Blender Bender – The Health Benefits of Raw Food Blending
What you eat has a tremendous impact on your health and longevity. Blending breaks through the cell walls of plant foods far better than simply chewing the same food. The resulting smaller particle size may make a real difference in the disease-fighting antioxidants—which can only be released when cell walls are ruptured—available to fight free radicals in the body (Source – Vitamix.)
I am not a vegetarian. But, I do try and make most of my food intake of the kind that grows in dirt. To get your daily amount for fruits and vegetables takes a lot of chewing. So, I let the blender do the work. On average, 32 ounces of fruit/and veggies a day keeps my vessel running quit nicely. My 17 month old son digs it too. Freezing the mix in an ice cube tray and slicing them up… he loves it. My wife who was once a skeptic claims she is sick less and has more energy now that she blends on a daily basis.
Beyond the nutritional benefits the impact on the environment is less invasive when you shift to eating mother natures fresh bounty of live food. As Graham Hill noted in his TED presentation – Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian: “Environmentally, meat, amazingly, causes more emissions than all of transportation combined: cars, trains, planes, buses, boats, all of it. And beef production uses 100 times the water that most vegetables do.”
Additionally he notes “that the 10 billion animals we raise each year for meat are raised in factory farm conditions that we, hypocritically, wouldn’t even consider for our own cats, dogs and other pets.”
Keeping your food sources local is key, too. Two great sources to review:
Every so often someone will see Cherity or I drinking a vegetable smoothie. Generally, a newbie to the raw food experience will find themselves in a temporary state of shock at the “beautiful appearance” of the vegetable smoothie. But, despite the unusual ritual to some, the reality is… blending raw food provides your body with an immediate and abundant source of nutrition.
For many years, I “juiced. ” I still have the used Champion juicer that I bought for $100 – 7 years ago. But, I did not approach my food intake from a balanced or scientific perspective. Generally, I was focused on the “greens,” and “cleansing.” Eventually, I would realize that I needed a balanced diet through my entire nutrition experience. Fast forward to 2011.
When a co-worker turned me on to a nutrition blog from Kymberly Snyder, I had the instant realization that “blending” would provide the fiber that juicing removed, take less prep time, and create less waste. Sure, a Norwalk Hydraulic Press Juicer would be great! But, several grand for one of these amazing machines is not in the budget.
Now, Cherity and I have been feeling really good for the two years by drinking vegetable smoothies on a daily basis. These super drinks combine vegetables, fruits, and fats into a delicious beverage. We are still eating other meals during the day: breakfast, lunch and dinner, etc. are still part of the daily routine. Cherity, who is an amazing cook, continues to create delicious culinary creations. But, now we find ourselves eating less with smaller portions that are intuitively desired. It is pretty amazing that by blending raw, live food – you get massive nutrition and over time, a lack of desire for junk food. When you blend, you will spend less time chewing and more time kicking a#$! Blending gives you more energy, vitality and confidence. Take your nutrition to the next level!
What to blend? There are a lot of great books and web sites, etc. for discovering and experimenting with recipes. For me, I will throw about anything into the blender and suck it down. Taste is a secondary consideration. However, creating a palatable smoothie for my wife has pushed be to consider both nutritional balance AND quality of taste. As a result, I have learned to create a better smoothie.
Here is one example of creating a blend with ingredients from a “2,000 calorie per person model.” We divide the finished product into four 16oz containers.
1) How Many Calories Should I Eat? A calorie intake calculator can provide an estimate of how many Calories (or kilo joules) are required for both men and women. This is a link to one I used online that factors in your age, weight and activity level, etc. This is relative approximation that can vary depending on your personal goals. Calorie Calculator – Daily Calorie Needs.
2.) The Food Groups – The suggested amounts of food to consume from the basic food groups, subgroups, and oils to meet recommended nutrient intakes at 12 different calorie levels. Nutrient and energy contributions from each group are calculated according to the nutrient-dense forms of foods in each group (e.g., lean meats and fat-free milk). The table also shows the discretionary calorie allowance that can be accommodated within each calorie level, in addition to the suggested amounts of nutrient-dense forms of foods in each group. Food Intake Patterns.
4.) Gather Your Goods – Ideally, local grown organics would be the best way to go. However, finances and seasonal availability come into play.
- 1 – orange = 1 cup fruit
- 2 – apples = 1.5 cup fruit
- 1 – pear = 1 cup fruit
- 2 – bananas = 1 cup fruit
- 3 – celery stalks = 2 cups vegetables
- hand full of romaine lettuce = 2 cups vegetables
- hand full of spinach = 1 cup vegetables
- 1 – avocado = 6 tsp (fats/oils)
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds or ground flax seed
- water as desired for thickness
- Pre soak and pre blend Chia seeds
- Rinse everything REALLY well
- Cut/slice ingredients into manageable portions
- Peal apples and pears to eliminate wax coatings (if applicable)
- Blend the “living” hell out of everything in discrete stages until smooth – adding the next ingredient – repeat, etc.
5.) Eat/Drink/Store – I blend our smoothies the night before and store them in the refrigerator in sealed containers so we can take them to work the next day. Blended foods oxidize a little slower than “juicing.” But, if you drink them right away it will always be most delicious!
- Chia seeds were pre-soaked for 15 minutes and pre-blended before adding other ingredients. The seed will absorb 9 times it’s weight in water. I have been totally amazed with the nutritional value of Chia seeds. Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, and they have among the highest antioxidant activity of any whole food.
- You might also consider adding ground flax seeds, hemp protein powder, and anything else that floats your boat. Variety is the spice of life! Mix it up! Use the various colors of the vegetable spectrum to get different combinations of nutritional benefits. Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables.
- Michael Pollan – http://www.michaelpollan.com/
- Marion Nestle – http://www.foodpolitics.com/
- Steve Pavlina – http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/02/raw-food-diet/
- Kimberly Snyder – http://kimberlysnyder.net