Reishi Hot Chocolate

Known by many as the “King of Mushrooms”, Reishi mushrooms are type of fungus native to several parts of Asia including China, Korea and Japan. They tend to be bitter-tasting with a tough texture which is why they are known more as a medicinal mushroom vs. a culinary mushroom. You are much more likely to find them in tincture or powder form.

Reishi mushrooms are considered by many to be adaptogenic, meaning they help your body deal with the negative effects of stress including inflammation, low energy, and hormonal imbalances. Studies have repeatedly shown that reishi mushrooms contain nutrients and antioxidants that strengthen the body’s defenses against cancer, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, allergies and more.

While generally considered very safe to consume it is always good to check with your doctor if you are unsure. Bio-individuality is key, as with any supplement or food. Consuming reishi can cause side effects for some so you definitely want to proceed with caution if you are pregnant, breast feeding, about to have surgery, have a blood disorder or high/low blood pressure.

The following recipe is one of my favorite treats for my whole family and is a great way to incorporate some reishi mushrooms into your diet. Even my daughter loves this hot chocolate!

Yield: 2- 3 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups milk of choice (I like almond, coconut, hemp or flax)

  • 4 Teaspoons organic raw cacao powder

  • 1 Tablespoon reishi mushroom powder (I like Four Sigmatic)

  • 3 - 4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 2 Scoops grass-fed collagen powder (optional)

 

Hot Chocolate

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients into medium-sized saucepan and heat over medium heat. Whisk or stir to combine as it warms.

  2. Continue to whisk or stir until all of the cacao powder, reishi, and collagen dissolves into the hot chocolate. 

  3. Serve warm. Feel free to add marshmallows, cinnamon or whipped cream!

Sources:

Extra Mile Smoothie

This smoothie is inspired by the Extra Mile Smoothie at Kure in Portland, OR.  It is my favorite in town and I had to learn to make it myself, adapting it for the Healthy Balance smoothie formula. It's loaded with healthy fats, fiber and creamy goodness.  If you like coconut, you will be a fan of this one....

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces coconut water 
  • 1 tbsp coconut manna (coconut butter) or coconut meat
  • 1 tbsp plain coconut yogurt (I love the Coyo brand)
  • 1 serving protein powder (I prefer collagen peptides)
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 cup of kale, baby kale or baby spinach

Directions:

Blend all ingredients with one cup of ice. Garnish with coconut flakes, cinnamon or cacao nibs if you are feeling fancy!

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A Healthy Balance Smoothie Formula

While I generally recommend that my clients eat nutrient-dense, whole foods, rather than drinkable meals, like smoothies or green juices, smoothies are a favorite of many of my clients as a fast and convenient way to get in nutrients and energy. I agree so long as the smoothie contains the right balance of ingredients to be as nourishing as a proper meal. I often make them as an afternoon snack and I tend to crave them more in the morning during the warmer months.

Smoothies can be rough for blood sugar balance if you don’t build them appropriately. It’s important to limit higher sugar fruits and include plenty of quality fats, protein and fiber to keep you satiated until your next meal.

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Because a smoothie is essentially a bunch of foods blended together, is important that you chew it. While blending does make it easier on the digestive system, your body won’t digest it properly without the initiation of the digestive process. When consuming the smoothie, swish it around your mouth before swallowing it in order to get your digestive juices flowing. You can even try adding a crunchy ingredient as a garnish on the top and eating it with a spoon! Drinking your smoothie at room temperature rather than ice cold is also easier on digestion and can keep you from getting a brain freeze too.

A Healthy Balance Basic Formula (for one serving)

  • 8 to 12 ounces of liquid
  • 1 serving of protein
  • 1-2 tablespoons fat
  • Up to one tablespoon fiber (start small and increase the amount over time)
  • Up to ½ cup of fruit (add more if your body needs an adjustment to less sweet smoothies and decrease the amount over time)
  • Up to 1 cup of vegetables (more even if you want!)
  • Extras

Below are my favorites for each of the components.  Some ingredients may overlap in multiple categories.

Liquid

  • Pure, filtered water
  • Organic, non-dairy, unsweetened milk
  • Organic, unsweetened yogurt (dairy if tolerated, or non)
  • Coconut water (reduce sugar by adding water for half the liquid)

Protein – Choose high quality un-sweetened, grass-fed animal proteins and third-party tested vegan proteins when possible

  • Organic pea protein powder
  • Organic hemp protein powder
  •  Hemp seeds
  • Grass-fed collagen peptides
  • Grass-fed whey protein powder (beef or goat)

Fat

  •  Avocado (1/4 – 1/2)
  • Seed or nuts/butters (organic peanut, almond, cashew, sesame/tahini, pumpkin seed etc.)
  • Coconut butter
  • Coconut oil
  • MCT oil
  • Cocoa butter
  • Freshly ground flax
  • Chia sees
  • Ghee
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Fiber

  • Chia seeds
  • Freshly ground flax
  • Acacia fiber
  • Avocado  (1/4 – 1/2)
  • Rolled oats
  • Hemp seeds
  • Shredded coconut

Fruit

  • Organic berries (blueberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries etc.)
  • Lemon (juice or flesh)
  • Lime (juice or flesh)
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Kiwi
  • Banana (Green tipped)

Vegetables

  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Greens (kale, chard, spinach, bok choy, dandelion, mustard, basil, arugula etc.)
  • Raw, steamed or roasted beets
  • Cooked pumpkin or winter squash
  • Cilantro, mint, parsley (or any other fresh herb!)
  • Sprouts
  • Cucumber
  • Fennel
  • Carrots

Extras – These are not mandatory by any means, but adding spices, adaptogens, and superfoods can add nutrition and boost your energy, immunity, reduce inflammation, balance hormones.

  • Pinch or two of sea salt (for electrolytes)
  • Ginger (I store in freezer and just grate it into the container)
  • Cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, turmeric
  • Vanilla extract or bean paste
  • Maca
  • Mushrooms (reishi, corydyceps, chaga etc.)
  • Cacao powder or nibs
  • Matcha
  • Moringa
  • Spirulina
  • Greens powder
  • Probiotic powder

A sample of my go to recipes:

Good Morning Smoothie

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 serving collagen peptides
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 giant handfuls of spinach or kale
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Afternoon Treat Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 serving collagen peptides
  • 1 -2 tablespoons almond butter
  •  ¼ large or ½ small avocado
  • ½ cup frozen banana 
  • ½ cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cacao powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Maca Latte

Maca root is an adaptogen, a name given to certain herbs, plants, and natural substances that help the body naturally adapt to life’s daily stressors. While it is a member of the cruciferous family (think broccoli and cabbage) but it has some unique properties that makes it different. It grows high in the mountains of Peru and can be found in many health food stores (and even at Trader Joes!). Historically maca has been considered a potent aphrodisiac and a traditional fertility tool of indigenous groups from the Andes.

It's benefits are numerous and may include increased fertility in both men and women, hormone balance, improved immunity, thyroid function, and increased energy, stamina, sexual function, memory, and focus.

Many claim that consuming maca regularly make them feel more energetic and vital, and provide them with a sense of well-being, thought to be due to its ability to rebalance hormones and elevate “feel good” endorphins. Maca also has a relatively high amount of plant-based nutrients, including protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium.

Maca powder comes in two forms. Plain maca powder (raw powdered maca root) and gelatinized maca. Gelatinization is a completely vegetarian process that removes the starch to improve assimilation and make it more concentrated. Gelatinized maca is known to be easier on digestion than the plain version and is also more cost effective given its concentration.

Although maca does not generally produce harmful side effects, it makes sense to work with a practitioner if you are unsure whether maca is right for you. The jury is still out on whether or not maca is safe for use in pregnant or nursing women. So, until we hear otherwise, it is best for these women to avoid it.

Author: Stephanie Selinger

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1 

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Ingredients: 

  • 8 ounces freshly brewed coffee
  • 3 oz milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon gelatinized maca root powder
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides
  • 2 teaspoons coconut butter (MCT or coconut oil would work too)
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey (optional)

Instructions:

1. Place maca root powder, collagen peptides, honey and coconut butter into a small glass or ceramic mixing bowl.  

2. Add milk and coffee.  Mix with an immersion blender or whisk well.  

3. Pour into 12 oz mug and drink up!