Alisa Fleming ~ In the spring I created a recipe for Attune Foods that was featured on their blog. It is one that I still make often, and thus got their permissions to share it with you today. Enjoy it as a delicious and healthy way to cool down this summer! …
Let’s face it; we all need damage control sometimes, which is why I’ve been reading up on beneficial foods for healing the gut. Probiotics are all the rage these days, and for good reason … according to World’s Healthiest Foods, “These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that improve our ability to absorb nutrients, plus compounds that protect us against unfriendly microorganisms.” But behind every star, there’s an amazing support network, and in this case, it’s prebiotics.
Prebiotics feed probiotics, helping them to expand their beneficial population. But beyond aiding probiotics, prebiotics tackle some duties on their own, including reducing gastrointestinal transit time (and subsequently lowering the risk of colon cancer) and … here’s the kicker for you dairy-free dieters like me … they increase the body’s ability to absorb calcium!
So where does one get these unsung heroes? Food, good quality food. Some foods are power providers of prebiotics, including one of my favorites, bananas. They are “an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide” (aka an awesome type of prebiotic). Just seconds after discovering this juicy tidbit, my gut led me to the kitchen, and a simply delicious recipe was created …
The Symbiotic Chocolate Chunk Banana Shake
Chocolate and bananas may be a natural flavor pair, but who knew they could also combine their powers for digestive wellness? Probiotic-rich chocolate and a prebiotic-rich banana are the stars of this sweet show; the rest can be adjusted to suit your taste and texture preferences.
This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, and optionally Nut-Free.
- 1 Medium to Large Very Ripe Banana, frozen and broken into chunks (1 to 1-1/2 cups of frozen chunks)
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Milk Alternative (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Dream), or more as needed
- Sweetener of Choice, optional (see my tips and notes below)
- 1/2 of One Attune Probiotic Dark Chocolate Bar, this is .35 ounces of chocolate (They are scored and neatly break in half; this bar is dairy-free by ingredients, but if cross-contamination of milk is a concern for you, then I would go for an allergy-friendly chocolate)
Add the banana and milk alternative (I start with 1/2 cup and add more as needed) to your blender and puree until smooth. You want the mixture to be thick, like a shake. This isn’t a problem for high powered blenders, but if you have a wimpy one like mine, it helps to pulse the mixture first, to break up the bananas, before trying to puree.
If desired, blend in sweetener to taste.
Now add the chocolate and pulse chop or lightly blend to break it up. I like it with flecks of chocolate throughout and some small chunks. Eat with a spoon or thin it to a drinkable texture.
Tips and Options:
- If you wish to up the calcium and probiotic power even further (each Attune bar contains 300mg of calcium!), simply replace some, or all, of the milk alternative with yogurt. I prefer the coconut milk-based yogurts for their creamy texture, delightful flavor, and dairy-free profile.
- For a richer texture and flavor boost, add 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter or your favorite nut or seed butter
- If you want some notable chocolate chunks, then tread lightly if you are using a high powered blender. I don’t have one, but those babies could probably turn this into a full blown chocolate shake, rather than a chocolate chunk one, in no time.
- I was rationing and saving half of the bar for after dinner, but you could always throw the whole Attune chocolate bar in if desired.
- The banana sweetens this drink nicely on its own, but if your banana is under ripe, I recommend using a regular vanilla milk alternative (which is usually lightly sweetened – as opposed to the unsweetened version), adding a few drops of stevia (use a light hand! This stuff can overpower), or sweetening with something that dissolves well in cold liquids. Maple syrup, agave, and finely granulated sugars work well, but honey and larger crystals really need heat to dissolve.
Makes 1 serving
Article, Recipe, and Photos by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.