Why I Stopped Eating Smoothies & Salads Every Day
Up until pretty recently, I started most mornings with a green smoothie. I thought it was the best way for me to pack in some servings of veggies, as well as fruit, and protein first thing in the morning. My go-to lunch for work-- a salad. A mixture of leafy greens, chopped-up raw veggies, and a homemade dressing. My snacks were typically an apple, raw carrots, cut up bell peppers and some pita chips with hummus.
Sounds like the perfect image of health... all eaten before 1PM, right? Wrong.
According to Ayurveda, I have a Vata imbalance. Ayurveda is the science of life based on achieving mind-body balance. Vata is the wind energy in Ayurveda. When you think wind, what do you think of... cold, dry, airy. Now think of that cold, dry, airy energy in our body and our minds.
Typical signs of a Vata Imbalance: dry skin, achey/cracking joints, bloating, gas, constipation, dehydration, anxiety, insomnia, feeling cold/poor circulation, muscle spasm, and tightness.
I have experienced MANY of these symptoms. As a holistic nutrition health coach I always look to food as medicine, and I never thought smoothies or salads could create anything but positive impacts on my health.
According to Ayurveda, eating cold, raw foods is causing more imbalance! It actually makes a lot of sense. If your insides are cold, dry, and airy, why would you eat more cold and dry foods, like raw leafy greens? Instead, warm, heavier, oily foods are suggested to help balance things out. Things like cooked root vegetables, soups/stews/curries, and warm grains.
Foods to avoid if you have a Vata imbalance: raw vegetables, un-ripe fruit (like green bananas), chips, crackers, granola bars, cold drinks (yes, iced coffee and iced water), popcorn ( </3 ), salads and smoothies.
By eating more warm, grounding foods - you can improve your digestive fire or "agni".
Think about warm beverages like the hot lemon water I have every morning (hot water + 1/4 of a lemon), herbal teas or just room temperature water. Hot/warm liquids hydrate your body more effectively than cold. When you drink cold water, your body has to work to warm the water up, which uses up a lot of energy, and puts out your digestive fire leaving less energy for your body to digest. Have you ever seen how coconut oil reacts to cold? It seizes up into little clumps... that's what is happening to the food in your digestive track when you drink cold things!
Here's another way to think about Vata energy. In the hot summer months, cooling/juicy produce is grown like watermelon, zucchini, and tomatoes. When things get cooler, dryer, and airer in the fall (Vata season), things that are grounding (they physically grow in the ground or close to the ground) like root vegetables and squash are harvested and eaten, especially in soups and stews with warming spices.
So back to my daily routine of smoothies, cold/raw snacks, and salads. What I realized is that I wasn't eating anything that was actually warm before 1PM!
Now, with this information... am I quitting salads and smoothies forever? No.
The truth is that I actually enjoy a good green smoothie and a kale or arugula salad, and sometimes they're convenient, or something I'm craving or looking forward to.
Will I continue starting my day on a completely cold note? No.
In an effort to balance out my Vata energy, I have been enjoying warmer, cooked meals. Like steamed sweet potatoes, oatmeal, or eggs for breakfast and roasted veggies and cooked quinoa for lunch. I also have room temperature water and hot beverages, instead of cold water throughout the day.
After a few weeks giving up my daily smoothies/salads - I already noticed a lot of positive changes. Many of my Vata imbalance symptoms have calmed down. My digestion is more regular, I experience less bloating, and feel much less anxiety.
So, did you ever think smoothies or salads could be the cause of your symptoms?
Sometimes we need to see things from a different perspective in order to realize what's really happening in our body as a whole. That's kind of my job as a holistic health coach... so let's discuss more! Let's figure out what foods are right for you, and what your imbalances are! Sign up for a free call with me, just hit the 'Work With Me' tab in the upper right corner!