Do you love avocados? Today I’m going to teach you how to make them into a healthy, creamy, delicious smoothie that’s perfect for a quick breakfast, snack, or after dinner treat—and it will only take five minutes using a blender or food processor. In the busy fall and winter seasons, time-saving is often a must; and in Ayurveda it’s the season of the two tropical fruits in this recipe—avocado and banana—which means there’s no better time for this smoothie.
I found this drink while searching for healthier alternatives to cookies, and ended up falling in love with it. It’s based on a Brazilian recipe, suco de banana e abacate. Rio has an abundance of sucos bars, juice shops which offer a variety of fresh blended drinks that put the country’s diverse range of fruits, many of which are unknown outside of Brazil, to great use. Shop workers arrange fruits in gorgeous, colorful displays that are difficult to resist, especially on sweltering days. Many locals flock to sucos daily to get a dose of cool natural sucrose, antioxidants, and vitamins. Blends are offered to impart energy and calm and address a variety of health concerns. This particular one, avocado and banana, is thought to soothe the stomach.
Why Avocado & Banana?
Both bananas and avocados are now available year-round throughout the world, but in Ayurveda they’re vata, or fall/winter foods. This time of year is governed by air and is characteristically cold and dry. These qualities show up in our bodies and cause issues ranging from dry skin to a dry digestive tract. One way to balance the body and strengthen immunity this season is through vata-pacifying foods. More sour, salty, heavy, oily, moist, and hot foods are recommended now, and fewer pungent, bitter, astringent, light, cold, and dry foods. Think soups, steamed vegetables, and more fat and protein; less crackers, salsa, and other cold foods and beverages.
Healthy fats balance dryness by lubricating and insulating the body. They’re essential for cell membranes and skin. Avocado is one of the healthiest sources of fat available. This clean-burning fat helps the body assimilate the fruit’s 20 vitamins and minerals. In this particular recipe, it also assists in delivering all the nutrients that dense bananas have to offer. Bananas are one of the richest sources of potassium, an electrolyte that helps maintain normal heart function, plays a role in muscle contraction, and contributes to digestive health. Both avocados and bananas are energy imparting foods. Bananas impart energy quickly, making them a great post workout snack.
Milk Stories: Cow & Coconut
Avocado and banana are clearly a great match, but it took some consideration to choose a type of milk for this recipe. I love raw grass-fed cow’s milk, particularly Jersey, but because raw milk isn’t accessible or desirable to everyone, I tried a few different milks. Soymilk was a no-go, but coconut milk worked well. If you opt for canned or boxed coconut milk, choose one that’s organic and free of additives and chemicals. If you’re feeling enterprising, you can make coconut milk from scratch using either a young Thai coconut or coconut flakes. It’s easy: if using a coconut, remove the meat and place it in the blender with two cups of water. Blend for a few minutes, strain through a cheesecloth, and enjoy. With coconut flakes, place 1½ cups of them along with 2½ cups of just boiled water into a blender. Blend for a few minutes and strain, squeezing the coconut to get all the milk out. You can also use fresh coconut water from a young Thai coconut in this recipe, which creates a slightly less dense drink.
Sugar & Self-Care
Upon reflection, it makes perfect sense that people find sucos and their fruit displays irresistible. After all, we’ve been indulging in fruit for much longer than processed sugar. At one time, processed sugar was cost prohibitive to everyone but the wealthy. Developments in trade and manufacturing, new cultivars, and the use of cheap slave labor resulted in its wide availability in the 1600s in Europe and the 1800s in the US. Since that time, what was once a luxury has become a scourge. For decades, science has clearly shown the link between sugar and diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, but the average American still consumes 82 grams of added sugar per day, more than three times the amount recommended for women by the American Heart Association. The glory of the Brazilian sucos is that they remind us that nature offers her own sweetness, and unlike refined sugar, hers is abundant with nutrients that work in harmony with the body. Habitually creating time to make and enjoy healthy food is a type of self-care that will positively impact your wellness now, and cumulatively, on into the years to come.
Avocado Banana Smoothie
- 1/2 of a large ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
- 2 ripe bananas, peeled
- 1/2 cup organic full-fat milk (preferably raw), full-fat coconut milk, or fresh coconut water
- 1/2-1 teaspoon raw, unfiltered, uncooked honey
- bee pollen (garnish, optional)
Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Divide between two glasses; top with bee pollen, if desired, and serve immediately.
All images by Shiraz Leyva