I know, I know. I was against drinking smoothies, even green ones, for a long time. However, I have recently changed my stance and here’s why:
I can’t eat more food but I have to/want to
Seriously, this IS a problem for me. Most of you will have the opposite problem: you want to lose weight, I want to gain some. Not much, just… some. And since I eat an oil-free, low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt, whole foods plant-based diet, my options to eat more food than I burn are somewhat limited. Additionally, I have recently bought a road bike and all that exercise doesn’t make things any easier, either.
I can no longer eat dried fruit like dates on their own in any meaningful amount because they have become just too sweet for me (I kid you not!). However, once I blend up almond milk, about 200g of fruit, 5 dates and copious amounts of my leafy green vegetable of choice, I can actually get in some extra calories by drinking. And if the smoothie is delicious enough, I can drink the entire 8 cups in a matter of few minutes.
I want to eat more vegetables, but they take away too much room in my stomach for something more calorically dense (starches!)
This is a slight variation of the theme above, but I do feel this one deserves its own point.
Starches are the most important component of your plate and you should never, ever, consume a meal without it: it’s filling, gives you the calories that you needs, is low in fat and just delicious. However, vegetables (especially leafy green ones) are extremely important, as well.
Ever since I started stuffing my face with greens, my skin has become so. much. better. However, they do take away valuable space in my stomach (see above). Consuming at least some of my greens in liquid form circumvents that problems and allows me to consume even more kale (yay, kale!).
I am not convinced by the anti-smoothie arguments anymore
Who doesn’t know that “argument” that chopping up your food thousands of times with a steel blade doesn’t improve its quality? This might actually be untrue. Blending food does break up the cell walls and releases their content (if you use a high-speed blender, that is). Does that automatically lead to better absorption? I don’t know. It’s just valuable to note that this is another point that the plant-based community fundamentally disagrees on: Esselstyn is against smoothies, McDougall thinks they’re OK for people who want to gain weight, Fuhrman thinks they’re fine in general.
I go with what seems most appropriate in my situation. This might not work for you, but it does for me:
- I’m at a healthy weight and don’t have any weight to lose.
- I follow an oil-free, low-fat, low-sugar, low-salt whole foods plant-based diet.
- I eat tons of fibre. More than 70 g on some days!
- I don’t have hypertension or any other disease.
So, being a healthy adult, I do not see any reason why I shouldn’t be drinking green smoothies.
So, in order for this post to be not a complete waste, here is how I build my smoothies. I usually place all of the ingredients in my Vitamix before going to bed so that I can blend them up first thing in the morning.
I keep it simple: I always add:
- a box of frozen fruit (200g) which I buy at Albert Heijn here in the Netherlands
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- enough water, about 4-6 cups
- 5 pitted medjool dates
Then, I fill my Vitamix container to the top with some sort of leafy green, mostly spinach or kale.
My favourite versions:
- blueberries and spinach
- strawberries and kale
- mango and kale/spinach (50:50)
- pineapple and spinach