Stories From the DAD crew Brain Fog Busting Chocolate Smoothie As I learn more about the connection between what we eat and our moods and brain function I’ve become more aware of how what I eat makes me feel. Typically when I’m feeling low I want foods that make me feel good quickly and I go for what most of us have long regarded as “treats”. Chocolate is first on the hit list, often followed by something salty (surely there’s half a packet of chips at the back of the pantry that I’ve hidden from the kids…), then I think maybe I should have something else because that didn’t make me feel any better. Is it too early for a gin and tonic? That’s refreshing and not chocolate. Yeah, probably too early… So now I’m standing in front of the open pantry and fridge looking for the next quick fix, feeling foggy, overlooking the jars of nuts, seeds, healthy fats, whole sugars and nutritional supplements that would actually improve my state. Maybe I’ll settle for peppermint tea in an effort to stop the emotional eating and support my now stressed digestive system. Sound familiar? I’ve been in a huge brain fog lately, and I’ve realised I’ve been standing in front of the pantry a whole lot, snacking on a variety of bits and pieces that are making me feel worse. This smoothie has been great for helping me turn that around…one small step at a time and the tide starts to turn. Improving this cycle has been an exercise in breaking habits, forming new ones and redefining what I see as a treat. If what I’m reaching for doesn’t make me feel good physically or emotionally (actually makes me feel worse, because now I’m managing an upset tum, binge eating guilt and my original low feeling) and has in the process put extra strain on my mind and body, there has to be something else to go for. Food is a vice for many, so here’s something I’ve been using instead of my old usuals. Filling, sweet, chocolatey and nutrient dense, this is a quick fix that won’t leave you with pantry-raid guilt and can be an easy go-to as a real treat. What’s good about it? It’s full of fibre, monounsaturated fats, protein, antioxidants, fat-soluble vitamins and good quality cow’s milk (if you can tolerate dairy). I promise you won’t taste the avocado for those who aren’t usually a fan, but it does add a deliciously creamy texture and stacks of valuable vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, E, K and B-6 (well known for its role in brain function and mental health), magnesium, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene to name a few. This smoothie is like a meal in a cup. It’s fulfilling and makes a perfect on the go breakfast – pour it into a jar and take a straw with you so you can by-pass the drive thrus. Whizz one up on the weekends when you don’t know what to feed the kids for afternoon tea or you frankly can’t face doing another load of dishes. Prep time: 5 minutes Serves: 4 Ingredients 1 1/4 cups coconut milk 1/4 cup full cream natural yoghurt 1/2 avocado, flesh scooped out 2 – 3 tbsp LSA (almond meal or another nut meal will work if you don’t have LSA) 2 tbsp raw cacao powder 1 tbsp chia seeds 2 – 3 tbsp rice malt syrup, or to taste (maple syrup is a good alternative, honey tends to be sweeter so adjust to your taste) 1/3 cup frozen berries of choice Splash of coconut water if you like thinner smoothies Method Place all the ingredients in a Thermomix or powerful blender and whizz until smooth. That’s it! Serve in a glass with a stainless steel straw or pour into a glass jar to take with you. Variations Adjust the ingredients and quantities and make it your way. Nut, oat or cows milks can be used in place of coconut milk. Coconut yoghurt can be used in place of cows milk yoghurt, just check the sugar amounts in whichever one you choose. Some of them are shockers… Add additional milk for a thinner consistency. I add a splash of coconut or plain filtered water for the little ones, makes it easier for them to drink through the straw. Add more, or omit the berries. Add rolled oats, rolled quinoa or additional chia seeds for more fibre. Change it from chocolate to any other flavour you like by adding banana, frozen mango of whatever else you enjoy. Did you enjoy this, or do you have another smoothie recipe that’s a hit? Let us know by posting a comment below.