The Official Newsletter of Bodyfatguide.com
updated February 13, 2015
Bananas, Coconuts, 
and Green Smoothies: 
Nature's Perfect Foods

by Ron Brown, Ph.D., author of The Body Fat Guide 

"Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can do to become fit and trim too." 
TALK TO AMERICA,
Washington DC

 


FAST FOOD companies like McDonald's hire sophisticated taste laboratories in an effort to chemically improve the taste and palatability of their processed food. In addition, McDonald's adds refined white sugar to just about every single item on their menu. Even a Big Mac contains over two added spoonfuls of white sugar! Chocolate manufacturers add refined sugar to naturally bitter chocolate. Because humans are naturally attracted to sweet foods, it seems that almost any substance on earth can be made more tasty for human consumption if it contains enough added sugar.  

The problem, of course, is that not only does adding refined sugar to food encourage us to eat processed and refined foods that are not naturally healthy for us, but the refined white sugar is itself harmful to our health. Instead of adding sweeteners to substances like meat, chocolate, and other processed foods, why not add sweetness to the taste of naturally healthy foods that most people don't eat enough of, like raw leafy green vegetables? And instead of using harmful processed white sugar, why not use the wholesome sugar that is contained naturally in fruit? Along with sugar, whole fresh fruit retains the vitamins and minerals that food processors strip out of food.

Blending together various combinations of green vegetables, nut milks, and fruit is an innovative and tasty way to improve your health by eating some of nature's perfect foods. The basic green smoothie is made by blending together several ripe bananas or other sweet fruit like pears, apples, peaches, mangos, berries, and seedless grapes, with leafy dark green vegetables, such as spinach, romaine, bok choy, Chinese broccoli, kale, turnip greens, or collard greens, along with just enough water to liquefy it. Leave out the stems of the coarse vegetables, and make sure the bananas and other fruit add enough sweetness to the smoothie. Do not gulp the smoothie down. Sip it slowly for better digestion. Bananas are ripe and sweetest when their skins begin to show small brown spots. Keep plenty of bananas on hand ripening ahead of time. The flesh of soft dates can be added to sweeten a smoothie. You can also use the water and meat from a young Thai coconut.

The precursor of the green smoothie is the blended salad. Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommended consuming blended salads, claiming that simply chewing a green salad fails to break open 70-90% of the plant cell walls that contain valuable nutrients. Oily salad dressings and greased cooking methods encourage greens to slide down the esophagus without thorough chewing. Dr. Gian-Cursio noted that generations of vegans following raw fruit and nut diets developed blood, bone, and dental pathologies from lack of nutrients due to insufficient greens consumption, which was easily remedied by feeding blended salads. Referring to children in a large vegan family who regularly consumed blended salads, Dr. Gian-Cursio said, "I don't think there's a dental carie in the whole group." Blood, bone, and dental pathologies are rampant within the general population as well, indicating a great need for higher greens consumption by almost everyone. Dr. Shelton did not approve of blending salads because of oxidation. However, oxidation in blended salads is more likely to affect lighter vegetables like lettuce rather than heavier dark leafy greens like collards and kale. Also, unlike juicing, fiber is retained and evenly distributed throughout blended salads, which appears to reduce oxidation. Furthermore, fruits and vegetables undergo less oxidation when they are submerged in liquid.

In The Hygienic System, Volume II, Shelton mentioned the young coconut. He said, "In its unripe or custard-like state it forms an almost perfect food for those who live in the tropics." He also mentioned, "...its juice is a delicious and nutritious 'drink.'" Of the mature coconut, Shelton said, "Both its meat and its milk are fine foods and in some tropical places it makes up almost the whole bill-of-fare."  

Coconut milk is made by blending the flesh of the mature coconut with two or three parts water. The milk is often strained, but may be consumed unstrained. Other nut milks may be made from soaked and germinated pecans, macadamia nuts, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews. Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered that coconut protein has the highest biological value compared to meat, milk, eggs, and other foods, and that it produced supra-normal growth in rats when used as the sole protein source (Johns, Finks, & Paul, 1919). Coconuts are low in the acid-forming minerals sulfur and phosphorus, and contain just the right quantity of protein for human needs. The medium chained triglycerides (MCTs) in the fat of the coconut elevate energy expenditure, increase satiety, and are less likely to be stored as body fat than the long chained triglycerides in animal fat and vegetable oils (St-Onge & Jones, 2002). Medium chained fatty acids in coconuts deliver the same quick energy as sugar. The water from fresh young coconuts has been used successfully for intravenous transfusions in emergency medicine (Campbell-Falck, et al., 2000). Coconuts are also rarely the cause of allergic reactions (Rosado et al., 2002).

Is the fear of dietary saturated fat from plant-based foods like coconuts causing you to eat an unhealthy, unbalanced diet? See: Is the Lipid Theory Dead?

Coconut nutrients are so perfectly matched to the nutrition requirements of humans that it is not far-fetched to imagine our species evolved on a diet containing plant fat from coconuts. In the plant kingdom, concentrated sources of plant fat are rare. Studies of non-human primates such as chimpanzees and apes show that they readily eat concentrated sources of plant fat when it is available, but that they have little access to it in the wild, relying mainly on nutrients provided in leafy vegetation and fruit (Conklin-Brittain, Wrangham, & Smith, 2007). 

Although human and non-human primates share 99% of genomes, some of the crucial genetic differences between humans and other primates involve those genes that affect fat metabolism (Erren, Cullen, & Erren, 2007). Because fat is calorie dense, it supports the higher metabolic cost of advanced brain function in humans. Human breast milk contains over 50% calories from fat, which provides human offspring with sufficient fat to ensure the highest level of brain and nervous system development among all primates. By comparison, milk of non-human primates, with lower levels of brain development, contains less than half the amount of fat, and contains higher levels of protein for more rapid body growth (Patiño & Borda, 1997). 

As global ecological systems shifted many years ago, due to continental drift and climate change, it is possible that certain populations of non-human primates began to have access to greater amounts of plant fat in foods like coconuts. Increased intake of fatty acids and formation of phospholipids, which make up 60% of the human brain, may explain how hominid species evolved with more brain development (Erren & Erren, 2004). Some hominids used their greater mental abilities to create hunting tools and supplement their diet with animal foods. However, the extinction of these meat-eating hominids suggests that the diet they selected and procured through their higher cognitive skills was not optimal for their health and survival. 

Likewise, in the past 10,000 years, humans have selected an omnivorous diet that includes cooked grains, tubers, legumes, and animal foods, and they have largely abandoned the raw vegan diet on which they may have evolved. As a result, evidence shows human brain size has shrunk by 10% in the past 5,000 years. (Choi, 2009). Unless the rate of this trend in diminished brain size in humans is halted or reversed, perhaps by a return to an optimal raw vegan diet, it is possible that apes and monkeys may remain someday as the only non-extinct primates on earth. Then, with more continental drift and climate change, the whole evolutionary process can start over again! The above "nutty theory of human evolution" could be tested by hypothesizing that several generations of non-human primates fed large amounts of plant fat from sources like coconuts will begin to show signs of changes in genomes and brain development.

 

Discussing the nutritive value that bananas contribute to the human diet, Shelton wrote, "Bananas plus nuts, plus green vegetables would make an adequate diet for child or adult and for a pregnant or a lactating mother." Vegetables in green smoothies increase the absorption of important minerals such as calcium. Calcium is absorbed twice as efficiently from most dark green leafy vegetables than from cow milk. One and a half cups of chopped raw kale has as much absorbable calcium as one cup of cow milk (Lanou et al., 2005). One large blender full of sweet green smoothie made from 6 cups of chopped raw kale is equal to a quart of cow milk in absorbable calcium!

But why base your nutrition needs on cow milk? (See Cow Don't Drink Milk: Unraveling the Calcium Paradox). Here is a raw vegan Palm Tree Fruit smoothie made from dates, coconuts, and greens, which is approximate in macronutrients and micronutrients to human milk.

Blend together for 1 Liter:

  • 130 grams coconut

  • 55 grams dates

  • 140 grams collard greens

  • 675 grams water

Human milk contains approximately 4.4 grams of fat per 100 milliliters (Nutritiondata.com, 2015). So does this smoothie. Breast milk has about 1 gram of protein, 6.9 grams of carbohydrates, and 30 milligrams of calcium per 100 ml. So does this smoothie! Everything you need comes from the palm tree, plus greens.

Green smoothies are a great way to increase your intake of green vegetables that are important to protect your health. Researchers found that people who ate spinach or collard greens five times a week had 88% less macular degeneration, the leading cause of permanent blindness in people over 65 years of age (Seddon et al., 1994). Greens like collards and kale have the highest calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of all foods, which is desirable for bone health. Shelton says that cabbage is ten times richer in calcium than lettuce, and is easier for most people to digest raw. Collards are a loose-leaf version of head cabbage. Dark green leafy vegetables like collards and kale have a higher calcium-to-phosphorus ratio than more commonly eaten broccoli and Romaine. In Superior Nutrition, Shelton recommended eating a raw vegetable salad along with a dark green leafy vegetable twice a day!

Blend a bunch of raw broccoli with a banana and coconut milk to make delicious and outrageously healthy, raw banana-broccoli soup! Other tasty soups, served chilled or at body temperature, can be made with cauliflower, sweet corn, celery, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, sugar peas, bell peppers, and avocados, all sweetened by blending in several plump and pitted medjool dates. Top green salads with sweet fresh fruit. Mash up a ripe banana with a bit of water or coconut milk, mix in a few chopped pecans or walnuts or raisins, and use as a creamy sweet salad dressing. Cucumber slices topped with bits of dates are sweet, juicy, and crunchy. Use a razor-sharp mandoline to make paper-thin slices of zucchini, turnip, beet, carrot, and sweet potato, and fill them with creamy blended nuts, fruit, and veggies. 

Dates are higher in calcium than phosphorus, which is better for bone health. Dates have more calcium and less phosphorus per 100 grams than vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, Brussel sprouts, or asparagus. Dates are superior to bananas which are lower in calcium than phosphorus. Here's how to balance Dr. Brown's Apple Date Smoothie:

200 g apple (about one apple)
45 g medjool dates (pitted)
28 g macadamia nuts (1 ounce)
91 g collard leaves without stems
Add water and blend

Provides: 40% calories from fat, 5% protein, 56% carbs, 276 mg calcium, 125 mg phosphorus, 2.2:1 Ca:P, 457 calories.

This delicious Dr. Brown's Apple Date Smoothie provides the same amount of calcium as a cup of cow milk! But the calcium-phosphorus ratio in this smoothie is far less acid-forming for better bone health, 2.2:1 compared to less than 1.3:1 in cow milk. You can easily rebalance the percentage of calories from carbs and fat by adjusting the amount of fruit and nuts in the smoothie. Substitute durian for the apple, use less water and make a delicious durian-macadamia soup!

These are just some ideas on how to use the natural sweetness of fruit and nuts to flavor a healthy diet that is high in vegetables. Enjoy!

References: 

Campbell-Falck, D., Thomas, T., Falck, T. M., Tutuo, N., & Clem, K. (2000). The intravenous use of coconut water. American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 18, 108–111. 

Choi, C. Q. (2009). Humans still evolving as our brains shrink. Live Science. Retrieved from
http://www.livescience.com/history/091113-origins-evolving.html

Conklin-Brittain, N. L., Wrangham, R. W., & Smith, C. C. (2007). Relating chimpanzee diets to potential Australopithecus diets. Retrieved from http://www.cast.uark.edu/local/icaes/conferences/wburg/posters/
nconklin/conklin.html 

Erren, T. C, Cullen, P. & Erren, M. (2007). Neanderthal, chimp and human genomes: Hypotheses wanted for research into brain evolution. Medical Hypotheses, 70, 47.

Erren, T. C., & Erren, M. (2004). Can fat explain the human brain's big bang evolution?—Horrobin's leads for comparative and functional genomics. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 70, 345347.

Johns, C. O., Finks, A. J., & Paul, M. S. (1919). Studies in nutrition: I. The nutritive value of coconut globulin and coconut press cake. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 37, 497–502.

Lanou, A. J., Berkow, S. E., and Barnard, N. D. (2005). Calcium, dairy products, and bone health in children and young adults: A reevaluation of the evidence. Pediatrics, 115, 736–743.

Patiño, E. M., & Borda, J. T. (1997) The composition of primates' milk and its importance in selecting formulas for hand-rearing. Laboratory Primate Newsletter, 36. Retrieved December 17, 2009 from http://www.brown.edu/Research/Primate/lpn36-2.html#milk

Rosado, A., Fernández-Rivas, M., González-Mancebo, E., León, F., Campos, C., & Tejedor, M. A. (2002). Anaphylaxis to coconut. Allergy, 57, 182–183.

Seddon, J. M., Ajani, U. A., Sperduto, R. D., et al. ( 1994). Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Journal of the American Medical Association,  272, 1413–
1420.

St-Onge, M. P., & Jones, P. J. H. (2002). Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: Potential agents in the prevention of obesity. The Journal of Nutrition, 132, 329332.

Wikipedia. (2009). Breast Milk. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_milk

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