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Revolving around the Vitamin B-12 of Chapul’s cricket protein powder, this evidence-based recipe is designed to promote healthy ageing.
The ingredients are complex but the process is simple: place everything in a blender and blend. For a smoother texture, add more water. Enjoy!
Ingredients (makes 1 serving)
1 serving (36 g) Chapul Vanilla Powder
1 cup fresh spinach
2 leaves of swiss chard
1/3 cup broccoli sprouts
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 small cooked beet
1-2 cups water
Nutritional values (per serving)
While working on my dissertation prospectus in 2010 I also began experimenting with how many nutrients I could cram into my morning smoothies. Other than a desire to eat whole foods, I had no dietary program to provide guidance, no Facebook group to offer recipe suggestions. I simply looked at a chart for my RDAs, went to the grocery store to find the fruits and vegetables that would get close to fulfilling those recommendations, then blended them up. One of the most unfortunate combinations involved sweet potato, fava beans, and spirulina. I had a hard time finishing that one.
I like to think I’ve made progress since then. My previous keto smoothie recipe post—just a few low carb-high fat ingredients—was almost the opposite of my 2010 experiments. It’s designed for achieving a very specific outcome (workout recovery while remaining in ketosis), rather than covering all my nutritional bases.
Yet one thing that remains from my earlier smoothie efforts is the idea that health isn’t one magical ingredient. Nor is it one dietary protocol. Total health results from a network of physical activity, meaningful social relationships, and smart food choices. Even within “smart food choices” there’s a complex network of biological pathways that determine how multiple ingredients interact. Almost anything can become a superfood. The flipside to this is that nothing is a superfood if it’s not given the chance interact with its companion ingredients.
I view Chapul’s protein blend as a well-balanced macro and micronutrient blend that can serve as the base for a variety of meals, but the true potential of the densely nutritional insect protein can be unlocked in different ways depending on the desired outcome.
The more research I do on cricket protein powder the more I view it as a potential agent of longevity, especially when combined with other smart food choices. Here’s a recipe I recently developed with that specific goal in mind. When blended, the individual ingredients interact in a network-like fashion to promote healthy ageing, all of them revolving around the unique nutritional profile of Chapul’s insect protein blend.
Two key nutrients here are spermidine and Vitamin B-12. Research has shown that spermidine induces autophagy, a process whereby damaged or unused cellular components are metabolized to create new healthy parts, promoting survival. Vitamin B-12 is critical to DNA synthesis and is one of the most important compounds for combating cognitive impairments, such as depression.
Spinach and Chard
Leafy greens are obviously great for many things, but I like them for this smoothie recipe because of the combination of electrolytes and folate. Folate is part of the B-vitamin complex that also includes cobalamin (B-12). Chapul’s insect protein powder is very high in B-12, but for that compound to be utilized the body also needs folate (B-9). Again, I’m going for a network effect.
As with the leafy greens above, beets are also high in folate. In addition, these potent roots are high in anthocyanins and lycopene, two antioxidants that fight oxidative stress. Fighting oxidative stress is key to another key to healthy ageing.
Broccoli sprouts have been touted as a superfood because they pack some of the densest concentrations of sulforaphane. Sulforaphane contributes to longevity in two keys ways: 1. It fights inflammation, especially the kind that manifests itself in depressive symptoms; 2. It promotes methylation, which is the process whereby individual genes are turned off, an epigenetic phenomenon critical to fighting cancer.
For this recipe, I use the almond butter and almond milk to give the smoothie a fuller body and healthy fats.