• Alex

Mexican Chilli Choc Smoothie Bowl

For the past few months my blog posts have been a series of recipes targeting weight loss through creating "High Volume, Low Calorie" alternatives. Now that the summer is over, I'm shifting gears a little to focus more on healthy choices that maximise exercise recovery and muscle building by removing the "Super-Low-Calorie" requirement. As I'm eating more frequently when trying to build muscle then I like to try and keep things interesting and varied by having a wide range of flavours and cuisines on my menu. Therefore the focus of this next series is recipes is going to influenced by different cuisines from around the world due to my love of travelling. Each recipe will be trying to recreate the flavours of something I have experienced on my travels but while making healthy swaps such as making them plant-based, maximising the nutritional intake from each meal and decreasing the fat content to reasonable levels so that I can eat like I'm at a restaurant every day without gaining body fat! I'm going to start at the beginning of the day and begin this series on a twist on my fast-breaking first meal of the day: The Smoothie Bowl. When I fancy a change from my usual pear and mint flavour, then I like to mix things up with making something that is more of a chocolatey dessert-like flavour.

When I was in Mexico I found that I really enjoyed when they combined something spicy with a chocolate flavour and soon found myself always adding a dash of cayenne pepper to a drink of hot chocolate on winter mornings. So when creating this chocolatey smoothie bowl I found adding a dash of cayenne really gave it a unique spicy kick. (If spicy isn't your thing, this recipe still makes a lovely creamy chocolate bowl if you just leave the spices out!) One of the best things about this recipe is it's a good way to sneak beetroot into your diet. Cacao powder go very well with the flavour of the beetroot to mask it and leave just a nice chocolatey taste. I'm always looking for more ways get beetroot in due to the high nitrate content in them. Nitrates help increase blood flow during a workout and hence serve as a natural "Pre-Workout" Supplement, helping you get an extra rep or two.


Ingredients For the base: 2 Bananas (the browner and spottier the better!) 1 Beetroot with the stalks and greens attached. 1 Large Date 1 Sweetheart Cabbage (2-3 large leaves)

1/4 of a Cucumber 100ml Unsweetened Soya Milk 50g Black Beans (Drained and Rinsed) 1 Tbsp Cacao Powder 1/2 Scoop (15g) Vanilla Protein Powder

1/4 tsp ground Cayenne Pepper *Optional for spicy kick 1/4 of an Avocado (soft and ripe) *Optional for creaminess Toppings:

Sunflower Seeds (5g) Sultanas (10g) Frozen Cherries (30g) Fresh Raspberries Edible Flowers from the garden (Daisies and Dandelions)

Instructions 1) First start by cutting off the stalks and leaves from your beetroot. This is the part we are going to use for this recipe as they blend easier being thinner. You can save the actual beet-root for another recipe later as they have a longer shelf life than the stalks and leaves. (I like to juice the roots with some carrot to make my morning pre-workout nitrate shot!).

2) Give the leaves and stalks a rinse under some water as these sometimes have a bit of soil on them if you have bought them fresh from a market. Once they are clean throw them in the blender.

3) Now is a good time to throw in the powders (protien, cacao and cayenne), if you put them in first they stick to the blender blades, put them in last and they end up sticking to the tamper, so in the middle is always the best option.

4) Next throw in the bananas, sweetheart cabbage, cucumber, date and the avocado (if you are using it). The avocado helps to give an extra chocolate-y creamy texture, but adds a bit of fat content. The healthy fats in the avocado help with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K found in the leafy greens. I tend to judge how much fat I've had in the past day when deciding if I include the avocado or not. (For a lower fat version just leave it out, it still tastes good without it!)

5) Blend throughly on high power to make sure the beetroot stalks are well liquidised so that you get a smooth consistency. You could be looking for the mixture to form a whirlpool like vortex to show its all being pulled down to the blades and not leaving any lumps or chunks. 6) Drain and rinse 50g of the Black Beans. Put them in a cup of water and shake a few times until there's no bubble in the water. It is the canning liquid that causes flatulence from canned beans, not the beans themselves, so it's always best to give them a good rinse to get all the liquid off. Place these at the bottom of your bowl and pour the smoothie over the top.

7) Top and decorate with a selection of toppings, I personally like Sunflower Seeds (a good source of vitamin E), Sultanas (to provide a chewy texture), frozen Cherries, fresh Raspberries picked from the bush in the garden and a couple of edible flowers such as Daisies and Dandelions.

Nutritional Breakdown So as you can see from the nutritional breakdown below, this recipe contains 3 times more protein than fat. This makes it a great post-workout meal and that's usually when I tend to have it. The high amount of carbohydrates help with post-exercise recovery and muscle building. Due to the leafy greens and veg included it also includes a significant amount of your daily vitamin and mineral requirements, with this meal hitting 100% for both Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It also contains 400% of your RDA of Vitamin K (but that's not something tracked on a standard food label layout!)

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