Loving the BITE: Attune Foods Probiotic Smoothie (Dairy-Free)
This week, Kelli brings you a fantastic recipe that includes the Dark Chocolate Probiotic Bar from our friends a Attune Foods. I’m a big fan of this company for many reasons, and one of them is because they use “simple, pure ingredients that help you feel your best every day”. Attune (and their Uncle Sam brand of products) is also one of the sponsors of our new Loving the Bike kits that have now completed pre-order and will be delivered by mid-June. If you missed out on the pre-order, look for ordering details coming soon to our Groucho Sports shopping page.
I don’t mean to sound like an advertisement for Attune, but should you not be able to find their dark chocolate probiotic bar in your local stores you can always buy them from Attune online. For more information on Attune Foods, visit them at www.attunefoods.com.
If you want to make people uncomfortable, start talking about your digestion habits. Or that of others. I do it all the time. And I get those awkward looks. But, hey, this dietitian happens to love the gut. To put it simply, it’s the one system in your body that nourishes all the other systems. See how long your brain and heart work without your gut. Not long. Want to ride a bike, with all the power and endurance of your dreams? Better have a healthy gut. This week, we’ll discover a wonderful non-dairy probiotic product that may be new to you. And as you Love the Bike, I bet you’ll come to love the gut, too.
Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Banana Coconut Probiotic Smoothie (Dairy-Free)
- ½ Attune Dark Chocolate Probiotic bar
- 1 small frozen banana, cut into chunks
- ¼ cup canned* or homemade coconut milk + ½ cup water OR ¾ cup refrigerated coconut milk (in carton)
- 1 Tbsp nut butter
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
- Ice/water, as desired
*If using canned milk, buy Arroy-D or Native Forest to avoid BPA in the cans, which readily leaches into high fat liquids such as coconut milk
Mix ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add more ice or water as needed for desired consistency.
To make into a recovery smoothie, simply add ½ – 1 scoop protein powder, such as hemp, soy, pea or undenatued whey.
I’m a big-time fan of good bacteria. Why? Because I’m a big-time fan of gut health. I see it as the nutrition gate-way to a healthy body. Without healthy digestion, foods are not broken down properly, absorbed efficiently, or eliminated when needed. Without a healthy gut, whole, harmful proteins can invade the blood stream and cause inflammation and immune-function reactions. Without a healthy gut, immune function is decreased and overall health is diminished.
And healthy bacteria, like the ones found in the Attune Dark Chocolate Probiotic bar in our smoothie, are one key to a healthy gut. In fact, healthy bacteria have special benefits for athletes.
Benefits of Healthy Bacteria:
- Increase antioxidant absorption. Yes, this really does benefit non-athletes as well. But, since free radicals are abundant after training, it’s important that athletes meet them head-on with high amounts of antioxidants. And, wouldn’t you know it, probiotics eaten during recovery will increase antioxidant absorption, and thereby promote extra free radical fighting just when you need it.
- Promote higher levels of the natural virus-fighter, interferon, which is decreased in fatigued athletes. Ever notice how some endurance athletes are sick more often than “less-healthy” individuals who don’t exercise nearly as much? With endurance training, many athletes cross the line from improving health with exercise to hurting it (in some areas, anyway). One area of suppression is the immune system, and specifically interferons, which are proteins made and released by cells in response to the presence of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and tumor cells. Studies have shown an increase in interferons in fatigued athletes with the supplementation of healthy bacteria, and thereby a decrease in illnesses such as mononucleosis.
- Increase the bioavailability and absorption of proteins and fats by improving the breakdown of these nutrients in the digestive tract. This certainly helps a cyclist meet extra nutrition needs.
- Reduce intestinal inflammation, bloating, and hypersensitivity to foods….common complaints among athletes during and after training.
How can you get more probiotics in your diet? Try adding:
- Functional foods with added probiotics such as the Attune Dark Chocolate Probiotic Bars. If you tire of fermented dairy or you cannot tolerated it, but want another tasty option for daily probiotics, try these amazing bars. In fact, these bars boost 6.1 billion Probiotic cultures per serving (Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Lactobacillus casei LC-11). They also contain inulin, a prebiotic fiber that serves as probiotic food (yes, your healthy bacteria need to eat, too). And, while you’re at it, replace any “junk” desserts with these delicious bars and get the benefits of high-polyphenol dark chocolate and probiotics.
- Eat natural fermented foods and drinks each day. Good options include plain and plain Greek-style yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, high-quality aged cheese, sauerkraut, and kimchi. We’ll even help you make your own homemade high-probiotic yogurt.
- If needed, add a high-quality probiotic supplement to your regimen. Or, if you’d like to reduce the number of pills, use a multivitamin such as Rainbow’s Light that contains them.
Bonus Recipe: Homemade Coconut Milk
Heat 4 cups water until hot, but not boiling. Add 1 ½ – 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes and water to high-powered blender (the better the blender, the better the consistency) and blend on high for several minutes until thick and creamy. Pour through a colander and filter out the coconut pulp, then squeeze through a cheese cloth to filter the smaller pieces of coconut. Refrigerate and use within 3-4 days.
It may not be the most popular topic of conversation, but your gut is important. Treat it right. Give it the healthy bacteria it needs from a variety of sources. Try our Chocolate Banana Coconut Probiotic Smoothie with an Attune Dark Chocolate Probiotic bar, and your taste buds will thank you, too. A healthy gut could be the difference between killing it on an epic ride and being stuck on your couch at home with a cold. The choice is yours.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.
Photo by Alisa Fleming for Attune Foods