How many of us really think about where our food goes after we eat it? It's just gone and we move on with our day, right?
ACTUALLY NO! Food can be the most powerful medicine or the slowest form of poison, depending on what, how and why we eat. Our food, once digested properly, is absorbed into our blood. Our blood is what creates our cells, tissues, organs, skin, hair, nails and even the quality of our emotions and thoughts. We really do think and feel differently when we eat a fully loaded green smoothie versus a muffin or pastry, or drink plain water versus coffee and alcohol. If we're being honest, we all know this to be true based on personal experience. Smoothies are a great way to ensure you are nourishing your body with powerful medicine, as long as it abides by these specific nutrition principles.
A perfect fertility smoothie really boils down to this...
Making sure it includes a fat, protein and carbohydrate, while enhancing it with key fertility boosting nutrients.
Why? It will keep your blood sugar stable, reduce cravings, and keep you feeling full, all while enhancing your reproductive system and pleasing your taste buds.
Let’s break it down!
A smoothie always needs a base. A liquid is needed to blend all contents to help make it smooth and slurpable (yes, that is now a word). There are a variety of options for a base, but I would recommend staying away from fruit juices from concentrate.
Dose: Typically I use about 1 cup as a base, but sometimes dose up to 1.5 cups if I am slurping my smoothie for a meal.
Option 1: filtered water or any version of it (i.e coconut water, maple water, lemon water). I find that the best bases for green or vegetable based smoothies are waters!
Option 2: any milk alternative including almond, coconut, cashew, hazelnuts. Luckily, you have lots to choose from at the grocery store these days.
As mentioned above, the crux of the smoothie must include a fat, protein, and carb to ensure it includes all appropriate macronutrients. This will help your body stay adequately satiated, as each micronutrient works with each other to slow down the influx of natural sugar into the blood while keeping you feeling full for longer.
*Please note all macronutrient examples are listed as ‘OR’ and not ‘AND,’ so ensure to just pick one from each.
Fat: Do not fear fat! I repeat, do not fear fat! Fat is essential for improving brain development, overall cell functioning, protecting the body’s organs and even helping you absorb vitamins found in foods.
Dose: Typically I use about 1-3 tbsp of fat in each smoothie (amount depends on the source, below are some of my favourites).
Healthy oils (1 tbsp) including coconut, hemp, avocado, walnut, etc;
Ripe avocado (3 tbsp)
Nut butters (1 heaping tbsp or sometimes 2 if I am consuming it as a meal)
Carbohydrates: Carbs break down into sugar and typically give you the sweet taste most people enjoy from smoothies. Be mindful about how much carbs (sugar) you are adding to your smoothie.
Dose: Typically, I include about 1/2 cup of carbs in each smoothie. Some options include (these can be frozen or fresh):
Half banana with 1 pitted date
Mango, pineapple, peaches
Cucumber, celery, romaine lettuce
Protein: Protein is essential for repairing and regenerating body tissues and cells, a healthy functioning immune system and manufacturing hormones.
Dose: Typically, I include about 1/4 cup of protein in each smoothie. Some options include:
Protein powders: You have two options when it comes to sources of protein powder, plant vs. animal (whey) based. I use and recommend plant based protein powders. I prefer the taste and find it less taxing on my digestive system.
Hemp hearts are a great plant based protein that gives you a whopping 10g per 3 tablespoons.
Nuts, chia seeds, and greens are other great smoothie components that contain protein.
TAKE IT UP A NOTCH!
Add on extra added health benefits that might be difficult to consume on a regular basis by adding fertility and digestive health superfoods and anti-inflammatory ingredients to your smoothie. Take your health up a notch by adding the following ingredients.
Fertility and Digestive Health Superfoods:
Superfoods are extremely potent in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). They provide more than you would get from a macronutrient (fat, protein or carb).
Dose: Typically, I include about 1 tsp – 1tbsp of superfoods. I use these as AND instead of OR. I love to load my superfoods in my smoothies, don’t hold back, have fun!
Chia seeds: Are not only a complete source of protein, but provide eight times more Omega 3 than salmon, more calcium than dairy, is high in iron as well as vitamin c, potassium and antioxidants. When chia seeds are mixed with any liquid they gelatinize (hence they are great for helping clean you from the inside out). Don’t be surprised if your smoothie turns a bit sludgy if you don’t consume it immediately.
Maca powder: maca is known as an adaptogen and helps your body balance its hormones and adapt to stress, leading to healthier production of eggs. Tip: stay away from maca in the evening as it will give you an extra boost of energy.
Bee pollen: is believed to increase estrogen levels and stimulate ovarian function. It may, therefore, help in releasing healthy eggs.
Cacao nibs: are full of fiber and magnesium to keep those bowels moving, while leaving little crunchy bits of goodness to make you feel like you’re eating a meal
Inflammation inside the body is more prominent than most of us would like to believe. A 2014 study published in the journal Seminars in Reproductive Medicine showed that inflammation can throw estrogen and progesterone, the two main hormones involved in the menstruation cycle, out of whack. When these two hormones are out of balance, it can be challenging to get pregnant and carry a baby to full term
Dose: Typically I include about 1 tsp – 1 tbsp (except for the greens, see below)
Ginger root: I love using raw ginger root (about thumb size knob). Feel free to use it in powder form as well!
Turmeric powder: Curcumin is the active component of turmeric and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Just be careful with your white counter and clothes, it stains!
Greens: spinach, kale, collard greens (anywhere between 1-2 tightly packed cups)
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
Here is an example of one of my favourite fertility boosting smoothies. I call this one the Liquid Gold Smoothie.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup of mixed chopped frozen pineapple and banana
One pitted date
1 scoop vanilla plant based protein powder
One heaping tbsp sunflower seed butter
1 tsp turmeric powder
Thumb size knob of organic ginger root
1 heaping tbsp cacao nibs
Blend all ingredients until smooth, enjoy immediately or store in a tightly sealed glass container for 24 hours!