7 Day Green Smoothie Challenge and Hemp Protein

Last week I participated in a 7 Day Smoothie Challenge, which I heard about from Jen at Peanut Butter Runner. I love a challenge that involves something I would normally do (so...a "challenge"), and so I joined in.

The only remotely difficult aspect of eating smoothies every day for a week was that the temperature dropped back down to normal, seasonal weather with highs in the 40s. Smoothies are my preferred breakfast when it's warm out, not when the morning temps are in the 20s. It was a bit like eating ice cream for breakfast in the winter. Lest you think I want to make a #whitegirlproblem out of this, let me say I enjoyed it and I felt healthier for having consumed veggie smoothies every day for a week.

My basic recipe didn't change, but I experimented with a couple of new protein powders, both made of hemp.

I solicited some suggestions for protein powders on facebook, and I was happy to see how many of my friends had one that they liked. For now, I've started using Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein, suggested by my dear friend Jess (some know her as JHoles, my favorite hippie) for a couple of reasons. First, it's made in Canada, and I think that makes it a little cheaper than it would be otherwise. Also, I'm trying to cut down on the amount of dairy I eat for a variety of reasons, so whey protein just wasn't my first choice. They have Manitoba Harvest at my local grocery store, so it was easy to find and about $20 or less a pop. You can read about the different types of protein powders they make here.

I've tried two kinds. First, the Hemp Protein 50.

It's ideal for people who want a little more protein in their diets but who aren't ultramarathoners or anything extreme. Its green color blended perfectly in my green smoothies, and while I could taste that something else was in them, the powder's flavor doesn't come through much (this is ideal). It helps make the smoothies a little more filling so I can make it all the way to lunch without feeling super hungry.

I also tried the Chocolate Hemp Protein, which tastes a bit like hot chocolate mix on its own.

This one has fewer grams of protein per serving (both call for a serving of a 1/4 cup), and it has a little cane sugar for sweetness. It made my smoothie taste like a chocolate milk shake. And to be honest, I try as hard as possible to make my healthy breakfast smoothies or oatmeal taste like dessert, so this one is great for me. I also don't add any other sweetener to the smoothies, so it adds just a touch of sweetness.
Adding chocolate-flavored powder to a smoothie with spinach was kind of a mental hurdle, but I'm glad I did it. Totally tasty.
I also made a sort of faux-ice cream with it last night:

1 frozen banana
3/4 cup almond milk (3/4 cup-ish...)
2 tbs peanut butter
1 tbs chocolate chips
1/4 cup chocolate hemp protein powder

I blended it and the froze it for about 10 minutes while I waited for John to start watching X-Files with me, and it was perfect. I would eat this for every meal if I could.

Two other random things I wanted to include in this post:

John and I made these Ancho Lentil Tacos from the PPK, and LOVED them.

We just used regular chili powder, but the addition of the adobo sauce goes a long way. Lentils make a perfect meatless taco filling. It seems so obvious that I'm surprised I don't see more recipes like this on the food blogs. They were also super easy, so we'll definitely be making these again soon.

And finally, I'm nearing the end of Born to Run, but I wanted to give it another shout out because it's so awesome. McDougall's writing is fantastic and really entertaining. The other characters who show up to run this crazy race in the desert are hilarious and I literally don't want to put it down. If you love to run, you will love this book. If you know someone who loves to run, and you think they're kinda nuts, you will love this book. Actually I think anyone who enjoys reading about sports would probably like it.
Sadly, one of the runners in the book, who goes by Caballo Blanco, was found dead this week out on the trail in New Mexico. It's strange to me that he died while I'm reading the book. He and the other runners in it are inspiring.

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