© 2013 jen

Fit-tastic Update: Custom Designed Smoothies For Your Bod

Last week I wrote a post sharing a couple of recipes that I like to eat that are both great for the body and super fast. I mentioned in the post to be careful about adding leafy greens to your smoothies.

A friend asked for more info about this, so this week I decided to research green smoothies and share what I’ve learned.

My recommendation last week was to be careful about adding leafy greens like kale and spinach to your green smoothies. Personally, I’ve noticed that with kale smoothies in particular, I feel really bloated and bad after I consume them. This is also true of chia seeds that haven’t been soaked prior to being added to a smoothie.

So I thought this week I’d read up as much as I could about why anyone would need to worry about adding leafy greens to a smoothie and whether or not that is something the general population needs to worry about.

Answers to the question of whether green smoothies are good or bad for you

The question of whether or not green smoothies are good for you stems from the fact that some vegetables have oxalate in them.  Oxalate is a naturally occurring organic acid. Read more about it here.

Oxalate is found in many, many foods, such as: leafy greens, fruits, nuts, legumes, grains and other foods. Here’s a list of veggies that have oxalate in them in their raw form: kale, spinach, beets, okra, leeks, collard greens.

From all of the sources I’ve read, it seems that there are some populations that need to worry about eating leafy greens in their smoothies. These are people with kidney stones, thyroid problems and people with digestive issues. I am one of those people who needs to be careful about eating leafy greens. I get to feeling like my insides are being scratched and scraped up if I have a kale smoothie, or worse yet a few of them. I’ve done it before and I’ve felt bloated and weak as a result of drinking too many kale smoothies, but this is me. I have a more damaged digestive system than the average person. For the average person, I don’t think there is a need to worry about adding leafy greens to smoothies.

If you are concerned about the levels of oxalate in your smoothies, one way to avoid oxalate is to par-cook the veggies before you put them in the smoothie, but again, for the average person, this isn’t something you need to worry about.

After reading TONS of sources it seems to me that there’s a movement afoot to discredit the idea of green smoothies, which is related to some people thinking the raw food movement is bad for you. Now having said this, if you’re eating exclusively raw veggies for every meal, like  many people are, over time it could be harsh on your system, or it could be totally fine.

This health food bashing is similar to the vitamin bashing that you’ve probably heard of. You know, there’s no point to vitamins because they KILL or some other stupid thing.

The fact of the matter is, the information that I could find online is OVERWHELMINGLY pro-smoothie. Even when I searched “are green smoothies bad for you,” I couldn’t find one article with a strong argument that was anti-green smoothie. There were people who were defending smoothies and mentioning one article that a doctor wrote who was anti-green smoothies, but this is a doctor who is anti-raw food in general, and the fear is about oxalate. After reading more about oxalate, it’s obvious to me that this is a misguided fear. It’s natural and only bad for a few peeps in the world with highly sensitive constitutions.

Back on some greens

For me, this is great news that I don’t need to worry about green smoothies in general. I just need to not add kale to my smoothies for my own digestive health, but most people don’t need to worry about this. I’m happy to say that I’ve never had problems with spinach and now that I’ve researched it I’m going back to it!

My own common sense was sending me red flags the more I thought about toxins in spinach in particular. I eat spinach all the time in salads. I love the taste of spinach and have never felt sick from it, not even for a second. I should add here that my system is HYPER-SENSITIVE now and I can feel pretty much anything that is even a tiny bit bad for me, right away.

I think it’s important for people to know that there is a possible down side to drinking green smoothies.  If you have kidney stones or they run in your family, or maybe you have thyroid issues, then you may want to be more careful about what you add to your smoothie. If you find that you start to feel weak or bloated, that could be a sign that it’s time to cut back on the green part of the smoothie or change to another green that’s less harsh on the system, so switch it up a little and add some different vegetables to your smoothie.

If you’re in good health, drink your green smoothies
to your heart’s content.

Why not skip green smoothies all together?

The reason smoothies and green smoothies in particular are so important is that it’s the easiest and one of the tastiest ways to really up your fruit and veggie intake. It’s actually pretty hard to eat the number of veggies in a day that you can easily consume in a smoothie. Smoothies are also good because they are already broken down foods. This is such a benefit to your body, saves energy in digestion and time in the digestion process.

Green smoothie recipe for those with sensitivities

Here is a recipe that is really a way of thinking about your smoothie formula so that you can custom design a smoothie that’s right for your body.

Smoothies are so easy to make that you can pretty much wing anything. Add an apple, some ginger, maybe a carrot and some water and that’s a great afternoon snack.

Today I thought it would be useful to explain what different fruits and vegetables will do for your in your smoothie and in your body, so you can build your smoothie to meet your needs.

First, here’s a little list of fruits and vegetables, and what they do in your drink and in your body.

 best foods for smoothie

* Prebiotics – non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of bacteria in the digestive system.

I also made a Build your own smoothie PDF so you can have this for your very own!

With this list you can pick the foods that you need for your personal, custom designed smoothie. Here is the formula that I think makes for the best smoothies.

fat/protein (you get maximum nutrient absorption when paired with good fats)
At least one fruit and veggie
fiber
antioxidant/fighting free radicals
anti-inflammatory
Omega-3 fatty acids
+   sweetness (to taste) from one of the sweeter fruits
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A delicious + nutritious smoothie

Use the foods listed above or find your own to make a healthy smoothie. Try to follow this formula for optimal health. You’re also getting tons of other goodies in your smoothies, such as awesome vitamins and minerals. If you have specific health issues you can add what you need to make your smoothie custom to your needs. I also included in my chart the foods that help relieve constipation and diarrhea.

With some of these foods you’ll be accomplishing more than one thing at a time.  When you eat spinach you can get fiber, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, you’re eating a vegetable and so forth. The idea is that there is overlap between these foods. Just make sure you have the bases covered by the formula above.

I’m someone who is prone to constipation (whee so fun!), so I dial my smoothies to be high on fiber. I’m also concerned about inflammation and free radicals because I was sick for so many years prior to the Celiac disease diagnosis. So I make a point to add extra of these fruits and veggies.

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My custom smoothie for today (based on fruits and veggies I have in the house that are good for me):

 1 carrot – peeled
A handful of mango (I use the frozen Trader Joe’s variety)
A handful of pineapple chunks (I use the frozen Trader Joe’s variety)
1/2 a cucumber – peeled
1/2 an avocado
1 tbs ginger
Coconut milk (I find it works best if you start with a little and work your way up to more. You can always add more coconut milk, but you cannot take it away).

Oh, I forgot to mention the benefits of coconut milk and why I always use it in my smoothies. It is a high fat carbohydrate, with protein and tons of micro-nutrients.

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If you look closely at my face you can see the puffiness around my eyes. Events in the news have made me pretty teary. I’ll be fine, but I’m still processing how harsh and sad the world can be at times. This is also the reason I’m glaring in the other photo. When in doubt, glare.

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Update:

Here’s a quick update on my health. I’m back to my “fighting weight” of 191 lbs. Last week I’d gained a few pounds which I think was due to all the extra working out I’ve been doing, but now that I’m still working out as much as I was last week, I’ve dropped those pounds that I’d gained in muscle.

My exercise teacher Kristin, of Take It Outside Fitness, has really been stepping up the exercise with a new style of exercise called Tabata. Lots of short, quick reps and it’s really challenging me on a new level. I think I’m moving into a new range of fitness here.  I feel good!

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I drink different types of smoothies all the time, but I always choose foods that will help my body make up. I hope you find this chart and this formula beneficial.

 So now you know how to make your own cancer-fighting, young-skin-making, high fiber, protein rich, delicious smoothies! Make your own smoothie today and when you do, let me know what you added to it and why.

Happy smoothie making!

Comments

comments

6 Comments

  1. Posted April 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm | #

    I use fresh ginger a lot in my juice and smoothies. My friend Alana taught me a great and easy way to peel it that doesn’t waste as much ginger. Use a spoon! The tip of the spoon, ran along the ginger easily just scrapes the peel right off! It was a little bit of a game changer for me.

    • Posted April 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm | #

      Hi Kari, thanks so much for the tip. I’ve heard of that technique, but honestly I’ve never tried it. Will try it next time I make a smoothie! What’s your favorite smoothie? Do you have a fave?

  2. jean
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm | #

    You are rocking this look!! Great job.

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:05 pm | #

      Thanks, Jean!

  3. kat
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm | #

    yes the same thing happens to me when i add kale to my smoothies. i have no problems with spinach, or dandelion . I’ve read that it is important to switch up you green. so I’m going back and forth between the two. do you have any recommendation for any other green i could use?

    thanks
    kathryn