Thursday, March 15, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

I don't know if you recall, but I'm actually allergic to bananas. I went through a period during my pregnancy when I was just craaaaving banana cream pie. I substituted sour cream pie instead (which ended up being a pretty wonderful invention!) But, while I am technically allergic to them, I haven't ever had a horrible reaction. Usually just itchy lips, and perhaps a slight amount of swelling. So, every once in a great while, I allow myself just the smallest bit. And it's so good. It stinks developing an allergy to something you've always loved. But anyway, my point is this- just because I can't eat them very often, doesn't mean I can't post about yummy banana smoothies. So there. ; )

This smoothie is so very tasty. I love my smoothies creamy and delicious, and the greek yogurt achieves this perfectly. It's mild and smooth. The banana and peanut butter give you a kick of protein and sweetness, while the surprise ingredients (flaxmeal and oatmeal!) add a bit of heartiness. I like to add a bit of coconut oil as well. This adds great nutrient value, and a very slight coconut hint. All in all, a great breakfast, snack, or dessert!
The Heart of it:
Peanut Butter- Nuts are rich in Vitamin E. This antioxidant vitamin is thought to help prevent heart disease. They also contain amino acids and B vitamins, which are cardio-protective.
Flax meal- Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, which helps the body reduce hormone-like substances that can lead to blood clotting.  It's also a good source of insoluble fiber and soluble fibers. Soluble fiber specifically helps the body get rid of LDL cholesterol. Flax seed is also rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which are essential to the body and are thought to improve cardiovascular heart.  Note: unless flax seeds are ground, your body cannot digest them and gain the benefits.
 Coconut oil- Although a saturated fat, it is composed mostly of medium chain fatty acids, which actually increase good cholesterol and help protect the heart. In some studies, coconut oil was also found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (which leads to atherosclerosis- the depositing of fats on the artery wall) (
 Bananas-These lovelies are packed with pectin, which is a soluble fiber that helps lower LDL cholesterol. It also has potassium, which may help lower blood pressure.
Oats are a wonderful source of saponins, which bind to cholesterol in the digestive tract. They also contain soluble beta-glucan fiber which is helpful for reducing cholesterol. 
Source: Fight Back with Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You,  The Reader's Digest Association

Tip: I like to peel and chunk up my banana, and then freeze it. That way it's all ready to pop into the blender. It also helps make it frosty and thick. I've been wanting to try freezing yogurt in ice trays so that will add to the frostiness too, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Serves Two

 2 Tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 Tbs honey, or to taste
2 Tbs flax meal
1/4 cup cooked (and refrigerated!) oatmeal 
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
One whole frozen banana, sliced 
 Milk as needed

First, you must blend your coconut oil with the peanut butter, vanilla, honey, flaxmeal, and oatmeal. If you add the coconut oil straight to the cold stuff, it will just chunk up on you. Ew. We want things creamy! Once it's all blended well together, add the yogurt, then the banana. Add milk as needed to make it smooth. Taste, and add more honey if desired.