Thinking about trying green smoothies? 5 things you must consider first!
The first signs of Spring's impending arrival are in the air…the parks are alive with a frenzy of activity as people awake from their winter slumber and the buzz of spring cleaning is everywhere. Some friends and I decided to kick Spring off with a whole foods cleanse. What better way to cleanse than by incorporating nutrient-packed green smoothies and juices into your diet, right? Well if you do decide to go this route there are some very important things to keep in mind:
1) Do yourself a favor and add some fat to that green smoothie or green juice.
A number of studies were published about 10 years ago showing that we actually need fat with our vegetables to absorb their nutrients. While water-soluble nutrients enter our bloodstream by diffusion, fat soluble vitamins must be consumed together with dietary fat to be absorbed. In response to these studies, we happily ditched our fat free salad dressings and embraced the delight of olive oil with our salads once again. Yet health fanatics everywhere are guzzling green juices and smoothies without any fat to actually help usher amazing cancer-fighting, heart-healing nutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene, into our cells. What gives? In addition to helping you absorb the nutrients, the fat will help mitigate the rise in blood sugar that results due to natural sugars in the fruits. This leads to more balanced energy levels and mood throughout the day.
I love Flora Udo’s choice 3-6-9 Oil. This oil blend is rich in omega-3 fatty acids from flax and Gamma Linolenic Acid from Evening Primrose Oil, an omega 6 fatty acid that performs much like omega 3 fatty acids in the body. GLA is great for helping women to balance their hormones and reduce symptoms of PMS. Raw coconut oil, avocado, hemp seeds, or coconut milk are also great sources of healthy fat.
2) Choose fruits wisely to avoid the deleterious effects of rapid swings in blood sugar.
Be sure to stick to low-sugar fruits if you have trouble with blood sugar balance. Insulin resistance sweeps the nation leading to type II diabetes, heart disease, excess weight, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and cancer. Several smoothie recipes call for a handful of greens on top of two or three servings of fruit. Eating this much fruit will cause a rapid surge in blood sugar in many sugar-sensitive people leading to fatigue and mood swings. Furthermore, eating a large amount of fruit in the morning hours can deplete the adrenal glands over time as they pump out cortisol to mitigate the crashes that result immediately after rapid blood sugar increases. Instead of adding high sugar tropical fruits in large amounts, experiment with a cup of berries, 1 chopped apple, peach, nectarine, or pear.
3) Switch up your fruits and vegetables.
Variety is the spice of life…and the key to good health. Many people that I know that start their day off with smoothies, drink the same smoothie day after day. But as we know thanks to a surge in gluten, soy, and corn allergies, eating the same foods day in and day out predisposes us to food sensitivities and intolerances. The key to optimal nutrient intake is eating a variety of whole foods each day.
4) Honor your Constitution.
If you are often cold in the early morning hours, it’s probably best to forgo your smoothie for a warming meal like a vegetable and egg scramble or porridge made with quinoa, amaranth, millet, or buckwheat. Smoothies, according to TCM, have a cooling and dampening effect on the body. Smoothies can also wreak havoc on those with digestive weakness, causing bloating and gas.
5) We each have a unique blueprint, so, first and foremost, let your body be your guide.
Just the other day, a client said to me “I have a green smoothie everyday. I experience a lot of bloating and fatigue after drinking it, but I don’t want to stop because I know it’s the healthiest food on the planet!” Sometimes group-think and fads reveal gems that we may not have noticed without all of the buzz. Other times, they create a climate in which it’s easy to override our own body wisdom if it doesn’t match up with the popular experience. First and foremost, HONOR YOU.