Sunflower milk? Once upon a time I might have been skeptical of this, almond milk, hemp milk, etc. I had already had my prejudices against soy milk and it extended to all milk “substitutes”. Then I got educated. It’s amazing how it often takes the smallest things to open your mind and your world.
So, when I ran into Steve at Whole Foods with Claire in tow, I was excited. He was giving samples of Sunsational sunflower seed milk. (I was so intrigued by this non-dairy beverage that I failed to notice that Steve was both the founder and creator of this milk.) It was tasty and creamy. It reminded me a bit of cashew milk because it was quite rich. Both the original and vanilla flavor were good. Unfortunately, they both contain evaporated cane juice. Steve told me that they are working on a non-sweetened version as well as an organic option. I’m looking forward to both!
Seeds and nuts are little, nutrient dense wonders. Sunflower seeds are full of health-supportive goodies, starting with anti-oxidants. Steve boasted that one serving of this milk contains more anti-oxidants than the same serving size of green tea. Bad news for free radicals, good news for us. They’re a great source of fiber, which does wonders for our digestive system. According to Rebecca Wood, sunflower seeds have more protein than beef!¹ Great for vegetarians to know and to use when questioned about their protein intake! These little sun seeds (don’t they look like they come from the sun!) are a good source of Vitamin D, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and several of the B-complex. The last bit is about phytosterols which are compounds found in plants that are of similar chemical structure to cholesterol. High enough consumption of this goody reduces blood levels of cholesterol, boosts immunity and plays a preventative role in some cancers.²
These are pretty good reasons to get sunflower seeds into your diet. Throw some onto your salads, in your trail mixes or better yet, whip up this smoothie. Your taste buds thank you in advance.
1.5 C Sunflower milk
2 dates, chopped
1 T cashew butter
2 C + 2-3 T blueberries (fresh or frozen are ok, though I only had fresh ones)
1 T chia seeds
1 T fresh squeezed orange juice
4-5 ice cubes (if using fresh fruit only)
1. Place chopped dates and sunflower milk in a blender and blend until dates are broken up pretty well. Add the cashew butter and blend again until smooth-ish.
2. Add remaining ingredients (reserve the 2-3T of blueberries) and blend away until you’re left with smooth deliciousness.
3. Garnish with remaining blueberries to add a touch of gourmet to this nutritious and delicious smoothie.
¹ Rebecca Wood, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia
² http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=57 (There is also great info on the role Vitamin E plays in the body.)