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Seasonal Smoothie Bowl

Super excited about the first actual recipe share for the blog which is a Seasonal Smoothie Bowl! I wasn’t intending to share something as unpretentious as a Seasonal Smoothie Bowl although this nourishing staple breakfast of mine must not be overlooked.

I have definitely jumped aboard the smoothie train! Not only easy to digest and, for me, generally raw, but I can jam pack the nutrition of a super salad into a cure-all concoction, all the meanwhile strategically minimising sugars and maximising good fats, protein and all that other vege goodness.

Seasonal Smoothie Bowl

Something that I have always felt I have had to watch in my diet is my iron intake. I could often feel light-headed first thing in the morning, which I put down to genetic low blood pressure (thanks Mum). But I would notice feeling sluggish, bruise easily, dizziness or light-headedness at times and with a quick dose or iron and I would be chipper in no time.

Now for those that didn’t know (the educational part of this smoothie bowl), iron is needed to carry oxygen around the body and it is estimated, according to the American Society of Hematology, that approximately a quarter of the world’s population may be iron deficient. Of course this takes into account malnutrition and disease worldwide although even Aussie menstruating women are at a significantly high risk. Further more, vegetarians and vegans remain in a further high-risk category. So, from where I’m standing that’s a lot of people!

Now what I find interesting is that there are two types of iron; haem iron (from animal foods) and non-haem iron (from vegan foods). Due to the way our bodies absorb iron, we expect to absorb between 15-35% haem iron as it is absorbed through our gut wall into the blood, where we expect to absorb 2-20% of non-haem iron as it is absorbed less directly. The absorption of non-haem iron is affected directly by our diet, which is what this humble smoothie bowl aims to conquer.

Here’s the key; our bodies rely heavily on having enough vitamin C to absorb non-haem iron.

Now I am lucky enough to have a mother that has engrained this into my mind. Every time I see a bunch of spinach here comes the lemon. Sufficient vitamin c is one of the simplest methods to ensure your iron absorption. Lemon and orange juice salad dressings, pineapple in your green smoothie, and tomato with your tahini!

Another fun fact, although we absorb more iron from meat sources it does not mean everything is black and white. I eat sustainable and organic meats regularly, although I find that this does not meet my iron needs. Iron is often expressed as mg per 100 grams so for comparisons sake… I eat small portions of meat and in terms of calories I am not retaining a huge amount of iron per serve as cooked beef only contains approx. 3mg iron/100g. Eating a high raw and plant-based diet, I need to ensure I receive substantial nutrition and iron from vegan sources. So for some of my favourite little raw vegan preferences;

  • Spinach – 2.71mg/100g
  • Kale – 2mg/100g
  • Chard – 1.8mg/100g
  • Raw Unhulled Tahini – 9mg/100g > the best raw tahini hummus coming soon!
  • Pepitas – 15mg/100g
  • Cashews – 6.1mg/100g
  • Raw Cacao – 7.3mg/100g
  • Fresh apricots – 4mg/100g

Now that speaks for itself. Many vegan foods are more iron dense than meat. Now just to help you all go home any calculate your iron intake (hah!) … men (age 19-50) require 8mg/day where women (age 19-50) require 18mg/day.

So put simply, understand where your iron comes from and where your vitamin C comes from and be aware of your bodies’ requirements. This iron deficiency dilemma is all about knowledge, awareness and making simple nourishing choices <3

Recipe – Seasonal Smoothie Bowl:

Note the sources of iron and vitamin c!

For smoothie

  • 2 mangos
  • 1 leaf swiss chard (0.9mg iron)
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 3 Tbl organic dessicated coconut (0.5mg iron)
  • 1 Tbl organic coconut paste
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 Tbl organic black strap molasses (3.5mg of iron)
  • 1 C raw home-made cashew milk (2.6mg of iron using 1:4 ratio cashews to water) or your choice of milk

For garnish – Seasonal Smoothie Bowl

  • 1 kiwi fruit, diced (85mg vitamin c)
  • 1/4 cup raw activated grain-free muesli
  • Seasonal fruit such as beautiful summer strawbs

And a couple handy sources:

Australian Sports Commission 2009, Iron – are you getting enough

The Vegetarian Resource Group 2015, Iron in the Vegan Diet

Viva Health (n.d.), Ironing out the Facts