My new favorite New Hope Netork Blogger Box product–Natreve Wellness French Vanilla Wafer Sundae Vegan Protein—takes the spotlight for Valentine’s Day 2020 in this rich and creamy strawberry smoothie, laced with organic natural cacao. Think of those Valentine’s Day chocolate covered strawberries but minus the tons of sugar, the questionably sourced and processed chocolate, and the less-than-fresh tasting strawberries.
Of course, it will help a lot if you did what I did last spring—put away several pints of market berries for the February flurries. But if you didn’t, no flurry of worries! As long as you buy frozen organic berries, you should be fine. Organic is important for your health and the health of the planet. The Environmental Working Group has rated strawberries the number-one produce for pesticide load for several years now. And we are going to use a special ingredient to make our berries pop without a lot of sugar. With me? Start your blenders!
- One cup frozen strawberries, thawed (You’ll use one cup berries and whatever juice is available—the more juice the better here.)
- One tablespoon high-quality dark balsamic vinegar (If you can find a good dark chocolate flavor, go with that. I did!)
- Two teaspoons coconut sugar (or sugar or natural no-sugar sweetener of choice)
- One cup milk of choice—I chose full-fat unsweetened Coconut Cream, well chilled
- Two scoops Natreve Wellness Vegan Protein, French Vanilla Wafer Sundae flavor
- Two tablespoons natural raw cacao powder
- One teaspoon ground cinnamon
- One-quarter teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch coarse sea salt
- Begin by macerating your thawed berries with the balsamic vinegar and the coconut sugar (or other sweetener). Place the berries, vinegar and sugar together in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for several hours up to overnight.
- When your berries are syrupy, put them in a blender jar with the milk, Natreve Vegan Protein powder, cacao, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Blend on high until completely smooth. If you use coconut cream, your smoothie will be quite thick. In fact, we froze ours for about 10 minutes and had a smoothie bowl. If you prefer a thinner smoothie that is more drinkable, I suggest coconut, almond, cashew, oat or good ol’ cow’s milk instead of the coconut cream.
- If you find this smoothie is not quite sweet enough for your sweet heart and tooth, you can try a tablespoon or two of honey or additional coconut sugar, which is what my sweetheart Don did.
Note that the prep time does not include the time it takes to macerate the berries. However, if you just plan slightly ahead, this is a super simple and quick healthy breakfast for your mornings on the go!
Why Natreve Wellness Tugs at My Heartstrings
Ok, so how come a protein powder has me all head-over-heals in love? There are lots of great protein products—vegan and vegetarian—in ready-to-use forms out in the marketplace. And, I’ve put quite a few of them up on this blog over the years—testing recipes and making recommendations.
But I have developed a special fondness for Natreve Wellness protein powders, which do work great in smoothies and smoothie bowls, come in a wide variety of yummy flavors and use quality ingredients you and I can trust. But there’s more: Natreve Wellness is the world’s first plastic neutral wellness company! I hear your question: What does that mean?
Think about when you go to your local health food store, the place you can trust, run by the people who care–it’s the easy shopping experience. Except there is still all that plastic, right? And protein powders almost always come in plastic containers. Most of these containers are recyclable, it’s true, but the vast quantity of them still put a burden on the environment. What to do?
For Natreve Wellness the answer became “neutral.” On their website they state: “Natreve is committed not only to reduce plastic from oceans and be mindful in our packaging, but also to create social economic value through our partnership with plastic bank. Together with our partnership we are committed to reduce plastic from oceans and create value to impoverished countries through economic solutions. In this ecosystem, we are creating solutions while delivering value by being the first nutraceutical company to be certified plastic neutral.”
Natreve Wellness thinks BIG and they plan to “revolutionize Worldwide Recycling Ecosystems to create sustainable, inclusive, and circular economies.” Meaning, they are going to shift our concept of currency, making plastic trash into treasure that people—read people in impoverished, environmental justice communities—can use to buy what they need…you know, like food, shelter and clothing.
Great, you say. But I see that skeptical look. You are wondering (and no one blames you) how a smoothie company is going to make this happen. Enter their partner Plastic Bank.
And just who is this Plastic Bank? According to David Katz, Founder & CEO of Plastic Bank, they are “the world’s largest chain of stores for the ultra-poor, where everything in the store is available to be purchased using plastic garbage.” That’s right, making plastic more valuable than money to the very people who need help most.
So, I’m in love, and you will be, too. With this super strawberry smoothie, with Natreve Wellness and all their wonderful products and with Plastic Bank, bringing us all together to be responsible consumers for the love of the planet.
Happy Valentine’s Day, guys! Hugs and Kisses from Green Gal of the Midwest.