Try out my brain food smoothie for breakfast or as an energy-boosting afternoon snack. It's an ultra-healthy recipe to make a green matcha smoothie that actually tastes good! A delicious mix of many of the top ten healthiest plant-based ingredients for your brain– that means no added sugar. It's green glass of power-packed fuel for your brain.
"Who has brain food?"
I taught second grade this year in Tokyo– 22 amazing and smart kids.
In my classroom, I didn't make a rule that you have to bring healthy snacks to school.
I just repeatedly asked my class every single day at the beginning of morning snack time–
"Who has brain food?
Who has fresh vegetables or fresh fruit?"
They would proudly hold their snacks high in the air.
Someone might call out, most likely a boy,
"I have brain berries!"
I'd praise his healthy choice and then gently remind him to not call out.
It was so cool to see that we didn't need an authoritative rule:
No cookies, cakes, or donuts allowed!
Instead, we successfully created a class culture of "feeding our brains".
Not only did we consume high quality books like Junie B. Jones and Frog and Toad
but also the high-grade fuel that our brains needs to run smoothly.
For the most part, that's the whole point of going to school,
to get a good brain, isn't it?
What is brain food?
First of all, it's important to know that your brain is 80% water.
Your brain needs water.
According to Dr. Lisa Mosconi, the author of Brain Food, even a 2 - 4 % water loss (very mild dehydration) is enough to cause fatigue, confusion, dizziness, memory lapses, loss of concentration, and reduced attention span.
Our brains also have very specific dietary requirements. In addition to water, our brain needs 45 different nutrients for peak functionality.
According to Jim Kwik, when we eat diets high in processed foods or refined sugars, we aren’t giving our brain the fuel it needs to function properly.
Knowing how important nutrition is for our brains, you can take care of your brain by giving it the nutrition it needs and wants.
Next, I'll share the best brain foods to incorporate into your diet.
Top Ten Brain Foods
This is a list of the top ten foods for a healthy brain. Originally, I got this from Jim Kwik. Last summer, I read his book Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life. You can also learn more on brain health from his podcasts and videos on Youtube.
I've marked the ones I included in my smoothie with an asterisk. If you want to add wild salmon to your smoothie, go ahead! 😉
- Avocados * - full of good fat (monounsaturated fat)
- Blueberries * - protect your brain from oxidative stress with "brain berries"
- Broccoli - source of vitamin K (enhances cognitive function) and fiber
- Coconut Oil * - medium-chain fats, creates ketones that fuel your brain
- Organic Eggs - memory improving, vitamin E
- Leafy Greens* - vitamin E and folate
- Wild Salmon - rich in omega 3, essential fatty acids
- Turmeric - anti-inflammatory, boost anti-oxidants , improves your brain's oxygen intake
- Walnuts - high levels of antioxidants, vitamin E (protects your neurons), zinc, magnesium
- Dark Chocolate* - helps with focus, concentration, stimulates endorphins
- BONUS: Water - remember to hydrate
Dr. Lisa Mosconi's #1 brain food is caviar or fish eggs.
What foods are bad for your brain?
This is pretty obvious unless we are in denial.
The problem is not knowing what foods are bad for us,
it's our not wanting to give them up.
From my research online, here are some the worst foods to consume that are damaging to our brain.
- Trans-fats (found in margarine, packaged frosting, etc.)
- Excessive alcohol
- Soda and other sugary drinks
- Diet sodas and drinks with artificial sweeteners like aspartame
- Fried foods like french fries
- Refined carbs such as white bread
- Fish that are high in mercury (swordfish, tuna)
- Bottled dressings, marinades, and syrups
- Highly processed foods
Did you find any on the list that surprising?
Brain Food Smoothie Ingredients
I would imagine that most smoothie shops, let's say in Southern California,
all have some sort of a green vegetable smoothie on their menu.
In Tokyo, where I live, it's not rare that a green smoothie also includes matcha.
I mean, it's Japan.
So, I started with the concept of a green smoothie with matcha
and then incorporated even more ingredients that are good for your brain.
You could even use my recipe as a starting point for your own custom brain smoothie.
Possibly try adding walnuts, coconut oil, seeds, oats, and other leafy green vegetables besides spinach. (Note: I don't recommend using raw kale, especially if you have thyroid issues.)
If I drank this every day, I would definitely want to mix it up and experiment.
My Brain Food Smoothie Shopping List
These are the specific ingredients that I bought from my local co-op in the US and Whole Foods.
I'll be very specific, in case it's useful. Depending on your budget and availability, you can still make an awesome smoothie without seeking to replicate this recipe to a tee.
- Bananas - organic, fair trade from Equator
- Avocado - I buy organic or non-organic based on ripeness.
- Almond butter - Organic Whole Foods brand or Naturally Nutty brand
- Macadamia coconut cream - Milkadamia original unsweetened
- Organic blueberries
- Dark chocolate- Lindt 90% cacao
- Organic matcha - Rishi brand
- Superfood green powder- Veggie Power Plus (from Japan)
- Chia seeds
- Organic baby spinach
Brain Food Smoothie (Matcha)
- ½ banana frozen
- ½ avocado
- 1 tbsp almond butter big heaping tablespoon
- ¾ cup macadamia coconut cream
- ¼ cup blueberries
- ½ - 1 square dark chocolate 90% cacao
- 1 tsp matcha
- 1 tsp superfood green powder Veggie Power Plus
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 3 cups baby spinach
Prep Smoothie Ingredients
- Ahead of time, remove the peel and freeze banana.
- Slice avocado, remove pit, and remove from skin.
- Add all ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass and serve.
Yesterday, I wanted a quick snack after working out.
Using about the same measurements as the above,
I blended together
macadamia/coconut cream, almond butter, and blueberries.
With all those healthy fats, even a small glass fills you up.
Since there is almost no prep involved whatsoever, it literally took less than a minute to make.
Healthy Brain food Dessert
My after dinner dessert smoothie recipe is my favorite.
It's not quite as healthy as my morning smoothie, but taste-wise it's really satisfying.
If you aren't used to drinking green vegetable smoothie, you may want to start here.
I use the same measurements of ingredients as above, except I like to add even more dark chocolate. It's so good.
- Frozen banana
- Almond butter
- Macadamia coconut cream
- Organic blueberries
- Dark chocolate
- Chia seeds (optional)
THE LESSON I LEARNED...
I’ve found that every recipe for my blog teaches me a new lesson.
Every creation is the result of a process of trial and error, a string of successes and flops.
"Doing" vs. "Being"
In the beginning of creating this recipe,
everything was flowing.
From coming up with the idea, experimenting with different ingredients, taking the photos–
it was all fun.
But when I was about halfway through writing up the actual post,
the work became a drag.
I was frustrated that I didn't have enough time and I wasn't getting more done.
My life was feeling like a chore,
a series of getting things done.
I felt like I was working on my to-do list rather than spending quality time with my family.
Right now I'm reading the book Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn (pictured above).
The book on meditation brought to light that I wasn't living mindfully.
The way I was working and living life was sucking the joy out of my day.
Even though, technically, I'm on vacation right now,
I didn't have a balance of "doing" with "being" in my day.
It just felt like I was waking up to get things done before I had to go back to Japan and get back to work.
It's not how I want to live my life.
I want to experience it fully
more than I want to achieve or accomplish anything.
I've learned this week to slow down, take mindful breaks,
and decrease what's on my to-do list in a single day.
I'm consciously making a point to spend more of my day accomplishing nothing.
The funny thing is, when I start my day mindfully doing nothing,
I will oftentimes get way more done.
Joy and fun are the secret ingredients to this smoothie.
Perhaps these two ingredients are the primers for getting in the flow
and getting things done with ease.