Love is in the air!
Valentine’s Day is just days away (which I pretend that I don’t care about, but I secretly do!), and these Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothies for Two are the perfect way to celebrate with a little decadence, and not feel a single twinge of guilt. Each frosty sip tastes like a ripe cherry dipped in luscious dark chocolate. Just be careful, you may get really excited and eat it too fast and get brain freeze (speaking from experience here!).
Show yourself, and your other half, a little love and indulge in these guilt-free smoothies! [Get the recipe at the end of the post.]
Frozen bananas have become a bit of an obsession for me, blending up into the perfect milkshakey-smoothies like this chocolate-cherry combo, that not only make my tastebuds happy, but my stomach, too.
During my two years living abroad with Peace Corps in Turkmenistan, I developed quite the sensitive stomach. The radical change in diet and exposure to water impurities weren’t kind to my system, and I’ve been living with the effects ever since. Foods that I love and have eaten since childhood now irritate my stomach, and more often than not I can’t pin down exactly why I’m not feeling quite like myself.
I’ve been ignoring the symptoms that my body has been screaming at me in the form of not only cravings and upset stomach but skin clarity issues, changes in mood, feeling sluggish and almost fuzzy-brained. All of these symptoms can be traced back to an imbalance in my digestive system. (No, really! Check out more info here, here, here, and here)
Healing My Digestion
I’m sharing this with you as I make a commitment to heal my own digestion, because maybe you or someone you know is experiencing something similar. Building a supportive network is so important when actively seeking change and improvement in your health and wellbeing. K has been incredibly supportive, and I know that he’s a huge factor in my success.
After quite a bit of research, I’ve developed a plan to help get my digestive system back on track:
- Drink hot water on an empty stomach in the morning, to help wake up my digestive system
- Make smoothies for breakfast, like today’s chocolate-cherry or this tropical green smoothie that I love, to increase my fruit and vegetable intake, and ease my digestive system into working for the day
- Focus on whole, unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible
- Eat smaller meals more often to lower impact on my digestion. I’m not calorie counting or cutting out any food groups, but just reducing portion sizes a bit
- Keep a food journal to really listen to my body and track any sensitivities
- Sweat at least three times a week, whether it’s running, weight lifting, or yoga
This is not a science by any means, and everybody’s body responds differently to food and requires a unique balance of nutrients. This plan will help me make conscious, intentional choices based on what my body is telling me, and move towards improving my overall health. I kicked off this plan of mine earlier this week and plan to finish a full two weeks. At the end, I’ll check back in with you and let you know what I’ve learned and what my next steps are.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Are you experiencing symptoms that could be related to poor digestion? Interested in actively pursuing a healthier you? Join me! You can follow the plan that I’ve outlined above, or tweek it to fit your needs and lifestyle. One thing I highly recommend you keep in your plan is food journaling. Leanne at Healthful Pursuit put together this awesome food journal challenge, complete with instructions and what to do with all the information you gather. I’m using this tool to help me figure out what’s going on and what steps I can take to improve.
This may not be the most touchy-feely, Valentinesy topic, but I really believe that your health and the relationship you have with yourself influences the way you interact with and treat others. Treat yourself well on the inside and it’ll show!
And finally, the recipe you’ve been waiting for! This is one of my all-time favorite smoothies, and it proves that healthy, good-for-you food can be incredibly decadent and delicious.
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 2 bananas, chopped and frozen
- 1 cup frozen cherries
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 packets stevia (or equivalent sweetener of choice)
- 2 Tbsp peanut or almond butter
- Add ingredients to a blender in the order listed.
- Blend on high until completely smooth.