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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Coconut Lime Smoothie Pops

GLUTEN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE | DETOX-FRIENDLY


I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm not that big on smoothies. I usually prefer to chew my food. But sometimes smoothies are good options. Like when you need breakfast on the run. When your digestive system needs a rest. When you need to incorporate liquid or powdered supplements or an extra handful of greens into your daily routine. When you need a quick protein-filled snack. Or when you're doing a detox.

When I design detox programs for my patients, protein powder smoothies are usually optional. Detox can certainly be successful without them, but for many people, smoothies are a convenient way to start the day with a quick protein-rich meal. It's also a convenient way to incorporate the ground flax or psyllium seeds I recommend during detox.

(Learn more about detox, flax seeds, and psyllium seeds in my book, The Prediabetes Detox. Find my favorite protein powders in my virtual dispensary.)

For this smoothie, I used Pure Encapsulations' PureLean vegetarian protein powder (natural vanilla flavor). I like that it's sweetened with only a small amount of stevia and that it contains chia seeds, antioxidant superfruits, and a full array of vitamins and minerals. (The chocolate variety, made with organic evaporated cane sugar, also contains cocoa powder. For those who prefer chocolate to vanilla, I'll include a Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie recipe at the end of this post.) Each scoop has 15 grams of protein derived from pea and rice, so it contains less processed grains than rice-only protein powders.

Now that the weather is really heating up in New York, I've started to eat my smoothies frozen. If you'd rather drink yours, skip the last step in this recipe and be aware that it will thicken as it stands, so it's best enjoyed immediately. (If it does thicken, you can re-blend it.)

Who would guess that a freezer pop could be a healthy breakfast?

This recipe calls for the zest and juice of a lime, but if your lime isn't organic, omit the zest. It also calls for fresh mint and basil, which give this smoothie a really fresh flavor. If you don't have fresh herbs on hand, you can omit them. (But you should read this book consider planting a window garden.)

Use the best quality coconut milk you can find. Avoid ones that are packaged as a beverage with added stabilizers and sweeteners and preservatives. Look for whole coconut milk (not low fat) with just two ingredients: coconut extract (60%) and water. (I buy it frozen from Eastland or canned by AROY-D at the Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco Street in New York City's Chinatown.)

This recipe makes 2 smoothies or about 8 freezer pops, depending on the size of your molds.

To make a Coconut Lime Smoothie:

½ cup whole coconut milk
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger along with any juices
1 organic lime, zest and juice
20 medium basil leaves
20 medium mint leaves
2 scoops PureLean Natural Vanilla Flavor
1½ cups filtered water
  1. If you want an icy cold smoothie, substitute ice cubes for some of the water in this recipe. 
  2. Blend all ingredients until smooth. 
  3. Drink immediately or freeze into pops. 


To make Coconut Lime Smoothie Pops:
  1. Pour the Coconut Lime Smoothie mixture into paper cups or a popsicle mold. If you're using paper cups, cover them with foil and insert one wooden stick into each pop. 
  2. Freeze until solid, for at least two hours and possibly longer depending on the size and shape of your molds. If you are using paper cups, cut 4 or more slits into the rim and pull the sections down to remove the cup (like you would peel a banana).


Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie

For this smoothie I used very ripe organic strawberries from the farmer's market because they're in season now and they're great for detox. In the off season or whenever you want your smoothie icy-cold, you could use frozen strawberries instead. Raspberries or blackberries would be good substitutes.


This smoothie recipe makes a single serving. It's especially easy because it calls for just a few ingredients and I can make it using my hand blender and the glass measuring cup I use to measure the water. And because it pours easily from the spout into my glass, there's no messy clean up.

Heaping ½ cup of rinsed, hulled, and halved very ripe strawberries
1 scoop PureLean Natural Chocolate Flavor
Pinch cinnamon
1 cup water
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a 2-cup glass measuring cup
  2. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, blend all of the ingredients in a stand blender.)
  3. Transfer to a glass and garnish if you wish, with a berry, a sprig of mint, or a dash of ground cinnamon.
  4. Serve immediately.

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