Welcome back one and all to the snack hack collection! These are some short sharp injections of holistic goodness into your life. It’s been a little while since we’ve last had a snack hack, so if this is your first, please please please, go back and have a lil look at the previous selection.
Alrighty, let’s crack on. So today’s snack hack (minus a few tweaks), is via the great biohacker/athlete/nutritionist extrodinare; mr Ben Greenfield. This dude has an awesome podcast, book series and website which all offer incredible resources for health, fitness and wellbeing.
So, today’s hack is the morning smoothie. Get this right and set your day up. I like to have this smoothie particularly if I have had a tough training session the night before or have one planned later that day. I’ll generally mix my week’s breakfast routine between intermittent fasting and this breaky bomb.
Right, here’s the ingredient list and some brief reasons why you will be putting in what;
1. 1 to 2 large handfuls of Kale.
Kale, a member of the cruciferous veg family has a decent dose of the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid. This is arguably the most beneficial property of eating kale due its ability to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Kale is also particularly rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A).
Other significant antioxidants include vitamin K and a type of vitamin E that seems to be heart-healthy. Not to mention healthy portions of magnesium, folate and B vitamins.
2. Half an avocado, or a whole one if it’s a high calorie day.
Avocados are an awesome source of a monounsaturated fatty acid called Oleic acid. This has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
Avocados are also a fine source of potassium, more than bananas in fact. Several studies show that having a high potassium intake is linked to reduced blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
They also contain lots of fibre and are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, vitamin K, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.
3. 2/3 to 1 full tin of full fat coconut milk.
Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance.
Coconut milk contains beneficial fat called lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that’s easily absorbed and used by the body for energy. It also contains healthy saturated fatty acids can help you lower cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure, and prevent heart attacks or a stroke.
For more on coconut’s incredible health benefits, check this previous post; http://whatsuppblogblog.com/2017/05/29/snack-hacks-7-coconut/ .
4. 1 tble spoon of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
Ok so I’ve explained some of the benefits of coconut fatty acids and as extra virgin olive oil is a monounsaturated fat similar to avocado fatty acids, I won’t go into more detail. What I’ll add is though, and this is crucial, you can knock back all the nutrients you like, but you need fat to help absorb them into the body. Nuff said.
OK, stop there. Blend everything above for 60 seconds-ish. You don’t want to pulverize things like protein powder, collagen, etc., and you also don’t want to pulverize the chunky chunks of goodness you’re about to toss in. Now, let’s keep going. To your blended green goodness, add:
5. 20-30g of a “clean” protein powder
Initially, what do I mean by clean? Basically minus sweeteners and additives. You don’t need to crazy on protein powders after the gym or a workout, so spend a little more and use a little less.
Protein is an essential nutrient, responsible for multiple functions in your body, including building tissue, cells and muscle, as well as making hormones and anti-bodies. Studies also suggest that as we get older we may benefit from eating more protein because it helps minimise the muscle loss associated with ageing.
Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of body tissue repair and growth. Protein can also serve as a fuel source. As a fuel, proteins provide as much energy density as carbohydrates. Look for protein with a full or high amino essential amino acid profile such as whey or pea protein.
6. 2 teaspoons of a good organic collagen hydrolysate.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. Adding it into your diet will improve all the above functioning. It will also support the liver, your energy production via the metabolism as well as supporting the gut microbiam. As well as this it helps skin elasticity and is particularly helpful for reducing joint and tendon inflammation.
7. 1 large handful of unroasted, non-vegetable-oil coated walnuts, macadamias or almonds.
Nuts are great sources of healthy fats as well as packing both carbohydrates and protein within them. Walnuts and Almonds, (or even better macadamia nuts) have a far more favourable omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. Omega 3, as mentioned already, is essential for many a healthy function in the body and is not as generally abundant in food types as it’s cousin, omega 6.
8. 1 tsp of cinnamon
Right, first thing first. If you want to gain any medicinal benefits from adding cinnamon, it needs to be Ceylon cinnamon. Read this previous post, ( http://whatsuppblogblog.com/2017/11/16/snack-hack-13-ceylon-cinnamon/), about the detailed health benefits of Ceylon and the potential dangers of the more regular Cassia that’s sold in the main.
In short however, and amongst other qualities, cinnamon can act to balance blood sugars and have anti bacterial qualities.
9. 2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder.
Cocoa is packed with polyphenols, plant compounds with antioxidant and anti inflammatory qualities that combat the bodies waste product free radicals and other toxins. Cocoa has many other benefits from neurological to again balancing blood sugars. Read more here in this previous post http://whatsuppblogblog.com/2017/03/05/chocolate-a-superfood/ .
Now blend again. Quickly this time so that you don’t pulverize the chunks. About 15 seconds will do. Finally, stir (don’t blend) in the following ingredients:
10. 1 small handful organic dark cacao nibs or very dark chocolate.
11. 1 large handful organic unsweetened coconut flakes.
Give your smoothie a good stir and boom, breakfast delight! I like to eat mine with a spoon but if you want to chug it down, crack on. Hope you all enjoy, please give a like and comment! Till next time.