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It's St. Patrick's Day! I hope you are ready to wear your green! St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays and no because of the beer either. I love Ireland! It is one of my favorite places in the world.
Have you ever met anyone who can find four leaf clovers anywhere they go? My friends, I am one of these people. I can't explain it but they seem to pop out when I look at any clover patch.
St. Patrick is also an amazing Saint and is the patron saint of Ireland. He preached and spread the good word for 40 years. Guess what? He used clovers to explain the Holy Trinity.
Healthy Shamrock Shake
In order to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I decided to make a healthier version of the classic Shamrock Shake! Everyone has heard of the Shamrock Shake that McDonald's has for a limited time around St. Patrick's Day.
People rush to grab this classic green minty shake. But, I bet most people do not realize how TERRIBLE this is for you. Let's just take a look at the ingredients below!
The Traditional Shamrock Shake-Yikes!
VANILLA REDUCED FAT ICE CREAM
Ingredients: Milk, Sugar, Cream, Corn Syrup, Natural Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate.
You may think that since it is "reduced fat" that the ice cream is healthier than typical ice cream. However, when food items are listed as reduced or fat free, it typically means that something else has taken its place, most likely sugar and chemicals.
If you take a look at the ingredients above, sugar is the second ingredient listed and a small shake has 63 grams of sugar! Men are suggested to have about 37 grams of sugar and women are recommended to have 25 grams of sugar a day just as a reference point.
Furthermore, the ice cream contains corn syrup. Corn syrup is a refined sugar and is typically genetically modified. It stresses your liver and has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Plus, if you are sensitive to dairy this definitely will not agree with you.
SHAMROCK SHAKE SYRUP:
Ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Yellow 5, Blue 1. May contain small amounts of other shake flavors served at the restaurant, including egg ingredients when Egg Nog Shakes are available.
The ingredients that gives this shake is iconic green and minty color is high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, natural flavor, yellow 5, and blue 1. Blue 1 has been linked to kidney tumors and yellow 1 has been linked to hyper-sensitivity reactions and behavioral effects.
High fructose corn syrup is also typically genetically modified and is a refined sugar. It has the same negative effects of corn syrup. I am also a little scared about its note:
May contain small amounts of other shake flavors served at the restaurant, including egg ingredients when Egg Nog Shakes are available. This hints at McDonald's lack of carefulness in cross contamination. Not a good idea if you have dietary restrictions.
WHIPPED LIGHT CREAM:
Ingredients: Cream, Nonfat Milk, Liquid Sugar, Contains 2% or Less: Mono and Diglycerides, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan. Whipping Propellant (Nitrous Oxide).
There we go with the "light" term again. As you can see, right after nonfat milk is liquid sugar.
So after this analysis, would you still want to have this shake? Probably not. But luckily I have a recipe for a healthy Shamrock Shake that has good fats, natural ingredients, low sugar, and is dairy free but still has the iconic green color and minty flavor!
Healthy Shamrock Shake
The avocado packs the shake with a plethora of nutritional benefits. Avocados are high in potassium (they have more potassium than bananas!) Interestingly, this nutrient has been shown to reduce blood pressure and reduce muscle cramps. They are high in good fat. 77% of the calories in an avocado are from fat.
However, the fat in an avocado is oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid that has been linked to reducing inflammation, strengthening bones, and helping the brain. The fat in avocados also help absorb the "fat soluble" nutrients, like A, D, K, and E and some antioxidants.
The mint leaves in this recipe give it a natural minty flavor. Not only that, but mint is great in aiding the digestive system. The herb activates the salivary glands in your mouth as well as digestive enzymes. Mint is also known to help treat nausea and headaches. Additionally, it is a natural stimulant and the smell alone can help you recharge.
Cashew milk is a great dairy-free alternative. Actually, it has 45% of your daily calcium and 25% of your daily dose of vitamin D so it is comparable to cows milk for that. This alternative to milk is also naturally creamy, which helps give the shake a creamy texture.
Aren't these ingredients more appealing? Now try blending them together in this delicious Shamrock Shake treat!
- Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Enjoy! 🙂
Total Carbohydrates 10 g
Dietary Fiber 7 g
Protein 4 g
*I prefer using 1 packet (1/2 tsp) stevia, however, if you prefer a little more sweetness, bump it up to 2 packets (1 tsp) or try monk fruit which many people think tastes just like regular white sugar. It's up to you!
* I added spinach to this shake for an extra nutrition boost! Feel free to omit.