09—How not to make

Green Smoothies (Part 2)

American Dietician Julieanna Hever makes a Green Smoothie

We're easily confused

It’s easy to see why people get confused when trying to achieve good health and wellbeing.

Not only do we have self-proclaimed ‘health experts’ for friends, various bloggers instructing us on what they did to get healthy (and therefore what they think everyone should do), we also receive conflicting information from health professionals. Here’s a very good example of this:

Julieanna Hever is known as ‘The Plant Based Dietician’ in America. She sometimes appears on The Dr OZ Show. She is considered a health expert. However in my opinion, in this youtube clip1 she helpfully shows us ‘what not to do’ with a Green Smoothie.

When watching this clip, I suggest you use your ‘gut instinct’ to determine whether or not Julieanna’s health recommendations seem like logical advice for the average person. My sum-up is below.

On the plus side:

I agree with Julieanna Hever on the following points:

  1. The majority of your diet should be plant based

    The fruit, veges, and seeds required for a Green Smoothie are full of nutrition. They contain life giving carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

  2. You should eat a rainbow of fresh produce

    A variety of colors indicates the variety of nutrients available within certain fruit and veges.

  3. Add seeds to your Green Smoothie (good fats)

    This will maximise your antioxidant and fat-soluble vitamin intake2.

  4. Drink your smoothie through a straw

    Because there is no chewing involved in drinking a Smoothie (and therefore the digestion process is not complete), it is advisable to use a straw, or to drink it very slowly.

    Note: Chewing encourages the production of digestive enzymes and secretions.

American Dietician Julieanna Hever makes a Green Smoothie

On the other hand:

I disagree with Julieanna on the following points:

  1. You can have the same thing for breakfast everyday

    This is the fastest way to create food intolerances, and to create imbalances in your nutritional status.

  2. Green Smoothies actually need to be green

    If you use a lot of green leafies, then you’ll also have to use a lot of fruit to mask the bitter taste. Masking the bitter taste is not ideal, as this ‘taste’ may be indicative of the amount of ‘greens’ we should actually eat (bitterness suggests that smaller amounts be eaten).

  3. That Omega-3 is good for your brain

    Not so!  The best forms of brain-food are fish, seafood and algae. They contain DHA — a component which is good for your cognition. Seeds containing Omega-3 can be converted to EPA (best known for its anti-inflammatory action). However, research shows it is unlikely that this type of Omega-3 converts to DHA at all3.

  4. You should use frozen fruit (because it tastes sweeter and it’s convenient)

    Not so! Fresh is always best. Aside from the increased nutritional profile it contains (e.g more Vitamin C), you will be reluctant to use it excessively if there is more preparation involved.

  5. You should use a lot of different ingredients in your Green Smoothie

    Julieanna uses too many ingredients in her Green Smoothies (12 ingredients in total. Click here for more information), and she doesn’t consider portion size. Her blender is chock-a-block. There is no way you could eat all that food in a single sitting!

  6. You should eat a 'rainbow' in one day

    I don’t agree that you have to cram all these colorful fruits and veges into one day, let alone one smoothie (or even one meal)! You should aim to achieve your nutritional goals over the week.

  7. That you need all those bowls of fruit in one smoothie (for one person)

    It’s bad enough that we have to have fruit in a smoothie at all, let alone seriously overdoing things. For more efficient digestion, fruit should be eaten separately from other food groups.

    Please see part one of this article for more details on this.

American Dietician Julieanna Hever makes a Green Smoothie

Things that make me laugh in this you tube clip:

Aside from the fact Julieanna seems slightly green smoothie obsessed…

She uses:

Excessive Greens
She has three bowls of greens to add to her smoothie (Black Kale, Dandelion Leaves, and Collards).  After she pops the first two bowls in, her blender is already full. The clip doesn’t even show her putting in the third bowl!

Excessive Fruit
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that Julieanna actually uses SIX types of fruit in this smoothie (banana, blueberries, cherries, mango, papaya, and pineapple), and then claims she prefers not to use juice in her smoothies in addition to the fruit, as it makes it too sweet!

Note: She uses various non-dairy milks instead.

Excessive Fluid
In this youtube clip, Julieanna claims to use 2 cups of Almond milk just to make this smoothie ‘whizzable’. I would argue she would need more than 500ml to get this concoction moving! This suggests that she is not paying attention to serving sizes. Rather, she is more interested in mechanics.

Excessive Smoothie
Did you see how much Smoothie she actually made? It’s enough to feed a family of four! No wonder she says it keeps her full until lunch-time… I imagine that this quantity of food (and the quality of it) is something that an Olympic Athlete could live on, fulfilling all their nutrient and energy requirements for the day!

Julieanna says ‘delicious’ after she takes one mouthful of her concoction… I wonder if she’ll still think it’s tasty after her fourth (and maybe even fifth) glass that morning?

Lisa says:

Rotation, variation, moderation

If you’re solely focused on Green Smoothies, you’ll miss out on other wonderful opportunities to have variation in your diet. Other breakfast food ideas:  eggs, beans, salmon, vegetable hash/fritters, whole grain toast with nut butter, home-made muesli, porridge, and other types of smoothies.

If you’re going to have Green Smoothies then only have them 1-2x weekly, or better yet simply have them ‘as required’. Just when you feel like you could really do with one!  You shouldn’t have to consume these on a daily basis.  If you feel like you do, then you may want to  consider talking to a qualified, experienced, and registered natural health practitioner.

Only use a small number of fresh ingredients in your smoothie at one time e.g a ‘green’, a ‘fruit’, a  ‘fluid’, and 1-2 Tbsp of seeds or oil. Ensure you don’t overdo it on your quantities/serving size! Rotate these ingredients so you’re not always using the same ‘blend’. Make sure you drink it slowly, and swish it around your mouth before swallowing.

Eat your food

In most cases, I encourage my clients to eat 5-7 handfuls of veges, and 1-2 handfuls of fruit everyday.

I also encourage my clients to eat a ‘rainbow’ of fresh veges and fruit throughout the week, and to strike a balance between having them raw and lightly cooked.  ‘Eating’ not only gives the jaw a good workout but it also promotes correct digestive processes. Chewing is pre warning that food is coming, so that digestive enzymes and secretions will be activated. Chewing also slows down the whole process, as it takes time. This promotes satiety, which helps prevent overeating.

This green smoothie is pure sensationalism

American Dietician Julieanna Hever makes a Green Smoothie

Make an appointment with Lisa

Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.

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