Sweet, creamy, tangy mango lassi’s are a staple at Indian restaurants and so beautifully balance spicy, savory dishes. Because I like super spicy food, having a cooling beverage alongside is perfection. The problem is, classic mango lassi’s can be high in fat and sugar depending on how they’re made so I created my own simple Vegan Turmeric Banana-Mango Lassi for this month’s Recipe Redux theme: Gut-Health Mocktails.
As you may have heard, it’s all about the microbiome these days. There is actually a microbiome in many parts of the body – or bacterial organisms living within us that may affect health. Arguably the largest and most influential on other systems is the microbiome in the gut or lower GI. Though we’ve known for awhile now that there are more bacteria living there than there are cells in our bodies and that they help keep our bowels regular, supporting elimination and detoxification in addition to making their own B12 and vitamin K (thanks bacteria!), studies are starting to link the bacteria there to our immune system, cognitive function and mood and even to body weight. Though there’s much more to explore in this area of health, one thing is sure: eating lots of good fiber for the bacteria to feast on is a good thing. Beans, whole grains, veggies, and fruits support a healthy microbiome with a diverse collection of bacteria. Fermented foods – think yogurt, kombucha, pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi, and even wine – contain bacteria that could support the bacteria naturally living in our gut. Some people do say that they notice better GI function – less constipation or loose stool depending on the issue – when they eat more fermented foods. So there may be health benefits in addition to the natural deliciousness of this Vegan Turmeric Banana-Mango Lassi.
Banana and mango add natural sweetness – no sugar or honey needed. Anti-inflammatory turmeric root brightens the color further. Used traditionally in Indian dishes, you can buy this little brown root at a grocery store and grate it freshly into any recipe. It can be hard to find healthy non-dairy yogurts out there. Some of my clients have even decided to just make their own but in Seattle you can get unsweetened, plain Nancy’s brand and it’s quite good. The problem with so many yogurts (dairy AND non-dairy) is a high sugar content and low levels of protein. Almond, cashew, coconut and other non-dairy yogurts will have little to no protein so choose a product made with soy for better balance in this category.