Smoothies have been all the rage for quite some time now. The smoothie health craze has created a different way of obtaining nutrition, which at first glance seems “Oh so good”. I remember the first time I walked into a popularized smoothie retailer and ordered a concoction that sounded like a really healthy meal. I was horrified when the first few ingredients were tossed in. There was ice, dairy, sugary preservative filled fruit concentrate, a green liquid and a banana. After that I really started studying what was going into my smoothies to avoid disease causing pitfalls. Ayurveda promotes choosing food as medicine, not oral entertainment. Here are several tips for ingredient selection that follow healthy guidelines and Ayurvedic principles.
1. KNOW THE INGREDIENTS
- FRESHNESS: I am a stickler on the freshness of my smoothie ingredients. Fresh fruits and vegetables have much more prana (vital life force) than frozen, preserved or canned. Old foods create stagnant abnormal energy and aama (toxin). Make sure your smoothies are made fresh with fresh ingredients.
- ORGANIC: I prefer to have as many ingredients organic as possible to avoid exposure to pesticides and long term health risks.
- LABEL READING: If you are buying your smoothie at the grocery store or a local juice place, read the labels and ask about the ingredients. Many times these smoothies have high concentrations of sugar. In addition, you may think that you’re drinking a great meal, but you may be consuming little more than concentrated fruit juice or high fructose corn syrup. For these reasons, I prefer to make my own smoothies at home.
2. MAKE YOUR SMOOTHIE ACCORDING TO AYURVEDIC PRINCIPLES
- AVOID COLD: For over 5,000 years, Ayurveda has warned against consuming cold liquids regularly. The average stomach temperature is 99 degree F. When we consume cold liquids, it is a shock to the digestive system which damages the agni (digestive fire). So avoid adding ice, cold water or frozen fruits to your smoothies.
- VATA SMOOTHIES: If you are a Vata Ayurvedic constitution, too many raw vegetables can aggravate the digestive system causing gas, bloating, pain and belching. People with Vata constitutions should consider different type of smoothies that are more grounding and nourishing. Vata constitutions may want to skip the typical green smoothie and opt for a more warm and cooked meal or try the smoothies recipe below.
- KAPHA SMOOTHIES: People with Kapha constitution or a Kapha imbalance should avoid Kapha aggravating ingredients such as dates, bananas, avocado, coconut, milk, yogurt, ice cream, and sugary blends. Excess kapha can create indigestion, slow gastric emptying, mucous excess, nasal fullness, chest congestion and long term disease processes such as hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, polyps, growths and obesity.
- PITTA SMOOTHIES: People with a Pitta constitution should avoid adding to many pitta aggravating ingredients such as strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, raw beats and sour fruits such as green apples, green grapes, unripe pineapple and kiwis.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE: Remember to keep you ingredients simple yet healthy. When we start combining too many ingredients and food types, it confuses the gut, literally. Simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, starches and proteins all digest in very different ways with different enzymatic processes, so keep this in mind when mixing and matching.
- DONT MIX FRUIT: Ayurveda specifically recommends not combining fruit with other food groups such as proteins or fats. This inappropriate food combining can create a toxin known as aama.
Smoothies are a great way to make a healthy meal with highly nutritious foods. Try making some this week and get super charged nutrients. Here are a few to try out. You’ll see that they vary significantly based on the Ayurvedic constitution. Also remember I never promised that they were sugar laden tasty treats. They are for HEALTH.
- PITTA SOOTHING SMOOTHIE
– 1 cup coconut water
– 1 cup room temperature filtered water
– 1 cup peeled cucumber
– 1 small handful cilantro
– 10 mint leaves
– 1 – 2 stalks of celery
– 1/2 teaspoon Anantamul, also known as Saspirilla.
Mix all ingredients in a blender
- VATA SOOTHING SMOOTHIE
– 2 cup warm plant milk such as hemp milk, almond milk, coconut milk or rice milk
– Add 1 teaspoon Ashwagandha powder while warming the milk in a saucepan
– 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
– 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 scoop hemp protein powder
– 2 teaspoons grade A maple syrup
Mix all ingredients together in a blender.
- KAPHA REDUCING SMOOTHIE
– 2 cups greens such as spinach, baby kale, parsley, dandelion or cilantro
– 2 cups room temperature water
– 1/2 inch fresh organic ginger root
– 2 sticks celery
Mix all ingredients together in a blender.
For more information about Ayurveda, nutrition, healthy lifestyles, workshops and education please visit my website Healthier Vibrations and subscribe to my health newsletter Healthier Vibrations on WordPress.
Dr. Christie Smirl, AyuMD, Nurse Practitioner