Smoothies – Are You Doing The Right Thing?
Green smoothies are an easy and delicious way to get healthy produce into your body, but drinking them in winter warrants special warning:
Don’t freeze your chi!
Chi is a Chinese word meaning aliveness, life force, or energy, and is also known as Ki, Qi, or Prana.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, doctors recommend against drinking cold water with meals as it “chills the digestive fires”. We aren’t designed to eat frozen foods. Having frozen ingredients will often cause bloating and slow down peristalsis (digestive movement).
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not against smoothies, they are a fast way of getting good nutrition into the body. However, your ability to stay warm and energized may freeze up if your smoothies are too cold energetically or if the ingredients themselves are frozen.
This little-known truth about cold smoothies is leaving a lot of health seekers feeling like failures – when, in reality, they could feel a lot better in and about their bodies with a few tips.
If you have a hard time staying warm in the colder winter months, or are working to heal your digestion and want to take your smoothies to the next level, take these steps to protect your energy, chi, and digestion:
1) Think about the energetics of foods
Things that take longer to mature such as certain vegetables are warming things like cabbage, squashes, and pumpkins.
2) Spice things up a little!
Ginger, one of my favourite herbs, is gentle and warming. It aids digestion and acts as a good anti-inflammatory, it is becoming more popular due to its ability to halt tumour growth. Consider adding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to your smoothie. Or alternatively, 2cm cubed of raw ginger.
Cinnamon is also warming and is great for regulating dopamine levels, which will help lift a mood. Again, 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon is fine.
3) Add fat and protein to the smoothie
Coconut oil, avocado, almond butter, and nuts are all good sources of fats (the good kind). Fat is an essential fuel source and doesn’t make you fat. See my article on ‘The truth about fats’. Other good sources of protein are flax seeds (linseed) chia seed, hemp seed – all will help to keep your body warmer. It will also fill you up… for longer!
Here is one example of a well-balanced smoothie for winter.
- 1 cup greens – either spinach, broccoli or kale
- ½ cup frozen cherries, defrosted overnight
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups almond or coconut milk
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled
- 20-plus grams chocolate pea protein
P.S I am always a fan of proper foods. Mastication (chewing) is the first act of eating and digestion. Where possible, always eat whole meals and do not rely on smoothies too much.
Eat well & stay healthy,
BSc Hons Chinese Medicine
& Owner of Mill Acupuncture