Sunday, February 22, 2009

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothies (Gluten Free, Casein Free)

I will be the first to admit that I was not always a supporter of low carbohydrate diets. I thought diets based on this principal were generally unhealthy, high in saturated fats, and hard for the body to digest properly.

I have learned that low carbohydrate means different things to different people. While I do consume saturated fats, they are not the basis of my diet. More than anything, since I began eating low carb I have learned to prepare and cook more fresh vegetables than I've eaten in my last 30 years.

Just a few of fresh vegetables that I've started to eat on a regular basis:

- eggplant
- cauliflower
- yellow and green zucchini
- different lettuces (other than iceberg and romaine)
- asparagus
- broccoli
- cabbage
- red onions
- baby spinach
- acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash

Not frozen, no longer canned... fresh, local if possible, real vegetables. I am very proud that we have started eating this way, and I'm actually quite surprised it's due to beginning a low carbohydrate diet!

One very quick meal that I rely on in the mornings is this large chocolate peanut butter breakfast smoothie. This smoothie reminds me of one of my favorite carbohydrate-filled foods: a Wendy's Frosty! It's a slightly sweet, chocolately smoothie that has the added bonus of peanut butter, which makes me one happy girl! It's fast, easy, and packs a heck of a lot of nutrition and protein in one travel cup!

Recently I've started to add a large handful of fresh baby spinach to the smoothie each morning. By doing this I'm incorporating at least one healthy serving of non-starchy vegetables to my daily diet and I love that it's simply "hidden" in the smoothie. You do not taste the spinach, although it may give a slightly green tint to your smoothie. Never fear, it will still take like a "peanut butter - chocolate" version of a Wendy's frosty!!


Carrie's High-Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup low carb dairy beverage (such as Hood) or soymilk, or almond milk
2-3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coconut flour (optional -- adds extra fiber, but you can leave it out without compromising the flavor of the shake!!)
2-3 tablespoons vanilla whey (or rice) protein powder
2-3 tablespoons erythritol
splash sugar-free vanilla syrup
splash sugar-free chocolate syrup
2 cups ice
(extra soymilk or almond milk -- depending on how thick you enjoy your shake)


Pour all ingredients into blender and process on high speed for 3-5 minutes until very smooth and creamy. You can add additional milk if shake seems to thick. Feel free to toss in additional frozen fruit or greens of your choice for added nutrition.

This makes 2 medium sized smoothies, or one VERY large 3-4 cup (meal replacement) smoothie. I often have this shake for breakfast, or even for dinner if I don't have time to cook!

This smoothie contains 5-7 carbohydrates per recipe depending on the ingredients you choose to use!

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