The dual extraction process is also key when buying mushrooms for therapeutic use, because it involves a combination of water and alcohol extraction. The major active constituent in all medicinal mushrooms is called Beta-D-Glucans; it is because of this water-soluble compound that many mushrooms can be so powerful for our immune systems.
Behind every resource there is always the debate over if the use or consumption of such thing is imposing a significant stress on the environment. Without a doubt, like most things; over-harvesting and foraging of mushrooms for commercial sell is not sustainable. So I recommend before you go running to buy some mushroom goodies for yourself, you do some research and trust the source! Look for a product line that is sustainably foraged or cultivated - meaning that samples of the mushrooms are taken in the wild but then grown in laboratories to not disturb the intact forest ecosystem.
Enough with the lesson and onto the recipe! I am used to making smoothies with little to no fruit, they mostly consist of frozen vegetables, nuts/seeds, herbs/spices and some sort of cold brewed tea or dairy free milk. Since berries are not in season this time of year and I've already used up whatever I had in the freezer from the past summer months, I threw in ginger and bee pollen to add some extra flavour and sweet.
- 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp flax seeds, ground
- 1 heaping tbsp raw sunflower butter
- 1/2 oz of fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon 5 Mushroom Powder by Harmonic Arts
- 1/2 cup Nuez Rose Almond Milk
- 1/2 cup Dandelion/Chicory tea, chilled
- 1 teaspoon local and sustainably harvested bee pollen
Love and light, enjoy friends!
- Brooklyn Reed