Green smoothies are everywhere, I can’t escape them. My Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter news feed is full of them. I wake up, log into Facebook and see 10 posts in the space of 3 finger scrolls outlining the benefits of green smoothies, or snap shots with filters of green smoothies in a jar on the way to the gym.
If I see another one I think I will turn green myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against them, I just don’t think they are as #amazeballs as they are made out to be.
There are just a couple of gripes that I need to get out of the way…
- They have become sexy for sexy sake. It’s almost like you’re not taking care of yourself or a healthy person unless you turn up to work having downed your green smoothie before coming in the door. There are many other ways to maintain a healthy diet and there’s no need to feel guilty if you can’t stand the thought of downing a green smoothie.
- It’s almost become a competition as to who owns the most expensive, eco-friendly juice press, blender or smoothie maker. Food and diet should never ever be turned into an elitist activity…ever.
- They are being used to replace meals. They should never substitute a well-rounded, nutritionally complete breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- They are a liquid meal. Our intestines and stomachs are a muscle, just like our biceps. If we don’t use it, we lose it and if all we put through our intestine and stomach is a liquid which requires no churning or squeezing, we will lose the muscle tone and ability to do this with solid food. This means, it can be difficult to digest foods and become uncomfortable.
- They are green. The number of friends I have that sip their green smoothie whilst hating very moment is amazing. To me, it’s just not worth it. Eat a plate of delicious steamed broccoli and kale instead.
- 3 handfuls of spinach thrown into your smoothie each morning may not be the best thing for you. The oxalates in spinach inhibit the absorption of calcium. So, you know the calcium (which people incorrectly claim is super high in spinach) won’t get absorbed anyway. Nor will the calcium that you just paid a heap of money to be fortified into your almond, oat or soy milk that you just added to your smoothie.
- Raw food’s aren’t necessarily more nutritious than cooked. Minerals aren’t damaged by heat – calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, iodine to name a few. Vitamin K, which is found in green leafy vegetables, particularly kale, (often the staple green smoothie ingredient) is not affected by heat either. Heat often breaks down components of plants thick cell walls and lets us be able to uptake the inside nutrition of that cell. Studies have found greater amounts of antioxidants in some cooked vegetables and cooked steamed carrots in particular contain higher levels of beta carotene (which gets converted in the body to Vitamin A) than raw carrots.
- Some phytochemicals become more bioavailable through the cooking and heating process.
- They contain mostly vegetables which means very little protein. Protein builds muscle, bone, new cells and helps to keep you full.
I often see people adding proteins powders to them to make them more nutritious, although the average person gets more than adequate protein from food without needing to obtain it from heavily processed powders. Excess protein (and yes this can be as much as the protein powder added to your smoothie) puts large amounts of stress on the kidneys which is a major health concern. Not only this, but excess protein is also excreted down the toilet, sadly meaning a waste of your money.
And then there’s the positives:
- They are a great way of increasing your vegetable intake. When only 5% of Australian adults (yes, only 5%) are consuming the recommended 5 serves of vegetables a day, they are a great way to boost a persons intake up to this 5 serves.
- They are loaded with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which assist in overall health and general wellbeing, prevent some cancers and can help lower cholesterol.
- They are portable, making them easy to drink for busy people rushing to work etc.
- Easy to make
- Great way to use up left over bits and pieces from the bottom of the crisper which would normally get thrown in the bin and contribute to our burgeoning food waste issue.
- They are easy to involve children in the process of making and educating about vegetables
- Great for if you are currently consuming too many calories for your body and trying to cut down in order to increase your health and lose weight.
- They are sexy at the moment
- They make nice photographs
They are also a fabulous way of increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals without the need for taking them in tablet form.
While you are here, you may wish to take a peek at my article outlining the facts about coconut oil and why I haven’t listened to all it’s hype.
Stay happy and healthy,
The Nutrition Guru x