Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mixed Berry Smoothie with Hemp Protein and Brazil Nuts

Those of you that have been reading the blog for a long time know that I have a tendency to micromanage our nutrition. That is the reason for the nutritional stats on the recipes. I use these to track what we are eating every day and week to make certain we get enough protein as well as a good mixture of nutrients.

Recently my husband’s weight has been 3 pounds lower than I would like (yes I am that obsessive). I noticed this happened over the last few weeks while I have been trying to make our diet more consistent with “Eat to Live” (E2L). During this same time the grams of protein he was consuming were lower than they had been.

Most Americans eat far more protein than the actually need. To calculate your protein requirement there is a simple formula. Take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 to get your pounds in kilograms and multiple this by 2. This is the upper protein limit. The lower limit is the same as your weight in kilograms. Assuming a weight of 150 divided by 2.2 gives a protein requirement between 68 and 136. We normally have no difficulty reaching the lower amount of protein. But I am going to push my husband’s intake toward the upper limit to see if that makes a difference for him.

To see if the reduction in protein was the cause of the weight loss we are adding protein powder to our smoothies. Since this is something that is fairly new to me I needed to do a lot of research regarding what protein supplement would be the best. To say that there are many opinions on this issue doesn’t explain the difference in what I read. In the end I did what I thought was best but wanted to share some of what I learned with you in case you are thinking of adding protein powder to your smoothies.

There are so many forms of protein powder available today it made my head spin. I am going to list them all and there advantages and disadvantages as I see them.

Soy Protein Powder: Isolated protein has had the carbohydrate and fat removed which is normally done at high temperatures and with chemicals. If you are trying to eat more natural food you may want to avoid isolated proteins like soy protein powder. Additionally soy protein isolate has been linked to an increase in hormone dependent cancers (breast and prostate) for those that have a genetic predisposition.

Whey Protein Powder: This is also generally an isolated protein (see soy protein powder). However unlike soy it has been shown to inhibit cancer growth. In “Life Over Cancer” the doctor recommends that if you are going to use whey protein to purchase a brand that was cold-processed. However whey protein powder is not vegan. Cold processed whey protein can be difficult to find (I looked for it locally but didn’t find it).

Brown Rice Protein Powder: There seem to be many forms of brown rice protein. I purchased one that is made from brown rice protein concentrate made without chemical solvents. This protein powder has more protein per serving than hemp and is lower priced. Also the light color makes it appropriate in light colored smoothies.

Hemp Protein Powder: The hemp protein powder I bought was Nutiva brand and it raw (and green). I purchased this one because it is minimally processed. There are two disadvantages to this powder, it is expensive per serving and has less protein per serving. The advantage is that it is raw.  Next time I will buy the 3 pound bag of powder since we now know we like this product. I am using this and the brown rice powder to get the best of both worlds. My thought is that by using both forms of protein I am maximizing the aminos acid variation we are consuming.

What if you don’t want to consume protein powders then what do you do? Other natural proteins include sprouts, chlorella, spirulina, wheat, oats, barley, legumes, flaxseeds and hemp seeds. We tend to eat mostly beans, tofu, and seitan for protein at our house.

Mixed Berry Smoothie with Hemp Protein and Brazil Nuts
Serves 3 (double for Dan and single for me)


2 cups frozen wild blueberries
2 cups frozen mixed berries (raspberries, marion berries and blueberries)
¼ cup walnuts
4 tablespoons hemp protein powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 Brazil nuts
water necessary to process


Toss everything in the blender and cover by an inch with water and process until smooth. Depending on the power of you blender you may need to add more water.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 388.73
Calories From Fat (36%) - 138.02

Total Fat - 16.43g
Saturated Fat - 1.88g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 30.79mg
Potassium - 226.76mg
Total Carbohydrates - 46.9g
Fiber - 25.51g
Sugar - 4.08g
Protein - 19.41g


In spite of the scary green color the hemp protein didn’t add any discernible taste to the smoothie. The color was masked by the purple of the berries. I was very happy that the hubby had almost 40 grams of protein with breakfast. We should have no difficulty getting his daily protein up by including a little protein powder in his breakfast each morning.

Each serving of this smoothie contains approximately 274IU of vitamin A, 25mg of vitamin C, 80mg of calcium, 2.75mg of iron, 30mcg of folate, 120mg of phosphorus, 70mg of magnesium and 160mcg of selenium (from the Brazil nuts). Additionally the berries contain ellagic acid, which is a known cancer fighter. Overall not a bad breakfast that took me under 5 minutes to prepare.

Unrelated note:

I need to get a few things done around the house (including more fat free hummus for our daily lunch and dinner salad). But after that I will be back with another recipe. We had a nice miso soba noodle soup last night that was tasty and nutritious so I want to share that recipe. I also have another fresh juice in mind that I am going to make myself this afternoon. If I like the way it comes out I will post that too.


  1. Great research! After consulting with my friendly local Fruitful Yield employee I left with this last week: http://www.valleynaturals.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=5d1c8393-b240-4883-8a69-1cc15f84a80a

    Raw plus 18 grams of protein and 80 cals per serving, I really liked the sound of that!

  2. Sarah,

    Thanks for sharing the brand of protein powder you just bought. I haven't seen that one before but the label looks great. I really like that it is so many different forms of plant protein. This has gone on my list to look for locally.

    thanks again for sharing,

  3. There is also pea protein--that is what I used a few years ago when I was trying to increase protein :-)


  4. Courtney,

    Thanks for mentioning that. I read about it but didn't see if for sale locally so I assumed it wasn't easy to find. That was why I left it out of the post.



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