A Better Chocolate Shake

I have outdone myself with this one. I almost called it “Guilt-free Chocolate Shake,” but I hate that notion of attaching guilt to food. Eating should never make you feel guilty. Eating something you know is bad for you does not mean you are a bad person, and you should not feel guilty EVER. That being said, eating something GOOD for you is always a good reason to celebrate, and eating something that is good for you and tastes AMAZING is the winningest combination ever!

This is so rich and creamy, you will never miss the ice cream! You can make it vegan or use milk if you want to, but that liquid is just to make it thin enough to drink. The joy is in all the other ingredients which are giving you good fat, anti-oxidants, fiber, vitamins and electrolytes.

Banana: Fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, copper and low on the glycemic index
Coconut: B vitamins, copper, iron, selenium, anti-oxidants, ‘good’ fat and fiber, if the flesh is included.
Avocado: In addition to Omega-3 fatty acids, it is a good source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and vitamin E with a little magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and phosphorous. It is high in fiber and may be good to balance cholesterol in the body.
Beets: In addition to fiber, beets have folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. They are an excellent source of nitrates.
Pomegranate: Super high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium. SUPER high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Is said to reduce risk of some cancers.
Berries: You can use strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries or a combination of them all. Broadly speaking, the ALL have fiber and have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are high in vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K, copper and folate. They are sweet, but regulate blood sugar levels. They may benefit your cholesterol levels and improve your skin’s appearance.

You do want to use raw cacao powder, not cocoa powder or chocolate syrup to get the health benefits. The idea with this recipe is to treat your taste buds and your tummy to something delicious, while giving your body loads of good stuff, and cacao is part of that “good stuff!”

INGREDIENTS

1 ripe banana (My banana was frozen and defrosted overnight, so it looks a bit brown in the photo below.)
1/2 small ripe avocado (or 1/4 if you are using a big one)
1/2 cup beet and berry juice* (or a couple chunks of raw beets and a few berries of any variety)
1/2 cup coconut water**
1 T raw cacao powder
Enough “milk” to give you the consistency you want (dairy, almond, soy, oat, etc.)

I wrote a post on “hacks” for smoothies. I like to have smoothie ingredients ready to go and I use them when I make them. A couple of notes on these ingredients.

* I have pureed beets with berries and pomegranate juice frozen in cubes and that is what I used. You could just through a few junks of beets in this and/or some frozen berries. The idea is less about flavor and more about the nutrition, so add whatever you want in whatever quantity you want, but go easy on the beet because it will take over if you use too much! Beets are earthy and so is chocolate, so they pair well, but the idea is to taste the chocolate while being sneaky and getting the benefit of the beets, berries and pomegranate juice. DO NOT feel like you NEED to buy berries or pomegranate juice. To me the beets are the nutritional hero here, so just add that unless you have been making the juice cubes as I discussed.

** I also have coconut water blended with the flesh of the green coconut flesh frozen into ice cubes. You could use plain coconut water here instead or coconut milk or cream, but just note that coconut cream is high in fat. Not a big deal, but just go easy on it if you use it. Just coconut water would be the best option to get the health benefits without the fat. The creaminess could come from the bananas, avocado and whatever milk you use.

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I find smoothie recipes hard to write for people that need PRECISE measurements. The exact quantities will vary, but the idea is to get the health benefits of the beets without making a smoothie that tastes like dirt; to get the liquid and benefits of the berries without making the smoothie too tart and fruity tasting (no berries are needed at all really); to get the creaminess from the avocado without making it too thick and too high in fat; to get the creaminess and health benefits of the banana without making it too thick or taste to banana-y (I HATE the taste of overripe banana!); to get the benefit and liquid from the coconut water without adding excess fat with coconut cream; to make it easy and to make it TASTE like a chocolate shake!

I used a sweetened vanilla soy milk and I needed no other sweetener, but if you taste it and it needs something, add a touch of honey, maple syrup or agave. I only needed a splash…less than 1/4 cup of soy milk and I could drink it through the straw, but a spoon would have worked too!

The above is my smoothie before the cacao and soy milk, and then I blended! It was about 1 1/2 cups of smoothie.

I swear, this was the creamiest shake EVER! The full tablespoon of cacao means this has a rich chocolate taste and the banana and avocado make it sooooo creamy!  Beets just marry to the earthy chocolate and secretly add to the richness without overpowering (if you don’t go overboard!) and it is naturally sweet without a need for any or a lot of added sugar.

You could certainly modify this however you wanted. If you want to try to sneak in some extra vitamins and healthiness, add a few greens like kale, spinach and celery. If you want protein, a nut butter would add flavor, fat and protein, but you would probably need more liquid. You don’t need the beets and berries, certainly, and could do more or less of either.

Play around and make it your own, but by using raw cacao and plant-based sources of fat and creaminess, you end up with a smoothie that acts like a milkshake!

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