I’ve been holding onto this smoothie idea for a while now. I believe the first time I whipped up this strawberry shake was last fall. Miraculously, I actually wrote down the ingredients and amounts that I used, and even more amazingly, I managed to save the notebook where I jotted them down. My plan was to stash it away until strawberry season arrived. Then I started getting antsy. It finally occurred to me that it probably is strawberry season, somewhere. In fact, in some places strawberry season may have come and gone! WHY haven’t I posted this yet?? Also, I just really couldn’t wait to tell you about it.
There is just something so cheery about strawberries… their bright red hue, sweet flavor, and juicy texture. A ripe strawberry has the ability to take me back to summertime as a kid, running around barefoot on a hot sunny day, tromping through the rows of dirt in our garden, and peeking under the strawberry plants to see if there were any berries ripe yet. Not only did my parents have strawberries growing in their garden, but both sets of my grandparents had strawberry patches in their yards. There was a lot of strawberry picking and eating going on during my childhood. There really is nothing like biting into a ripe, sweet, sun-warmed berry that you just picked yourself. If you’ve never done it, and aren’t planting a strawberry patch anytime soon, I highly recommend finding a pick-your-own fruit farm in your area and experiencing it for yourself.
Besides making me happy because it tastes dreamily delicious, is chocked full of cheerful strawberries, and possesses a tickled-pink hue, this smoothie is a total “glad”-iator (he he)… loaded not only with lots of natural plant protein to pump-you-up, but a host of beautifying, healthful, and mood-boosting ingredients.
Strawberries – Excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of fiber. Regular strawberry consumption is fabulous for keeping skin looking firm, clear, radiant, and protected from oxidative and ultraviolet light damage, thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants and manganese. Strawberries have also been studied for their role in preventing heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, as well as decreasing chronic inflammation.
Hemp Seeds – These powerful little seeds provide a quality source of easily digestible plant protein. Hemp seeds contain all 20 amino acids, and more importantly, they have all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies can not produce. Hemp seeds also have an excellent 3:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which includes gamma linoleic acid, or GLA, an essential omega 6 fatty acid that has been shown to help balance hormones. Hemp seeds are also a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. Because of their high protein and fatty acids, they’re great for supporting healthy skin and strong hair. Hemp seeds may be beneficial in relieving symptoms of PMS, thanks to their high levels of GLA. Making hemp seeds part of your daily diet may also support heart health, weight loss, digestive health, joint health, and has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties.
Cashews – Excellent source of copper, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals are important for keeping bones strong, relaxing muscles and nerves (which may reduce migraines, tension, and muscle cramps), increasing energy, and strengthening blood vessels. Copper is especially beneficial for collagen production, as well as production of hair and skin pigment. Cashews are lower in fat than most nuts, and the majority of the fat is of the monounsaturated variety – excellent for supporting cardiovascular health. These nuts may also boost your mood and reduce anxiety, another reason this smoothie will make you happy.
Chia Seeds – Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 4 grams of protein, 18% of your DV of calcium, 30% of your DV of manganese and magnesium, and 27% of your DV of phosporous (excellent minerals for bone health). They are also high in antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Although it has been a highly debated subject for quite some time, new research from Penn State University has concluded that ALA is as effective at preventing heart disease as DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in marine algae and the fish that eat this algae (that’s right, fish contain DHA because they consume algae or eat other fish that consume the algae). These recent findings on ALA omega-3 fatty acids and heart health is good news for those who don’t eat fish or want to take algal oil supplements.
This strawberry-filled creamy concoction makes the perfect energizing breakfast or after-workout snack. One recipe makes a large 16 oz (2 cup) serving. For about 475 calories, this dessert-like milkshake provides 20 grams of whole-food, plant protein. It also boasts 91% of your recommended daily intake of calcium, 29% vitamin A, 20% vitamin C, and over 55% of iron. It’s loaded with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and feel-good vibes. It is not, however, loaded with sugar. There’s just 7 grams of naturally occurring sugars from the fruit. Now if that doesn’t turn your frown upside-down, then I don’t know what will.
Come on get happy, and treat yo’self to a smile in a glass (or jar) with this Happy Hemp-Strawberry Smoothie!
Happy Hemp-Strawberry Smoothie
- 1 + 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup frozen watermelon chunks (or ice cubes, but I recommend the melon cubes)
- 3 Tbsp raw, organic, shelled hemp seeds (I use these)
- 2 Tbsp raw cashews (preferably soaked a couple hours or overnight if possible)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Blend it up! I like to blend the almond milk, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cashews, and vanilla until very smooth. Then, I add the strawberries and watermelon chunks and blend again until thick and creamy.
Tell me, do you grow your own strawberries? Or do you ever go strawberry picking? Buying them at the farmer’s market is another favorite way I get my fresh berry fix come strawberry season.