I think we've all seen the infamous Starbucks Unicorn Frappe by now. Whether you've tried it and loved it or not, there is no denying that one of those pretty pink and blue coloured frappuccino drinks packs a hefty insulin spike for your blood sugar and has to be hard on any organs responsible for filtering and eliminating toxins like artificial colourings and flavourings from the body.
Curious as I am, I wanted to know what ingredients Starbucks was putting in this drink because I have to be honest - I give them credit for the effort they've put into providing 'healthier' snack and drink options to their customers.
Here are some of the questionable ingredients from the long list of things that are in one of those bad boys:
- Natural and artificial flavour
- Mono and Diglycerides
- Potassium sorbate
- Xanthan Gum
- Gum arabic
- Vanilla syrup
- Mango syrup
- Blue drizzle...Haha I'm sorry but what type of an ingredient is 'Blue drizzle'?
- Blue powder (including maltodextrin)
- Pink powder (including dextrose)
- Sour blue powder
Everything from that list is a far cry from real food. Unfortunately there is little to no nutritional value in any of those ingredients and although what someone chooses to eat or give to their children is certainly none of my business - it frightens me that the novelty of drinking one of these things could possibly outweigh the damage it will have on someones personal health or their children's health.
So I was inspired to create my own sparkly pretty unicorn drink, something that was made from all natural ingredients, that was low in sugar and any parent could feel comfortable feeding their kids.
Lo and behold...the No B.S. Coconut Unicorn Smoothie!
I had a lot of fun making this, it was almost too pretty to eat. My version of this smoothie was completely without fruit for a couple reasons. 1) I try not to eat fruits that are out of season unless I have them frozen. 2) I don't react well to much fruit in my diet, the spike in blood sugar and sugar cravings I get after eating it aren't enjoyable.
So I used frozen cauliflower, chia seeds and unsweetened coconut yogurt to give it volume and thicken it up. I also made my own hibiscus powder to create the pink mixture using dried hibiscus petals. I pulsed them up in a small blender jar on high until the petals had completely turned into a fine red-ish powder; a coffee grinder would work perfectly for this. The yummy berry flavour in this mixture came from the Paleo Ethics Surge powder that I added; it has no added fillers, sugar or artificial ingredients. It is chocked full of superfoods such as bee pollen, ginseng, royal jelly, maca, beet root, cranberry, elderberry, cinnamon and the list goes on!
To make that gorgeous blue I used E3Live's Blue Majik powder. This stuff is pricey but a little goes a long way and the benefits from this superfood are impressive. It is an extract from spirulina, a blue-green algae. Incredibly nutrient dense, this blue powder is rich in antioxidants, iron and calcium! Clinical research has found it to be effective at supporting healthy inflammatory responses and supporting healthy joints. If you can't get your hands on some Blue Majik, I'm sure you could try using blueberries to create the blue portion of the smoothie. If you end up using a substitute please let me know and tag me in a photo!
Disclaimer: This smoothie is THICK because that's how I like em'! Expect to eat it from the glass with a spoon or you could always serve it in a bowl. Also this is NOT a sweet smoothie the way I initially made it - which was sans fruit but feel free to use the optional strawberries if you so desire. Good sweeteners could be honey, maple syrup, dates, stevia, vanilla or one 1/3 a banana.
- 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower (steamed and then frozen for better digestion)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup dairy free milk (any nut/seed milk will do - I used the liquid from the canned coconut)
- 1 tbsp coconut butter
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp red superfood powder (goji, acai, pomegranate powders would work perfectly - I used this superfood blend by Paleo Ethics)
- 1 tbsp powdered Hibiscus petals (I made mine fresh but you can always use
- 1/2 tsp of E3Live Blue Majik powder
- 1 tbsp maca powder (optional)
- 1 tsp ashwagandha powder (optional)
- 1/3 cup frozen strawberries (optional)
- 2 tbsp chilled almost frozen canned coconut cream
- 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut yogurt
- A splash of nut/seed milk (again I used the liquid from the canned coconut)
Note: This smoothie is packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein - if you want to decrease the caloric intake opt for no whipped topping OR simply top with more unsweetened coconut yogurt.
1. In a high powered blender combine frozen cauliflower, yogurt, coconut butter, chia seeds, 2-3 ice cubes and optional maca and ashwagandha powder. Start by adding 1/3 cup of your dairy-free milk of choice and work your way up to 1/2 cup if needed. Blend on high until it has a thick and creamy consistency.
Note: Ashwagandha powder has a unique flavour and smell, so be cautious putting this in if you're not used to the bitter almost-off flavour it has.
2. Set blender jar into the fridge for 5-10 minutes to let the chia seeds in the mixture thicken the smoothie.
3. Using a spatula pour out 1/3 of the mixture into a container - this will be the portion you will use to make the blue layer.
4. Add the red superfood powder and optional hibiscus powder and/or frozen strawberries to the blender and blend on high until fully combined.
5. Using a clean spatula pour the red smoothie into a new container, then rinse and clean blender jar to prepare the blue smoothie.
6. Transfer the original 1/3 smoothie you set aside into the blender jar and add Blue Majik powder. Blend until fully combined.
7. Now you're ready to layer your smoothie. Using a spatula carefully layer your empty glass 1/3 full with the red smoothie, followed by 1/3 with the blue and then back to the red completely fill the glass.
8. If you would like to finish the smoothie off with the 'whipped cream' topping, make sure to set 2 heaping tablespoons of thick coconut cream into the freezer until nearly frozen.
9. Combine chilled coconut cream, yogurt, SMALL splash of dairy-free milk and optional sweetener into a small blender jar OR you can use an immersion blender for this step. Blend until thick and creamy.
10. Finish off this dreamy unicorn smoothy with that frothy coconut cream and any other yummy topping you please. Enjoy!
See below for nutrition facts and my rant on sugar vs. fat.
Here is the interesting part.
While a 24oz Starbucks Unicorn Frappe contains 500 calories and 76 grams of sugar, my No B.S. Coconut Unicorn Smoothie contains 485 calories and 6.4 grams of sugar! The reason why? My smoothie is full of healthy delicious fats and proteins that are good for building cell membranes, they fuel your brain, they fight inflammation, they help build collagen, they stabilize your blood sugar and they keep you full for longer! Fat is more energy dense than sugar, plain and simple - that equates to longer burning fuel for your body and a higher nutritional value.
My smoothie contains 485 grams of caloric energy for your body to feed off of for several hours. While it looks like a dessert or afternoon pick me up, this type of meal should be treated as just that - a meal! Want to make a No B.S. Coconut Unicorn Smoothie for breakfast? Awesome, do it! Just remember that there is enough fuel in one of these babies to last you until lunch. Why? Because FAT! Healthy, nourishing, blood sugar stabilizing FATS BABY! Get them in you!
So why wouldn't 500 calories in a Starbucks drinks provide you with the same energy? Because it's comprised almost entirely of refined sugar, processed and artificial ingredients. When you give the body that big a dose of sugar, it results in a massive spike in insulin to help metabolize all of that glucose. Whatever the body doesn't use then, it converts a small amount to glycogen and sends it to the liver and muscle cells for an accessible sugar reserve. The rest is stored as body fat. When you spike your insulin often, the bodies cells become resistant to insulins signal and you become more likely to put on weight. This type of blood sugar roller coaster is the catalyst for developing type 2 diabetes. Sad but true.
It doesn't end there, when you eat high amounts of sugar it has a significant impact on other hormones. Hormones such as leptin and ghrelin, that help to control your hunger. Keep screwing around with those guys and you're on the path to some seriously wack hormonal mayhem.
Alright I'm done ranting, here are the facts.
What nutritional value does my Coconut Unicorn Smoothie contain?:
Note: These values are including the coconut whipped topping and without any fruit.
- 485 calories
- 30.8 grams of fat
- 14.9 grams of protein
- 41.2 grams of carbohydrate of which:
- 24.3 grams are fiber
- 6.4 grams are sugar
- 61.2 milligrams of sodium
- 473.2 grams of potassium (take that bananas!)
- 8.5% of you daily vitamin A
- 44.2% of your daily vitamin C
- 41.9% of your daily calcium
- 29.6% of your daily iron
And a Starbucks Unicorn Frappe?:
- 500 calories
- 18 grams of fat
- 7 grams of protein
- 79 grams of carbohydrate of which:
- 0 grams are fiber
- 76 grams are sugar
- 310 milligrams of sodium
- no information found on potassium
- 15% of your daily vitamin A
- 0% of your daily vitamin C
- 25% of your daily calcium (mostly from the conventional cream used in original)
- 0% of your daily iron
Have I made my point clear? Real food people - it does the body wonders.
Alright well that was fun. If you make this smoothie I would love to know how it goes!
Till next time,