I frequently exercise first thing in the morning so I need a breakfast that will provide energy but also digest quickly. I recently ran across a great recipe for chia porridge in an eBook from Kristen and I’ve modified it a bit.
The main ingredient is chia seed (ch..ch…ch…chia pet), a dietary staple of the legendary Tarahumara (a.k.a. “running people”) that live in Mexico’s Copper Canyons. If you read the popular book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall you’ve heard to the Tarahumara. They are probably the greatest long distance runners on the planet, running 50 miles or more for pleasure, often carrying nothing more than a bag of chia seed.
I won’t go into all the reasons that chia seed is a a nutritional powerhouse, but suffice it to say that they are packed with easily digested and absorbed nutrients. Try it for yourself…
- Put 2 tablespoons of chia seed into a bowl. You can buy bags of chia seed at most natural food stores.
- Add 1/2 cup (4 oz.) of almond milk (ideally homemade – more on that soon).
- Let the chia seed soak for 15 minutes or longer, mixing occasionally. The seeds will soak up the almond milk and become gel-like.
- Add 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed (ideally freshly ground using a coffee grinder) and 1 tablespoon of flax oil.
- Add a thinly sliced banana (if you don’t like bananas you can also use a handful of blueberries).
- Mix everything together with a spoon, crushing the banana into the mixture.
This is a vegan dish, but that’s not why I like it. I like it because it’s tasty and you can eat it right before working out and you won’t feel bloated. I also notice a nice energy boost. I ate it yesterday before a two hour ride and felt great the whole time. However, if I was doing a bigger workout I’d probably eat something with more protein (e.g. eggs) before and/or bring food along.
Almost exactly 2 years ago, I posted my Power Smoothie recipe to this blog. It’s become one of the most visited posts on my blog. If you search Google for things like “Maca Power Smoothie” my recipe is in the first few results.
Recently I read a book called Superfoods by David Wolfe and I changed the recipe to add another superfood, cacao, that completely changes the taste (think chocolate!) and makes the smoothie more energizing.
What are superfoods, you might ask? They are special plant-based foods that are some of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet, but they also have several unique medicinal properties. They may help with detoxification, balance hormones, boost the immune system, improve mood, or heal infections.
About the new ingredient: Cacao
All chocolate is made from cacao beans, but unfortunately most chocolate products (e.g. Hershey’s bars) are heavily processed and packed with sugar and artificial ingredients. Real cacao beans are packed with nutrients such as magnesium and iron and contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world (15 times more than blueberries). Plus, in clinical studies chocolate has been proven to increase brain blood flow and function. Cacao was so revered my the Mayans and Aztecs that they used the beans for money instead of gold!
This vegan Superfood Smoothie receipe contains 4 of David Wolfe’s top 10 superfoods: Cacao, maca, hempseed, and coconut oil. I’m planning to try adding a fifth, spirulina, soon.
Here is the recipe:
- 1 organic banana
- 2-3 cubes of ice
- 2-3 tablespoons ground cacao nibs — Nibs can be purchased online (here’s a good site). I use a small coffee grinder to make fresh cacao powder.
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed – A great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. (I use Barlean’s FortiFlax)
- 1 tablespoon organic extra virgin coconut oil – The healthiest of oils, supports your thyroid and gives you energy.
- 2 heaping tablespoons hemp protein powder – Yes, hemp – for your health. It’s one of the most complete sources of protein around (I use Manitoba Harvest)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon maca powder – Maca is a root grown in the highlands of Peru. It boosts energy, balances hormones, and even increases libido. You will notice the effect after a few doses. (I use Macasure)
- Hemp milk – as needed to achieve a drinkable consistency
- OPTIONAL: 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey to sweeten
I love the taste and texture of this smoothie and the cacao provides a noticable boost in energy. I use the smoothie primarily as a recovery drink after exercise. Enjoy!