Dek: An Asian superfood and a healthy dose of probiotic will have you running lean and clean this summer.
By Amanda Burrill, MS
With summer around the corner and no room for fouling up your diet, we’re going to go ultra-clean with a superfood we haven’t discussed: the goji berry. These bright little wrinkly nuggets are one of the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth. Although relatively new to Western civilization, goji berries have been a culinary and medicinal staple in Asian cultures for over 5,000 years, linked to kidney and liver wellness and improved eyesight. The berries are consumed raw, dried, or powdered, and can also be added to anything from teas to soups.
Goji berries are a vegetarian form of protein, and the dried version added to this smoothie tastes like a cross between cranberry, sour cherry, and raisin. The flavor is distinct and slightly bitter—the perfect match for the strawberries’ overt sweetness. Mint adds a fresh but unexpected edge, and rice bran is a superfood that you can’t even taste.
The distinct flavor of this smoothie will make your taste buds sing. The blood orange goji berries jack the color up a notch to an electric shade of “wow.” It’s no wonder that in traditional Chinese medicine this nutritional powerhouse is renowned for increasing strength and longevity.
½ cup plain kefir or Greek yogurt
½ cup water
1 scoop vanilla or strawberry protein powder
1 cup strawberries
1 tablespoon goji berries (dried)
1 tablespoon rice bran
6 mint sprigs
5 pieces of ice
Total: 298 calories, 31 g carbs, 28 g protein, 5 g fiber, 5 g fat
Combine all ingredients in a blender, beginning with the liquid to avoid sticky protein-powder clumps. Blend until smooth.
Kefir: This magical probiotic goodness helps restore friendly bacteria balance in the gut. Kefir, which is somewhere between milk and yogurt in consistency, contains around 30 microorganisms, making it more potent than other fermented dairy. Potent probiotic presence is a panacea for all sorts of digestive issues. And note: Those suffering lactose intolerance typically do not have the same issues with kefir and yogurt because the lactose has already been broken down.
Goji berries: In addition to the aforementioned praise, these berries have the highest concentration of protein than any other fruit and contain all essential amino acids and 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach. These badasses are chock-full of 21 trace minerals, including calcium, selenium, and zinc.
Mint: The smell of mint alone is enough to invigorate you, but the little leaves have an essential oil that can fend off anxiety and exhaustion. In addition to awakening your senses, mint also acts to stimulate digestive enzymes, allowing you to more readily absorb all the other goodies this smoothie has to offer.
Rice bran: The rich dietary fiber content of rice bran fills you up and keeps you satiated for hours. Fiber, necessary for digestive function, is known to help intestinal disorders and fight various cancers. Also, rice bran is lactose-free, gluten-free, and hypoallergenic.