Ayurveda sees smoothies as a little bit problematic.
I realise I may not be making myself popular with this statement…
Isn’t the green smoothie the healthiest food you can have? 🤨
I’ll explain why the concept of a smoothie is a bad idea. Don’t worry! You can still have your smoothie buuuut I’ll give you some tips you can make them in a way that is not going to upset your digestive system. And I’ll give you a nice immune boosting Ayurvedic smoothie recipe, of course!
Why smoothies may not be good for you
So why is it that ayurvedically speaking smoothies are such a bad idea?
First of all, the coldness of a smoothie – especially with frozen fruits – is affecting our digestive fire. It’s extinguishing the still low fire that is burning in the morning.
The coldness will also affect those with Vata and Kapha dominant constitutions.
Second, the many different ingredients that we put in smoothies are at best hard to digest and at worst incompatible. Does your smoothie include protein powder, collagen, powdered superfoods and a series of adaptogens, besides fruit, veg and maybe even dairy?
And last: if you have a constitution that is high in Vata all these raw foods may trigger typical Vata imbalance symptoms like bloating, gas and anxiety. Wait a minute… you can get anxiety from a smoothie?? Well, yes, it is possible.
Some foods are considered ‘comfort food’ like mashed potatoes or curries. You know, the really warming, filling, high carb meals. Likewise raw foods may have the opposite effect. Ayurveda recognises that the way we eat our food – cooked, uncooked, food combinations – can affect our mind.
How can I still have my smoothie?
Here are some tips to make your smoothie more ‘ayurvedic’ and easier on your digestion.
1. have your smoothie room temperature
If you are using frozen ingredients, top them with water that has boiled and slightly cooled down. The end result should be room temperature or slightly warm.
2. don’t over process it
Process until you still have small pieces or you can top your smoothie with sliced fresh fruits. That way you still get the fibre and it’s not causing such a high blood sugar spike – followed by a blood sugar drop that makes us reach for coffee and less than healthy snack choices.
3. reduce the number of different ingredients
Limit the number of different ingredients to two or three. If your diet is balanced it’s unlikely you need protein powder (often a highly processed ‘food’ full with additives).
4. use spices to improve digestibility
Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and fennel are good options.
5. stay in the same class of ingredients
Make your smoothie with just fruits. Don’t mix fruits with dairy. You could mix fruit and veg but see how it lands. Using plant based milk instead of dairy milk will also improve digestibility. But the very best is just fruits on their own.
6. use seasonal fruits
When you don’t have seasonal fruits you can use dried fruits but make sure to rehydrate them overnight for better digestion. You can use the soaking water to add a bit of sweetness (but don’t if you have high Kapha).
7. have your smoothie as an afternoon snack
In the afternoon the digestive fire is still burning high. Have it at least 2 hours after lunch and two hours before dinner.
8. for Pittas
If you have a Pitta dominant constitution or a Pitta imbalance you are probably craving more raw foods. You can have your smoothie if feeling high Pitta even though it’s winter or breakfast time but try out the first 6 tips ;-)