Cacao Espresso Blueberry Protein Smoothie!

by Kristine on April 17, 2014

Chocolate is a staple in my every day life. I have at 2 squares of dark chocolate daily. Every day, without fail.

There’s always at least 3 varieties of dark chocolate bars in our freezer at any given time. Right now there’s only one and that both embarrasses and disappoints me. Time to replenish the stock. For me the darker the better – I love 80%+ cacao. Trader Joe’s sells great bars when in a pinch but my heart belongs to TCHO (made in SF!) and Chocolove XOXO. Their Dark Chocolate with Almonds and Dark Chocolate with Crystallized Ginger is life-changing. The ginger is particular lasts approximately 48 hours around me.

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So chocolate is fantastic and should be a part of everyone’s lives, every day. If it’s not a part of yours please don’t talk to me until it becomes a part of it. (I’m kidding… mostly.)

What probably isn’t a part of your every day life?

CACAO. Just say it. It’s a fun word to say.

Cacao is an antioxidant POWERHOUSE. I like it in the powder or nib form. The nibs  basically just look like mini chocolate chips. Cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been roasted, separated from their husks and broken down into smaller pieces. They have a chocolatey taste, but they’re much, much less sweet than your typical milk chocolate, or even dark chocolate. You know how the darker your chocolate the more bitter it gets? This is the darkest form possible.

So now we have chocolate, cacao and cocoa. All very different things. Cocoa is a more processed chocolate product with added sugar, versus the raw cacao, which has no sugar.

So how much of a superfood are these cacao nibs really?

Magnesium: Cacao beans are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium — a mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies. Helps with muscle and nerve function and keeps the heart rhythm steady.

Fibre: One ounce of cacao nibs has 9g of fiber!

Iron: Necessary for red blood cell production, is found in cacao nibs. 1 oz of nibs has 6% of your daily recommended intake.

Antioxidants: DUH. Chock full of ‘em. They absorb the free radicals that cause damage in the body.

Mood Improver: Neurotransmitters are the messengers in our brains that tell our bodies how to act, and that includes mood. Cacao’s ability to act on those neurotransmitters is why it’s known for its mood-enhancing skills. Chocolate and cacao stimulates the brain to release particular neurotransmitters that can trigger emotions — including good ones like euphoria.

Phenylethylamine (PEA): It’s found in cacao and our bodies also produce PEA, an adrenal-related chemical, when we’re excited — it causes the pulse to quicken, making us feel focused and alert.

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So now that we’re all hopped up and excited on cacao, allow me to introduce you to today’s breakfast.

Blueberry Cacao Espresso Protein Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • 1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2-3 cups spinach/kale/greens of choice
  • 1 shot of espresso (or instant coffee powder)
  • 1 scoop Chocolate protein powder (I used Teras Whey Dark Chocolate)
  • 1t cacao powder
  • 1c frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 T raw almond butter
  • Toppings: pinch of cacao nibs (for that crunch!)

Blend it all together, add some cacao nibs on top (available on Amazon, VitaCost.com, iHerb.com, Whole Foods, Real Foods, etc) and enjoy!

You can’t taste the almond butter or the spinach whatsoever, but the spinach gives you a serving of greens in breakfast that you normally wouldn’t get, while the almond butter adds some healthy fats to keep you going all morning long.

With the chocolate protein and cacao powder and espresso it comes out pretty mocha-y. If that’s not your thing play around with the proportions – maybe 1/2t of cacao and 1/2 shot of espresso. Or half a packet of instant coffee powder.

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Mine was gone in about 3 minutes flat after I got home from a Pilates/Barre hybrid class. Hit. The. Spot.

 

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Post Workout Refueling

by Kristine on April 16, 2014

Breaking news: I ran yesterday. And only wanted to stop every step of the mile that I ran straight through.

The mile I ran was to the Lyon St Stairs. These beauties below in case you were in need of a refresher. Yes, both sets.

We’re on this kick where we run a mile to warm up, then run 5 sets of stairs (5 up/5 down). It’s my weekly dose of self-inflicted torture on my legs. It’s a beautiful thing. Except not when you’re about halfway up in that first picture. Photography doesn’t do the ridiculously steep incline justice. It is BRUTAL.

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Lately pre-”run” or pre-workout, I’ve been stuffing a few dates with a bit of raw almond butter. It’s basically the best snack ever. It’s sweet and salty and the perfect little ratio of protein/fat/carbs pre-workout. Just trust me on this one. (Oh and also make sure you either get pitted dates, or that you physically remove the pits from your dates. If they’re from the bulk bins they absolutely have pits. Just slice ‘em down the middle and take the pit out or risk ruining your parents financial investment into your teeth. Those braces weren’t cheap people.)

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Then post-run I was absolutely starving.

I read somewhere – the Equinox Blog I’m pretty sure… that you have 2 hours post-workout to get your fill of protein in. Apparently it was 30 minutes, but now it’s 120. I don’t really know why the window was opened so much wider, I’m just going with it.

Basically- if you refuse to click on links like I do, it tells you that the first 120 minutes after your workout, your body is like a sponge and absorbs nutrients to replace your depleted glycogen stores that you burned while working out. It also helps you build muscle. Let it be known that post-workout refueling is not a free-for-all to eat a cheeseburger or multiple cupcakes. That should be saved for Friday night. Kidding… kind of. But really, if you’re working out for an hour, I can assure you that you don’t have a calorie deficit that you need to “replenish”.

Some of my favorite ways to refuel?

Yogurt Bowls - Greek yogurt, fruit, cacao nibs (because… chocolate needs no explanation) and honey.

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Green Juice- My favorite post-yoga beverage. Greens do have protein, but greens, like spinach, are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium

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Eggs – Don’t have time to scramble up a couple eggs or egg whites? I love to make these egg-cups and keep them in the fridge for easy heating-up access when I’m pressed for time. Just preheat oven to about 350. Sauté mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic, kale, etc and a little nutmeg/salt/pepper in a skillet for about 5 minutes. Whisk together about 6 eggs and 3 egg whites with a bit of milk. Fill muffin tins about 1/2-way then top with the skillet mixture and grate some cheese on top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they’re firm and ready to come out.

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Smoothies- I like to make this one, or just simply blend together protein powder, milk/water and ice. Adding in a shot of espresso with a scoop of chocolate protein powder makes it a delicious mocha protein smoothie and gives you a little pick-me-up too. Clearly I cannot choose between caffeine and a smoothie, so making one with both is always a winner.

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Nuts - A handful of nuts, nut butter with a banana – just keep it to one serving. Nuts add up pretty quickly. I love these packets because it takes all the “what the hell does 2T of almond butter look like?” dilemma out of the picture.

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Bars - I was hesitant for SO LONG to jump on the Quest Bar bandwagon. And then I did. And I wish I had done it sooner. I LOVE the bars, the ingredient list is normal, and they contain 20+ grams of protein per bar. Throw one on a plate, heat it up for ~25 seconds in the microwave and your entire world will change. Just drink a lot of water when you’re consuming a lot of protein- helps your kidneys to work more efficiently to eliminate the stuff you don’t want in your bod. My favorite flavors? Cinnamon Roll, Cookie Dough and Cookies and Creme.

Some other favorite bars? Luna Protein and Kind Bars.

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So that’s that. What are you go-to post-workout favorites?

 

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Burger Boats

April 15, 2014

So since running has been pretty nonexistent lately, I’ll jump right to my other go-to topic: FOOD. Actually that’s a lie. I did run 3 miles on Sunday evening. During which I probably was sweating out straight wine after wine-tasting all day on Saturday. Balance people. It’s all about balance. This view just never gets […]

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Tried and True Green Smoothie

April 15, 2014

It’s not entirely a secret that I have an obsession with green smoothies. It may even border on addiction. What few people realize is that… ~4 years ago you couldn’t pay me to drink a smoothie for breakfast, much less add spinach to it. Seriously, that would have repulsed me. Give me a Starbucks breakfast […]

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Changing It Up – Barry’s Bootcamp Sweat Series

April 10, 2014

We all know I’m a big fan of working out and getting sweaty. This is no secret. I’ve gone on and on (and on and on) about running, Soul Cycle, Pilates… and even yoga, that one time. This is not a post about any of those things. You see I’ve been trying to get outside […]

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A Running Update

April 9, 2014

Yep, fell behind on posts again. I’m just going to accept it at this point. I’ve been unplugging more and stepping away from the computer and enjoying this ridiculous weather that we’ve been having in San Francisco. (Case in point: it was 85 degrees today.) I would write all about the Rock N Roll SF 1/2 Marathon I ran […]

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Sunshine After The Rain

April 3, 2014

And it’s officially April. Promise these multiple day recaps in one post will stop soon. Hopefully tomorrow. And this morning, the sun decided to shine again. THANK GOODNESS. East Coasters I don’t know how you deal with winter. We had like 4 days of rain and I was ready to book a trip to Hawaii. […]

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REST.

April 1, 2014

So today. After feeling a little under the weather yesterday and sleeping a solid 9 hours last night, I woke up with high hopes for today. I latted, breakfasted… and set off for 10am Pilates. As soon as we started I could tell I wasn’t 100% “there”. My energy was zapped, every muscle felt heavy […]

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Monday Monday

March 25, 2014

Just me or did this Monday fly by for anyone else? Between a few calls and meetings, Pilates, a run and teaching a couple of classes, I couldn’t believe when I got home and it was already 7:30pm. After getting back from Vegas late yesterday afternoon, the rest of the day was spent watching the Arizona vs […]

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Week of Workouts

March 24, 2014

Happy Sunday! Hope you’ve been enjoying the weekend. And if you’re in California – the sunshine and heat! After being home for exactly 48 hours post-Austin, boyfriend and I jetted off to Vegas for the weekend to meet some of his college friends and celebrate a bunch of upcoming 30th birthdays. And also to drink […]

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