Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mango Goji Berry Smoothie

I have a complex confession:  As a child, I did not enjoy vegetables.

I know, I know....most of you may have immediately thought, "Duh!  Children don't like vegetables!" So here's why it's complex:  It was all an act.

I loved them, particularly asparagus and broccoli, but it wasn't "cool," nor expected for me to even like them.  So I would do this two-faced tango of insistently requesting that my Mother make them for dinner, and once they were on my plate, nibbling at them, pushing them around with my fork as if prodding an unidentified life form, or, at the height of my brattiness, pretending to eat them and then throwing them on the floor.  It is *mortifying* to disclose this, by the way.

But, yes, as a child, you learn how to fit in.  Which, for me, as an overweight, Filipino in the micro-minority of the Midwestern suburb I was raised in, most often meant escaping ridicule and minimizing visibility.  I was already so different that for me to be open about liking/loving vegetables felt like a death wish [Quite the irony when zooming out to consider the health of the population at large].

That's me on the right circa 1985.

So I kept this secret for many years; decades even.  It was not until my awakening to how food is medicine and the foundation for health about 8 years ago that I empowered myself to let go of that self-imposed shame.  Now I see food as my ally in the journey to serve and answer my calling, and as that assurance and conviction has mounted within me over the years, I can reflect on my formative years and see how I was holding myself back with my food choices.  Choices that were primarily influenced by the outside world and the "need" for gratification and satiation; not by the actual needs of my body, mind, and spirit and the world within.

Today's smoothie recipe is delicious, fun, and refreshing, and also allows me to integrate one of my favorite vegetables into the mix.  At the juice bar I visit on my way to the cycle studio every Monday, I noticed that they were offering broccoli as an optional sub for banana.  As I've experienced sensitivity to banana and often found it to be too sweet or energetically intense, I was happily intrigued.  Would it work?

The answer is Yes.  Yes, it does.

Garnished with fresh goji berries from my garden.

Mango Goji Berry Smoothie w/ Broccoli
Gluten-Free & Vegan

Active Prep Time:  less than 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time:  at least 30 minutes (for soaking)
Yield:  (1) 16 oz smoothie

2 tablespoons dried goji berries
2 tablespoons cold filtered water

8 oz unsweetened cashewmilk beverage
3 oz, or heaping 1/2 c, frozen mango chunks
1 1/2 oz, or 1/3 c, frozen broccoli florets
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
squeeze fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
1-2 dashes ground turmeric
dash of cayenne

What you'll need:  blender

1.  Soak goji berries in water for at least 30 minutes, or until they have plumped up and become soft and squishy.  I will often start the soaking process before going to bed and refrigerate them so they are ready for the following day.  The soaking liquid will turn a rich reddish brown and thicken towards a syrup like consistency.
2.  Combine all ingredients in blender and let them get to know one another as only a blender will allow.  Blend until uniformly smooth and a vibrant pastel peach color.
3.  Pour and enjoy!

plumped and ready to go!

I know it looks savory.  Trust me.

This smoothie is so good - definitely a go to for me as we wrap up the Summer season.  It reminds me a little of a creamsicle, with the burnt sugar notes of the goji berries pairing wonderfully with both the mango and cashewmilk.  And the ginger and cayenne lend a whisper of kick on the finish - invigorating the palate for a truly dynamic, refreshing experience.  

And what of the broccoli flavor, you ask?  

Here's the beauty of it - you don't really taste it at all.  If you're looking for it, you might detect some grassy sweetness and you'll see some tiny green flecks in the smoothie itself.  But if you were to not tell someone, there's a great chance they wouldn't know.  Broccoli lends the smoothness that a frozen banana would offer, but it does so without any sugar, a small fraction of the carbohydrates, and without contributing a distinct flavor.  It supports the other flavors quietly, allowing them to truly shine, and if you are needing to moderate your intake of sugar/simple carbs, this is an awesome way to do that and still enjoy an outstanding smoothie.

I hope you love this super food laden, anti-inflammatory supporting smoothie as much as I do.  And I realize that it's been quite a stretch since my last post, so gratitude for sticking with me as my Life beyond the blog is happening. But please have no doubt regarding my commitment to sharing my discoveries on this path less traveled.  The Canary Files is a part of my service, and a way for me to share my unique experiences and gifts to help others to walk alongside me in mindfulness and gratitude for the miracle of our being.  So there will definitely be more to come....and then some.

Love and Light.  Always.


  1. You know that we both were weird with vegetables as kids, but I never recalled you throwing them on the floor. That shocks both Seeley and I =o I know how important it seems as a kid to fit in with others, lest you stick out like sore thumbs like we already did. We both have flipped our lives around quite a bit since then and we are much better because of doing so.

    This smoothie combination sounds really good to me! I will have to try the broccoli in my next batch, we just steamed some earlier today. I often use frozen greens in my mixes, but I've never used broccoli. I will let the kids give it a try and tell them afterwards ( good chances that they'll love it because they already like eating most veggies in raw form).

    Thank you for sharing kuya <3

    1. Yes, please do! I know they'll love it (but maybe minus the cayenne). I am grateful in so many ways for the challenges of our childhood. Without them, neither of us would be where we are, in body or mind. Indeed, our lives are flipped (no pun intended). :)


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