Blended Smoothies for Good Health

I have been taking blended raw vegetables and fruit smoothies for several years now. In fact, it was my first step towards a healthier diet. I will briefly introduce the benefits of blended smoothies, the type of blender you need to make the smoothies and some of my favorite recipes in this blog post.

Image source: http://lorialexander.blogspot.sg/2012/01/power-of-raw-food.html

Image source: http://lorialexander.blogspot.sg/2012/01/power-of-raw-food.html

What are the health benefits?

Dr. Tom Wu's BookI first learned about the benefits of blended smoothies from Dr. Tom Wu’s Chinese book called “不一样的自然养生法” (translated as The Principle of Natural Cures). In this book, the author talked extensively about the natural healing properties of the phytochemicals [1]. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants, some examples include Isoflavone in soy, Lycopene in tomato, Indoles in broccoli, Allican in garlic, etc. Phytochemicals are normally the substance that gives vegetables and fruits their unique colors or smells.  Scientists estimated that there are more than 10,000 different phytochemicals that may have potential effects on diseases such as cancer, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic syndrome [2]. However, modern science is still playing a catch up game to understand the healing property of these natural substances. Research and clinical trials on the health claim of various phytochemicals are still in the preliminary state [3].

Blending raw vegetables and fruits into smoothies is also an important food preparation for those who subscribed to the concept of raw food diet. By blending the vegetables and fruits, all parts of the plants, including skin and seeds, are being broken down into very fine units that can be easily absorbed by the body. This ensures that all the nutrients are fully utilized instead of just passing through the digestive tract. In addition, blending retains all the fibers in vegetables and fruits. Fibers play an important role in our digestive process, they help to induce bowel movement and cleanse the colon system. Most importantly, blending is a food processing method that does not introduce high heat that destroys the many natural enzymes in the plants. Enzymes are essential for all chemical processes in our body [4].

What type of blender is required?

My Vitamix Blender

My Vitamix Blender

So what do you need to make blended smoothies? A blender, of course! However, it is not any blender will do. You need to get a powerful high-speed blender, one that is at least 1500W (or 2HP) and above. This is not the normal everyday household blender that you find in the electrical stores. Normal household blenders are typically rated only in the range of 200W to 900W. They produce insufficient power. You need a commercial-grade blender to make your smoothie. Have you even noticed the type of blenders used in the smoothie stores, such as Boost Juice Bars, in the mall?  You need one of those.

High-speed blender can crush all parts of the plants, including the tough skins, seeds and nuts, into very refine and smooth substances in a very short time, normally below 1 minute. The short blending time ensures that the blended contents are not heated above 50 degrees C when the precious enzymes are destroyed; furthermore it also greatly reduces the chance of oxidization during blending.

Vitamix and Blentech the two most internationally established brands of high-speed blender. You can find both brands in Singapore, albeit not common. I have invested in a Vitamix blender, a Vita-Prep-3 model to be exact. I bought it for $1050 incl. GST in 2010. I found it a truly worthy investment and have been using it daily.

There are also many Taiwanese as well as Chinese brands of high-speed blender, normally selling at a cheaper price. Check out one of the organic shops nearby, you may be able to find one.

My favorite recipes

You can find many different blended smoothie recipes in Dr. Tom Wu’s book. I used to follow them. However, after a while, I started to experiment with different combinations of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, etc. It is so easy. So, I simply go with what is freshly available from the organic store. Here are a couple of my recipes:

Red smoothie ingredients

Red smoothie (Recipe for 2 glasses):Red Smoothie

  • 1 small red apple – clean and remove the two tips and use the whole apple including the skin and seeds. Chop into 6-8 pieces
  • 1 small carrot – clean and chop coarsely into 4-6 pieces
  • ¼ red capsicum – clean and chop coarsely
  • 6-8 red cherry tomato – clean
  • ¼ beetroot – clean and brush the skin with a food brush, chop coarsely into 4-6 pieces
  • ¼ pomegranate – peel and use the red pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of wolfberries (枸杞)
  • 1 teaspoon of Chia seeds
  • 2.5 cups of clean filtered alkaline water

Green smoothie (Recipe for 2 glasses):Green Smoothie

  • 1 small green apple – clean and remove the two tips and use the whole apple including the skin and seeds. Remove the wax by scraping the skin with a small knife. Chop into 6-8 pieces
  • 1 celery stalk – clean and chop coarsely into 4-6 pieces
  • 1 passion fruit – cut into half and use the inner contents
  • ½ Japanese cucumber – clean and chop coarsely
  • ½ green capsicum – clean and chop coarsely
  • ¼ choko – clean and chop coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon of wheatgrass powder
  • 1 teaspoon of flaxseeds
  • 1 teaspoon of sunflower seeds
  • 2.5 cups of clean filtered alkaline water

General instruction for making blended smoothie:

Put the prepared ingredient into the blender. Start the blender at low speed first and increase it to the maximum speed after 10 seconds. Continue blending for 45s. Done! The smoothie is ready! It is so easy to make.

The resultant smoothie is normally a thick and smooth beverage. You can change the amount of water used for blending to adjust the thickness of the resulting smoothie. I normally take my smoothie in the morning as my breakfast drink. It is a wonderful drink to start my day. It provides me with all the good nutrients as well as cleansing property to induce bowel movement. Although Dr. Tom Wu’s advice is to take 6 glasses of blended smoothie for optimal benefits, I find it not practical to follow. I normally just take 1 or 2 glasses a day. It is an excellent raw food supplement to my daily, normally cooked, meal.

Cheers!

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Final Remark:

In case you are interested in getting a Vitamix or Blendtec blender, their respective Singapore agents are as follows:

  1. Vitamix  – Simplex Pte Ltd, 33 Gul Drive, Singapore 629481
    +65 6252.4228, www.simplex.com.sg, [email protected]
  1. Blendtec – Nature’s Glory Pte Ltd, 315 Outram Road #11-03, Tan Boon Liat Building, Singapore 169074, +65 6227 1318, www.natures-glory.com, [email protected]

References:

[1] “Cancer Survivor Dr Tom Wu’s recipe for good health”, http://seniorsaloud.blogspot.sg/2009/06/cancer-survivor-dr-tom-wus-recipes-for.html

[2] “The health benefits of phytochemicals” http://www.naturalnews.com/032463_phytochemicals_health_benefits.html

[3] “Phytochemical”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytochemical

[4] “Which should I buy first, a juicer or a blender?”, http://www.rawfoodlife.com/juicing_vs_blending.html

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