I feel like smoothies get a really bad rap. Many resources advise against smoothies citing that you eliminate the first step of digestion (chewing), you may not realize how many calories you’re consuming because smoothies can be loaded with high sugar fruits, and they might not fill you up. I get all that, I do. But, I have to say I disagree. Ok maybe not on missing the chewing aspect, that’s fairly hard to dispute, and yup I agree there is benefit to all the extra saliva you swallow when you properly chew your food. That said, I believe that the cons of less spit are outweighed by the pros of the smoothie in general. Because here’s the thing, I think smoothies done right can be super healthy, and an awesome part of your diet routine.
In many paleo resources, you’ll hear that you need to find your own flavor of paleo- such great advice! Just like all of our bodies are incredibly different and complex, our diets should be as well! What works for some might not work for others. For instance, some people can eat fruit all day long, but if I eat too much I get bloated from the sugar and gain weight even if I’m eating super “clean” otherwise. In my own personal flavor of paleo, I care less about what my ancestors ate and [much] more about eating a very nutrient-dense, whole foods diet. While I think that great quality meat is absolutely an important part of the diet, I am starting to wonder whether I need so much meat. With all the protein and fat found in oils, nuts, seeds, and even fruits and vegetables, do I really need to add bacon to my Brussels Sprouts?
So back to the smoothies… First, let’s be clear that I am talking about healthy smoothies made at home- not the sugary ones you buy out. In my smoothie base is either almond or coconut milk, cinnamon, about 1″ fresh ginger, 1-2 TBS Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, and liquid from a whole lemon. I find if I start my smoothies that way, the ginger, ACV, and lemon are so strong I can add a ton of greens without it tasting like a pasture. I also add coconut or MCT oil, collagen, chia seeds, Brazil nuts (for the selenium), avocado, and a crapload of greens to almost every smoothie. You can even sneak in cucumber, carrot, celery, beets- anything! The variation in taste comes by adding more nuts and bananas, or tropical fruits, or peaches and mangoes, or…you get the picture.
My argument is that when you make a healthy smoothie like I described above, you are getting a well balanced meal that is very healthy for you. These smoothies are filled with fat and protein (collagen, avocado, coconut oil), great for detoxing (lemon & ACV), anti-inflammatory (ginger), tons of antioxidants, and filled with all the nutrients from the raw fruits and vegetables you’re adding. And I promise you will not feel hungry after drinking one of these fiber bombs! The only caveat I can see might be if you are extremely sensitive to sugar, you might have to pare down the fruit – with the ginger/lemon/ACV/cinnamon in the base though, I still think you’ll end up with a yummy smoothie!
The other great benefit that goes along with a smoothie routine is consuming a ton more vegetables. Yes, I can add spinach to my scrambled eggs in the morning, but not nearly as much as I can pack into a smoothie. Also, I feel a lot better about eating the majority of my produce raw so all the good stuff remains living and in tact, and I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of a salad for breakfast. I. Just. Can’t.