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Stay cool and healthy this summer with Gluten-free, Vegan smoothies

Beautiful beaches, warm nights by the water, and glorious sunshine – yes, it's summertime. It’s the best time of the year to enjoy fresh fruits, so why not dive into a few refreshing smoothies this season? Looking after your family's long-term health means fitting more fruits, veggies and whole grains into each meal and more plant-based meals and snacks into each week. You're probably wondering how you can fit that into your busy schedule – but it's fairly easy when you plan ahead and get creative in your kitchen. With a rotating palette of fresh, colorful summer produce, you can toss local and organic ingredients into a blender and have a meal in no time. For inspiration, head to your local farmers market and pick up a basket of fresh berries, peaches and other summer fruits. Don't be scared of tossing veggies into your smoothies; I'm not asking you to toss in Brussels sprouts but you can surely add a handful of fresh baby spinach (always organic since spinach is on the Dirty Dozen list) or kale for a dose of antioxidants, fiber and flavor. These smoothies are all gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan, so you can feel good about serving them all summer long to your family or your guests; they're perfect for an easy breakfast before you hit the beach or an afternoon dessert after your BBQ. Either way, you'll find these smoothies won't take all day to prepare and they'll inspire you to enjoy fresher, healthier meals at home. What's not to love? Dig in and dust off that blender from winter. It's smoothie time!

Dairy-Free Creamy Pineapple Smoothie Serves 2 • 1 cup of fresh pineapple, cut into ½ inch chunks • ¼ cup coconut milk • ½ cup coconut milk yogurt • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint • 1 tablespoon of coconut flakes • 2 tablespoon organic ground flax seeds • 1 ½ cups ice cubes Blend all these ingredients together until smooth. Serve chilled and enjoy.

Tulsi Green Goddess Smoothie Serves 1 • 1 cup organic baby spinach • 1 ripe kiwi, peeled • 1 tablespoon chia seeds • 1 large chopped apple • 1 large ripe banana • ½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest • 2 ¼ cups organic raspberry peach tulsi tea, brewed and chilled • ½ cup ice Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more green tea. Serve chilled and enjoy.

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie Serves 1 • 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and pit removed • 1/4 cup coconut milk yogurt • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder • 1 cup fresh blueberries • 1 tablespoon organic moringa • 1 tablespoon pure organic maple syrup • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract • 1 cup ice Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Serve chilled and enjoy.

Almond Butter Berry Smoothie Serves 1 • 1 ripe banana • 1 cup mixed berries (such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) • 1 cup almond milk • 1 teaspoon Barlean's organic ground flax seeds • 1/4 cup almond butter • 1 teaspoon almond extract • 1 teaspoon pure organic maple syrup • 1/2 cup ice Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Serve chilled and enjoy.

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