It’s hard to think of a more physically fit example of a human than Tom Brady. I haven’t watched a second of any of his games, and even I know that. While I may not be a football fan, I am a nutrition fan, and I can totally get behind the message Tom is sending out the importance of high quality nutrition for optimal performance. He credits his mostly plant-based diet for his incredible performance on the field. His diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, with a heavy focus on organic, locally sourced, seasonal vegetables, healthy fats like fish, a ton of leafy greens and proper hydration. Of his eating habits, he says “The principle behind my eating habits are simple: I want to eat food in ways that maximize its nutritional value. The more concentrated my nutrition, the fresher it is and the more local and organic, the better it is for me.”
The smoothie below is our take on the smoothie Tom says he starts with every day. Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients and their nutritional benefits.
The unsweetened version of this milk alternative is low in calories and sugar when compared to dairy. It also packs a punch when it comes to vitamins and nutrients. Almonds are a wonderful source of Vitamin E with up to 50% per serving. Vitamin E significantly reduces oxidative stress in the body by acting as an antioxidant (1). It is also a solid source of calcium, which can help strengthen bones (2).
We’ve discussed the tricky nature of milk alternatives on our blog, so choosing the right almond milk can be tricky here if you’d like to avoid the common additives. The good news is, making your own almond milk is super easy, and you can freeze perfectly portioned batches for this smoothie! The recipe to make your own is below. If you opt for a store bough brand, we highly recommend Elmhurst Almond Milk. It is one of the only almond milks on the market that doesn’t contain any additives, which have been shown to be histamine releasing (3). If you’ve got a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, you can skip making the almond milk altogether. Instead just add 2 Tbsp of almonds that have been soaked in water overnight in the refrigerator to your smoothie and voila!
Blueberries are a flavonoid-rich that has been shown to modify gastrointestinal hormones and reduce appetite, both of which may have potential to reduce diabetes risk (4) They are high in resveratrol, a natural polyphenol that has shown promise in the prevention, management and treatment of various diseases, including diabetes, obesity, some forms of cancer and heart disease, to name a few (5). Additionally, blueberries have been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation (6) and improve vascular function and insulin sensitive (7).
We’ve already professed our love of chia seeds. They are a powerhouse of disease preventing nutrients. In the plant-based protein arena, chia seeds are hard to beat, with 5 grams in a 1 oz serving (8) and a robust amino acid profile (9), containing most of the essential amino acids. They have been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure, triglycerides and inflammation, while increasing good (HDL) cholesterol, making them a heart healthy option (10). They also add a wonderful creamy texture to this smoothie.
Ok, so there are few foods we haven’t professed our love for here and cashews are no exception. They are a wonderful source of healthy fats with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory potential (11). Like almonds, they are high in Vitamin E, further protecting rom oxidative stress (12) and like chia seeds, they add a creamy texture to smoothies.
The market is saturated with protein powders and it can be completely overwhelming to choose one. We’ve done the thorough research for you and the clean winner for us was Clean Lean Protein. It is low in fat and carbohydrates, vegan, dairy free, soy free, GMO fee and gluten free, all of which are batch verified via independent testing. We like that there are no added sugars and it is instead sweetened naturally with a fruit extract called West African Katemfe, which is a fruit protein isolate that has shown antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering and liver-protecting potential (13). In addition to being sweetened with protein it also contains about 20 grams of protein per serving including all 9 essential amino acids. This makes it a complete protein. This provides the building blocks your body needs for energy production.
Along with the health benefits we’ve discussed, you will love the peanut butter and jelly vibes of this smoothie. Or for us, the almond butter and jelly vibes. We opted for almond butter over Tom’s suggested peanut butter, as peanuts have a known histamine-releasing capacity (14). If histamines aren’t a problem for you, feel free to stay true to Tom’s recipe and use peanut butter. For any nut butter, look for unsweetened, organic versions.
You don’t have to be just like Tom Brady! Play with the flavors and ingredients in this smoothie to fit your preferences and diet goals. If you’re looking for less fat, make this with all milk and choose just the almond butter or cashews. If you’re going for a lower glycemic index, try it without the banana.
Danielle Moore is a professional recipe developer, Nutrition expert, food photographer and lover of veggies. She is the founder of Sunday Bacon Kitchen, a full service Culinary and Nutrition Consulting firm that collaborates with health-centered food businesses to create amazing food.