Loving the BITE: Pumpkin Spice Smoothie for Breakfast or Recovery

22
Oct
2015

Just a couple weeks ago, I implored you to add more cinnamon to your diet for its many, many nourishing health benefits. If you’ve decided to give it a try, how are you doing with it?

If you need more options, here’s some help. Delicious Pumpkin Spice Smoothie.

pumpkin smoothieRecipe of the Week:  Delicious Pumpkin Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup organic plain Greek yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)
  • ½ cup organic canned pumpkin or Roasted Pumpkin (use small pie pumpkin – see instructions below)
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup or local honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Loving the Bike Pumpkin Spice
  • 1/2 cup Spinach or Greens
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp organic coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ice (optional)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.  Add water and ice as needed for desired consistency.  Serve at once and enjoy.

*To roast a pumpkin: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds and strings.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Poke the skin side with a fork in several places on both pieces. Place in oven and roast until soft (a fork should go through the skin and flesh with ease once it’s done). Most small baking pumpkins take about 90-120 minutes.  Once cooled, scoop out flesh and place in a sieve over a bowl to allow water to drain.

*To freeze pumpkin: Roast pumpkin. Once cooled and flesh is scooped out, puree in food processor.  Freeze in single servings.

Comments:

There are oh-so-many delicious nourishing ingredients in this smoothie. Of course, you’ve got chia seeds, greens, coconut oil, probiotics in Greek yogurt, spices including “the amazing” cinnamon (yes!) and potassium-rich bananas. But the real star of this recipe, and of October, is pumpkin. And for good reason.  Good cycling requires a healthy body.  Like other winter squash, pumpkin flesh and seeds provide:

Antioxidants: Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  These antioxidants will work together to fight free radicals, reduce risk of cancer, promote heart health and reduce plague formations, and preserve eye health.

Anti-inflammatory nutrients: The cell walls contain pectin, and this pectin contains components that are anti-inflammatory.  A high anti-inflammatory diet can lead to less chronic bodily inflammation which means less chronic bodily disease.  Pumpkin seeds offer their own anti-inflammatory components that may reduce arthritis.

Anti-cancer action: Specifically, a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer due to zinc and components in pumpkin seed oil.

Heart-Health Components: Pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrols which can reduce “bad” cholesterol.

Additionally, fiber, monounsatured fats, omega-3s, B-vitamins, and copper (important for energy production).

And don’t worry, if you’re too busy hot-glueing your Star Wars costume together this year and don’t want to roast your own pumpkin, canned is a great option for this vegetable as it retains much of it’s nutrients through the canning process.

Bonus Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Remove the seeds from the pumpkin.  Wipe off excess pulp and moisture.  Spread in single layer on paper bag overnight to dry out completely. Then, place seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Roast at 160-170°F (about 75°C) for 15-20 minutes. By first allowing them to dry, then roasting at a low temperature for a short time better preserves the healthy oils and nutrients (compared to higher heat and longer roasting).

The more I work with cyclists, the more I am absolutely convinced that a diet high in foods and nutrients that combat inflammation, toxins and oxidative stress makes a huge difference in overall energy, endurance, stamina, recovery, health, metabolism and fat loss.  This week, you’ve got a delicious smoothie and delicious snack.  Loads of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.  Not bad for a holiday decoration.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body.

Enjoy Your Ride
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Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.

Answer:

Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

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Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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