Acai + Coconut Parfaits

 

Sweet, cooling, creamy, and balanced. A few words to describe my newest breakfast and snack time obsession: acai + coconut parfaits. Impressive enough to serve at your next brunch soiree or gathering, yet simple enough to whip up on a Tuesday morning a home. 

This recipe was inspired by one that appeared on Faring Well last year (one of my very favorite food blogs). I just love how Jessie transforms simple ingredient combinations into something totally novel, and this dish is no exception. We make a lot of acai bowls/smoothies/desserts around here and I couldn't believe I had yet to think of a parfait. 

In this SOLFUL rendition, I opted to replace the yogurt with whipped coconut cream. If you have access to home-cultured yogurt (or better yet, you make it yourself), this makes a fabulous option. I, however, do not most times. And I find store-bought brands (even seemingly "healthy" plant-based versions) to never taste quite right, and to contain way more sugar and additives than I feel comfortable with. So for most recipes that call for yogurt, I sub in coconut cream. It's virtually sugar- and additive-free, and lends the dreamiest flavor and texture. 

Creating the "whipped cream" effect is ultra simple, and has ended up becoming a staple in my kitchen. Everything just tastes better with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Especially this acai smoothie. I created the base recipe to mimic the acai bowls that everyone can't get enough of, without the added refined sugars. With that said, the recipe is still pretty sweet, so feel free to use less fruit for a more mild variation. Either way, the rich, creamy whipped coconut lends the perfect flavor balance to temper the sweetness.

I also added a scoop of tocos and collagen to the cream, as both as rich sources of skin-nourishing nutritives and that's an area of focus for me at present. They make a seamless, taste-less, and health-elevating addition. (I go into more detail about the benefits of collagen here.)


ACAI + COCONUT PARFAITS

  • 1 frozen, unsweetened acai packet
  • 1 frozen banana (or 1/2 frozen avocado)
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut water or unsweetened nut milk, plus more for blending
  • 1 BPA-free can of full-fat culinary coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 tbsp tocos powder
  • 1 scoop collagen powder 

TO MAKE: Place all ingredients (except for coconut cream, tocos, and collagen) in a high-speed blender. You'll want the smoothie to be on the thicker side (think ice cream consistency), so be patient, as it may take a solid five minutes. You can add small splashes of liquid as needed, keeping in mind the less liquid used, the thicker and creamier the consistency.

Once the smoothie is blended smooth and no chunks remain, divide it into between two glasses or jars. Place in the freezer while you prep the whipped cream.

Remove the chilled can of coconut milk from the refrigerator, being sure not to shake it up. Once opened, you should find a semi-hard layer of thick coconut cream at the top, with all the coconut water/liquid at the bottom. Scoop out the cream and set aside, reserving the liquid for another recipe (smoothies!!!). With a standing mixer, hand mixer, or blender, "whip" the coconut cream until it's light and fluffy (resembling whipped cream). Add in your tocos and collagen (if using), and whip for another 15-30 seconds until blended. 

To assemble, remove acai-filled jars from freezer and top with a generous dollop or two of whipped cream. Option to top the whole situation with raw honey, chia seeds, bee pollen, nuts, granola, etc. 

Makes two servings.


I love seeing what you create and getting your feedback on recipes! Leave any questions + comments below, and be sure to follow along on Instagram and tag your photos with #SOLFULhealth so I can see! xx

     

    Cleansing Coconut + Herb Smoothie

     

    Though I am so not one for traditional "detoxes", I do believe in the importance of supporting the crucial physical process that is detoxification. Instead of deprivation and liquid cleanses, I choose to bolster my body's innate detoxification system with nourishing daily practices throughout the year, and more concentrated efforts at the start of each season. My regular detox-supporting practices include weekly infrared sauna sessions, daily movement, a few Ayurvedic practices, and of course a diet rich in plants. 

    Four times each year (in coordination with seasonal changes), I lead a Detox Workshop that draws upon the healing practices of yoga, breath work, lifestyle practice education, and food to better support my students + community in clearing accumulated waste and toxicity from the body. It's a true mind-body experience and a powerful way to reset + rebuild a perhaps lagging detoxification system. I just completed the workshop leading into summer, and post-practice I shared this incredibly nourishing + detoxifying smoothie that was too good not to share with all of you. 

    With the support of some of my favorite herbs from Anima Mundi's incredible line of medicinals, I crafted what has become my go-to smoothie for cleansing and re-alkalizing the body. It's rich in fat for digestion, hormonal, and emotional support, and lots of greens for a heavy dose of purifying chlorophyll. With that said, it's still sweet, creamy, and delicious, making it an especially enjoyable detoxification practice (it's for sure more fun than a colonic). 

    Below, a few of the nutritive add-ins that I chose to include for their powerful cleansing + balancing properties:

    SPIRULINAA blue-green algae extraordinarily high in chlorophyll, nature's most potent detoxifier. Assists in the removal of toxins from organs + tissues, binds to heavy metals, heals and boosts the immune system, and purifies the blood.

    MORINGA LEAF | A highly medicinal plant with a bevy of health benefits, I most love moringa for it's support and protection of the liver.

    ALOE | Because of it's gentle diuretic effect on the body (a must if you suffer from constipation), aloe assists in the removal of toxic build-up from the digestive tract. It also has an adaptogenic effect on the brain and body, helping to balance hormones and reduce stress-related toxicity. 

    ASHWAGANDHAIf you've been reading this journal for a bit, you know true health begins in the mind. In any health pursuit (detox-related or otherwise), I believe supporting the mind + the hormonal system are of upmost important, and so I include ashwagandha in this recipe. This tonic herb is extremely nourishing to the adrenals, thyroid, nervous system, and immune system. It’s a total stress-soother, working to ease anxiety and reduce excessive cortisol release.

    LIVER VITALITY BLENDI have been obsessing over this herb blend from Anima Mundi for a few weeks now. It's a combination of the most powerful liver + gallbladder supporting herbs for improved detoxification, deep mineralization, and more glowy health. This blend includes spirulina, moringa, dandelion root, and milk thistle (among others), making it a great option for those looking to invest in fewer (but still very high quality + effective) supplements. 

    COCONUT BUTTER | Because it tastes like vanilla frosting and fats are good for it all. 


    CLEANSING COCONUT + MORINGA SMOOTHIE

    TO MAKE: Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to add in more coconut water to reach desired consistency. If you're craving a sweeter smoothie, feel free to blend in some additional fruit - I find pineapple and mango to be the sweetest/best at masking the "green" taste. 


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    I love seeing what you create and getting your feedback on recipes! Leave any questions + comments below, and be sure to follow along on Instagram and tag your photos with #SOLFULhealth so I can see! xx

     

    Almond Butter + Maca Smoothie

    Keeping it short and sweet today with a simple smoothie recipe. With spring in full beautiful bountiful bloom and summer so so close, I feel like it's finally socially acceptable for me to start spamming your feeds with smoothies again. Right?

    This simple little blend has been my afternoon sweet treat for the last week, fueling my brain and body through long days at the computer, in the studio, and in the kitchen. Aside from tasting like a straight up milkshake, it works wonders on the endocrine system, helping to restore hormonal balance and elevate mood + energy. It also contains a hefty dose of protein and fat to keep focused and feeling full.

    Maca - which I discuss a bit more at length here - was the first adaptogenic herb I began using regularly about four years ago, and it totally transformed my skin, energy, and hormonal health. It's one of my favorites still today and I recommend it to many of my female friends + clients for support in these realms. I do find that the quality of maca varies widely among different distributors, so I'm super careful about where I source mine. Moon Juice has been my go-to for years. 

    In this blend, I use a frozen banana, but I know this ingredient is a bit controversial these days. I am planning to share a full post with my take on this trend + shift very soon, but for now just know you can substitute the banana for half an avocado and two pitted medjool dates if you feel called to do so. I tend to switch between the two options. I also use a Yemenite spice blend called hawaj because it's super dreamy and flavorful, but this can be substituted for a few dusts of ground cinnamon and/or cardamom. 


    ALMOND BUTTER + MACA SMOOTHIE

    • 1 frozen banana OR half an avocado + 2 pitted medjool dates
    • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond butter
    • 1-2 tsp maca powder
    • 2 tbsp chia seeds
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup unsweetened nut or seed milk
    • 1-2 scoops protein powder of choice - my favorite (which actually includes maca in the blend) can be found here
    • 1/2 tsp hawaj - a powdered blend of ginger, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom (optional)

    TO MAKE: Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

    Strawberries, Cream, and Collagen Milkshake

    Truth be told, I've been known to overcomplicate things. In the past, I would overthink and ruminate and play through even the smallest of decisions - there were literally nights I was so indecisive about what to make/order for dinner that I would end up going to sleep without eating. As you can imagine, the difficulty in making actual real life decisions was hundred-fold. It was totally out of hand.

    In the last few months, as I've committed myself to my daily Kundalini practice, I have witnessed a newfound simplicity, clarity, and sense of confidence arise in what I say, do, and decide. I can feel that I'm strengthening my intuition "muscle" and learning to really hear + trust this internal guidance. It's a totally beautiful and awakening place to be, and it's been seeping into all areas of my life, including the way I eat + prepare food. 

    As of late, I've been whipping up this ultra simple "milkshake" as an afternoon snack to fuel long days of teaching, cooking, and writing. The flavor combination came about mainly because it's strawberry season here and I can't get enough of coconut fat for it's incredible mental health effects. If you have yet to hear, fat is your friend. We're all different in what our bodies need, but in my case, fat is my best friend. These days, my diet consists of about 60% fat. Yup.

    I have struggled with depression my entire life since a really young age, and in more recent years, chronic fatigue, adrenal burnout, and anxiety/panic. There's definitely a variety of tools that have helped me recover (said daily Kundalini practice being a huge one), but including more high quality fat in my diet was a real turning point. The increases in mood + cognitive disorders that we've seen in recent years correlates with the rise in popularity of low fat diets, and researchers suspect that this nutritional fad is to blame. Ensuring that you consume enough healthy fat will protect you from memory loss (short- and long-term), inability to focus, anxiety, depression, fatigue, low energy, and insomnia. 

    I also love fat because it fills you up and eases sugar cravings, which are generally really helpful elements of a meal or snack.

    It's not totally necessary, but I recommend adding a scoop or two of collagen to your milkshake, as it provides protein, supports gut health, and nourishes + heals skin from the inside out. It has absolutely no taste and so many benefits that I tend to sneak it into more meals than not.


    STRAWBERRIES, CREAM, AND COLLAGEN MILKSHAKE

    • 1.5 cups organic strawberries (fresh or frozen)
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened full-fat coconut milk (be sure to find a BPA-free can)
    • 1-2 scoops collagen peptides 
    • 1/2 cup water

    Make smoothie: Combine all ingredients into your blender and combine until smooth and creamy. You many want/need to add a bit more water to reach your desired consistency. I tend to keep mine pretty thick (it is a milkshake). Option to top with an additional dollop of coconut milk or coconut yogurt.