In case you are new here, this website is all about green smoothies. I have written post after post about the benefits of green smoothies, shared how I recovered my health with green smoothies and lost a ton of weight with green smoothies. I even have a weight loss diet plan incorporating green smoothies. So why am I writing this post?
Because I do get a lot of emails from people who really want to know the truth about green smoothies. And I’m all about honesty. I would never want to lead someone down a path that was harmful to them.
So are they good for you or not?
And the answer is…
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What does it depend on?
A lot of different things. Not all foods are good for all people all the time. We are all built differently and go through different things and therefore have different health requirements.
Most people react very positively to green smoothies. They have more energy, their skin clears up, they lose weight, their health problems reduce etc. etc.
But occasionally, some people do have problems with green smoothies.
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People who MAY need to be more careful when drinking green smoothies are:
- Pregnant women
- Those who are more sensitive to oxalates or kidney stones
- Those who are hypothyroid
Should pregnant Women avoid green smoothies?
I personally have been drinking green smoothies for 5 years and I do have them pretty much every day but I have had 3 long breaks from drinking them. You can read all about why I gave up green smoothies here. But the main reason I gave them up was pregnancy. My body just didn’t want them at the start of both of my pregnancies. I did however return to drinking green smoothies at the end of both of my pregnancies. You can read about my third reason for giving up green smoothies further down.
One thing that stood out to me while I was reading the bible was when God talked about trees on the sides of the river. He said that fruit was for food and the leaves were for healing.
Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.”
So greens are good for healing. But when we’re pregnant we are concentrated on growing a baby, not healing and detoxing so that might be why a lot of women go off greens when they are pregnant.
Mark Sisson also made a great observation about why some women may be sensitive to green smoothies and vegetables at the start of their pregnancies:
Pregnant women early on in the pregnancy – when thyroid function is most important and thyroid hormone requirements are especially high – may be more sensitive to goitrogens. This usually coincides with taste aversions, so eating too many goitrogenic vegetables is usually hard to do. But it’s worth keeping in mind.
Keep reading to find out more about goitrogens.
So who is sensitive to oxalates?
Oxalates are molecules in some plants that are actually part of the plant’s defence system. When you eat oxalates, they bind with minerals such as calcium, making calcium less absorbable by our bodies. There has been some concern in about the oxalates in raw greens, such as spinach and Swiss Chard.
Some people have very poor digestion and leaky gut syndrome, and for those individuals oxalates might be better avoided until the digestion is healed.
I used to have awful digestion and leaky gut syndrome and I did three things to heal it. I went on the GAPs diet for about 6 months, I started taking probiotics with every meal (I take these therapeutic grade probiotics) I also started using Digize essential oil by Young Living (Buy Young Living essential oils here) and now I feel like a new person. I no longer get many stomach cramps and bloating and can eat more of what I like.
While I was on the GAPs diet, I gave up green smoothies and started eating nourishing balanced meals with a lot of vegetables. Although I think the diet was great for my digestive problems, I didn’t feel quite as good as when I am drinking green smoothies and my body started craving them again so I’ve begun drinking them once more and I’m feeling so much more alive now. However I never did have any reactions to drinking green smoothies, and you may have a different reaction to me.
How do we avoid a build up of oxalates?
For most of us, I would suggest a rotation of greens in your Green Smoothies. Don’t always go for spinach – use kale, cabbage, arugula, parsley, cilantro plus wild greens like dandelion and purslane, all of which have fewer oxalates.
Why should we avoid green smoothies if we have hypothyroidism?
Cruciferous vegetables, which include kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy, contain goitrogens. Goitrogens can reduce the amount of iodine absorbed by the thyroid glands, and at really high levels can actually prevent iodine from being incorporated into thyroid hormone. Studies have shown that large doses of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage can interfere with thyroid function.
If you have a problem with hypothyroidism, that doesn’t mean to say you should avoid cruciferous vegetables, just don’t go overboard.
Should we all be worried about greens interfering with thyroid function?
Cruciferous vegetables are usually only a problem when they’re:
- Consumed in extremely high amounts – much higher than you would ever get by drinking green smoothies.
- Consumed raw – Steaming or boiling reduces goitrogen content by 30-90%.
- Consumed by people who don’t eat any iodine – eating enough iodine provides a buffer against the goitrogen effects of cruciferous vegetables; so long as you eat sea vegetables, pastured egg yolks, and seafood, you should be getting enough.
Safer ways to enjoy green smoothies
If you are worried or you do have an existing health problem, you can do the following which will help your body to absorb the goodness from green smoothies and minimise any risks:
- Chew your smoothie. Swish the smoothie around your mouth until it warms up. This helps you digest the smoothie a lot easier.
- Steam or boil your veggies before you add them to your smoothie.
- Rotate your greens regularly
- Limit the consumption to occasional use
- Take a break from drinking green smoothies to see how you feel
- Make a fruit smoothie, with a side salad to see if that agrees with you any better
- To avoid excess sugar try a veggie based smoothie with tomatoes, cucumber and peppers (Yes I know they are actually fruit but they are much lower in sugar) and avoid the greens altogether. Here is a vegetable smoothie recipe and another one.
The most important thing is that we’re all different. So it’s much better to listen to your own body, do your own research and consult with your own holistic practitioner if you do have health problems.
What is your opinion on green smoothies? Are you a fan?Sources Green Smoothies are Bad for You! Are green smoothies bad for you? Cruciferous vegetables causing hypothyroidism
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