I recently returned from an incredible adventure in Nicaragua. It involved undeveloped, totally natural beaches, monkeys (including some that stole my bananas, but that’s a story for another time!), riding horses on a ranch, visiting moringa trees part of a permaculture farm on Ometepe island…and staying at the most incredible tree house wellness resort!
For those of you looking for a chill, beautiful place with a beautiful ocean bay, where you can get some great Beauty Detox food options, practice yoga, and live in the trees amongst the monkeys, check out the Aqua Wellness Resort. It’s run by our friend Trevor, who is a great guy, and it’s an amazing and unique experience to stay there. I absolutely love it. They also have kitchens in the tree houses, which is where I developed this recipe and where I shot all these pics!
Life in a treehouse!
If you’ve tried some of my desserts (like my Raw Cacao Truffles or my Chia Seed Delight), you will know just how much I LOVE cacao/chocolate in its pure dark slightly bitter beauty.
There’s a lot of local cacao being grown in Nica! We visited a chocolate factory and saw cacao trees growing all over the place, including on Ometepe Island where our friend Chris runs a permaculture farm. I got chocolate that’s all purely organic. In Nicaragua, they are known for making a cacao tea, which is a mixture of boiling water with the cacao shell for 10 minutes, straining it and adding cinnamon and honey. The chemical (anandamide known as the “bliss chemical”), that comes out of the cacao shell helps to relax and bring feelings of happiness.
I always carry organic cacao in my purse or now diaper bag :) for those afternoon cravings. This tastes amazing in this smoothie.
Cacao also contains anandamide inhibitors, keeping the compound from breaking down quickly and the feeling of cacao anadamide lasting longer in our system.
Even though cacao has some antioxidants, still treat it as a treat! It still does contain caffeine and other stimulants such as theobromine. The reality is that we do not need cacao for nutrition purposes. It is a treat and must be treated as such!
Tahini (sesame seeds)
Tahini is made of ground sesame seeds, which are an incredible source of plant-based calcium!
If you can blend your own sesame seed butter, great! If not, an organic tahini brand is the next best thing.
Sesame seeds provide healthy fats and essential amino acids to build protein in your body. It’s pretty rich, so a small amount of tahini goes a long way and is a great addition to some of our Beauty Foods recipes, including this Nica Love Smoothie.
Even when you use a small amount of tahini, it benefits your heart, skin health, hormones and has a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. The iron in tahini helps prevent anemia— fighting fatigue. The B vitamins found in tahini are important for metabolic functions (especially helpful when dealing with stress and cognitive processes).
As many of you know, I love my chia seeds and eat them almost daily. My Chia Seed Delight Recipe is one of my favorite afternoon snacks.
Chia seeds supply a rich plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids and are a complete source of protein— while also offering antioxidants, vitamins, and a variety of minerals such as calcium.
Prepare your chia gel the night before or 20-30 minutes prior to using in smoothie.
I love adding them to my Power Protein Smoothie for a long-burning, energizing and refreshing treat after a workout or just as a great mid-afternoon snack. We actually found some local chia seeds growing in Nica!
But from anywhere, here are the chia seeds that I recommend. I love this seed so much that they have replaced ground flax seeds as my daily seed.
Chia seeds have a high level of soluble and insoluble fiber, and swell up to 15 times their size when mixed with liquids to create a filling gel that provides long-burning fuel as it cleanses your digestive system. Not soaking these seeds before consuming them can contribute to dehydration and that’s a big Beauty no-no.
Since you know I am adamant about consuming chia seeds ONLY after they have been soaked, here’s how. Soak 1/3 cup of chia seeds in 2 cups of water or liquid of your choice (such as almond milk or coconut), for 20-30 minutes, preferably overnight (these will last in the fridge for 2-3 days). And that’s it!
Because these seeds are so nutrient-dense and filling, they will help reduce cravings and keep us on track with our Beauty routines
If you find yourself traveling or in a situation where Beauty Detox or veggie meals are kinda scarce, it’s a great idea to always carry protein powders with you when you travel.
Protein bio-availability is the most important factor in deciding what type of protein supplement to use and I personally only recommend a high quality plant based supplement made from a variety of plant-based sources (Garden of Life offers an organic raw sprouted formula that I have on my Kimberly’s Picks page). Hemp protein and brown rice protein are also great choices. TIP: Always look for non GMO, organic supplements!
Protein packets are great for when traveling and to toss one into your bag for those last minute emergencies.
Note: I don’t recommend dairy-based choices (whey), or soy protein powders.
This protein powder has a pleasantly nutty taste. If you can only get your hands on a ripe banana and cacao, this will be a great afternoon tasty treat!
Measure your non-dairy milk of choice (pretty colors of lower toxin nail polish is optional! :) ).
Pour milk into blender.
Next, add your prepared chia gel.
Add 1-2 ounces of a dark organic chocolate bar (which blends and makes chunky/chewy little nibs versus cacao powder for this recipe) and protein powder of choice (I use Garden of Life Raw Protein and what organic cacao I can get my hands on). ;)
Add your banana!
Blend until smooth and creamy.
Sip, chew and enjoy (chewing your smoothies will mix our natural enzyme- saliva, to break down and assimilate our food better).