Thursday, February 14, 2013

Warm, Spiced Vanilla Goji Berry Mylk

I love drinking my breakfast - usually in the form of a fresh green juice or smoothie sweetened with fruit  - but I've been running into trouble with sugar lately. This has sparked some creativity in the kitchen as I experiment with new ways to satisfy my sweet desire.

I'm not a big fan of juicing in the winter, as I've mentioned before, so for now, I'm focusing on low-sugar smoothies, like this warm Spiced Vanilla Goji Berry Mylk (pictured above).

Starting with a base of hempseeds for the mylk, I sweetened this beverage with two things. One: lucuma powder, a nutritious whole food sweetener made from the dried pulp of a golden-colored Peruvian fruit. And two: goji berries.

Goji berrries have a very low sugar content, measuring only 29 on the Glycemic Index scale. (For comparison, low-sugar grapefruit is 25, ripe bananas average 52, and the evil demon white sugar is 100.)

Nutrition and health-wise, goji berries are famous for their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants - including vitamins A, C and E, and polyphenols (plant compounds found in olives, green tea, berries, grapes, etc.) - help to protect cells and blood vessels, fight cancer and boost immune function, so we want to eat lots of them!

In addition to antioxidants, goji berries are high in polysaccharides, fiber and protein. In fact, they are considered a "complete protein," containing all eight essential amino acids. Traditionally, goji berries were thought to promote longevity, and people who eat them regularly are known to have beautiful, glowing skin. If you want to learn more about goji berries, click here to link over to a good article.

I mostly love goji berries because they taste cherry-plum delicious. They're fun to eat in a raisiny kind of way, and besides, they're pink. Need I say more? (Yes, it's Valentine's Day! Love to you all.)

Spiced Vanilla Goji Berry Mylk
makes one 2-cup serving

1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 Tbs hemp protein powder
2 Tbs goji berries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon  nutmeg
2 Tbs lucuma powder, or stevia to taste
1 or 2 teaspoons white chia seeds
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 to 1.5 cups water

Add all ingredients to blender and soak for fifteen minutes, to soften goji berries and activate chia seeds. After soaking, blend on low for half a minute, then increase speed to high until thoroughly smooth. For a thicker mylk, use less water and/or more chia. If you like, add ginger, too!

Note: The longer you allow the mylk to blend, the warmer it gets, which is nice this time of year. I recommend drinking this smoothie at room temperature, or slightly warm, fresh out of the blender. Yum.

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