3 Health Reasons Why You May Not Want To Drink Smoothies - An Ayurvedic Perspective

 

3 Reasons Not To Drink Smoothies
While your immune boosting superfood smoothie may be chock-full of nutrients, power-packed with vitamins, and loaded with antioxidants it may actually be adding undue burden to your digestion and overall health. There is no denying the sense of clarity and lightness one feels from eating raw food. However, many raw food enthusiast have attested that over a period of time there is often a sense of ungroundedness that develops and the science of Ayurveda has just the explanation for this.

"All disease begins in the gut." - Hippocrates

1. Smoothies Are Difficult To Digest
The process of eating, according to Ayurveda, is metaphorically similar to a burning fire. The whole aim of Ayurveda is to balance this digestive fire so that we can digest our meals efficiently and smoothly. Foods which are raw and uncooked add additional strain upon the digestive fire and often require greater energy [i.e. enzymes] to properly break down food. Our digestive fire likes simplicity and may not have any problems digesting a few veggies. However, the dense, rough, and heavy qualities of raw food [in large amounts] is generally considered difficult to digest and therefore can lead to symptoms of indigestion. Incidentally, over 90% of Americans suffer from everyday digestive problems such as gas, bloating, stomach pain, constipation and heartburn - and smoothies may just aggravate these “vata” conditions even further. 

2. Indigestion [Increases Vata]
According to the wisdom of Ayurveda “vata” is made primarily of the air element and has the qualities of dry, rough, cold, mobile and is changeable. When vata is aggravated it can cause certain qualitative changes within the body such as increased dryness, roughness, coldness, mobility and variability within the body/mind. Very simply - this can be experienced as variable appetite; gas or pain after eating; dry constipation or loose motions (increased mobility); and dry/rough skin and hair.

DRY:
Due to the dry quality, vata often leads to dry skin, dehydration and even that annoying cracking and popping of the joints.

LIGHT:
The light quality, if increased, can result in the feeling of being ungrounded, light-headed and even lead to insomnia if this quality persists.

COLD:
If you ever shake the hands of a vata type, you will take notice of cold hands. Vata makes one sensitive to cold weather and will often experience pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, specifically in cold weather.

ROUGH:
Vata creates vulnerability to developing dry, rough, and scaly skin. Likewise, the inner lining of the body [i.e. mucosal lining] can also become dry and rough and according to these principles is the underlying cause of fissures along the mucosal lining.

MOBILE:
As mentioned above, the air element of vata types is always moving, resembling the wind. If this mobile quality is increased, this can lead to abnormal movements of the body such as tics, spasms, tremors and even agitation within the mind giving rise to uncertainty and anxiety.

3. Raw Food Can Eventually Be Depleting
The science of Ayurveda talks a great deal about “Ojas” as being the end result of healthy digestion and balance of all bodily tissues. In fact, it is ojas which gives vitality to the body and clarity to the mind. As mentioned above - raw uncooked vegetables tends to increase vata. Vata can be likened to the modern understanding of catabolism or the breaking down of tissues. This may be great for shedding off a few extra pounds initially. However, in the long term this is considered to be depleting and as a result may prevent the formation of ojas - the quintessence vitality of life.

Why Not Consider Delicious Almond Milk Instead? 

Ingredients:
- 2 cups almonds
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1/4 c. cacao powder
- 8 dates
- 1/4 c. honey or maple syrup
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or pumpkin spice

If You Must ...

Again, there is no denying that super food green veggies smoothies are jam-packed with immune boosting antioxidants and vital minerals [ie. vitamins].  For those who cannot resist drinking such a delicious blend of drinkable goodness, here are some suggestions for making smoothies more easier on digestion.

  1. Room temperature: make your smoothie with vegetables/fruit which are kept as room temperature; not cold.
  2. Spice it up. Therefore, consider adding warming spices such as ginger, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom or cinnamon to your smoothie.
  3. Healthy fats. In order to help prevent the roller-coaster peak and through of blood sugar levels it is recommended to add healthy fats for digestibility and to help aide in the absorption of [fat soluable] nutrients. Therefore, consider adding cold pressed coconut oil or even a deliciously ripened avocado.

One More Thing - Food Incompatibilities!
Unfortunately, it is rare to find a smoothie in accordance to the basic principles outlined by Ayurveda. Generally speaking, fruit mixed with milk or yogurt and fruit mixed with vegetables is considered  to be poor choices regarding food combinations. Ayurveda speaks a great deal regarding qualities each food contains and we can think of these poor food combinations as being opposing qualities which promote digestive conditions [i.e. fermentation, putrefaction, I.B.S., etc.]

Click Here - For More Information On Food Combining


"Leaky Gut" - The Root Cause Of All Disease? + An Ayurvedic Perspective

 

"LEAKY GUT SYNDROME"
Although the phrase “leaky gut” was never well accepted in the medical community, research over the past two decades has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health, and an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Ancient Wisdom Of Ayurveda ...
“Due to the purification of the body, the capacity of digestion and metabolism is enhanced, normal health is restored, all sense organs start working with vigor, old age is prevented and diseases cured.” - Charaka Samhita Ch. 16 Sutra 17-19

In Ayurvedic medicine, most treatable diseases arise from the presence of “ama”, a toxic by-product of poor digestion. Mirroring this ancient wisdom is the modern theory of ‘Intestinal Permeability’ [i.e. “leaky gut syndrome”]. Intestinal permeability is the inflammatory response in the digestive tract due to a combination of insults to the gut mucosal lining. As a result, persistent GI inflammation eventually disrupts the integrity of the mucosal lining of the gut and tiny perforations allows for molecules much larger than usual to pass through this defensive barrier. As toxic by-products of poor digestion pass through this now weakened defense barrier [i.e. impaired mucosal lining] this initiates an immune response which then allows for the formation of specific antibodies towards these very toxic elemental by-products of poor digestion.

By-product Of Poor Digestion - Toxic! 
“The signs and symptoms of ama are clogging of channels, sense of heaviness, low energy, restlessness, lethargy, indigestion, congestion/expectoration, accumulation of waste, loss of taste and sexual debility.” - Ashtanga Hridaya Su. 30.23

Unfortunately, the tissues which make up the body actually have antigenic sites which are nearly identical to those elemental by-products of poor digestion. After all, the body is made up from the products of digestion. As a result, when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable [i.e. leaky] then a large protein molecule [i.e. zonulin] enters into the blood and circulates throughout the body. Since these large proteins of poor digestion do not normally circulate throughout the body, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them. Studies reveal that this immune response may play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s, type 1 diabetes, among other health conditions. It is also important to note that you don’t necessarily have to have gut symptoms to have a leaky gut. For example, leaky gut can also manifest as skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, even heart conditions and of course inflammatory joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

“There is growing evidence that increased intestinal permeability plays a pathogenic role in various autoimmune diseases [including celiac disease and type 1 diabetes]. Therefore, we hypothesize that besides genetic and environmental factors, loss of intestinal barrier function is necessary to develop auotimmunity.” - Dr. Alessio Fasano

"Top 7 Foods For Healing Leaky Gut" - Dr. Josh Axe 

The top 7 foods to get rid of leaky gut for good are:
1. Bone Broth - 8 oz 2 times a day
2. Kefir or fermented yogurt
3. Fermented vegetables
4. Coconut oil
5. Wild caught fish like Salmon
6. Flax seeds
7. Steamed vegetables or vegetables in the crockpot: broccoli, cauliflower, celery carrots, cabbage or squash are all great

Healthy Gut - Strength, Nourishment, Luster
Ayurveda has described the underlying function of digestion and metabolism in our body as Agni [“Fire”]. Regarding the importance of Agni, the father of Ayurveda - Charak stated that when Agni of the individual is balanced then that person would be absolutely healthy and would lead a long, happy and healthy life.

“Agni converts food in the form of energy, which is responsible for all the vital functions of our body. Therefore, Ayurveda considers that Dehagni as the cause of life, complexion, strength, health, nourishment, luster, ojas, tejas [vital-yet-subtle energy] and prana [life sustaining energy].
- Charaka Chikitsa 15/4

Leaky Gut - Fatigue, Inflamed and Depressed
Leaky gut and bad gut flora are far more common than we actually realize primarily because of the modern lifestyle. We can also say that if you have a leaky gut it is likely that you also have an unhealthy gut flora, and vice versa. Even further, we can boldly say that when your gut flora and gut barrier are impaired, you are Inflamed - Ayurveda would likely state this as pitta aggravation with impaired Agni and even diminished Ojas.

Factors Which Can Insult The Gut Flora:

  • antibiotics
  • diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • diets low in fermentable fibers
  • dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils
  • chronic stress and chronic infections

 

Practical Tips To Help Improve Your Gut Flora:

  • avoid foods and chemicals which irritate the gut mucosal lining
  • eat plenty of fermentable fibers [i.e. starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.]
  • eat fermented items like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi, etc.
  • consider taking a probiotic and prebiotic supplement


“From the earth came herbs and from herbs
came the seed that gave life to humans.”

- Taittiriya Upanishad


3 Pillars To Healthy Digestion:

1. Reducing & Extinguishing The Inflammatory Cascade. 
Individuals with autoimmune disorders are often in a weakened state and any additional insults can easily worsen the state of health. Therefore, extreme caution must always be considered. Therefore, management should always be under the supervision of a qualified holistic professional and always first discussing risk/benefits/alternatives with one’s primary care physician.

That said, there are certain botanicals with anti-inflammatory properties such as:
- turmeric
- black cohosh
- wild yam
- amla berry
- ashwagandha

In conditions where the gut mucosal lining is impaired, the use of certain demulcents followed by astringent agents are often considered beneficial. Demulcent herbs are considered to be helpful in improving the integrity of the epithelial lining of the gut.

Demulcent agents include:
- aloe vera
- marshmallow root
- slippery elm
- licorice root

2. Support Liver Function + Enhance Detoxification
The importance of liver function in regards to overall health cannot be stressed enough. The liver is responsible for the detoxification of the increasing exposure to environmental contaminants and mutagens which can easily overwhelm the liver.

Briefly, just a few hepatoprotective elements include:
- turmeric
- barberry
- bhumiamalaki
- guduchi

3. Improve The Gut Flora
By supporting a healthy gut flora we can help inhibit the overgrowth of pathogenic microbes. A simple choice may be a non-dairy derived Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum supplement.

Want More?
Click Here - "Nourishing Wisdom" - Food To Never Combine!! 


DISCLAIMER:

This is strictly for educational purpose and NOT considered medical advice. Always first discuss the risks/benefits/alternatives with your primary care physician prior to considering any new changes in your health regimen.


Nourishing Wisdom - Certain Foods To Never Combine

 

Nourishing Wisdom
The ancient science of Ayurveda flourished in a civilization vastly different from life today. Many thousands of years ago people were very connected to the great rhythms of life - the rhythmic cycle of seasons, day and night, life and death. That said, the wisdom of Ayurveda is still just as relevant today than ever before. Fortunately for us, the wise sages understood health as being dependent upon being in harmony with nature. Let us now discuss some of these teachings centered around food combining; more specifically - food incompatibities.

 

“How you eat is as important as what you eat.”
- Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Physician

 

Cultivating A Healthy Lifestyle
Before discussing food incompatibilities it is important to also bring about some awareness to the basics; the state of mind while eating. Unfortunately, there are millions of people who suffer from digestive conditions and often it’s the simple considerations which have the greatest impact. Therefore, here are some simple considerations to help cultivate a more balanced approach towards digestion.

“Pearls Of Wisdom”
- when eating, eat.
- eat in a relaxed and peaceful manner.
- eat fresh and seasonal foods.
- eat only when you are “truly” hungry.
- avoid overeating. *leave 1/3 of your stomach empty

 

Poor Food Combining - Food Incompatibilities
According to Ayurveda, the improper combining of food items is a major cause of digestive conditions [i.e. indigestion, bloating, abdominal pain]. It is thought that by combining incompatible food items that this leads to a disturbance in the normal functioning of the digestive system and can even result in a form of toxicity [i.e. fermentation, putrefaction] within the gut flora.

 

Thou Shalt Not ... 

Milk
It is recommended not to combine milk with the following items:
- bananas
- fish
- melons
- yogurt
- sour fruits
- bread made with yeast

Eggs
Eggs should not be combined with:
- milk
- yogurt
- melons
- cheese
- fruits
- potatoes

Starches
Starches should not be combined with:
- bananas
- milk
- dates

Corn
Corn should not be combined with:
- dates
- raisins
- bananas

Lemons
Lemons should not be combined with
- yogurt
- milk
- cucumber
- tomato

What About Fruit Smoothies?
This is considered a big “No-No” according to the basic principles of Ayurveda. Although some blended fruit smoothies made with all fruit [no dairy] may be considered acceptable, it is generally best to avoid fruit smoothies - especially mixing bananas into a dairy mixture.

Source:
The Complete Book Of Ayurvedic Home Remedies; Dr. Vasant Lad. Three Rivers Press.