Smoothies allows us to have better nutrition intake with the convenience of blending it all together. You can make unlimited different combinations with vegetables, fruits, juices, yoghurt, and milk. That kale that you might have avoid during lunch is now disguised as sweet with the banana. You might even add superfood powders, like cacao, spirulina, collagen boosters, or wheatgrass. They taste wonderful and are so convenient to drink on the go!
I cringe when I hear how great smoothies are. Ayurvedically, it is the worst possible way to consume food. Ironic how smoothies are marketed as a this perfect health food concoction.
Typically, a smoothie has more than a few ingredients in it. In Ayurveda, we say that digestion starts in the mouth. Each food we consume starts the process of digestion. For example, if we are eating strawberries, the mouth perceives the taste of typically sweet, sour with a mushy, fibrous texture that has some little seeds. Mastication is an important process that releases enzymes for further digestion. It informs the stomach to let it know that it needs to get ready, or rather start the digestive fire (agni) to digest these qualities that will be coming soon. They are both on the same page that it is a strawberry. That strawberry is broken down in the stomach, as the stomach knows what it needs to do and now it is passed on to continue the digestion process.
Furthermore, in Ayurveda we place a great deal of emphasis on incorrect food combinations. These might seem a bit out there as we break so many of these in our day to day life.
Fruit should be consumed by itself, 1 hour before or after eating other foods.
The reason for this is that fruit is a simple sugar and digests fairly quicker then the rest. Those strawberries also speed up the digestion for the other non-fruits in there. These other ingredients will not be digested for the time they need to be and the body will have a hard time extracting nutrients.
Another big rule is fruits should not be combined with dairy. This will curdle in the stomach, making digestion once again more difficult.
Last but not least, smoothies are typically cold. Some use frozen fruit and vegetables but its typically enjoyed as cold.
Eating or drinking cold foods will further dampen the digestive fire.
Too Many Ingredients
In a smoothie, there are too many ingredients in it for the mouth to perceive and and understand what needs to be digested and how. Smoothies are one texture- smooth of course! For a second, you taste the berries, then the almond milk, but it also feels like you might have tasted the the cacao, too. Eating real foods is the best to support our bodies because we need the process of mastication, tasting and perceiving for optimal digestion to occur. Even when drinking soup, such as daal, the mouth is perceiving the texture, taste of the lentils. The spices enhance the taste of the lentils.
Smoothies Weaken Digestion
When our digestive fire (agni) is impaired and loses its ability of ignite when needed, sludge accumulates in our stomach. These toxins accumulate and ferment. A typical person is not able to get rid of this ama, because they were not aware what damage their smoothie habit has caused. Ama does not show up overnight as a disease. It takes time. First, it might show up as digestive issues and then slowly develop into something else.
Smoothies weaken the body’s intelligence in the digestive process, but also weaken the digestive fire (agni), too.
Eat Real Food
I can relate to smoothie lovers because I used to love drinking them in the summer. In the heat, smoothies feel so good when naturally we are in pitta season and we crave to cool down from the fiery pitta heat. There is not a substitute for eating real food. Those who are in tune in with bodies will not feel satisfied after drinking a smoothie. I have met many people who still get hungry soon after because on a subtle level the body is signaling to eat real food and start the digestion process.