RECIPE: Late Summer Golden Berry Smoothie

It's that time when the balmy days are getting shorter again, the lulling summer sun kisses the skin of ripening fruit and freckled noses, and I've been noticing tones of yellow everywhere I go.  It's in the warm hues of squash and tomatoes coming into season, in grassy slopes of most parts of California, the clothes people are wearing, the sunflowers turning slowly where they stand...


My nagging curiosity about color in different foods, ecosystems, and cultures drove me to look for insight on the possible wellness and nutritional implications of the warm colors associated with summer.  I turned to resources on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Five Element Theory and Deanna Minich's book, The Rainbow Diet, where she unites Western science with Ayurveda and clinical experience to offer a holistic approach for nutrition that nourishes and heals the body as a mind-body-spirit entity.


In my search, I was reminded that in TCM, the late summer is indeed associated with the color yellow and many of the organs of digestion: the stomach, pancreas, and spleen.  Each of these organs play a part in the integration of food into the body, while the pancreas also regulates blood sugar levels. In her book, Deanna Minich also associates the color yellow with foods that regulate blood sugar levels and the assimilation of nutrients from food.  She associates dietary carbohydrates, healthy sweeteners, soluble fiber, legumes, and yellow-colored foods with the yellow color as well.


With all that in mind, I have been making smoothies with lots of soluble fiber (from fruits), low glycemic levels, protein powders made with legumes, and GOLDEN BERRIES.  They are dried drops of tangy goodness that are indigenous to the Andes where they are called "uvillas" or "uchuvas". I was surprised to find that they are part of the solanaceae family (the nightshade plant family that includes tomatoes, peppers and eggplant), other members of which also happen to be ripening in my yard.  

From my garden this morning :)

From my garden this morning :)


On top of incorporating foods associated with yellow, I've also been wrestling with my sugar addiction since indulging the entire week of my birthday at the end of July.  Thus, I feel that this smoothie is an example of listening to my body and environmental cues for clues on what and how to eat.    I'll talk more about intuitive eating in harmony with the seasons another time.  For now, I offer a simple smoothie made in harmony with the principles of the 5 element theory and Deanna Minich's philosophy.



OFFERING: Smoothie Recipe


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I just throw all the ingredients into a Vitamix blender and slowly crank it up to full speed until
I get a consistency I like.  I'll play around with solid to liquid ratios depending on how thick I want the smoothie to be.  

I also never measure my smoothie ingredients.  For me, it's just about creating a balance between healthy and delicious.  Sometimes, I make smoothies mostly almost solely for nutritional value and other times, I make smoothies that are easy and delicious.  Thus, the measurements on this recipe are consciously subjective and imprecise.

I didn't add too much fruit and included healthy fats and fiber to lower the glycemic level of this smoothie.  For the same reason, and to quench my satiety centers, I also chewed the smoothie I ate it even though it turned out relatively easy to sip. 


1 lemon's worth of lemon juice

lots of frozen spinach

1.5 scoops of vanilla Sun Warrior protein powder

2 handfuls of ice

small handful of golden berries (their tanginess goes a long way)

one handful of frozen mango

a couple drops of vanilla

1/4 a can of whole fat coconut milk

enough cashew milk to blend and get it the consistency you like



I topped this smoothie off with what I happened to have: more golden berries, cacao nibs, and walnuts.  Again, this recipe is an example of one way I eat with the seasons.  Ideally, I would take eating with the seasons a step further by also focusing my consumption on produce grown locally.  I'm sure most of y'all already make delicious smoothies all on your own, so I hope this will get your wheels turning on the different ways you choose to eat in harmony with your internal and external environments. 






For an easy intro to the Five Element Theory:

Deanna Minich :