Recently I was asked by a company to support a line of superfood powders, which one would add to their smoothie and off you go: you’re on your way to the land of the healthy (my poor marketing line, not their’s!!). This made me reflect long and hard about my opinions on smoothies and superfood powders.
You might not be surprised to read this but you know what? I just don’t dig that sort of stuff.
And woah! That’s a huge change from the ‘me’ who 18 months ago lived for her morning smoothie, packed with some crazy concoction that I convinced myself was amazing (I very often missed the mark!). The girl who became so fearful of chewing her food that drinking it was such an attractive option.
My mentality was something along the lines of: drinking my food is easier, quicker and blinds me from really connecting with what it is I am eating.
When drinking food I felt like I wasn’t eating. And that’s scary.
Today I get asked all the time about smoothies from my private coaching clients: Will they make me loose wight? Will they give me endless energy? Will I feel amazing? Are they ok to drink on their own as a ‘meal’? How many can I have a day?
And while it isn’t my thing to tell people what to eat, I can confidently tell you that I would much prefer you gorgeous people to be actively chewing your food, really ‘tasting’ and getting amongst what it is you’re eating, rather than gulping down your food, blind by what it is you are actually ‘eating’. Even if you have food related craziness or not, I advocate that there is nothing to fear about chewing, enjoying and savouring food in the way it was originally intended to be eaten: In it’s whole form. If you need to bust through some food fears let me direct you to my epic posts on food fears here and here.
When I was stuck in my food related craziness I was addicted to drinking a few meals a day rather than sitting down to a plate of ‘whole’ food. And while my smoothies were nutritious (I was obsessed with food so you bet your bottom dollar they were packed with the goods), it wasn’t long before this new found way of ‘eating’ which felt ‘good’ and ‘safe’ started supporting and feeding into my food related fears.
// I felt less guilty when drinking smoothies because the blender would support the fact that quantity wise, I wasn’t eating a lot (and that made me feel good). Knowing that I wasn’t eating a lot made me feel in control and successful. I was reinforced daily that I wasn’t eating a lot because my meal could neatly fit into a glass. How often can you do that with a plate of food? my brain started to think (and compare). And here’s the scary thing: when it came to eating a plate of food, with what seemed like a ‘large’ amount of food staring me in the face, you can imagine how confronting that was.
// It was easy to distance myself from food because I was ‘eating with distractions’. This is what makes smoothies appealing. They are 100% totable. Pour the smoothie into a bottle and sip away, on the go. Which means that chances are you’re eating when walking, driving, while on your iphone or when listening to music. All of which again distances you from the act of truly connecting with your food. Distractions draw us away from leaning into and ‘feeling’ the experience of eating.
// It was so much easier to let the food slide down my throat than engage my senses which really informs the brain that you’re eating. So essentially smoothies didn’t really feel like I was ‘eating’. Dangerous for anyone with food related crayiness. Agree?
// Smoothies never really made me feel full, which made me realise I could and would always win the battle with hunger. Pushing through this hunger was dangerously easy. Hunger didn’t bother me, so I would never give in to hunger pains, because that meant that I wasn’t following the rules of only eating 3 meals a day. So the hunger pains soon vanished, my stomach shrunk and before I knew it I was able to do the whole routine with even less smoothie in my smoothie jar (because restrictors are constantly dieting).
// Smoothies opened the doors to eliminating a whole lot of nutritious foods in replacement for superfood powders, which promised attractive benefits. I started to ditch fruit, nuts and whole grains, opting to get these nutrients through powders. And while superfood powders may be ok, when you start giving up food groups in preference for exotic powders, this is an issue. Smoothies paved the way to myself becoming incredibly obsessed with micronutrients in a powered form as opposed to eating real, whole foods.
So fast forward 18 months. How would I sum up my mentality now around eating vs drinking a meal?
True appreciation and connection with food is made when you can engage your senses: chewing, smelling, being exposed to different textures, handling your food and being visually stimulated (to name a few important sensory experiences).
I would LOVE to know your thoughts on smoothies. Do you enjoy them? Do you find they fill you up? What draws you to smoothies? And can anyone relate to my experience/ concerns?
If you know someone who’s a little cray cray about food + a smoothie addict…give them the gift of this post. I’d be so grateful if you shared this with them.