We are completely smitten by all-things-Fall! Pumpkins, leaves, sweaters and boots (okay, not yet but really soon!) fall colors, fall baking, long, evening walks with coolers temps, and the anticipation of the holiday season. It’s that time of year, and we don’t hate it! If you’re like most of us, then you’re probably starting to crave all of the sweets that come along with the territory, starting in October and ending January 1st. The good news? It’s still possible to enjoy all of the amazing autumn flavors and scents, without going overboard on the sugar.
Today, we are sharing one of our favorite Fall smoothie recipes, featuring the powerhouse plant, PUMPKIN. Sweet potatoes, yams, squashes and root vegetables tend to get all of the attention, but pumpkin seems to slip under the radar. We’re not sure why, because it’s packed with vitamins and micronutrients that are amazing for your body.
Pumpkin is best known for being a powerhouse source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a source of Vitamin A, that’s converted to the vitamin in our bodies. (1) Have you ever heard of people eating carrots for good vision? That’s one of the reasons why! Studies show that Beta-Carotene can have anti-cancer properties, and can help delay aging within the body.
In addition to Beta-Carotene, pumpkin is an amazing source of “free-radical-neutralizing powers [in carotenoids] that may keep cancer cells at bay.” (3) We also love the fact that a 1-cup serving of pumpkin contains about 20% of the recommended Vitamin C intake for the average woman, which helps protect your adrenals and immune system. Can you say powerhouse?
There are plenty more health benefits of consuming pumpkin, including it’s touted effects (from preliminary studies) on helping sperm production, hypertension and helping relieve IBS issues.
The more pumpkin, the better (we think), and what better time to get creative in the kitchen than in the Fall? This smoothie takes less than 10 minutes to make, and can make a great, quick breakfast (when protein is added), afternoon snack or post-dinner “dessert.” Now, let’s get crafty!
Serves 1 — Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, refined sugar-free and packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats.
- ½ cup canned (or roasted) pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond, coconut, hemp or flax milk
- 1 large frozen banana, pre-sliced
- 1 tbsp almond butter (could sub sunflower butter or peanut butter)
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted (for a less sweet smoothie, remove completely…or add stevia, if tolerated)
- 1 large handful of spinach
- 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder of choice (Dr. Turner usually recommends Orgain Vegan Protein or Sunwarrior). **See notes on protein powder below.
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Optional: Pure vanilla bean
Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth, creamy and delicious. If the consistency is too thin, add a few ice cubes and more protein powder. If the consistency is too thick, add a little more non-dairy milk of choice. To make a double batch to share, double each of the ingredients. Enjoy, friends!
**Note: Dr. Turner usually recommends finding a protein powder with <1- 2 g of sugar and greater than 15g (preferably 20g of protein) per serving. It’s also best to find an organic, vegan (unless dairy is tolerated) corn-free and gluten-free protein powder. Whenever choosing a protein powder, it’s also important to find one that you enjoy. 🙂