Alright ya’ll, I did this whole clean eating binge with a friend. For the most part it was not that tough. No processed foods; check. Read labels to make sure there isn’t sugar hidden somewhere in there; already do this too.
The other rules included all of today’s popular food trends that end in “–free.” Gluten-Free. Sugar Free. Dairy Free. Until this week, I would have translated the combination of all three diets/lifestyles as “disgusting.” But ya’ll they really aren’t that scary. I made some awesome chili. Grilled Chicken with steamed green beans. Thai Larb (without the pinch of sugar). Just to name a few… And every morning for breakfast, I made SMOOOOTHIES! More on those later.
While technically the rules were to only consume whole grains (which for the most part, I do anyways), I was curious to go whole-hog and cut out gluten all together. Aside from feeling crippled baking-wise (because we all know GF baked goods are rarely good), since I’m not a sandwich fan, this wasn’t that tough.
Sugar free was a bit harder, not because I am a huge fan of refined or added sugar, but we chose to interpret sugar free as free from sweeteners of any kind. Sweets aside, a lot of my go-to sauces for dinner often include a tiny bit of honey or brown sugar. Ugh!
But the hardest, by far, I expected to be cutting out dairy. No yogurt in the morning. No cheese. No half-n-half in my coffee?! While I lost track how many times I reached for my plain Greek yogurt in the morning, this week was the week that I discovered Almond Milk. Yes, it makes your coffee a bit waterier than I prefer, but on its own and in coffee it is infinitely better than any other dairy-free alternative.
But you guys, do you know how good almond milk tastes in smoothies? Because the answer is SO GOOD! I will never go back to regular non-fat milk or adding a little Greek yogurt. Why? Because almond milk + fresh strawberries + frozen banana + kale + nut butter = delicious.
Don’t let kale scare you away! If you aren’t a fan, this smoothie is designed to mask the taste and texture entirely. Adding it to the almond milk and blending those two ingredients alone helps to get a smooth undetectable texture – even if the bright green color is a dead give-away.
I would make this every morning if I could! Sooo delicious! I experimented with a number of variations. Threw in a bit of ground flax meal instead of nut butter a couple of days. Tried it with less banana, less kale, more kale, different fresh fruits, etc. I’ll be honest, all were delicious but the winning combo was the classic strawberry and banana.
Strawberry Banana Kale Smoothie
- 1 cup plain almond milk (not the vanilla variety!)
- 1 very large leaf of kale, de-ribbed
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, tops removed
- 1 ½ tbl. nut butter
In blender, blend almond milk and kale until kale is completely blended and mixture is a bright green liquid.
Blend in a little nut butter (I like almond and peanut butter best). In lieu of nut-butter, sometimes I like to substitute (or even add) flax seed meal, chia seeds, or hemp hearts.
Add frozen banana. This is a perfect use for too-ripe bananas: peel and freeze in airtight container until you are ready to use in your smoothies! I found blending the bananas into the smoothie easier if the banana is chopped into halves or quarters. Once the banana is combined into the green mixture, add the strawberries. In case you don’t love drinking visibly green smoothies, these should punch up the color.
Almond milk makes this smoothie. I promise you! Coming from a staunch dairy milk fan, I have made this smoothie a million times before with traditional non-fat milk and the almond milk version is so much better!!
A big thank you to the people who figured out how to milk an almond;) Just kidding! But seriously, I need to figure out how to make this stuff myself. Smoothies and almond milk, ya’ll.