Garden Of Life Protein Blondies + Greenie Smoothie [Vegan + Sugar Free]

Drop your protein powder scooper and step away from the blender…

Cause I think I found THE most efficient, delicious and well-rounded plant-based protein powder known to NAMB kind! And I must share with you. That is my duty.

You see, a mere few weeks ago, Garden Of Life graciously sent me some awesome samples to try out for my blog. I’m a sucker for a) healthy vegan products, b) hip, modern company branding and c) anything free. I have tried a multitude of different vegan protein powders but Garden of Life takes it to another level. Most that I’ve tried are great sources of plant based protein usually containing 3 or less ingredients such as brown rice protein, pea protein and even sacha inchi protein. While some have made my recipes quite awesome, there were some that tasted like unappetizing cardboard and didn’t agree digestively. Needless to say, they were giving me my adequate amount of protein intake, but I didn’t want to consume anything that made my stomach bark and meow.

Unless you’re a physical athlete or working out immensely, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the lack of protein in your everyday diet. The overall focus should be about getting a healthy balanced amount of nutrients and vitamins. Of course, some may need more of one than the other, but ultimately, it’s about that fine balance. You know, the one that makes you feel oh-so-good overall.

Eating a variety of a bountiful, beneficial and nutrient dense whole foods is key to a healthy lifestyle. While vegan protein powders are not typically as essential as consuming whole foods such as fresh organic greens, lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts, they serve a purpose in providing a sizable punch of protein efficiently and effectively for those who are health conscious like me. Personally, I consider them to be “health enhancers or boosters” more than supplements or replacements for real food. If you pair a fabulous protein product with your usual array of healthy foods, your food really can’t get any more super than that! So essentially, it’s ideal to opt for a protein powder/supplement that’s on par to a whole food source to really make it worth your while.

Garden of Life‘s line of Raw Protein and Organic Plant Protein both have the necessary check points of a high quality, whole food protein product that your insides can trust (and happily digest!)

Let’s face it – you deserve the best!

Raw Protein and Organic Plant Protein both have many admirable factors to say the least. What I love about Garden of Life’s products, besides the obvious fact that they provide clean protein, is that they offer a plethora of vitamins and minerals your body also needs and contain zero synthetic fillers and preservatives. Ingredients that don’t stress you out! The Raw Protein products are raw (duh!), certified organic, vegan and contain live probiotics (good bacteria), enzymes like proteases, essential amino acids, fat soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E and a bunch of sprouted goodness like flax seed sprouts, quinoa sprouts, lentil sprouts, buckwheat sprouts, broccoli sprouts to name a few. Let’s just say that there’s a whole lot of goodness in there! See for yourself here. Oh yeah, I should probably tell you that there’s about 17 grams of plant based protein per serving. That’s a good deal for the amount of very few calories. You can choose from 4 flavours – chocolate, vanilla, vanilla chai and raw original. For my recipes below, I used vanilla chai as it was my most favourite palate-wise and worked flawlessly in my blondies.

*Note: I’ve chosen to be ironic by using a raw protein powder for a baked good instead of the smoothie.*

Organic Plant Protein’s formula is a bit similar. The powder isn’t raw and it’s grain free but still has the same endearing qualities like being certified organic, vegan, nutritional and high in protein of course. For about 100 calories worth of a serving, there’s less than 1 gram of sugar (no added sugar and sweetened with stevia), roughly 3-4 grams of fiber and carries about 15 grams of plant strong protein. You also got some pea seeds in there, some flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds which all come together beautifully to balance and level out your blood sugars. What’s more is that they threw in some superfoods in there like moringa and baobab for that extra mineral and anti-oxidant kick. There’s 4 different flavour options and they’re all deliciously earthy tasting, smooth and versatile. The flavours are subtly apparent but the hint of sweetness to them isn’t overbearing but rather fortifying. Smooth Energy was my go-to because it contained a type of naturally caffeinated tea called Yerba Mate and added Vitamin B12 (warranted for vegans and vegetarians like me.) I must say, it’s less chalky than it’s cousin Raw Protein and more appetizing to throw and mix in a beverage like in my smoothie below.

All in all, they’re both worry-free, reliable options when searching for a standard protein powder product to call the one. Find a product that works for you and your preferences. Experiment with different recipes to keep things fun and interesting. I’m here to tell you that consuming protein powder doesn’t have to be boring!

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BLONDIES (use organic and preservative free ingredients whenever possible!)

1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour blend (I used buckwheat flour and brown rice flour with a bit of coconut flour)

1 tsp of baking soda

1/4 tsp of coriander

1/2 tsp of cinnamon (I like to use a little more)

1/4 tsp of cardamom

1 pack of Raw Protein Vanilla Chai protein powder

1/4 tsp of guar gum (optional but keeps ish together)

1/2 cup of unsweetened almond or cashew milk

1/4 cup of cold pressed virgin coconut oil (melted)

3 tsp of alcohol free vanilla

6-10 packs of stevia (use your taste bud discretion)

1 cup of vegan, stevia-sweetened dark chocolate (chunks or chips – your call!)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 x 8 square baking pan with some oil.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Except chocolate! Mix together wet ingredients in another bowl.

Stir to combine both bowls into one. Fold in chocolate chunks/chips. Don’t be stingy! Next, spoon the batter into the greased pan and smooth down with a spatula or the back of your spoon. Add more chocolate if you please. And please do.

Bake the blondies for 16-18 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes before slicing into desired squares. Bite, devour and repeat.

Then enjoy this smoothie:

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GREENIE SMOOTHIE

Half of a small frozen banana

1/4 cup of frozen strawberries

Handful amount of baby spinach (I say the more the better!)

1 generous scoop of Organic Plant Protein Yerba Mate Smooth Energy

2 tbsp of raw cashews

1 tbsp of chia seeds

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

4-6 ice cubes (I usually more cause I like it creamy!)

Blend it. Love it. Drink it.