Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

Bananas are one of my favourite fruits!  Not only are the tasty and sweet but they are extremely good for you!  Bananas help to promote good digestion, steady blood sugar and insulin levels, and help you to maintain a healthy weight.  Not only are bananas great in a variety of recipes but they are also a wonderfully convenient snack food.  For these reasons I have decided to create a dreamy, creamy, pie-like smoothie and/or smoothie bowl for you that highlights this essential fruit which should be a part of everyone’s regular diet.

Bananas contain essential nutrients to keep our bodies running smoothly.  They actually contain fairly high amounts of fiber keeping our digestion on point.  There are two types of fiber found in a banana:

  • Pectin: decreasing as it ripens
  • Resistant Starch: found in unripe bananas

Both types of fiber are important for our digestive tract even resistant starch which stays intact during the digestion period flowing into your large intestine where it feeds beneficial gut bacteria (healthline.com).

Bananas have a ton of other benefits as well including essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health.  For example these are the benefits that one medium sized banana (118g) contains:

  • Vitamins B6 & C
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • 24g carbohydrates
  • 3g fiber
  • 1.3g fat

Every banana is roughly around 105 calories and contains little to no fat making it a healthy enjoyable snack on the go and a great way to start your morning giving you a nice boost of energy (medicalnewstoday.com).

Interestingly enough, although bananas are sweet naturally they actually help to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.  Because of the pectin and resistant starch we talked about earlier, these types of fiber help to slow down digestion and the emptying of your stomach causing insulin levels to stay consistent after your meal.  Since bananas have a low to medium glycemic index (GI) they are a good food for maintaining blood sugar levels.  However this may not completely apply to those with diabetes as they should be making sure to avoid overly ripe bananas as they have a higher GI.

Bananas are definitely identified as a weight loss friendly food.  Although bananas are quite large and filling, they have relatively few calories.  They are filled with nutritious fiber aiding in good digestion while also containing resistant starch reducing your appetite (healthline.com).

Pairing such a health promoting fruit with a rich healthy fat like coconut creates a deliciously balanced meal.  Hence why I created the Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie to give you a boost of energy in the morning while keep you full from the fats in the coconut and almonds, keeping you full till mid-afternoon.  I hope you enjoy this tasty guilt-free treat and make sure to leave me a comment about what you think!

 

Banana Creampie Smoothie 2

Coconut Banana Cream Pie Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 bananas frozen
  • 4-6 large ice cubes
  • 2 tbsps almonds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 20-30 seconds.  I use my ninja blender and it blends to a very creamy consistency.
  2. Enjoy in the morning with a muffin or in a bowl with granola on top!  Such a deliciously, sweet way to start your morning off right!

    NOTE: If making into a smoothie bowl, add less coconut milk, use frozen bananas, and you may have to add more ice to make it into a thicker consistency.

Raw Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls (No Processed Sugar & No Oil)

Let’s talk about raw vegan treats.  Are these desserts any better for your health then eating the so-called “regular” version of these treats?  Or are they still just a treat?

Raw desserts are often marketed as ultra-healthy because people use words like “organic“, “raw“, and “vegan” to make it seem like these decadent treats could be part of your everyday healthy diet.  Although that is not the case.  Raw desserts are still a dessert and should be treated as such.  Although they usually have all natural ingredients they still contain high amounts of sugar, fat and are calorically dense.

Dates and maple syrup are certainly delicious and are not classified as refined sugar.  Although the body still recognizes the fructose bomb from fruit as it would sucrose which spikes our blood sugar and our insulin.

So what should we do now?  Should we not indulge in delicious raw vegan cookies or at least feel the same guilt as when we eat regular cookies?  Or is there still some benefit to choosing a less processed, non-dairy version of your craving?

Cookie Dough ball 2

Luckily, these delicious raw cookies dough bites contain a very low amount of sugar:

  • 27g from maple syrup
  • 6g from cashews
  • 2g from oats
  • 14g from chocolate

Totaling = 49g of sugar in the entire recipe, meaning that each cookie dough ball contains only 3-3.5g of sugar if you make 14-16 balls.  This really emphasizes how much healthier these raw vegan cookie dough balls are for you compared to just one Mrs. Fields semi-sweet chocolate chip cookie which contains 20g of sugar by itself!

These delicious homemade raw vegan treats also will help you feel satiated from the fats and fiber in the cashews.  Cashews are hugely beneficial, packed with vitamins E, K, and B6 and minerals such as copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium.  They also help regulate your blood sugar which will decrease any sugar spike you would naturally get from the maple syrup in this recipe.  Even though cashews are considered a good source of fats, they contain good cholesterol and studies have shown that if you eat them at least twice a week, they can aid in weight loss.

With all that being said, I believe that the pros outweigh the cons when choosing between a non vegan and whole food vegan treat.  Indulging in a few of these raw cookie dough bites every now and then can actually have benefits for your body while your taste buds still believe you’re enjoying a naughty treat.

These little cookie dough balls are absolutely delicious, packed with benefits and will satisfy any craving you have for dessert!

Cookie Dough Balls 5

Raw Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls (No Processed Sugar & No Oil)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews
  • 3/4 large rolled oats
  • 6 tsps maple syrup
  • 3-4 tbsps raw vegan mint chocolate chips or 8-10 squares of a raw vegan mint chocolate bar chopped up into small chips
  • pinch of salt if desired

Directions

  1. Use your food processor to process the oats and cashews together until they are in small bead-like pieces like quinoa.
  2. Add in the maple syrup and salt (if using) and process some more until a smooth dough forms, the dough will begin to form into a dough ball 5-10 seconds after the dough forms which is how you will know the dough is ready to use.
  3. Measure out your mint chocolate chips or chop your raw vegan chocolate into small chips/chunks.
  4. Take the dough and put it in a bowl, fold in the mint chocolate chips and knead the dough for a minute or two until the chocolate chips are mixed throughout and not falling out of the dough. **See Note**
  5. Use your fingers to pull off pieces of the dough, rolling them in your hands to form 1-2 inch dough balls.  Repeat until all the dough is used.
  6. Indulge, eat and enjoy your raw vegan guilt-free cookie dough balls!

    **You do not want to put the chocolate chips in the food processor with the dough as it will mix the chocolate into the dough without keeping the chocolate chips intact.**

Coconut Dessert Chia Pudding with Raspberry Compote

Everyone loves chia pudding, especially delicious, decadent, dessert chia pudding!  I know you have been told since you were little that you couldn’t have pudding for breakfast but I am here to tell you that with this recipe it just isn’t true!

Coconut Chia Pudding 2

Chia seeds are such an amazing food!  They loaded with nutrients while staying calorically low, making them one of the world’s greatest superfoods.  They have enormous health benefits which is kind of ironic because they are so tiny in size.

To show you just how much of a superfood they are here are some fun facts about just one ounce (28g/2 tbsps) of chia seeds:

  • 137 calories
  • 11g of fiber
  • 4g of protein
  • 9g of fat (5 of which are omega 3s)
  • 1g digestible carbohydrate
  • While also having heavy amounts of calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • And decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants making them a great food to help fight against the production of free radicals in the body which leads to diseases like cancer.

They are high in fiber and expand in your stomach, helping to keep you full and your digestion on point.  The fiber in our favourite little seeds feeds the friendly bacteria in our gut which is incredibly important for our stomach and intestine health.

Did you know that chia seeds also have a decent amount of protein?  While also having the essential amino acids to help your body actually use the protein within the tiny seeds.  The protein content also lowers your appetite which make chia seeds great for weight loss!

Chia seeds are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, especially if you are plant based and looking to keep a healthy body and mind.  Although be careful that chia seeds aren’t your only source of Omega-3’s as they do not supply any DHA which is the most important omega-3 fat.  So along with enjoying your delicious chia pudding, make sure to take a regular DHA supplement.

Coconut Chia Pudding 4

Now if anyone asks why you are eating “dessert” for breakfast, you can tell them how your delicious, creamy pudding is actually a nutrient dense superfood powerhouse, helping you stay full for long while keeping your body and mind at it’s best.

Coconut Dessert Chia Pudding with Raspberry Compote

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

CHIA PUDDING

  • 1.5 cups of full fat canned coconut milk (for a lighter pudding use lite canned coconut milk)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla

RASPBERRY COMPOTE

  • 1 bag (350g) of frozen raspberries
  • 1-2 tbsps or the juice of medium lemon (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsps cornstarch
  • 3 tbsps cold water (to mix with the corn starch)

Directions

  1. Add the can of full fat coconut to a blender cup with the maple syrup, sea salt, and vanilla.  Blend on high for 30 seconds until it is a milky, creamy consistency with no chunks.
  2. Pour the liquid into a tupperware container and mix in the chia seeds slowly and evenly on the top of the liquid mixture.
  3. Whisk the chia seeds into the coconut mixture avoiding the chia seeds forming large clumps as they tend to do.  Make sure to thoroughly whisk the chia seeds so they are nicely mixed throughout.
  4. Place the lid tightly on the mixture and refrigerate overnight (for around 12 hours) so the chia seeds form into a pudding, they will absorb the liquid getting nice and fluffy creating a cross between a pudding and jello like consistency.
  5. For the raspberry compote, put the frozen raspberries in a pot and place on medium high heat.  Add in the lemon juice, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of water and gently stir the mixture as it starts to boil, making sure to nicely mix all the ingredients.
  6. Allow the mixture to boil for 3-5 minutes while you prepare the cornstarch mixture.  In a small bowl or cup, measure out the cornstarch and cold water, stir until it forms a cloudy liquid with no lumps.
  7. Take the raspberry mixture off the hot element and gently stir in the cornstarch mixture.  The mixture will begin to thicken up and stick to the back of your spoon (I recommend a wooden spoon), once it is this thick you can put it in a container and refrigerate it for a few hours, it will continue to thicken during these next few hours.
  8. In the morning you may serve yourself some chia pudding and raspberry compote for a decadent omega-3 rich breakfast treat or for dessert in the evening with your family and friends!

    Top the pudding with granola, banana slices, some berries and enjoy!

Coconut Chia Pudding 1

Go-To Raw Cereal Bowl

Why is it important to eat fruit?

Fruit has tons of health benefits and research has shown that people who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of their regular healthy diet have lower risk of many chronic diseases and illnesses.

Fruit it full of vital nutrients for the body and overall health.  Most fruits are naturally low in sodium, fat, and calories; they also contain no cholesterol.  Fruits contain many essential nutrients that a large percentage of the western world under consume including potassium, folate (folic acid), vitamin C & A, and dietary fiber.  These nutrients reduce the risk for heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes and strokePotassium also helps protect you from developing kidney stones, regulates blood pressure and will keep your bones strong as you age.  Bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, and grapefruit are all fruits to try if you are looking to increase your potassium.

Dietary fiber is found in various fruits and is key to maintaining overall health, as it helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowers the risk of heart disease and keeps the bowels functioning properly.  Fiber also helps you to feel full, helping you eat less and maintain a healthy weight.  Although if dietary fiber is what you are after, make sure you are eating the fruit in it’s whole food form (ie. a whole orange or orange slices) not orange juice or orange popsicles (ice lollies) which contain next to no dietary fiber.

 

Vitamin C is extremely important as well, helping your tissues to grow and repair and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

It is important that pregnant women make sure they are getting enough fruit as well because of the folic acid it provides.  Folic acids helps produce red blood cells which helps protect babies from developing birth defects.

It is recommended to eat around 2-5 servings of fruit a day.  2 servings per day by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and 4-5 servings per day by the American Heart Association (AHA).  The general recommendation for fruit consumption is around 400g a day or 5 x 80g servings.  Each serving of fresh fruit is around 1 cup or roughly the size of a tennis ball.

Current nutrition guidelines suggest that even those with diabetes should be consuming 2-4 servings of fruit per day.  Many diabetics worry about the amount of sugar in fruit but studies have shown that when eating whole fruit with the fiber still intact (not fruit juice or sugary dried fruits) it has very little effects on blood sugar levels.

So unless you are on a strict ketogenic diet, there is really no reason you should be limiting your fruit intake.  I hope you found this information to be helpful and will try out this delicious alternative to the sugary cereals that most westerners find themselves eating in the morning.

Cereal Bowl 2

Go-To Raw Cereal Bowl

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 pink lady apples chopped
  • 1 ripe banana sliced
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsps chopped walnuts chopped
  • 1 or 2 tbsps raisins or chopped dates
  • top with any plant based milk of your choosing (I like oat milk but you may choose almond, soya, cashew, rice, or coconut)
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    EXTRA TOPPINGS:

  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1 or 2 tbsps mulberries
  • 1 passion fruit to add a wonderfully sour note to compliment the sweetness in this raw cereal bowl
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Directions

  1. Wash and chop your apples into bite sized chunks, add to your bowl.
  2. Slice banana and add to your bowl.
  3. Chop walnuts and add them to your bowl.
  4. Top with chia seeds, raisins, and any other desired toppings you may want.
  5. Pour chilled plant based milk on top and enjoy!
  6. Have with your morning coffee for a delicious, sweet, fibre rich breakfast!