Beet, Raspberry and Vanilla Smoothie Bowl

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Hey buddy, how’s your blood doing these days? Is it healthy and flowing? Full of oxygen and freshly-made red blood cells? Have you ever even thought about this?! The answer is, not likely. And that is nothing to be ashamed about. We are never really taught to think about our blood, how to nourish and take care of it, how to tell if something is missing.

When I studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I learned about “blood building”, a term to describe nourishing the body with the nutrients required for ample and healthy blood. For some reason, I took a particular interest in this field, and have been a passionate blood builder of my own ever since. If this sounds dorky (it is) and a little confusing, think of your blood almost like a muscle. We are more familiar with the idea of muscle building, in that our muscles require specific macro and micro nutrients to grow and thrive. Same as blood. Pretty simple, except you can’t do it at the gym – you gotta get in the kitchen. 

The role of blood in our body is to transport nutrients, oxygen, immune cells, and hormones, along with removing toxins and waste, and disperse heat. The components that make up our blood are used and disposed of extremely quickly, so there is a high cell turnover, which also means high nutritional requirements.

Iron, folic acid, vitamin B-12, and protein are the major building blocks of blood. All of these things work synergistically to make your blood as potent and healthy as possible. Besides folic acid, you can see from the list that most of these nutrients are found abundantly in animal foods, but not so abundantly in the wonderful plant kingdom. So how do vegetarians build blood anyway?

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First and foremost eating a wide variety of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and superfoods is a good place to start. Hey wait! That sounds like a balanced diet. So if you’re already there, great. If you’re just starting out, your blood is about to get real strong.

More specifically, the best blood building foods are the darkest of dark leafy greens and their powders, such as spinach, kale, beet greens, wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina and chlorella, and deeply pigmented red foods such as beets, cherries, raspberries, goji berries, raisins, kidney beans, adzuki beans, and blackstrap molasses. I also find that drinking a cup of nettle tea every day, which contains high amounts of iron, is really effective in helping to tone the blood.

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This smoothie bowl is a one tasty blood builder. It’s got a solid dose of greens (think iron, folic acid, and protein) from the spinach and wheatgrass, with beet, raspberry and prunes (lots of deep, dark, iron-rich goody goodies!) plus lemon for a vitamin C boost – since we can’t absorb iron from plants unless we have a little help from vitamin C. 

Although you may think that putting raw beetroot in a smoothie is a little odd, I was shocked at how utterly DELICIOUS the combination was with the raspberry. It’s altogether earthy, sweet and tart, with a divine vanilla kiss that makes me swoon. Plus can we talk about the colour?! I can practically feel it feeding my blood with all of those juicy pigments and nutrients. Gosh. Isn’t life grand?

Smoothie bowls are a divine invention because you can eat them with a spoon, and you can top the heck out of them for a real meal situation. Although I’m sure it’s just a psychological thing, I sometimes feel a bit under-fed after a smoothie in a glass. Plus I like chewing a lot, and chewing a beverage can sometimes be boring without some chunks involved. Don’t you agree? I’ve topped mine here with raspberries, pomegranate, sea buckthorn, bee pollen and almond butter, but get creative with this on your own! I’ve listed some other topping ideas in the recipe. And I will also say that taking just one extra minute to decorate your bowl delivers major self-love points and satisfies the creative genius in us all. There are no wrong answers or unattractive smoothie bowls! Go wild, you strong-blooded creature, you!

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I hope you guys are fired up to build your blood now. Happily, it involves eating and not donning spandex and running on a treadmill. Although, that is important too. The running part. The spandex I’ll pass on, thank you.

Cheers to your blood,
Sarah B.

Show me your smoothies on Instagram! #MNRbeetsmoothie

 

60 comments

  1. Christine

    I’m always on a lookout for a good beet recipe since much has been said about the benefits of this veggie. But somehow, no matter how I make it, it doesn’t really tickle my taste bone. Now this was totally different. Who would’ve thought? A delicious beet!? This makes me feel so good; I don’t know if it’s only my imagination, but I can really feel myself getting stronger after having it for breakfast.

  2. Vanessa @ Crumbs

    Thank you in your effort for posting this. Sarah, I am getting hooked on smoothie bowls that I am ready to “fancy it up” so I turned to you as I just knew you would have a good one. I struggle with low blood pressure and a the incorporation of beers in a smoothie bowl is a good idea, but may I ask? Why don’t you suggest cooking them? Is there a benefit to eating raw beets? I think I may cook them first.

  3. Bryan

    I am usually not into this kind of thing, but I have felt slightly weak lately. So, I thought why not to try this. This smoothie, although may look like a bit time consuming to make, is actually pretty simple to produce, once you have everything prepared. It is divine! Totally worth the effort! As I was sipping it nice and chill I felt stronger already.

  4. Scott Williams

    Even though beets are good for you, I have always hated them but after trying this recipe things have changed. Combined with the other ingredients I was able to actually enjoy this recipe. Thanks a lot and looking forward to others :).

  5. Simone

    Hi Sarah,
    I am absolutely in love with this recipe. I cannot make it enough and I feel sooooooo good during and after eating it. Although, something weird happens when I eat this – my nose runs. Why is this? Is that my body expelling toxins? I never get a runny nose, ever. It was one of the first things my Husband noticed when we started dating – I never blow my nose because there is never anything in it. Weird that it runs when I eat this bowl.
    Cheerio,
    Simone

    • Tracy

      Could it be you have a slight allergy to the bee pollen? I had an anaphylactic response when I ate it a few years ago! If you tend to suffer from occasional allergies – perhaps that’s the culprit – if you’re actually adding it to the recipe, that is!

  6. Julie

    We made this recipe tonight for a light supper, and it was a hit! Definitely going into heavy rotation in my household for the duration of winter. Thanks for the healthy, blood-building inspiration, yum!

  7. Charlotte

    Thanks Sarah for this great post! Just in time when I received my blood test results and, even though I’m living a healthy, vegan life, I have a low blood cells which I couldn’t explain. So today is the first day of this great smoothie! My fridge is packed with red / dark green veggies, I’m ready to build my blood again 🙂

  8. Chirag Dua

    Hey Sarah, I am very Conscious about My Health, Beet one rich food to make healthy blood cells, I don’t know How u Make this Recipe, Looks beautiful and delicious!..

  9. Besma

    This is such a good path to go down – I’ve not heard of blood building, but I can appreciate the concept, especially as a vegetarian. My favourite smoothie actually contains a lot of these ingredients, but the addition of beetroot is something I need to try!

    Besma | Curiously Conscious

  10. Theresa Bäuerlein

    This looked amazing and I made it right away! Unfortunately, it gave me a terrible stomach ache for several days – later I read on the web that raw beets can be very hard to digest for some people. I was inspired by this recipe, though, to drink much more fresh beet juice, which doesn’t give me problems. Thank you!

  11. Persephone

    I LOVE beets. However, I have a terrible history of making inedible, weird, chunky smoothies containing them. I was sceptical of this recipe since I had to skip a few ingredients (the prunes and powders) but it turned out great! This is going in my permanent morning rotation. I got prunes at the store today. I forgot how much I love them.

  12. Sara

    The color on this is awesome! This will get your blood pumping for sure! Sea buckthorn now that’s a new one for me I’m going to have to do some investigating on where to find that and it also looks so pretty with the contrasting colors.
    Thanks cant wait to make this for lunch!
    Sara http://www.wholistickitchen.com

  13. viviane

    Hi Sarah, first thank you for your wonderful recipes!
    I was just wondering if you could tell us where you get stuff like “protein powder”, “wheatgrass powder”? I live in a small town and couldn’t find anything at the local health store. Is there a trustworthy website where you can order them?
    Can’t wait to make this smoothie!

  14. Katie

    I love the color composition of this dish very much! I am still not very sure about the whole concept of this powder stuff everyone is so exited about! This recipe however looks so good maybe I will be convinced 🙂

  15. Emanuela, The Raw Beet

    Hello Sarah,
    I love your post, as usual :)!
    I’m studying Holistic Nutrition and I always find all the information you give precise and complete. I lean reading your posts :)!
    I wanted to ask you if I can substitute hemp protein powder for sprouted brown rice powder? Or what about combining the two? Is there any benefit in doing so in therms of amino acids?
    Thanks a lot in advance for your answer 🙂
    Have a lovely day.
    Emanuela

  16. Jennifer

    Your nutritional breakdown and holistic wisdom is what makes your delicious recipes even more outstanding Sarah. Cause when I looked at your mouth-watering pictures, this smoothie bowl was just what I wanted… but after being reminded of its blood-building powers, I realized it’s also exactly what I need! 🙂

  17. Brandie Mcnemar

    I have done what a commenter above has said and put it in a jar, works perfectly. This is one of my favorite eats. I am so glad I decided to start eating healthy, the rewards never stop coming! I am reading a great book that discusses farm fresh eating among other things, and I recommend it. If you can get to a farm, and the book helps you figure out how to do that, then you should go. The items there are going to be so much better! The book is Ditching the Drive Thru, J Natalie Winch is the author. Great read.

  18. Saskia

    Wow, so much knowledge in this post! As I am pregnant right now, this is exactly what I need, thank you so much. The beautiful pictures make me wanna eat this even more.
    Thanks Sarah! Bless you, your blood and your family. 🙂

  19. Amy

    My favorite smoothie recipe in a long time! My toddler and very pregnant self had big bowls of this delish recipe today. We added avocado, some dried cherries and coconut yogurt to the mix – YUM!

  20. Kelly

    Just made this! Though a modified version using what I had on hand: beet, frozen raspberries, spinach, lemon (i.e. The gist of it without all the accoutrements)… And it is AMAZING. Thank you so much for the idea, Sarah!!! Cheers to you, and your blood, as well xxxx

  21. Kathie Courtney

    Where do you find sea buckthorn berries? This sounds delicious! I have recently started adding cut up raw, organic beets to my salads and I love the slightly sweet crunch they add. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. mia

    Thank you so much for this post. I have recently become interested in Chinese medicine but it does seem to use animal products which I have found off-putting. Any plant-based tips that you have are greatly appreciated xx

  23. hannah

    I basically just speed-read this post whispering “yes!” and “omg me too” under my breath — my husband thinks I’m totally whacked. But OMG YES, raw beet, dark berries, greens, and vanilla make for a completely divine smoothie combo. Personally I think a little ginger wouldn’t hurt 🙂 Also, I could not agree more about eating with a spoon + adding crunchy toppings. My latest faves have been raw buckwheat, frozen mango, and walnuts. Pomegranate sounds amazing too. You’re making me wish it were morning so I can dive into a smoothie bowl!

    ps thanks for the iron/vitamin c tip!

  24. Monica

    Hi and thank you for a delicious beet smoothie. I read that iron can be involved with cancer. So careful re the iron.

  25. jaime | the briny

    i remember there was someone who came to the health food store i worked at years ago. he was offering blood analyses to our customers and many of the employees (including me) were all anxious to get screened, too. i’m not sure what the process or the technology was, but he took a little sample of our blood and showed it to us magnified super big so we could see all the little cells floating around. i was so proud because he told me my blood liked super healthy. i felt like a superhero with blood of steel–i felt powerful (until an iridologist came in and told me i had a weak digestive system according to my eyeballs. oyyy!). it was so easy to see how hydrated or dehydrated people were by looking at the blood in that way, too. so fascinating. i’m really glad you shared this, and yeah–this smoothie sounds (even looks, with its intense sanguine hues) like a seriously delicious blood builder. cheers sarah!

  26. Meredith

    Totally agree with you on the smoothie in a glass VS bowl situation–feels so much more like a meal eaten with a spoon and bowl. Must be those fantastic toppings! This smoothie makes my mouth pucker in anticipation…yum!

  27. nettelie

    HOW is your almond butter white? Did you use blanched almonds? Or soaked and dehydrated ones?

    I’m veeeeery curious to try this recipe. Usually I’m not a fan of beets in my smoothies (juices? yaaaay. smoothies? naaaay) but I trust you in this one. My blood will be greatful. Have a happy weekend! xo

  28. robyn | sweetish

    You’re simply amazing, and I’ve loved and admired your work for quite some time. I am ALWAYS looking for a way to eat those pesky beets (they’re just not my favorite food ever) and this just looks amazing. Thank you for sharing your gifts! I feel you’re a friend, even though we’ve never met. I always look forward to your posts. xo

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