I’ve been drinking smoothies for twenty years and continually come up with new recipes to keep breakfast interesting. Here’s my latest – a chocolate maca energy smoothie. It’s like a healthy chocolate milkshake that powers up your morning, increases energy, balances your mood and helps you sail through daily stress, so grab your blender and let’s get going.
Maca: Adaptogenic Herb
Maca is a traditional medicinal herb called an adaptogen. Adaptogens help your body cope more effectively with stressors, like crazy schedules, hormone fluctuations, and just about everything in modern life. After harvest, the root is dried and ground into powder making it easy to add to smoothies. With a nutty kind of butterscotch-y flavor, maca pairs well with chocolate, plus one tablespoon adds 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber to your smoothie.
Peruvian folklore tells of maca being used by warriors to increase strength and endurance, and it might help us fight our daily battles too. A root vegetable native to Peru, it’s grown in the harsh high altitudes of the Andes mountains. Research on maca is in early stages, but reports show it helps increase energy and stamina, balance hormones, plus reduce stress and anxiety. Maca is a healthy food, not a miracle drug, but it’s a great natural addition to your healthy diet and lifestyle.
Health Benefits of Cacao Powder
While cacao gives this smoothie its chocolaty flavor and lovely color, the health benefit is from flavanols, a type of phytonutrient found only in plants. Published studies demonstrate that consuming cocoa flavanols improves cardiovascular function and lessens the burden on the heart that comes with the aging and stiffening of arteries. Study data also indicate that cocoa flavanols reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage. If that isn’t good news for chocolate lovers I don’t know what is!
I buy a raw, organic, unsweetened brand on Amazon. More than just flavor and color, two tablespoons adds 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein to your smoothie. Cacao powder also provides important minerals such as magnesium, manganese, chromium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, zinc, and copper.
Last Notes on Ingredients
Choose greenish bananas for their lower sugar levels and resistant starch, a type of starch than functions more like fiber. To sweeten your smoothie, use a half dropper of liquid chocolate stevia drops. For cinnamon, choose “true” or Ceylon cinnamon versus common Cassia cinnamon.
Chocolate Maca Energy Smoothie
- 1 cup almond milk preferably homemade
- 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon ground maca powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 dropper liquid chocolate stevia
- 1 small greenish banana
- 1 scoop protein powder of choice see notes below
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut thread
- 2-3 slices banana
- Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If you prefer a cold smoothie, add a couple of ice cubes. Garnish as desired.