I'm still on my smoothie kick, but this one is different from the others that I've shared so far. Up until this point, all of my smoothies have had the goal of providing a tasty way to fill you up while providing a reasonable degree of nutrition. For this smoothie, my goal was to stuff it full of nutrients...or rather, one nutrient in particular: iron.
I've been having some issues with iron lately. This started last fall, when after a few weeks of feeling generally run-down, a yoga teacher enthusiastically instructed me to rise and shine. I rose, but instead of shining, my vision started going dark and the room began to spin. I was fine...halted the rising process and took a moment to gather myself, but I knew there was a problem, and some blood work a few days later confirmed that my iron was low. The doctor suggested I supplement, which I reluctantly agreed to do, but of course I felt the need to supplement my supplementing with diet. Within a few weeks I felt better.
Now it's happening again. I recognized what was going on right away this time, and I'm bound and determined to fix this and not let it happen again. For anyone that's never dealt with this, it's a big, fat pain in the butt. I normally like going to yoga and the gym multiple times a week, but now I feel winded just walking up the stairs. So I'm eating as much iron as I can. That's why I made this smoothie. I jammed as many suitable iron-rich foods as I could into one drink and gulped it down.
Disclaimer: I'm not a nutritionist. But I am a nutritionally conscious person capable of exploring publicly available nutritional information from the internet and food labels. With that in mind, here's my smoothie's breakdown.
2 bananas - 6%
2 cups spinach - 10%
1 cup soy milk - 9%
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder* - 10%
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses* - 15%
½ tablespoon spirulina powder* - 10%
1 teaspoon vanilla extract - 0%
½ teaspoon cinnamon - 1%
All of my info came from here, except ingredients marked with *, which I used the product labels for.
Getting sufficient iron always seems seems a little daunting, because as you can see, even "high" iron foods like the ones I've listed only contain up to 15% of your daily iron intake. It's not like vitamin C, where you eat an orange and are all, "Well that was easy!" That's why I put them all of the iron rich foods I had stocked into my pantry and made one meal out of them. If you drink the whole smoothie, it packs 61% of you daily iron requirement. Not bad.
Spirulina is definitely one of the predominant flavors here. It's potent, in both taste and nutrition content, and whenever I use it I'm challenged to strike a balance where the flavor isn't overpowering. If you've worked with spirulina before, then great, you know what to expect and you're probably set. If not, I'd suggest starting out with just a pinch, tasting, and working your way up to the full amount the recipe calls for. If you want to ease your way into spirulina with even more caution, try my Superhero Spirulina Cookies, which are a bit milder.
Green Iron Soothie
- 2 ripe bananas preferably frozen
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup soy milk
- 3 tbsp. raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
- ½ tablespoon spirulina powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.