After years of experimenting, sampling and touring smoothie shops, this recipe may be my VERY favorite concoction yet. It is absolutely loaded with nutrients and flavor. I am SO excited to share it with you all. But I can't possibly take full credit as this design was truly a collaborative effort with my friends on "Team Energize."
I always consider menus and recipes as "suggested" options to be tweaked, adjusted and embellished. I was appreciative when the patient crew at Energize had no problem allowing me to experiment with smoothie combinations until I found exactly what I was looking for. Energize, which opened in May 2016, is owned by four hard-working friends (two are brothers) from Bulgaria who have taken their passion for health and fitness, their close-knit friendship and their collective determination to establish and grow their local, small business. Each time I become curious about swapping ingredients, conversations about the design and benefits of each listed smoothie ensue. Although their recipes originate from their research and taste tests to offer complementary ingredients and combinations with robust nutritional value, the Team was happy to work with me until I found "it."
And "it" is delicious.
And "it" earned me my nickname.
Though vastly different, my go-to juice, smoothie and salad all share a commonality.... they are loaded with cayenne pepper. As the staff say, my selections are "spicy." Now, I wish you could HEAR the "spicy" being said with the accents of these Bulgarian health-nuts because it takes it to a whole other level of awesomeness. Just imagine a thickly accented "spiceeeeeeeeeey."
Forget Melissa, "Spicy" has become the greeting I receive when walking through their doors. And I'll take it. Along with more cayenne, please.
Cayenne originated in Central and South America and grows in subtropical and tropical climates. I find this extra interesting because my favorite wines also originated there.... Hmmmmm. Cayenne pepper contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and flavonoids – which provides powerful antioxidant properties. There are SO many benefits of cayenne including; digestive aid, alleviates migraines, helps with blood clots, detoxifies the body, relieves joint and nerve pain, is an anti-fungal that fights Candida, boosts metabolism and treats psoriasis. Cayenne packs heat, in a quiet little, sneaky after-taste kind of way. The intensity isn't for everyone, so remember, a little bit can go a long way until your tolerance builds.
So how did this smoothie come about? I was looking for something post-workout that was full of nutrition, flavor and a little caffeine. Through discussions we essentially took the benefits of a couple of their smoothies, combined them, dropped the sweetners, amped the spice and incorporated toppings to round out the incredible benefits of "Spicy 'Cado."
Now, just as I use recipes as a loose guide, you may prefer to add more sweetener (think agave, dates or honey) to balance the spice. It's all preference. And this is something that you can learn more about at Energize, too. The store is lined with books on nutrition, superfoods and other health information. (Bonus: their books are highlighted so readers can quickly pull away the top take-aways during a short lunch break). The staff is passionate about spreading health, wellness and positive energy into the world and always willing to share their knowledge and research.
One of our recent discussions focused on our individual ayurvedic make-up (stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on this!). According to this belief, each of us is a unique ratio of three types of doshas (energies); Pitta, Vata or Kapha. To maintain our health, we need to balance our unique blends of physical, emotional, and mental characteristics. The ayurvedic dosha's that comprise our make-up impact our ability to handle and our need to incorporate different spices, herbs and foods into our diets. Knowing the ratio of our make-up is important so we can each maintain balance, reduce inflammation and essentially keep our bodies working smoothly. For me- whether it is food, drink or environment, I crave heat. Hence.... "Spiceyyyyy."
This bowl is packed with benefits in addition to the star spice, cayenne. To name a few- Vitamins C and B6 and minerals including potassium, copper, manganese and iron. It's got protein, electrolytes and ingredients that increase the body’s ability to assimilate and absorb the nutrients ingested. "Spicy 'Cado" supports digestion, brain and heart health, has anti-inflammatories and ingredients that fight bacteria, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.
It is gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar free, filling and delicious!
Spicy 'Cado Bowl:
8 oz of Hemp Milk (can substitute coconut or almond milk)
2 large frozen, ripe bananas
1 handful of spinach
2 tsp. of instant ground coffee
1.5 tsp of almond butter
3 (or more!) dashes of cayenne pepper
1 lemon wedge
Mix all ingredients together in a high-powered blender.
Pour into a bowl.
For the topping:
Chocolate covered goji berries
** To make a smoothie variation:
Use 1 (not frozen) banana, add ice and remove toppings (or mix them right in!)