Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie {Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free}...and starting a low carb lifestyle.

 
I know, I know, the last thing you need is ANOTHER pumpkin recipe...but I disagree! I was craving the traditional flavors of fall pumpkin in the form of a nutritious smoothie. I wanted it to be pumpkin-y, creamy, and healthy enough to eat for lunch with my daughter.

I also wanted it to be paleo, sugar free and dairy free. Ever since my naturopath informed me that my cholesterol is high, I've been much more conscious about what I'm eating. Most people (including myself) considered me a healthy eater, so it was quite the shock to hear about my rise in cholesterol! The traditional remedy that I found was a low fat diet full of diet foods and less red meat. But over the past few years, I feel like this diet has become less and less supported by science as a healthy diet.

I'm much more interested in a diet full of whole, nutritious foods. And, looking at my diet over the past couple years, I don't think red meat is the problem; I don't eat it very often. I feel like sugar, grains and carbs are more of my problem area.

My mom started eating low carb/high fat last year, based on the recommendation from her doctor to lower her cholesterol and risk of diabetes. She was shocked to get such a counterintuitive recommendation from her doctor (eat bacon to lower cholesterol...what?), but she followed his advice and both her and my step dad have had good results.

I've enjoyed eating the food she's made this past year, and the science behind it made sense. I did a little research (there are tons of websites dedicated to low carb/high fat, paleo, and keto diets. My mom recommended this one) and decided to start implementing some conscious changes.

While I'm not getting obsessive over it (especially when I eat out, or want to try a sample of something delicious at work), I'm limiting sugar, grains, and beans. I'm being conscious not to over-do it with sugar-y fruits. I'm eating more veggies in place of carbs. I'm snacking less and eating better desserts, if any.

I'm also picking my battles with dairy; the older I get, the harder some types get for me to digest. I'm tired of being stuck in the bathroom after drinking a latte! Moderate amounts of cheese, butter and yogurt are fine, but when I can, I'm opting for coconut milk and coconut cream in things that work well with them.

So that brings me back to the recipe! The paleo, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free pumpkin smoothie you can drink as a light lunch! Yes, everything is from Trader Joe's; I work there, so pretty much my entire kitchen is a Trader Joe's showroom!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie {Paleo, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free}
I use coconut cream for its rich, creamy texture and healthy fats, as well as non-dairy beverage-style coconut milk in this recipe. I always have both at home because I love creating things with the stand-alone versatile coconut cream, as well as using coconut milk for drinking. But if you don't want or have both, 1 cup of full fat canned coconut milk will work just as well! I also feature chia seeds for some healthy omegas and protein, and a banana for natural sweetness.

Serves two
-1 cup (or 1 can) pumpkin puree
-1/2 cup coconut cream
-1/2 cup coconut or almond milk (or dairy, if you drink it)
-1/2 cup (about 3 large) ice cubes
-1 banana, sliced
-1 tbsp chia seeds (ground chia works best in a smoothie, but whole is fine too)
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-6 drops liquid stevia, or your favorite sweetener, to taste (maple syrup tastes great with this!)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into cups, and top with chopped pecans!
Do you live a low carb/high fat or paleo lifestyle?

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