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Why Smoothies May Not Be Healthy For You

ayurveda smoothies
Photo by Rita

While discussing food and nutrition, terms like calories, vitamins, mineral, proteins and carbohydrates are usually used. In Ayurveda the nutritional value is simply determined by taste of the food and qualities it displays.

Smoothie is a thick and cold drink made of fruit or vegetables blended with milk or water. It may include combinations of seeds, nuts, oils, butters, yogurt, ice cream, powdered protein and superfoods.

Cow milk, fruit, seeds, nuts and vegetables are highly valued in Vedic medicine. They are considered as sattvic food or food which promotes positive energy flow and helps maintaining good physical, mental and spiritual health. But if you combine them they may cause some trouble in digestion.

When one type of food is mixed with another ingredients which are not compatible in taste, quality, potency and post digestive effect, their characteristics may change. In Ayurveda that is called Viruddha Ahara or incompatible food combining. There are food combinations that are beneficial and food combinations that are highly toxic.
The body digests fruit, vegetables and milk differently so you shouldn't combine them.

Fruits are fast and simple to digest. When mixed with other ingredients, fruit start to over ferment in stomach while waiting for their turn to be assimilated. Fermented fruit is a great food for yeast and parasites. It is advisable to eat raw fruits alone or with other fruits of same taste. This rule only applies to fresh fruit, dried fruits like raisins, figs and dates have different qualities. Dried fruits can be eaten with other foods like seeds, nuts and milk but don't mix them with fresh fruit.

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, arugula, watercress, cauliflower, turnip, collard greens etc.) must be cooked before eating. They contain chemicals that cause hypothyroidism. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, weight gain, dry skin and hair, hair thinning, abnormal menstrual cycles, depression, cold intolerance, cold hand and feet.
Raw spinach, chard, beet leaves, chives and parsley contain high amount of oxalic acid which stops the absorption of iron and calcium and causes the formation of kidney stones so it's healthier to lightly cook them.

Eating raw leafy green vegetables will increase Vata dosha in the body. You may experience that as gas, bloating, constipation, joint pain, brittle nails, anxiety, insomnia, mental fog. It will also produce hiccups, colic, softness of the stomach, cough. Individuals with Pitta constitution will digest raw food better but only if they eat it occasionally. Raw food is not Ayurvedic nor Yogic diet.
Raw vegetables have cold, dry and rough quality and they are too fibrous to digest. Raw fruits and vegetables are usually cooling in nature, and the stomach requires heat to complete its processes. Excessive intake of smoothies will destroy your health over time. If you read any authentic Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita you will see how many diseases are caused by eating raw.

Another problem with smoothies is lack of chewing. Chewing a solid food releases enzymes that start the digestive process. The more saliva you can incorporate the easier your digestive process will be. Saliva contains enzymes that help digest food. Chewing is what initiates digestion. It releases gastric secretions and enzymes into the stomach which helps to break down the food. 

How to make Ayurvedic smoothie

how to make ayurvedic smoothie
Photo by Silvia

1. Choose fresh and seasonal fruit or vegetables. Eat foods appropriate to climate and altitude you live in. Don't mix high-sugar and acidic fruits together. If you have strong digestive system you can use raw vegetables in small quantities. If your digestive system is weak or you have symptoms of Vata dosha aggravation mentioned above, you should lightly cook them. Do not mix cooked and raw vegetables.

2. Instead of milk, add room temperature or warm water. Cold water diminishes Agni (digestive fire/digestive enzymes) and you won't be absorbing or assimilating nutrients properly. Fruit would curdle the milk which may cause acidic pH, acid gastritis, edema or anemia.

3. You can add some warming spices like cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, cloves etc. they will increase Agni and help you to digest smoothie better and get all the nutrients.

4. During winter you can drink smoothie made of dried fruit, slightly warm milk, spices and nuts or seeds.

5. If you have weak digestion, the best time to drink smoothie would be between 10 am and 2 pm when Agni is most powerful. 

Author: Ayurveda Tutorials

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