Leisa Wheeler, naturopath, health and healing mentor, and fatigue specialist, is the founder and director of Embracing Health, a business dedicated to bringing you health information that can change your life.
Leisa’s passions include many areas of health – from food as medicine and nutrition, to physical fitness and detoxification; from emotional release work to spiritual healing; these varied interests shaping her belief in the value of integrated healing on all levels; physical, emotional and spiritual.
Just a short rant…I mean blog post… today about some of the wacky ideas floating out there in the social media world. I don’t mean to pick on Health Coaches here, but I do follow quite a few on Instagram, and seriously, their ridiculous concept of nutrition often drives me batty! Today I’m talking about smoothies. More specifically, I am talking about superfood smoothies. And even more specifically, I am talking about SUPERFOOD ONLY SMOOTHIES.
Don’t get me wrong, smoothies are great. If you have a choice between two pieces of toast with marg and vegemite or a smoothie, I’d hazard a guess that your smoothie will contain more nutrition in it every time. And Green Smoothies are awesome. Sometimes it seems the whole coast line of Australia has jumped on the Green Smoothie band wagon, with cafes and juice bars all offering their own version of Vittoria Boutenko’s world famous greens-plus-fruit-plus-water creation.
But what is irking me today are these “super healthy” smoothies, made almost entirely of superfoods! One post actually had me exclaiming (OK, shouting) at my iPhone “Where the f*#k is the f*#king food?!?!” while I looked at a maca, he shou wu, mesquite, spirulina, bee pollen and camu camu smoothie an avid Intsagrammer claimed was “The BEST breakfast EVER!!!”….
Ok no, I’m sorry. You’re literally just eating powders with water. There is no REAL, WHOLE food in that!!!
And certainly, superfoods are the bomb. I love them. I think I might even have a bit of an addiction to buying them. But when I use them, they are the cherry on top of my healthy creation. I don’t rely on them for all my dietary requirements and nutritional needs.
Breaking down the smoothie above, spirulina and bee pollen contain some protein, camu camu is high in vitamin C, maca and he shou wu can help support your adrenals, but where is the actual food? I’m talking fibre, carbohydrates, proteins, fats- the macronutrients we need for daily functioning?
I always think of superfoods as helping to provide the micronutrients needed for health- that extra kick of nutrition, but never as a source of macronutrients. For this you need a whole food basis to your smoothies. Whole fruits, handfuls of greens, maybe some vegan protein powder, perhaps some nuts or seeds, chia seeds, coconut or hemp oil…. Whole ingredients that you consume in their whole, natural form. And THEN you add your super foods.
For example, think about antioxidants. To get the antioxidant level of one teaspoon of acai berry powder, you would need to eat bucket loads of blueberries. No one has the time, stomach (or money) to be eating buckets of blueberries, so a single teaspoon of acai powder seems like the way to go. But what else do blueberries provide? Is it just antioxidants? No way! Their nutrient profile is packed with vitamins, minerals, as well as some fats, proteins, fibre and much more. Does your teaspoon of acai give you all that? No. Simple as that. By relying on powders only, you are missing the macro part of your nutrition.
So please don’t get sucked into the superfood craze and forget all the other whole foods out there. It’s the whole foods we eat on a daily basis that are responsible for keeping us alive and functioning. And isn’t that just super?
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