Yesterday was the fourth day in a row I sent you out the door with a shake so dreamy it might as well be dessert. When you got home from work after the first time I made it, you handed me your empty cup and said with a smirk, “That shake this morning was good, Rach. It tasted like peanut butter. I know it’s not peanut butter, but it was good like peanut butter. What was it, like almond butter or something?”
You know you make my heart swell ten times its normal size when you say things like that, don’t you? I dreamed up that shake on the fly over a month ago when I took myself off of all grains and dairy, before either of us took the plunge into the more restrictive versions of Paleo in which we currently find ourselves–the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) for me, and Whole30(ish) for you. I came up with it on a whim on a rushed Sunday morning when I had to leave for church 15 minutes ago and clearly didn’t have time to fry up some eggs or sit down to a bowl of grain-free granola. I needed something quicker than quick and satisfying enough to tide me over until well after church, and somehow coconut milk and frozen bananas joined forces with almond butter and honey to create a luscious meal-on-the-go that tasted more like dessert than breakfast.
Over the course of the next month I pressed on with my grain free/dairy free diet, but it got complicated to feed us both, and I really wanted to go deeper and do a gut-healing diet that would yield longer lasting results. I knew you would be on board for whatever diet plan I chose to follow for my own process of healing, but getting you to join me me was another obstacle entirely. When you agreed to do your own, less restrictive version of Paleo while I did the ultra-restrictive AIP, I about keeled over with thankfulness. A day or two would pass, I would press you and ask, “Really? You don’t mind? You don’t have to do this, you know…” Bless your heart for saying over and over again, “Solidarity.”
So this past Monday was the first of a long series of mornings in which I had a very crucial choice to make: send you to work on an empty stomach (trusting you would make compliant food choices on your own), or break Whole30 rules from the get-go and make you a shake for breakfast. Let’s be clear: I trust you. The problem is this: you lean on those morning meals and when you are hungry and confronted with temptation, you eat donuts. Shake, or donuts? Shake, or donuts? You see why I chose to break this rule?
You play it cool but I am sure you panicked, wondering how I would hold up my promise to feed you well every day for the next month without all those already healthy foods you were so used to leaning on. Most specifically, maybe, you wondered about what would become of your morning shake, or to the rhythm of my footsteps padding toward the kitchen to make one while Emery sprints toward your lap for cover while the blender wakes the rest of the Goobies from their sleep. You seemed a little relieved when I asked you what flavor you would like that morning, but admittedly seemed a little confused by the ingredients that were strewn across the counter: cans of coconut milk, a jar of integral collagen and almond butter, bags of maca powder and frozen bananas, a jug of MCT Oil–the place looked like a veritable laboratory. But you didn’t utter a word of worry and graciously accepted the amalgamation that I handed you that morning (that did not include honey, mind you). Luckily, my prior discovery of that particular concoction saved the day and you’ve asked for it four mornings in a row.
Every time I handed it to you this week I feel like such a cheat. Technically, shakes aren’t really allowed on the Whole30 (which is why I tend to refer to what you are doing as Whole30(ish)), but it just didn’t seem feasible or sustainable for you to get up even earlier than you already do to sit down to a breakfast of eggs and fruit. Fruit and coconut milk whirled together for a quick breakfast on the go does not bother me, and our purpose in eating this way isn’t to change up your morning routine, so I made an executive decision to just make the shake for you anyway and turn myself into a miserable rule breaker.
Everything else you’re eating is compliant–meaning, you are drinking your coffee black (or with unsweetened almond milk); you are avoiding alcohol, you have cut out all sweeteners (even stevia), and you are not eating grains, legumes, or dairy. In other words, you are eating what’s left: vegetables, fruits, proteins, nuts/seeds. Big picture: you’re rocking it. (And for the past three mornings, you have woken up saying, “Man, I slept well last night.” That’s new.) We are mature enough to make decisions about what we eat, are we not? If we work well within the limits of whole, real, fresh, organic, unsweetened, unprocessed, etc.–won’t we all win? If a shake in the morning helps us do it, I say break out the blender and put it to good use.
Today is Day 5 and I was happy to send you off into your day armed again with food that will make you feel good about life. A shake in one hand and a bag heavy with mixed greens with salmon and capers, unsweetened dried apricots, and raw almonds in the other, you left for work sipping that creamy concoction that forever will be dubbed, Joey’s Favorite. (I love that it’s your favorite.)
Joey’s Favorite Almond Butter and Banana Shake
If it bothers anyone to call this a Whole30 shake, then don’t call it that: but it is a Paleo one (and vegan, to boot). If you’re doing the Whole30, skip the honey (you will find you don’t really need it anyway if your banana is super ripe). This shake is not compliant with the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) that I’m doing at the moment, but I’m very much looking forward to adding it back into my own personal rotation of morning eats.
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk (not coconut beverage) or 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 large frozen banana (broken into about four small pieces)
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened almond butter
- 1 Tablespoon maca powder
- 1 scoop integral collagen (or collagen peptides)
- 1 teaspoon MCT oil (omit if using coconut milk)
- 1-2 teaspoons honey (optional)
First get out your high speed blender, bonus if you have a single serving shake cup. Pour the milk into the cup (or pitcher of your blender), add all other ingredients, and process until smooth. The mixture will be thick. We prefer our shakes this way, but if it’s too thick for you just add a little more almond milk (if using), or some water and process again to combine.