Healthy Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Shake and a Cookbook!

Monday is St. Patrick's Day so for most people that means dusting off that green fedora and ap...

Monday is St. Patrick's Day so for most people that means dusting off that green fedora and apologizing in advance to your liver. But for someone like me that means a green coloured dessert at the most. I don't drink much. I can probably count the number of drinks I've had this past year on one hand. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy alcohol -- wine, beer, whiskey...it's all kind of wonderful. But I have NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) so even moderate drinking isn't recommended during recovery. 


I found out about my NAFLD a year and a half ago when I went to the doctor with constant pain in my stomach. She did an ultrasound to see if I had gall stones but the only thing she could find was that my liver was fatty. I asked how I should proceed having never heard of this condition before. She said to keep on with my vegetarian/vegan diet and that she was stunned that I had developed the disease with my healthy diet as a healthy diet is generally the way to turn it all around for the better. I am a bit of health freak so I did my own research. Most people have fatty liver as a result of a high fat low fiber SAD (standard american diet). Not fitting this box I looked further and found that prolonged use of antibiotics and corticosteroids is another cause. It all made sense. Up until earlier that year I had been on high doses of asthma medications for most of my life. I had also used my fair share of antibiotics over the years as my asthma frequently led to episodes of severe bronchitis as a child. The theory is that these drugs are so toxic to the liver that it becomes overburdened trying to remove them from the body. Tired and listless it has an even harder time trying to process the dietary fats that pass through it resulting in fatty tissue development in the liver itself. If untreated this fatty tissue can cause inflammation in your liver and progress to more serious liver disorders like Cirrhosis of the liver and liver failure (which results in death!). 

Over the past year my symptoms have not improved much on their own despite the fact that I am no longer on meds and still follow a healthy vegetarian/vegan diet. I did a lot of research into natural ways to heal the liver and now incorporate many of these into my daily routine. If your liver is fatty you should try to incorporate the following foods: tumeric, sesame or flax seeds, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, grapefruit (be careful if you take heart medications, ask your doctor first), artichoke juice, kelp and other sea vegetables like spirulina and chlorella, and B vitamins. I take a B vitamin complex daily, I drink tumeric tea, add artichoke juice to drinks, add raw sesame tahini to drinks and meaks, use kelp in my salad every evening instead of salt, and always have a full serving of broccoli and greens every day. I use grapefruit now and then but it often doesn't agree with me.


That sidetrack aside, I often enjoy green smoothies like this Mint Chocolate Chip Shake in order to deliciously incorporate liver-loving ingredients into my day. Lately I have really enjoyed adding some raw sesame tahini to them instead of a splash of non dairy milk. Raw tahini is delicious (less bitter than roasted) and makes an awesome milk substitute when blended with dates and coconut water. Though it may sound like an odd ingredient to throw into a mint flavoured smoothie, give it a try, it works beautifully in this drink. 

This shake is a perfect treat for celebrating St. Patrick's Day. It's healthy but tastes indulgent and can be enjoyed as a light meal as it has a good balance of greens, fiber, protein and good fat. If you don't have raw tahini you could substitute roasted tahini or a handful of raw cashews if you have a powerful blender like a vitamix that can puree them smoothly. If you want to spike this drink, try creme de menthe or a chocolate liqueur.

My post title mentions a cookbook! I am proud to say I am almost finished writing my first ebook! This shake recipe was made for the book but it was too St. Patrick's Day friendly not to share today. The book should be available here to purchase before Easter so check back to baking Backwards for more details!



Take care!
Danielle



                            

Healthy Mint Chocolate Chip Shake
(vegan, raw, paleo, plant-strong)
  • 1.75 cups coconut water
  • 3-4 pitted medjool dates
  • a few drops peppermint oil
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ⅛ tsp raw vanilla bean powder or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup (or substitute agave or raw honey)
  • 2 tsp raw sesame tahini

Blend all of the above ingredients until very smooth in a high speed blender.

  • 2 tsp raw cacao paste (or equal amounts chopped dark chocolate bar)  OR use 2 tsp raw cacao powder

Add and pulse to incorporate. If you are using cacao paste or dark chocolate you can create a mint chocolate chip effect by pulsing instead of blending.



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