One of my favourite organic cafes, Ingredients Health Food & Apple Cafe in Victoria, unfortunately, closed its doors. This recipe for this breakfast smoothie with berries, banana and cacao was inspired by their smoothie, and the addition of apple cider vinegar adds flavour, and gut health-promoting properties.
Naturally Sweetened With Banana
No need to use honey, or sweetened flavoured yogurt, the natural sweetness of the banana is enough and helps achieve the desirable thick smoothie texture. Another nutrition banana fact – bananas are a great source of prebiotic fibre inulin which is important for helping our beneficial gut bacteria flourish (see How To Improve Gut Health – Prebiotics, Probiotics & Fermented Foods).
Berries Are High In Antioxidants
Blueberries are especially high in the antioxidant anthocyanins which have been attributed to decreasing the risks of certain types of cancer. The health benefits, which are said to come from their deep, rich colour, are indicative of their flavonoid content. Berries are also a low glycemic index fruit, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugars, thanks to the high fibre content of their skin.
Cacao For The Caffeine
Cacao is unprocessed cocoa powder, with no added sugar. Cacao naturally contains caffeine, but in smaller amounts to coffee or tea.
Probiotics from Apple Cider Vinegar
Some people like to take a daily shot of apple cider vinegar as they believe it helps with their digestion. While there is no research behind that, we do know that apple cider vinegar is filled with live-active cultures (which we sometimes refer to as probiotics) which can help populate our gut when beneficial bacteria.
Using Frozen Berries and Banana
Using frozen berries and banana adds texture to the smoothie and a nice refreshing bite. The frozen banana tastes slightly sweeter as well. Using fresh berries and banana is fine, you may find you need to add more ice cubes for desired consistency and iciness. Freeze browning bananas by peeling them and breaking them in half, storing them in a freezer bag or container.
Adding Apple Cider Vinegar
Sounds weird right? Trust me, this is the secret ingredient and what sets it apart from regular berry smoothies. The acidity from the vinegar helps to compliment the sweetness from the fruit, and the bitterness from the cacao.
Which Cacao Powder Should I Use?
When choosing a cacao powder, make sure there are no funny ingredients. Ideally, the product will say ‘raw’ or unprocessed. Know that no cacao or chocolate is ever raw as the cacao beans need to be roasted before processing. ‘Raw’ just means limited processing, and no high-heat processing means that most of the nutrition will still be intact. Usually, standard cocoa powder has been heated to high temperatures. Dutch cocoa is used for baking; it is processed with heat and has the addition of an alkalizing agent.
The Original Healing Smoothie
Unfortunately, the Ingredients Health Food Cafe which created this smoothie is no longer around. The original recipe used homemade almond milk in addition to some hemp seeds. To make things easier I prefer to make my own ‘hemp milk’, which is as easy as blending hemp seeds in water, no straining required. See my simple Hemp Milk Recipe here.
Making Leftover Smoothie
You can make a double batch of this smoothie and save the leftovers for the next day. I suggest storing it in a sealed container, so you can give it a good shake the next morning to reincorporate the ingredients together again.
Adding Greens To Your Smoothie
Why not! I prefer adding a handful of kale to my smoothies as my green of choice. Freeze wilting greens instead of letting them go to waste, and add them to your smoothies as needed. I prefer kale over spinach because it doesn’t contain oxalates, meaning we will be able to access more calcium out of them (see Bone Health and Calcium For Vegans)
More Healthy Breakfast Recipes
- High Protein Steel Cut Oats with Peanut Butter
- Three Ingredient Banana Pancakes
- Simple Orange Chocolate Oatmeal For Breakfast
- Berry Smoothie Bowl with Cauliflower and Greens
Super Healthy Breakfast Smoothie with Berry Banana & Cacao
- 1/2 cup almond milk or water
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp cacao raw
- 1 medium banana frozen
- 1/2 cup blueberries frozen
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar unpasteurized
- 2 large ice cubes optional
- Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk or cold water if the smoothie is too thick. Option to add ice cubes for a colder smoothie.