I have a strong emotional connection to milkshakes. Not only did I love a cold, creamy chocolate milkshake when I was a child, but my husband and I split a milkshake on our first date. ♥
We were 18, and after a few hours of ice-blocking with friends at Aliso Creek Beach in Southern California we went to the Harbor House Cafe in Dana Point. We chatted for hours about anything and everything into the wee hours of the morning all the while splitting a chocolate milkshake. This became tradition for us as our relationship progressed. Burgers, fries, and a big milkshake. One of our favorite places to get the aforementioned combo was Red Robin (YUM! Come on, you know you finished that in your head as you read it). My husband opted for chocolate banana shakes, while I preferred chocolate strawberry ones.
As we got older and realized that milkshakes weren’t really doing us any favors, we cut them out. They became a very rare treat, if we chose to indulge at all. As we came to a plant-based diet, I began to realize that milkshakes were now just a part of our past. Afterall, milkshakes are full of dairy and refined sugars.
Enter the humble banana! Bananas, when ripe, spotty, and frozen, are the PERFECT substitute for ice cream! Plants for the win!! Armed with this new information, I hit the kitchen and began playing around with fruits, veggies, non-dairy milks, and other add-ins. Recently, I hit on the perfect combination to satisfy my love of chocolate strawberry milkshakes in a healthy way using whole plant foods.
Let’s look at the benefits of a smoothie using plant foods (yes, we get to call it a smoothie because it’s healthy and not made with dairy milk and ice cream!).
Bananas: Ripe, spotty bananas are full of vitamin b6, manganese, and the nutrient it’s known for, potassium. They are great for healthy bowels, heart rhythm regulation, and even eye health.
Strawberries: Packed full of antioxidants, strawberries actually contain more vitamin c per gram than oranges! Their specific combination of phytonutrients gives them amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Interestingly, polyphenols in strawberries can actually reduce blood sugar spikes even when eaten with simple sugars. Strawberry greens (the tops) are great for digestive and joint health, so toss them in too!
Cacao Powder: Another powerful source of antioxidants, raw cacao powder has also been shown to be a mood elevator. It promotes the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. And if Elle Woods taught us anything in Legally Blonde, it’s that “Endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”
Almond Milk: Just like it’s cow-juice counterpart, almond milk is full of calcium, iron, and magnesium. Unlike dairy milk, almond milk is NOT acidic to our bodies so you can actually assimilate those vitamins and minerals. In drinking dairy milk (and eating animal products), your body actually leaches calcium from the bones to buffer the acidic protein and encourage it into your urine and out of your body. But that is a topic for another day.
Now that you know the facts, are you ready for a delicious, chocolatey smoothie?! Let’s get blending!
Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Cast of Characters:
- 2 ripe, spotty bananas, sliced and frozen
- 6-8 fresh strawberries (I leave the tops on if they are organic!)
- 1 TBS raw cacao powder (yes, you can use unsweetened cocoa powder, but you’ll lose the benefits listed above)
- 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
- Add all the ingredients to your blender and process until smooth. My Ninja makes a perfectly creamy smoothie in about 60 seconds. Serves 1
Do you love chocolate and strawberries together? Comment below!
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