As much as I love creating nourishing meals at home, I equally love exploring the collective of health-driven cafes and restaurants around this creative city. The movement towards locally sourced, sustainable, organic, and cutting-edge nutrition meals and drinks is a huge source of my inspiration for the meals I create and share at home. One of my favourite organic cafes, Ingredients Health Food & Apple Cafe, unfortunately, closed its doors last year. This recipe for Healing Berry Banana Smoothie with Cacao was inspired by it. It took me a while to figure out their secret ingredient which was probably as much as a surprise to me as it will be to you. I’ve added a little boost which I am sure they would be in harmony with.
“Fresh picked berries offer a myriad of health benefits, which are said to come from their deep, rich colour, indicative of their flavonoid content. Berries are also a low GI fruit, attributed by the high fibre content of their skin”
Tips On Making This Smoothie
Using Frozen Berries
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.
Adding Apple Cider Vinegar
Sounds weird right? Why would you want vinegar in your smoothie? 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.
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 that could help populate our gut when beneficial bacteria. See my post Prebiotics Probiotics and Fermented Foods – 5 Ways To A Healthy Gut and Fermented Foods Health Benefits – 9 Fermented Foods You Have In Your Home for more information on fermented foods and gut health.
Which Cacao To Use
When choosing a cacao powder, make sure there are no funny ingredients. Ideally, the product will say ‘raw’ or unprocessed; do 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 the nutrition will still be intact. Usually, cocoa powder has been heated to high temperatures. Dutch cocoa is used for making and has the addition of an alkalizing agent.
Notes On Making This Smoothie
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.
Did you make this Healing Berry Banana Smoothie with Cacao recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Share it on Pinterest and leave a comment below. I would love it if you shared a picture of your recreation on Instagram so I can take a look, and be sure to tag me @theconsciousdietitian.
Recipe Adapted From Ingredients Heath Food Store – Apple Café.
Healing Berry Banana Smoothie with Cacao
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp cacao raw
- 1 medium banana
- 1/2 cup blueberries frozen
- 2 large ice cubes
- Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk if the smoothie is too thick.
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition, and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.