I’m pulling together an unlikely duo of foods today in the spirit of enjoying more probiotic-rich foods in our diets. The duo? Sauerkraut and chocolate. Now before you
run away click away, believe me, the end result is a brownie-like chocolate smoothie packed with not only an amazing amount of nutrients, but also far more (trillions actually) beneficial bacteria from the sauerkraut than taking a probiotic supplement.
As I’ve mentioned before and will probably mention again, probiotic-rich foods are a pillar of health. Science is in the infant stages of understanding how the gut effects our overall health, but what they do know is when we have plenty of the right bacteria there, our health (physical and mental) is much better off than when we don’t. Eating probiotic-rich foods improves our immune systems, helps lessen the gaps between the cells that line our intestinal walls (gaps can be harmful when they become too large), and restores proper balance of microflora in the intestine. I’m keeping the list of benefits extremely basic here for the sake of this food blog, but recommend Sarah Ballantyne’s book “The Paleo Approach” or her blog for more information.
Onto the recipe. It’s all thanks to a good friend of mine who casually mentioned she added sauerkraut to her smoothie in the morning. I completely breezed over it at the time, focusing on what she was saying next, but on my drive home it occurred to me that OF COURSE you should add sauerkraut to a smoothie! Why had I not thought of this before? (Thanks Noelia!) I imagined it would add the perfect amount of tang, similar to adding a little acidity, and could be balanced out with the right “loud” foods.
Dark chocolate (75% cacao or more) is one of my daily indulgences. I’m honestly not a huge sweets person or dessert eater (I’m so odd), but dark chocolate is another matter all together. For me, a square of dark chocolate lands me square in the middle of contentedness – neither feeling deprived, nor wanting more. In one of my favorite movies, Chocolat, chocolate concoctions by the main character, Vianne, have the power to mend ties between a squabbling married coupled and spark confidence and change in others. Chocolate may not solve all of my problems, but it clearly was just what I needed for this smoothie.
Chocolate is not only loud, in the world of food flavors, but would probably be enough to make even the most sauerkraut skeptical folks give this smoothie a try … and convert them.
I hope you enjoy!
xo ~ Mandy
- Cacao – Cacao is truly off the charts when it comes to antioxidants. It is also an incredible source of calcium, magnesium and folate as well. When looking for a brand, choose organic if possible, as pesticides are very commonly used on cacao trees. Also, you definitely want cacao not cocoa. Cocoa is the heated version of cacao and thus all of the antioxidants are lost.
- Sauerkraut – Sauerkraut is a probiotic rich food (Think a trillion bacteria in a few bites – way more than any probiotic supplement out there.) that is made simply with cabbage, water, salt and time. Lactobacillus (bacteria that natural lives on fruits and vegetables) feeds off the sugar in the cabbage and turns it into lacitc acid. The lactic acid allows the resulting food – sauerkraut – to be preserved longer and it is also what gives it its distinctive “tangy” or sour taste.
****If purchasing sauerkraut at the store, purchase any product sold in the refrigerated section. Sauerkraut sold on the shelves in the middle of the store has been pasteurized and doesn’t contain the lovely gut healing bacteria.****
- ½ frozen ripe banana (if using an unfrozen banana, add a small handful of ice and reduce the amount of added water)
- ½ avocado
- 2-3 tablespoons sauerkraut
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons flax (or hemp seeds)
- 1 teaspoon honey (or 3 medjool dates) *
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup coconut milk (or almond milk)
- 1 cup filtered water
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth, about 15-20 seconds. Add extra water to thin out and/or honey for desired sweetness.