Let’s be honest, the green smoothie diet is on par with the coconut craze that hit a few years back. Every yogi and his pug is now whipping up a green delight in their Vitamix and carrying it to work in a mason jar. But is this the green smoothie wave a healthy obsession? Or is there even such a thing? Here are a few things to consider before you blend.
Go Easy on the Fruit
We know that fruit can be high in sugar. I’m not necessarily anti-fruit (unless you are fructose intolerant/low FODMAP or have a history of Candida overgrowth, SIBO or the like – I’ll discuss that in another post), but you also don’t need a lot of it in your smoothie. Ask yourself why you are adding it. Usually, it’s so you can stomach the jar of greens and for added fibre, so some kiwi fruit, half a pear, or a handful of fresh berries is ideal. A banana is a good option to add creaminess if you aren’t using avocado.
Avoid a Superfood Fest
So you’ve discovered Maca, Bee Pollen and of course, Cacao? Fabulous! But, if you’re using a number of fresh ingredients, they are pretty ‘super’ as it is. Many super foods can be still highly processed and all of them need to be broken down by your digestive system, so make sure you know what you’re adding will actually be beneficial. A good way is to experiment with different combinations and see how your tummy feels afterwards and if you notice a benefit in your energy levels.
Rotate Your Greens
It’s called a green smoothie for a reason. Leafy greens are full of essential fibre, vitamins (A, C, K, folate), minerals and can help protect against disease. Throwing in a handful of mixed greens is a good way of including them in your diet. You may be in a rhythm with your kale craze or love your iceberg, but change it up. The great thing about raw greens is they have a lot to offer – they contain phytonutrients (plant goodness to help prevent disease), vitamins and antioxidants (neutralise free radicals). But they have a cheeky side too: raw greens (especially kale) have a defence system. They carry a small amount of toxins to protect them. So you see, if you eat too much of the one type of greenery, you risk alkaloid buildup – you’ll start to feel off and at the extreme your thyroid could be effected. Easy blending greens for newcomers are baby spinach or water cress (a super green).
Add Some Protein
Whether it’s a bit of full fat yoghurt, grass fed Gelatin, a raw egg or a few nuts (cashews are nice and creamy or hazelnuts for the paleo people out there), add a little protein to your smoothie. It will keep you feeling satisfied for longer and help counteract the insulin spike some fruit can give you. I like Bare Blends (grass fed whey) or Sun Warrior* for vegans or Paleo Pro* or Gelatin* for the paleo crowd.
Read the Labels
Make sure you know when it was packaged, who made it and what’s in it. If you can’t figure it out – ask. There are a lot of businesses out there selling ready-made smoothies these days. The best way? Go local. If the producer lives in the area, it’s more likely the ingredients are local, fresh and the blending was done within the last day. Check for additives and the proportion of fruit too – look for at least a 1 fruit: 2 veggie ratio, if you can.
Make our Gut Healing Blueberry Smoothie
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.