Surprised to see that title?
I know this isn’t going to be my most popular blog post, but it’s important to be authentic and honest with you guys about my thoughts…about smoothies.
If you go through my early What I Ate Wednesday posts, I was eating smoothie bowls on a daily basis for breakfast (smoothie bowl = smoothie with toppings).
But when I started making changes to the way I eat to help heal my gut from years of IBS and later finding out this past year I had both a bacterial and yeast overgrowth (aka SIBO and Candida), smoothies were one of the first things I took out of my diet. And this helped tremendously.
I don’t believe people with IBS just have to deal with the pain it can cause on a daily basis, I believe for the large part many of the symptoms experienced can be healed. It takes time, but it’s 100% worth it. IBS and specifically intolerance to FODMAPs is a pretty big indicator that there is dysbiosis of your gut flora. What does that mean? For some people this may mean SIBO and/or candida, other pathogens like parasites, but I suspect for many there’s just an imbalance of good to bad bacteria in your gut microbiome.
So as part of my gut healing protocol I used on myself and use with my clients is to first take out any foods and beverages that can exacerbate symptoms and therefore discourage the healing of your gut.
So why is taking smoothies out of the diet (temporarily) part of this?
First, because its a lot of raw foods, which is A LOT of work on your already sensitive digestive system. During the initial stages of healing, Meg and I both recommend are clients consume primarily cooked, warm foods. I can now consume some raw foods like salads for lunches, but I don’t have raw foods multiple times a day even now I am in the final stages of healing (right now I am recolonizing my gut using specific types of probiotics in both foods and supplements, this has to be the last stage though…more to come on this in another post!) Most people put numerous servings of raw fruits and vegetables in a smoothie and then chug it in under 10 minutes…talk about a lot of work for your digestion! And now people are putting cauliflower in their smoothies…which is fine if you don’t suffer digestive issues but if you do this is NOT A GOOD IDEA. Certain vegetables, like cruciferous vegetables (kale, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc) are meant to be cooked. If its not palatable raw that is your sign your body prefers you to eat it cooked. Mother nature is pretty smart that way!
Second, because most contain protein powders. No real research to back this up, but I have noticed not just for myself but ALL my clients experiencing digestive issues that protein powders are not well tolerated. I am not really sure why that is, but I find every type and brand usually bother people with sensitive guts. My thoughts is this may be due to it not being an “alive” food. Aruyvedic medicine believes foods that are alive are better tolerated and proper nutrients can be extracted from them.
Lastly, because its cold. This matters most in the morning, which is ironically when most people consume smoothies. For those with digestive distress, warm (and cooked) foods are better tolerated. Your body especially prefers this in the morning, have warm fluids and food in the morning for optimal digestion. Think warm water, warm coffee or other drinks like matcha, cooked breakfasts like eggs or oatmeal (but soak and/or sprout and then cook the oats to help your body digest this better).
With all this being said, if your digestion is stellar, you are likely fine to continue smoothies. It is not that I think they are unhealthy (not at all!) I just don’t think those with digestive issues should be drinking them while we heal your gut. If you continue smoothies, make sure you to take your time to drink it, really chew it instead of chugging it! Swapping to collagen instead of protein powder may help. If you really want cruciferous veggies in there, considering broccoli sprouts instead, they are easier on the digestion because they are sprouted.
If you are suffering from digestive issues, I challenge you to just consider not drinking smoothies temporarily. I don’t think it’s necessary to never drink them again, but you have to think about the stress you may be putting on your already sensitive digestive tract. And don’t forget…these issues can heal with proper guidance!
Tell me: Have you ever noticed if smoothies can cause you digestive issues like bloating, pain and gas?