Updated: Oct 28, 2019
Being in the fitness industry means dealing with a lot of fitness and nutrition fads and trends. I watch them come and go like waves rolling onto shore. Because I have been in the industry for over 17 years now (yikes, did I really just write that?), I am now starting to see these trends cycle through again. You may think the latest diet is the answer to your prayers and a cool new concept, but think again. Chances are it was popular 20 years ago and has just been recycled with a slightly new twist.
One of the latest nutrition fads is the popularity of green juicing and smoothies. It seems as if everyone believes they need to do this to get healthy, but have you ever stopped to think why you are doing it and if it truly is the best thing for your health?
Not every diet or fad is right for every person. For every fad that is out there that people rave about, I can guarantee you there are an equal amount of people that it flat out doesn’t work for. Please, if there is one thing you take away from this article, I beg of you, do your research!
The media is pumping us full of misleading information all the time and people that aren’t properly credentialed are dolling out nutrition and fitness advice on blogs and social media sites when they really aren’t properly credentialed to do so. In fact they might have gotten in shape with one of these latest fads and now consider themselves “experts”. We really need to look at who and where we are getting this advice from and then stop to use our brains and do our own research instead of jumping on the band- wagon.
First and foremost you need to access where your information is coming from and then you need to due your due diligence. It’s okay to experiment on yourself. I do it all the time. And this is how I found out the green juicing and smoothies were actually upsetting my digestive system and health. You see, I don’t do well with raw foods – for me they need to be cooked. And lets face it, when you juice and do smoothies this food is mostly in raw form.
This article is not supposed to scare you away from trying juicing or smoothies – it may very well work for you. But, I do ask that you be aware of how your body feels after drinking one of these drinks. If after a while your body is not adjusting well to it then you might want to move onto a different blend or forgo it all together. As long as you are getting your fruits and vegetables from other sources you are still going to be healthy.
Some of the problems I have found with juicing in particular:
1) Juicing in particular enters your blood stream very quickly and can end up spiking your insulin level insanely high. This is because 1) juicing strips the fruit and veggies of it’s natural fiber quickening absorption in the blood stream and 2) I find most of my clients are using too many fruits in these drinks in order to make it taste somewhat decent and kill their sweet tooth craving. Please always try to limit the amount of fruit you add to your smoothie/juice to reduce sugar intake and if you have a choice I prefer smoothies because the added fiber slows down the absorption rate.
2) I often find that clients are drinking mass quantities of greens. Our body is not meant to be able to digest this massive amount of fiber and influx of nutrients all at once and can have a hard time breaking it down. This is when too much of a good thing can then lead to a problem.
3) Many of the greens used in smoothies and juices contain Oxalates which form oxalic acid which can bind with calcium and form stones in your kidneys, joints, or other areas of the body. Oxalates are most common in plant food like spinach and swiss chard but can be broken down by different cooking methods. Your best bet is always to cycle your greens using a variety of kale, romaine, spinach etc., The two highest oxalate containing greens are spinach and swiss chard. Try not to eat these two greens every single day even if you don’t think you have an issue with Oxalates.
Moral of the story – don’t be a follower. Before you go delving into the latest fitness or nutrition hype get a clear head. Do the research and experiment yourself. Take note of how you feel after doing a new fitness routine or trying a new food. How does your body react? After a few weeks you should have a clear answer.
Listening to your body is truly the best way of knowing what’s right for it. Your body is smart and it will always give you the answer. If green juice doesn’t end up being right for you don’t fret. Get your veggies another way, try smaller quantities or try taking it up again in a couple of months to see if you can tolerate it better. Juicing and smoothies can be nutritious, but only if it’s something your body agrees with.