The berries in the UK are the most incredibly delicious I've tasted anywhere in the world. Seriously. I eat them like lollies. They are far more delicious and superior to any candy out there! In case you're wondering, yes we get berries back in Australia, but they just don't taste as sweet and juicy as the ones here. After a trip to the local farmers market this weekend, I came home with some delicious punnets of mother nature's dessert. Currently I'm experimenting with banana-free smoothies, which makes me really sad but I have a feeling I have an allergy to them since I bloat up whenever I eat them. If you know me well, you'll know I am a banana freak and wouldn't dream of making a smoothie without my favourite all-rounder fruit. But unfortunately they are high in sugar which can wreak havoc on those with digestive and blood sugar issues. Berries on the other hand, have one of the lowest sugar contents of all the fruits (lemon, lime and tart green apples are also low sugar).
One of my smoothie essentials is something green but without bananas to mask the lawn-clipping flavour of our beloved kale, this is tricky. Courgettes and cucumbers, with their mild flavour, are the perfect substitute as they provide a great sub for the banana texture. I've been playing around with different flavour combos the past few days to come up with the right mix - thick and creamy, slight hint of sweetness, balanced and filling. This one ticks all the boxes. Berry good.
Why it's healthy:
The berries provide an antioxidant-packed start to the day, and as I mentioned they're low in sugar so you won't get any blood sugar crashes. Berries also contain anthocyanins, a flavanoid found in purple plants, which protects our genes from damage. Recent evidence indicates that anthocyanins may provide cancer protection, improve cognitive function and increase heart health.
Both courgette (zucchini) and cucumber have a low glycemic index, which makes them perfect for a low-carb lifestyle and anyone who wants to shed some pounds. One cup of sliced cucumber has just 5g of carbohydrates (just over one teaspoon of naturally occurring sugar), whereas one banana has 14g of sugar. Courgette is a safe choice for those with gut issues because of their high water, electrolyte and nutrient content. They also provide relief from constipation or can help treat diarrhea because of the dietary fiber.
Good fats, fiber and protein: hemp, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds all provide a generous hit of omega-3 essential fatty acids which are important for so many of our body's vital functions. Their anti-inflammatory effects help to treat an inflamed gastrointestinal lining (leaky gut) and chronic, low-level inflammation - the root cause of so many illnesses today including cancer, heart disease, obesity and arthritis. These seeds keep us fuller for longer and provide energy, which means less snacking and more fuel to get us going in the morning.
3/4 cup organic berries of choice, I used blueberries and blackberries
1/2 small courgette or cucumber, sliced
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon almond butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon shelled hemp seeds (I used Linwood's)
1 tablespoon ground flax/pumpkin/sunflower seeds (I used Linwood's)
1/2 teaspoon raw honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
After washing berries and veggies, blitz all ingredients in a blender or Nutribullet until you reach a nice, thick, creamy consistency.
Serve as a drink or smoothie bowl, since the texture should be quite thick and decadent (thanks to the courgette).
Get creative and top with your favourite healthy whole foods like cacao nibs, coconut flakes, slivered almonds, more berries, kiwi fruit, crushed walnuts.