The Bliss Shake: Comfort In A Cup

by | Jan 23, 2018 | Living Well

I’ve been feeling a little down lately. Shift is happening and my life is suddenly very different than it was a month ago. Not “bad” different. Just different. I spent the weekend parking it on the couch as much as possible to give myself some time to rest and reflect. I forced myself to go to Jazzercise, this morning, and thank goodness I did, because I feel so much better. Dancing makes me happy!

After I got home, it was time for my post-workout protein shake. Consuming adequate amounts of protein (roughly 20g depending on age and weight) after a workout is recommended so that the protein can be used to build new muscle rather than breaking down existing muscle. I typically combine my favorite protein powder with some almond milk, frozen berries, avocado, cinnamon, seeds, and cacao powder. But today, I wanted something different. Something a little more comforting. There is a little juice shack in my neighborhood called Pure Press and they make some yummy concoctions. The Fuel is chock full of dates, banana, almond butter, and super foods like maca powder. So I decided to make my own version, switching the ingredients up a little to accommodate what I typically have on hand. Get ready to get Blissed Out!

This shake begins with an almond milk base. Depending on your preferences, you can add any base you like. On days when I am out of almond milk, I will often just use water and add a tablespoon of nuts, creating my own nut milk on the spot! Dairy milk works too.

Protein Powder: I then add my favorite protein powder: PlantFusion Organic Plant Protein in Vanilla Chai. My local Sprouts carried this brand once upon a time and I fell in love. So much so that I now order it on subscription through Amazon. I could write an entire blog post just on this protein powder, alone, but for now, just know that this Vegan, Soy-free, and Gluten-free protein powder contains 20g of plant protein per serving plus live whole fermented foods, providing you with hundreds of strains of probiotic soldiers, as well as enzymes and cofactors.

Avocado: I then add half an avocado which not only indulges this shake with that ice-cream consistency, but offers you a clean and healthy source of monounsaturated fats to keep you satiated and full for several hours. MUFAs have been known to reverse insulin resistance, regulate blood sugar, and can be beneficial to brain and heart health. Additionally, avocados are a good source of vitamins A, E, K, B, and C! And that’s just the beginning. Avocados are rich in trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper, as well as anti-inflammatory compounds like phytonutrients. All hail the mighty avocado!!!

Chia Seeds: Next, I add a tablespoon of chia seeds. A staple of the Mayan and Aztec diets, chia seeds are high in Polyunsaturated omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that convert nicely into EPA and DHA, both of which are anti-inflammatory, great for cardiovascular health, and may aid in weight-loss. Chia seeds are also a wonderful source of protein, boasting more protein than rice, maize, barley, or oat seeds. One tablespoon adds an additional 2.5g of protein to this shake.

Almond Butter: A tablespoon of almond butter rounds out the fat content of this shake. High in monounsaturated fats, almonds have many of the same benefits as avocados. Almonds are a great source of calcium and copper, further benefiting nervous system functioning. Vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber are a few more nutrients found in Almond butter that play roles in our metabolic pathways. Fiber, for instance, is beneficial to cholesterol levels and may protect against colon cancer.

Dates: Dates have been called “nature’s candy” due to their rich sweetness and chewy consistency. Adding a few dates to the blender makes this shake richer, offering little surprising bits of candy to mash between the teeth, like cookie dough, but way better. Dates don’t just taste good, they have nutrients that are good for you, as well. One study showed that Date Palm Extract was potent in lowering triglycerides and may be beneficial in cholesterol homeostasis. Dates are also high in fiber, further protecting against LDL (bad) cholesterol and colon cancer. Dates offer vitamins A and C, as well as calcium and iron. Dates are high in sugar. Five pieces pack 24g of sugar, which is almost the entire recommended daily allowance. So it’s best to make this a special addition to your shake, and not a regular occurrence.

Maca Powder: Maca is a cruciferous vegetable native to Peru. It’s high in antioxidants, making it bad news for any free radicals. Maca is also an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body naturally adapt to stress. A number of studies have looked at the benefits of Maca on sex health. Limited evidence suggests that Maca may be useful to treat menopausal symptoms, though larger studies should be done. Maca powder has a slight sweetness to it, often described as “mildly nutty with a hint of butterscotch”. It is a regular addition to my shakes and smoothies.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is well known for its anti-diabetic properties and some evidence shows that it can lower blood glucose as well as cholesterol levels. Cinnamon is also antimicrobial. One study even suggests that cinnamon extract could be cancer preventative by inhibiting some aspects of angiogenesis. However, there are two different types of cinnamon commonly found in the spice aisle. Ceylon is a bit sweeter and often called “true cinnamon” whereas Cassia cinnamon, also known as Chinese cinnamon, is cheaper and more prevalent in the US. Cassia cinnamon has a higher content of Coumarin, a compound known to be toxic to the liver, kidneys, and possible carcinogenic. This may not be a big deal if you are eating less than a teaspoon of cinnamon per day. But given the impressive list of health benefits of Cinnamon in general, increasing your intake of Coumarin-free or Ceylon cinnamon is probably a good idea for most of us!

The Breakdown:

Calories – 536.6 kcal
Fat – 27.3g
Carbs – 51.2g
Fiber – 15.1g
Protein – 30.3g

While this shake is higher in calorie content, it keeps me full for several hours, meaning I rarely reach for snacks. The fat profile is excellent as well, with almost a 1:1 ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s, respectively. The Bliss shake also boasts 21% of Tryptophan, the amino acid known for boosting mood and alleviating depression. And if all of that wasn’t enough to make you want to power up your NutriBullet, this comfort in a cup comes with 54% of your Vitamin E, 57% of your daily Iron, 68% of your Calcium, and 96% of your Vitamin K (if you’re a Female between the age of 30-50, like me).

The Bliss Shake

 

 

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (dairy or nut work well)
  • 1 scoop Organic PlantFusion Vanilla Chai Protein Powder (or your favorite brand)
  • 1/2 of an Avocado
  • 3-5 Dates (depending on size and preference)
  • 1 Tablespoon Almond Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Maca Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon Ceylon or Coumarin-free Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of Ice

Directions: Place all ingredients in NutriBullet or blender of choice and blend. Try to eat mindfully without devouring the entire thing in 30 seconds ;). Get BLISSED OUT!

Did you try this recipe? What did you think? Your feedback is important to me so please leave your comments and suggestions!

Amberly Rowland

Integrative Nutritionist

I’m Amberly, a Clinical & Integrative Nutritionist. I help women who’ve had cancer go from just “surviving” to THRIVING by amping up their nutrition, reducing stress, and teaching them how to be in the present moment.

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