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Bill's Smoothies

Raw Vegetable Smoothie #2

by William Harris, M.D, VSH Board Member

The trick to making a raw food diet work is to eat healthy foods in a combination that's not boring. You can see from the ingredients and the nutrient analysis below that this is very balanced, healthy, and nutritious food. But if you don't enjoy chewing all day on not very interesting flavors, try putting it all in a blender ( I use a Vita-Mix 5000) and making it into a smoothie. This is not a recipe in the usual sense since nothing gets cooked. You can start with the basic ingredients and experiment with combinations that bring out the best flavors to suit your own taste buds, but remember that the raw veggies are where most of the nutrients are coming from.

1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or balsamic vinegar) 1-2 cloves raw garlic
4 tbsp Picante salsa 1/2 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds
1 cup raw broccoli 1/2 cup raw un-hulled sesame seeds*
1 raw tomato quartered 1/2 tsp Red Star T-6635+ yeast**
1/2 raw carrot cut into 1" pieces 1-2 slices onion
1 cup raw kale (or any other leafy green)

Start by pouring the liquid ingredients ( lemon juice, salsa) into the blender to give it a "draw." Then simply stuff in the remaining ingredients and blend until the texture is that of a creamy milkshake (2-5 minutes). If you're trying to lose weight, leave out the sunflower and sesame seeds. If weight is no concern, use a half cup of each to lend a smoother texture, but seeds are high in fat so that amount brings fat Calories up to 64%. A half cup of un-hulled (brown) sesame seeds contains ~ 500 mg calcium.


Calories in recipe: 797

% of Calories from: Recommended Daily Allowance Smoothie #2
Carbohydrate 60%-80% 22%
Fat 10%-30% 64%
Protein 10%-20% 14%
Satiety Index (Wt./Cal Ratio) >1 .59
Nutrient RDA % of (RDA/Calorie)
Calcium (Mg) 800 306%
Cholesterol (mg) <300 0%
Fiber (gm) 22 303%
Folate (ug) 400 451%
Iron (mg) 18 468%
Magnesium (mg) 350 401%
Potassium (mg) 2000 223%
Phosphorus (mg) 1200 347%
Riboflavin (mg) 1.6 359%
Thiamin (mg) 1.4 758%
Vitamin A (RE) 1000 392%
Vitamin B12 (ug) 3 145%
Vitamin B6 (mg) 2.2 372%
Vitamin E (mg) 10 829%
Vitamin C (mg) 60 732%
Zinc (mg) 15 178%

Optional ingredients that can be added to the recipe but are not included in the analysis:

2 tbsp Naturade Soy Free Protein Booster

1 Nature's Life Mega-Vita-Min tablet

1 Country Life Maxi-Cal Calcium tablet

1 tsp flaxseed oil (contains Alpha-linolenic acid [ALA], the essential omega-3 fatty acid).

1 Country Life 500 mg Rutin tablet *

1 Kal 50 mg zinc tablet

*Unhulled (brown) sesame seeds contain 1100 mg of calcium per 100 grams (1 cup). The calcium RDA is ~ 800 mg/day.

**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.

"***"Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is one of two essential fatty acids 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.

Re: ALA and LA (1). 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 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in a diet with 5 to 10 en% linoleic acid seems to be an adequate level of essential fatty acid (EFA) intake for humans, which also covers increased EFA requirements during pregnancy, lactation, and infancy."(2). 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. 1 tsp of flaxseed oil contains ~ 4 gms of ALA.

"****"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 million idealized spherical particles the total exposed surface area is 100 times that of the original nut. If n goes to a billion particles the surface area becomes 1,000 times greater, for n = one trillion 10,000 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.


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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