I’ve been talking a lot about green smoothies recently, so I figured I should highlight the awesomeness of them and explain why you should start incorporating them into your diet! From first-hand experience, I can honestly say that green smoothies made me feel amazing. I liked having a little bit of solid food each day, but I am absolutely continuing to drink 1 – 2 litres of green smoothies most days of the week. I feel lost without my green smoothies when I don’t have them 🙂
Partway through my 11-day green smoothie experience, I started doing research into green smoothies. I knew that if I felt that good from drinking them, there must be something very important going on in my body. Sure enough, I found a lot of information confirming what I was already suspecting: drinking leafy green smoothies (with other natural ingredients) are one of the most healthy lifestyle changes you can make. My main source of information was from Victoria Boutenko’s Green for Life, a book all about green smoothie nutrition, eating raw and a comparison of the human diet to the chimpanzee diet (extremely fascinating stuff – I read the book in a day and a half, it was so good!), but there were other reputable sources that I found as well which spoke enthusiastically about the wonders of green smoothies.
Here are the main points that I learned:
– Green smoothies promote weight loss. Naturally if you exclusively eat one thing for a few days, you’re probably going to lose weight simply because it’s difficult to over-eat on one type of food – you get tired/bored of it. But green smoothies are particularly good for weight loss because the high water content and the potentially high fibre content fill you up. They provide a lot of sustenance, and depending on the ingredients you use they can also be a very low-calorie snack/meal. I’ve had trials of green smoothie “fasts” several times now, and each time I notice a weight loss of a couple pounds within just a few days. The weight will stay off as long as you eat normally in the days that follow. If you overeat, you’ll regain the weight. If you eat proper-sized portions of foods, that weight will stay off.
– Green smoothies help the body stay hydrated. Hydration is so important for keeping our energy levels up, for good brain and muscular functions, to help the immune system, and to help get rid of any toxins and waste in the body. Unfortunately, most people don’t drink nearly enough water. If your urine isn’t an extremely pale yellow or nearly clear colour, you likely aren’t drinking enough water. If you’re thirsty, that’s the body’s way of telling you that you’re already showing the first signs of dehydration. The reasons for not drinking enough water are numerous, including that people don’t like the taste of water, they don’t have time to drink water regularly throughout the day, they forget to drink water or that they consume too many other things which are dehydrating. Green smoothies can help with that! Generally if I use one cup of water in a smoothie and add some fruit and leafy greens, once blended the volume increases to about 1.5 or 2 cups of liquid. Drink green smoothies to stay hydrated and you’ll find that you feel a million times better.
– Green smoothies promote good digestion. They help to break down the food so that our bodies can access nutrients. Some scientific research points to the reality that many people have poor pH levels in their stomachs. This means that, due to evolution, dietary patterns or changing health in general, our bodies may not be as efficient and adept at breaking down food to acquire nutrients as they once were. Plants are made of extraordinarily strong materials and if we cannot properly break down the greens in our digestive system, we will not be extracting all of the precious nutrients. That’s where the blender comes in. By drinking our leafy greens, the cells have already been broken down so that the nutrients will be more accessible. Awesome! This also means that if you find it difficult to eat greens because they make you bloat or cause indigestion, the green smoothies will be much kinder on your system and you will be able to consume leafy greens without any uncomfortable side effects.
– Green smoothies provide a ton of nutrients. As a general rule, we don’t get enough leafy greens in our diets. Some health professionals even suggest that leafy greens should be an entire category on their own, separate from the fruit/vegetable food group, because of the bountiful nutrients that they provide. Victoria Boutenko provides detailed analysis of the nutritional profile of greens, offering an impressive amount of evidence that leafy greens “are the primary food group that matches human nutritional needs most completely” (Boutenko, 35). And yes, leafy greens provide a lot of protein as well. If you continue to rotate the types of leafy greens that you use in your smoothies, you will be getting all of the essential amino acids into your diet. They’re the single most important food to include in our diet, and yet they are incredibly under-used in the Standard American Diet.
– Green smoothies are an appealing way to eat greens. Okay, so this isn’t so much a “health” benefit, but it’s still a beneficial way for people to consume their greens! We should be consuming a pound or two of leafy greens every day to reap amazing nutritional benefits, and green smoothies can help us to meet that goal. Many people dislike salads or find it just plain challenging to eat large quantities of salad or other forms of greens. Smoothies, however, can be mixed with fruit, cocoa powder or flavoured protein powder and the like to turn it into a sweet treat. In this way you could have a smoothie for breakfast, a smoothie as a pre- or post-workout snack and a smoothie for dessert in the evening. Three smoothies right there! You can add any kind of leafy green, or different kinds of powdered sea greens and herbs for a good variety.
Do you drink green smoothies? Do you find this information compelling enough to give green smoothies a shot? Are you a Boutenko fan? Have you heard about the health benefits of green smoothies before? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!