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Bill's Smoothies

Fruit Smoothie

by William Harris, M.D, VSH founding board member

In which Thomas Edison stands in for your molars.

1 small can (6 oz) frozen orange juice 1 tsp flaxseed oil or 3 tbsp flax seed**
1 bag (8 oz) frozen unsweetened strawberries 1 tsp Red Star T6635+ Nutritional Yeast***
2 tsp raw hulled sunflower seeds 1 raw carrot
2 tbsp raw unhulled sesame seeds*

Optional and not included in analysis:
2 Tbsp Naturade Soy Free Protein Booster
1 Nature's Life Mega-Vita-Min tablet
1 Country Life Maxi-Cal Calcium tablet
1 Country Life 500 mg Rutin**** tablet
1 Kal 50 mg zinc tablet

Place the O.J. concentrate in your industrial strength blender (a Vita-Mix or a concrete mixer will also do), add 2 cups water and begin to blend. Add remaining ingredients and continue 5-10 minutes until mixture is creamy and as smooth as a milkshake. It's a handy lunch in a thermos for those on the go and I must admit it's my standard breakfast in spite of its high fat content. The analysis table below shows it to be more nutritious than a milkshake, although it is high in fat due to the sunflower and sesame seeds which contain natural poly- and mono-unsaturated plant fat. Those concerned with weight loss should approach this one cautiously.


Recommended Daily Allowance Smoothie Milkshake (for comparison only)
% of Calories from:
Carbohydrate 60%-80% 45% 70%
Fat 10%-20% 45% 20%
Protein 10%-20% 10% 10%
Satiety Index (Wt/Cal >1 .63 .84
-linolenic acid** (gm) ~2.4 163% 320%
Calcium (Mg) 800 214% 306%
Cholesterol (mg) <300 0 |198|
Fiber (gm) 22 184% 21%
Folate (ug) 400 720% 51%
Iron (mg) 18 202% 38%
Magnesium (mg) 350 310% 106%
Potassium (mg) 2000 276% 207%
Phosphorus (mg) 1200 205% 292%
Riboflavin (mg) 1.6 743% 317%
Thiamin (mg) 1.4 1090% 79%
Vitamin A (RE) 1000 121% 59%
Vitamin B12 (ug) 3 360% 292%
Vitamin B6 (mg) 2.2 687% 29%
Vitamin E (mg) 10 265% 39%
Vitamin C (mg) 60 1700% 0%
Zinc (mg) 15 144% 74%

*Unhulled (brown) sesame seeds contain 1100 mg of calcium per 100 grams. The calcium RDA is ~ 800 mg.

Some thoughts on fatty acids and flaxseed oil:

**Linolenic acid (ALA) is one of two essential fatty acids (EFA) in the human diet, the other being linoleic acid (LA). ALA is the first of the omega-3 fatty acids from which is made eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the famous ingredient in fish oil believed to reduce coronary risk, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is an important component in brain and nervous system cell membranes. Linoleic acid (LA) is the other essential fatty acid and it is plentiful in most grains. Both EPA and DHA can be formed in the human body from ALA, but since ALA is synthesized only in green plant cells, most humans, including traditional vegetarians, get marginal amounts of ALA since they eat more grains than greens. Flaxseed oil is 100% fat, which is bad, but the ALA content of 1 tsp probably justifies its use. Better yet, use raw whole flaxseed since it's all going in the blender anyway.

No Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) has been officially been set for these fatty acids, however, "On the basis of the available evidence, 0.5 to 1 en% of n-3 PUFA in a diet with 5 to 10 en% linoleic acid seems to be an adequate level of EFA intake for humans, which also covers increased EFA requirements during pregnancy, lactation, and infancy." This means that in a 2200 Calorie day's food supply about .5%-1% of Calories should come from ALA which means 22 Calories or 22/9=2.4 gms of ALA/day. This is the RDA I have used in the above Nutrient Analysis.

***Red Star T6635+ Nutritional Yeast is available in the bulk section of most health food stores. Yeast does not synthesize vitamin B12 (cobalamin) but B12 from bacterial culture has been added to this brand of yeast, so it is one of the few dependable non-animal sources of vitamin B12, aside from B12 injections, tablets, and multivitamin pills.

****Rutin is a plant flavonoid which strengthens skin capillaries. I recommend it to older patients whose skin is easily bruised and torn.

A Few Words about Blenders

While raw fooders may argue that blenderized raw foods are not really raw, the flip side is that a vegan diet is full of indigestible fiber (made of cellulose) and that all plant cell membranes are protected by a cell wall made of this tough stuff. Perhaps the best dietary pattern is day long grazing but for those who don't have the time to chew every morsel until it has become microscopic in size, a blender is a useful tool.

Digestion depends on enzymes and the efficiency with which enzymes digest food strongly depends on the surface area of the swallowed food. Surface area is greatly increased by chewing or grinding the food and the increase is roughly proportional to the cube root of the number [(n)^1/3] of fragments made from the original food item. Thus if a roughly spherical Macadamia nut is broken by the blender blades into one thousand idealized spherical particles the total exposed surface area is 10 times that of the original nut. If n goes to a million particles the surface area becomes 100 times greater, for n = one billion 1,000 times greater, etc. By increasing surface area in this way digestion is greatly aided by increasing the chances for an enzyme to reach it's appropriate food substrate.

There may now be better blenders than the Vita-Mix on the market, but I've had one for ~ 30 years now and have found that on the rare occasions when it goes on the blink, there is really no substitute to be found among the usual department store blenders. The most digestible smoothie has no discernible particles left in it, they've all been reduced to the consistency of milk. To achieve this effect one needs not only a very strong blender but the ability to balance added water so that the resulting smoothie is like milk. Too much water and there's a loss of flavor and left over particles that escaped the spinning blade; not enough and your tongue will report that there are still particles present, and that means reduced surface area for digestive enzymes to interact with.

A Few Words About Fat

This recipe is high in fat, 45% of Calories by analysis. I do not hold with the high carbohydrate, low fat school of vegetarian nutrition and feel that while animal fat, hydrogenated fat, and most vegetable oils are unhealthy, the natural plant fats in raw nuts, seeds, and avocados have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, provide the two essential fatty acids, and to help satisfy fat cravings. In short, I think that by demonizing all fat we have missed the real target which is animal source and processed foods in general, rather than obsessive ratios of protein, fat, and carbohydrate.

1. The USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 13.
2. Modern nutrition in health and disease. Edited by Maurice E. Shils, James A. Olson, Moshe Shike-8th ed.

ISBN 0-8121-1485-X (set). Library of Congress 92-49855.
Lea & Febiger, P.O. Box 3024200, Chester Field Parkway
Malvern, PA 19355-9725. U.S.A. Eighth Edition, 1994

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