According to TCM, your green smoothie may not be all it’s cracked up to be!
If you weren’t one to jump on the green smoothie bandwagon along with facial hair and activewear of late, I’m shocked.
I must admit, it feels pretty good knowing that you’ve just consumed three days worth of spinach and kale in one nutrient-dense, power-packed glass of goodness, however, according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) this trend is not doing your health any favours!
You see, TCM strongly advises against consuming raw and cold foods because they are difficult to digest and convert to energy—and what are green smoothies made of?
Raw and cold vegetables and fruit.
Usually blitzed with a handful of ice-cubes.
The problem is that the body has to expend a lot of energy bringing food up to a warm enough temperature in order to break it down effectively, and frequently eating cold or raw food puts the digestive system under constant stress and causes it to become weak, exhausted and unable to function properly.
Eventually this leads to a state of ‘dampness’ and ‘spleen qi deficiency’ in the body, signs of which include a sluggish metabolism, bloating, digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, asthma, weight gain, diabetes and inflammation.
Now, this is where it gets complicated.
Cold food isn’t just referring to temperature.
In TCM, every food has either a warming, cooling or neutral property, which is the effect that it has on the body.
And it’s not so easy to pick either, for example, strawberries are cooling, while lychees are warming (how do you figure???).
And if you’re of a cold constitution like me and start shivering when the temperature drops below 23 °C, eating cold food throws your body out of balance even more!
So basically, green smoothies are a big ‘no no’.
Quite contradictory to the advice given out by most nutritionists, is it not?
Thing is, I’m quite partial to a tall, green smoothie, so here are some tips if you just can’t bear to quit your green fix:
- Include some ingredients that have warming properties such as ginger, ginseng, coriander, parsley, coconut and coconut milk, dates, lychees, honey and turmeric.
- Skip the ice cubes and make them room temperature.
- Drink them in summer when it’s hot and not during winter so that your body can cope with the cooling properties.
- Only have the occasional green smoothie—not everyday.