My name’s Samantha Hickey and I have a passion for plant based nutrition. I am currently a student with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (CSNN) and am working towards the professional designation of a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN). My passion for nutrition and its connection to health was one which formed with time. A few years ago, I began an undergraduate degree in Life Science with the University of Toronto. My goal was, ultimately, medical school, with my concluding title being that of a cardiologist. I was aware that heart disease was a leading killer in Canada and I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to help those both at risk for and affected by it. I wanted to take that statistic down. Little did I know at the time, there are many aspects of heart disease which are directly influenced by dietary and lifestyle choices. The more I learned about these relationships, the more my passion for medicine was concentrated into a passion for preventative medicine. My eyes were opened to how many of the different ailments we face today have the potential to be avoided. Plant based nutrition took the spotlight. My desire to prevent disease grew to completely outshine my yearning for treating it. If the condition is something which we can prevent from occurring in the first place, our attention needs to be there; everyone deserves to know how to keep their body functioning as well as it is intended. From there, the rest is history!
I note lifestyle choices in addition to food choices, because exercise is integral for both the overall health of your body and that of your mind – I could talk about the importance of physical activity all day! It is also very dear to me and has always been present within my life. Running is something that I am primarily new to – with this summer marking my one year anniversary with pounding the pavement – but I am absolutely hooked. I am fortunate enough to live in a location where outdoor running is extremely pleasurable – being rural and surrounded by a large amount of lush green life and an abundance of fresh air. As much as taking care of yourself before and during physical activity is very important (fueling properly, hydrating properly), what you consume post-workout also deserves a good bout of your attention. Your body works hard during a workout and you need to replenish it properly – you want something easy to digest and loaded with essential macronutrients which may have been depleted while you were working so hard: complex carbohydrates (energy), some good quality, plant based proteins (rebuild muscle), and a small amount of plant fats (tissue support and lubrication).
Yoso’s Cultured Coconut yogurt has been a staple of mine for a long time. Before embarking on a plant based diet, I was a big yogurt fan. Once I stopped consuming dairy, I found that the dairy-free yogurt department was lacking. It just didn’t have the same consistency. Something was off. That was before I tried Yoso’s yogurt. It’s everything I loved about yogurt before, only now it’s cruelty free, has better ingredients, and is a local business! Getting an extra hit of probiotics is always welcome in my books (the research regarding the connection between gut and brain health is growing in an exciting and interesting way), and Yoso is almost always making an appearance in front of me in one form or another throughout the day. I hope you enjoy them in this recipe as much as I do!
Green Machine Post-Workout Smoothie
Prep Time: Roughly 10 minutes
- 2 c spinach
(Spinach contains strength-building nitrates and minerals – including iron, which is necessary to maintain red blood cells’ hemoglobin to carry oxygen and is also a part of the muscle protein, myoglobin)
- ¾ c frozen pineapple
(Pineapple contains high levels of vitamin C, fiber, and bromelain – an enzyme which aids in the digestion of protein and reduces inflammation)
- ½ ripe banana
- ½ frozen banana (Bananas are rich in complex carbs and minerals – including potassium, which is lost through sweat)
- 1/3 c Yoso’s Unsweetened Cultured Coconut Yogurt (This dairy free and vegan, yogurt is rich in probiotics, and a great source of fibre, calcium, and healthy fats. The unsweetened variety is nice and low in added sugars, and you can’t beat the flavour and creamy consistency. Feeling like making your smoothie more of a treat and ramping up the vanilla flavour? Go ahead and use their Vanilla Cultured Coconut Yogurt)
- 1 scoop Vanilla Vega Sport Performance Protein Powder (Vega’s Performance Protein contains a plant based protein blend, branched chained amino acids (including glutamine), and digestive enzymes – helping to repair and build muscle, improve strength, and reduce recovery time. It’s also low in added sugars and consists of ingredients you can trust to be serving your body well – no added yuckies like many other protein powders contain)
- 2 tbs chia seeds (Chia seeds contain tissue-repairing protein and healthy fats)
- 1 tsp maca powder (Maca powder helps aid stressed adrenal glands)
- ¼ tsp Saigon cinnamon
- 1 + ½ c unsweetened almond milk (Bonus points if you make your own, but I use Silk’s Unsweetened Original)
(Add an extra boost: ¼ c gluten free rolled oats for more complex carbs)
Add all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth
Note: Because of the presence of chia seeds in this smoothie, it will thicken with time. It is best prepared immediately before consumption.
Haas, MD, E., & Levin, PhD, RD, B. (2006). Staying Healthy With Nutrition (21st Century ed.). Ten Speed Press.