Over the past few weeks I have wondered if bananas are necessary to a smoothie bowl. I have nothing against bananas, but some other smoothie bowl enthusiasts insist on up to 4 bananas per bowl which seems a bit excessive. Reducing bananas is easy, but nothing fun is easy…
A few years ago, at my old favorite smoothie/ juice bar, I was talking with one of the girls who worked there. We were inventing a new smoothie because I have always been one of THOSE customers who wanted something specific, (which is why I’m doing it on my own now). I wanted to do a banana free smoothie for some reason or the other and the response was interesting. Everyone who worked there was pretty sure it “wouldn’t work”, but over the next couple weeks we experimented anyway. They brought me smoothies at the coffeeshop I worked at, and one by one we went through the alternative options. Some worked, some didn’t, but it was possible for sure.
Now coming up against the same problem with smoothie bowls presents new problems, especially when interested in the aesthetics of the bowl. Consistency requires cold and thick.
In the past few weeks I have experimented with avocados, cooked beets, pumpkin puree, butternut squash puree, soy yogurt and tofu.
My dad is a heart disease patient and I am on a mission to get him eating an Esselstyn inspired diet. (If you don’t know the research and writings of the incomparable Dr. Esselstyn go look him up RIGHT NOW please!) In an effort to support and encourage him I am going to do the diet with him. Almost. I am still eating coconut shreds in moderation because they are heaven. This diet does eliminate all oils and fatty foods, and I have omited extracts and anything that is not 100% whole plant food as a homage to my other hero in the field of holistic nutrition, Dr. T. Colin Campbell. (Again, look him up if you are not familiar with him and the China Study!)
Of all my experiments, avocados had worked well, but that did not fit in with the Esselstyn approach. The clear unequivocal winner here was the silken tofu.
Whole organic soybeans are protective against ovarian and breast cancer for women.
The only drawbacks to using the tofu are a concern about iodine and also the complication of using tofu for men.
Adding a small amount of seaweed, especially nori as it isn’t excessive in iodine unlike kelp for example, is a great solution. I personally love the taste of seaweed (Gina and I have been recently addicted to munching on dulse). If that’s not your thing however, rice cakes with nori flakes taste like… well, rice cakes. And there are shakers of seaweed flakes that you can shake on to anything and are virtually undetectable flavor-wise.
The concern about men eating soy is more complex.
While I am vegan, I am a proponent of mindful food choice. If you would be willing to kill/ procure the animal product in a ethical and cruelty free manner, go for it. Just keep all animal products under 10% of your diet to avoid health risks and reap the benefits of a plant based diet. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable procuring the product though,…do not eat it. That involves a dissociative approach to eating that breeds nothing but unhealthiness.
If you are a man, avoiding soy, and truly mindfully okay with dairy, substituting an organic and cruelty free, preferably local greek style yogurt would work just as well. Or take the regular organic cruelty free yogurt and strain it overnight for cheaper homemade yogurt cheese. That was one of my favorites when I was little. If you are a vegan man I can only say that’s a whole new challenge. I would love to hear any suggestions from that population.
While there are so many options to get the right consistency in a smoothie bowls including bananas, the more we experiment and discover other options and branch out, the more choice we have. And choice supports choosing the absolutely best, yummiest, and HEALTHIEST option for you.
1/5 package organic silken tofu
1 acai berry organic unsweetened smoothie pack
Organic coconut shreds
Organic vanilla bean ground
Organic raw sprouted pumpkin seeds
Organic freeze-dried acai powder
Matcha (my love!)
Organic raisins…provide texture and sweetness! (Another note: I am also going back to being 100% sweetener free, as it makes me feel best and resensitizes my taste buds totally! So no honey, no maple syrup, no nothing. This bowl didn’t need it! Just that bit of raisins and well as the nuttiness of the soy provided the needed balance.)
Organic raw hemp hearts
Much love to you all!
Hadley and Gina