I mean, I can’t prove it, and yet — I can’t help but think there’s nothing healthier than getting a bunch of fresh greens from the garden or the fridge, or a fresh avocado, some raw nuts or seeds, spices, and blending them up.
Now, I don’t have the science to back it up. I can’t say ‘Look: Here’s this study,’ or ‘Look: here’s this paper.’ But give this idea a try and tell me what you think.
I was first inspired to make raw shakes by my then-girlfriend Michelle, who was really into raw food at the time. She introduced me to the yummiest (raw) chocolate shakes ever.
The base was almond milk, using soaked almonds that were strained through a nutmilk bag. To that we added a couple of bananas, raw cacao powder, a splash of vanilla and some stevia to taste. Sublime.
Michelle and I are no longer a couple but we’re still good friends, and now I’m more into raw food than she is. Anyway, over the years my raw shakes have evolved—always with four goals: (1) How can I make the shake healthier—while keeping it yummy? (2) How can I make it easy to prepare? (3) How can I make it affordable for every day consumption? And (4) How can I vary the ingredients enough to keep it interesting and get a variety of nutrients?
First I stopped straining the almond milk and began using the whole, soaked, almonds. Then I cut back to one banana. Then I began adding in some greens. I did that just because I felt like it, but shortly after I began adding greens my friend Lynn gave me a copy of Victoria Boutenko’s book Green For Life, which was all about the health benefits of raw shakes containing greens. (More on that later.)
Today my raw shake varies, and the basic recipe is:
• 1/3 cup (before soaking) raw flax seeds—OR 1/2 cup walnuts, OR 1/4 cup chia or salba seeds—soaked for 8 hours then rinsed
• 1/2 cup soaked chia seeds (or ½ cup soaked flax seeds or selba seeds)
• Fresh, organic greens (any variety of lettuce, kale, cucumber, etc.)—as much as possible while achieving a good flavor
• 1/4 – 1/2 avocado
• A little dried, shredded coconut
• 1 teaspoon maca
• A little fresh ginger and turmeric (or you may use dried powder)
• Dash or tow of cinnamon (or nutmeg, or cardamom, etc.) for flavor
• Splash of vanilla
• Enough filtered water OR coconut milk to achieve desired consistency
• 1/4 cup (before soaking) raw, soaked other nuts or seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, etc.), soaked for 8-12 hours then drained and rinsed
• 1 small beet or 1 small carrot, or some fennel
• 1 medium banana (or apple or other fruit)
• To taste 1-3 drops of liquid stevia *(probably won’t need it if you add fruit)
• Your favorite drink supplement (I like VitaMineral Green)
• 1-2 raw, pastured or free-range/organic egg(s)
• I strongly recommend a Vitamix or other powerful, durable blender since standard blenders may struggle with these ingredients.
To me raw shakes are one of the healthiest meals I can imagine, and I have one for dinner most days of the week. (I have a heavier meal for breakfast, which I will discuss in another article.) BTW, I recommend you stop eating two-three hours before retiring and then floss and brush.
Though I have nothing against protein/meal powders, and I sometimes consume them, I believe raw shakes are better than powders. Raw ingredients are fresh and alive. And, though I think juicing can be healthy, I also prefer raw shakes to juicing.
Raw shakes include whole foods—the entire apple, not just the juice. Plus, as many of you have found out, it takes a lot of food to make juice, which can get expensive. Juicing can also be a pain in the neck—from chopping the ingredients to cleaning the juicer. Besides, I don’t think our ancestors ever ate an entire bunch of carrots in one sitting. (I don’t think my ancestors evolved with a blender either, but blended whole food is closer to well-chewed food.) (Sorry if that sounds a little gross. 😉
To sum it up, I love my raw shakes because they are full of healthy ingredients in easily digestible forms, they’re yummy, they’re quick and easy to make (ditto for the cleanup, just put water in the blender and run for 30 seconds), and they’re easily portable when necessary. Best of all, they’re a great way to get more raw greens in my diet and raw greens rock my world. What will you put in your raw shake?