Whether you’re vegan or not, if you’re into smoothies, then you should definitely give these amazing vegan ingredients for your smoothie a try. Chances are, you’ll never miss the animal ingredients you may use in your smoothies with some of these amazing ingredients. Though I’m not 100% vegan and do eat organic whey protein and organic Greek yogurt, most of my smoothies are actually vegan, simply because there is an amazing variety of vegan ingredients to put into a smoothie. Most of us associate fruit with smoothies, but there are tons of other amazing ingredients beyond fruit to put in a smoothie, which is what I've included here. Try some of these pretty fabulous vegan ingredients for your smoothie recipes so that you can get in plenty of plant-based nutritious foods and spare a few precious animal lives while you’re at it!
1. Hemp Protein
One of the top vegan ingredients for your smoothie recipes is hemp protein. Talk about a powerful little seed, ladies! Hemp protein powder comes from hemp seeds and is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Hemp contains all essential amino acids that are usually only available through animal proteins, or a combination of plant proteins. Now, however, you can get a complete protein source, just in one plant-based source. I love using organic, raw hemp protein as a protein source in my smoothies. Not only does hemp contain quality protein, but also brain-nourishing magnesium, digestive friendly fiber, heart-healthy potassium, and essential energizing B vitamins. Did I mention it has a fabulous nutty taste and that it’s super affordable? No? My apologies!
2. Dairy-Free Milk
A girl can’t have a creamy rich smoothie without milk, right? No need to just use water if you’re not into moo milk! Use a creamy dairy-free milk instead! My favorites include non-GMO brands such as So Delicious unsweetened coconut and almond milk, Silk unsweetened almond milk, Silk unsweetened organic soy milk and Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk. I always buy unsweetened to avoid added sugars and I like buying the unsweetened vanilla flavor when I can find it! Most dairy-free milk varieties are actually higher in calcium than cow’s milk, depending on the brand you buy, but all of them at least contain the same amount as cow’s milk, and they contain Vitamin E and more Vitamin D than dairy milk. They also all contain more B12, with the exception of rice milk, which I don’t care for. These milks are also rich in potassium, magnesium, and all are lactose-free, vegan, and most are non-GMO certified these days. I’m partial to almond milk above them all, but whichever you choose, you can be sure they’ll make your smoothies absolutely delish!
Many people like to sweeten their smoothies with either beverages that contain sugar, or honey, neither of which are vegan. If you think sugar is vegan, think again! Most sugars, unless organic, are actually processed with animal bone char in the bleaching process. I always advise against consuming added sugars anyway, but many dairy-free beverages still contain sugar, as do many dairy-free yogurts, unless they use evaporated cane syrup, which is vegan sugar, but is still very high on the glycemic index. Honey is, of course, made from bees, therefore it isn’t vegan, so my choice of sweetener for smoothies is the almighty stevia! Now, you can buy the processed white stevia if you like, or liquid stevia, which is fine if you buy a good brand, but here recently, I’ve become fond of the unprocessed, raw version, known as green stevia leaf. I can buy a pound of pure green leaf stevia, which is ten times as sweet as the white stuff, yet so much cheaper! Plus, it lasts forever and though it tastes a little “herbish,” it tastes real, just like it should.
4. Raw Superfood Powder
This is perhaps my favorite ingredient of all to include in vegan smoothies. This takes your smoothies to a whole new level and gives you loads of energy! The key is to find one you like. I’m partial to organic, raw vegan green superfood powders. These include tons of superfoods and green, alkalizing veggies, yet my favorites don’t taste grassy at all, but more like raw berries or dark chocolate, which are my favorite flavors. You can buy all different types of green superfood powders, and I love experimenting with new ones each day. Some of my favorite brands include Amazing Grass, Vega, Barlean’s Emerald Balance, Delicious Greens 8000, Garden of Life, and a few other brands as well. I recommend buying one that is allergen-free, as well as nicely flavored. These superfood powders energize your cells, can prevent sugar cravings, aid weight loss and metabolism, and prevent the common cold due to their concentrated nutrition profiles. They also just make you feel so good you won’t ever miss your old smoothies again!
5. Leafy Greens
No need to get fancy with this powerful ingredient! Every vegan smoothie should have some good old leafy greens in it, and for that matter, even non-vegan smoothies should include these powerful little pieces of produce! Leafy greens are full of iron, fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Most all of them also have magnesium, B vitamins and they’re all rich in chlorophyll, which is nature’s most powerful cleanser. Leafy greens also help to bulk up your smoothie, making it thicker and fluffier. I like spinach, romaine and kale for the best taste, but get creative with whatever greens you like. Just be aware that the more bitter the green, the more sweetener you’ll have to use to mask the taste! Try to buy organic leafy greens when you can so you don’t expose yourself to too many pesticides found on non-organic greens.
6. Flax, Chia or Hemp
Flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds are some of the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids you can consume in plant-based forms. These little powerful seeds are rich in brain-boosting and digestive-boosting properties. They are also rich in fiber, magnesium and Vitamin E, along with a little plant protein. They’re essentially low in net carbohydrates and lower in fat than nuts as well, which makes them easier to digest than many nuts and legumes.
My must-have ingredient in most of my vegan smoothies is cacao. Cacao is raw, unrefined cocoa powder (chocolate), so it doesn’t contain any caffeine like processed chocolate does. It does, however, contain lots of sulfur, a nutrient that keeps your skin and hair in good condition, along with plenty of magnesium, which is essential to your heart and nerve function. It helps regulate your digestive tract as well. Cacao is rich in naturally energizing stimulants, but it won’t cause you to crash like coffee. I just use a pinch, and find I’m in a good mood all day, thanks to those brain-boosting ingredients that cacao contains. This keeps serotonin levels at peak and prevents depression. As a boost, cacao is rich in iron to prevent anemia and fatigue as well. Plus, health benefits aside, it’s chocolate! What’s not to love?
My favorite part about using these ingredients in smoothies is that no one even notices or cares they are vegan because they’re so delicious and beneficial. Most people would never know they were drinking a vegan smoothie if someone made it for them in a tasty way. I also love using other vegan ingredients in my smoothies, but these are by far some of my favorites. Do you have any favorite vegan smoothie ingredients that you like to use?