Today’s question is from Fiona. She asks
Q: Why do I feel so tired after drinking a Green Smoothie?
Hi Fiona. Although I’ve never had that reaction myself when drinking a Green Smoothie, I think it is a fairly common reaction.
There could be a few reasons for feeling this way so it’s worth exploring all the options before giving up on green smoothies altogether. Some of the reasons you are feeling tired after drinking Green smoothies might be:
- You are detoxing. There are a lot of cleansing ingredients in a smoothie, especially the greens which can remove toxins quickly from the body causing a temporary tiredness for the first couple of weeks.
- You are getting withdrawal symptoms from cutting out something else. What do you usually have for breakfast? Have you stopped or delayed having a caffeinated drink which usually wakes you up in the morning?
- You may be intolerant to some of the ingredients. Do you know that you can tolerate all the ingredients you are eating. Have you eaten them all before?
- Your body might not like the combination of oats, nuts, fruit and greens. Sometimes it’s too much. But this usually only happens when people follow a very restricted diet to start with.
- You are drinking it too fast: As it is a meal rather than a drink, I usually suggest drinking it slowly and ‘chewing’ the smoothie to prepare your body for the food which pre-digests it. If you down it too quickly it can be too much for the body. If you ate all the food that you put in your smoothie on it’s own, it would probably take you a lot longer to eat it.
Some people don’t tolerate raw greens very well. You could try drinking the smoothie without the greens to see if you still feel the same way. If it is the raw greens causing the problem, you could try steaming the greens before adding them to your smoothie or cutting down the amount of greens you add.
It’s hard to tell which one of the above is causing your tiredness but I’d suggest maybe cutting down your portion sizes and combining it with some of your usual food and see if you feel any better. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to and some people just can’t tolerate them at all for some reason.
Also, I would try the ingredients on their own in their whole form, for example, just have a bowl of oatmeal, a salad with leafy greens, a handful of seeds and some fruit on it’s own. Take a note of any reactions you get to the food. If you don’t get any reaction, it might be the combination of ingredients or that you are drinking the smoothie too quickly.
It might be worth asking yourself if you’ve always had this tiredness when drinking smoothies (any type) or have you only experienced this recently?
My husband had a very bad detox when we did the Live Below The Line project. This wasn’t because of the food he was eating (as he usually ate that kind of food, at least for his dinner anyway) but because he gave up sugar and caffeine at the same time and it was too much for his body to just suddenly stop drinking coffee.
You could also try drinking green smoothies at a different time of day to see if that makes a difference, but if after a few weeks of experimenting you still feel bad, it might just be worth taking a break from them.
Well Fiona, I really hope you can get to the bottom of why you are feeling so tired. I believe that green smoothies are extremely healthy, full of natural and quite normal ingredients, but even natural and normal ingredients can affect people in different ways, so it’s worth just listening to your body and following the diet that you believe is best for you and your health.
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