I cut out all sugar for two weeks. Not only white sugar and high fructose corn syrup, but also natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and even fruit. This was one of the more difficult steps on my journey to health (long, long ongoing journey).
I thought, It’s just two weeks. Two weeks and I can have fruit again. It can’t be that hard. But it was. It was really hard. This “smoothie” was one of the few food joys I clung to for sanity.
In fact I am grateful for the health problems I faced because they led me to this smoothie — it squeezed some culinary creativity out of me, and made me feel good.
Maybe that’s dramatic, but if I didn’t have gluten, dairy, and egg sensitivities, fruit and sugar free breakfasts would have been no problem. I could have easily had toast and eggs for breakfast for two weeks.
Instead I faced the challenge of designing a breakfast that was egg, grain, dairy and sugar free. What resulted was liquid gold.
This smoothie tastes uh-mazing. Like milkshake-for-breakfast amazing. As if that’s not enough, it has virtually no carbs and is full of good fats: a great way to start the day!
To create the smoothie, I combined inspiration from a smoothie I found online with my love of cinnamon-sugar and almonds. Of course sugar was out of the question, but wouldn’t almond butter be amazing with some cinnamon, vanilla, and ice-cold coconut milk? I had to try it.
Plain coconut milk worked as an ideal base: practically flavorless but the perfect milky consistency.
Next I added one teaspoon each of cinnamon and vanilla.
Then I sprinkled in a tablespoon of xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener (see below for more information on xylitol and why I don’t recommend you use it in your smoothie).
Then the magic ingredient: almond butter. Gooey, nutty, and a little sweet (yes, it is), I plopped two hearty tablespoons into the blender.
Those five ingredients created the amazing flavor, but this is just a deliciously simple recipe asking to be transformed on occasion. There are endless possibilities including chocolate and coffee variations. One of my favorites trades the sweetener for half of a banana and creates what might as well be banana bread batter.
Full of fat and so delicious I swear I taste heaven, I will be keeping this on my breakfast menu long after I return to a semi-normal diet.
1 cup of unflavored coconut milk OR whole milk
1 T plain yogurt (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 T sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar) and/or half of a very ripe banana
1 T flax seed
1 T chia seeds
2 hearty tablespoons of almond butter
1 handful of spinach (optional — it doesn’t change the taste, but only add if you can stand the pea green color)
9 ice cubes (this is not a magic number, it’s just what seems to work)
1 T melted coconut oil
1. First pour your liquids into the blender.
2. Add cinnamon, vanilla, sweetener, flax and chia seeds, almond butter, and ice. Blend until it’s smooth and you don’t see chia seeds splattered across walls of your blender.
3. Put the blender on the slowest setting and slowly pour in the melted coconut oil.
4. Kick up the power a few notches for 10 seconds.
5. Serve with a straw and enjoy!
A note on xylitol. Xylitol isn’t sugar. It is a sugar alcohol. Many people (mostly gum companies) use it as a replacement for sugar. It is low calorie and low glycemic, and therefore considered acceptable for diabetics and those on the candida diet. The American Dietetic Association states that xylitol offers health benefits such as reduced glycemic response, increased absorption of B vitamins and calcium, and a reduction in dental caries risks.
However, based on this article and this article and the horrible stomach cramps I got after eating it several times, I decided that xylitol is not right for me. Probably, it’s not right for anyone. At least in large quantities. And so that is why I recommend you use maple syrup, honey, a banana, or even some stevia leaf if you’re feeling adventurous. I’d just limit the xylitol.