Green smoothies are all the rage, and are promoted as one of the best things you can do for your health. In case you’re one of the rare few who has never had one, green smoothies are usually made up of about 40% leafy greens, 60% fruit and sometimes contain a bunch of other goodies to make them tastier or more nutritious such as chia or flax seeds, maca or camu powder, cacao nibs, hemp protein, spirulina or coconut oil…
At first glance, the power-packed hit of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fiber you get from a green smoothie seems indisputably healthy… so why on earth would you avoid them? It may go against what you have been programmed to think from an early age – the idea that eating salads will aid in weight loss, and “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” – but according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a system of medicine that has been around for 2000 to 3000 years, raw foods may actually be hindering, rather than helping, your wellness goals.
They unnecessarily tax your digestive system
Green smoothie recipes sometimes call for chilled water or the addition of ice cubes. On top of this, the majority of the fruits and veggies added to them are cold in quality (they have a cooling post-digestive effect). Even if you’re adding some warming ginger to your smoothie the overall quality of smoothies is still usually cold. Leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach and cabbage; veggies like broccoli and celery; as well as a number of fruits are also dry and rough in quality if consumed raw.
In Chinese Medicine the temperature of the food you eat plays a very important factor in determining how beneficial it is. Raw foods, eggs, tofu, whole wheat, and green teas have a “cooling” effect on the body regardless of whether the food or beverage is hot or cold when consumed. Foods like dates, chicken, squash, cinnamon, and ginger have a “warming” effect on the body.
Foods that are cold, dry and rough aggravate your digestive system, which must first warm up the foods in order to break them down and assimilate the nutrients. In Chinese Medicine it is said that too many cooling foods put out or weaken the digestive fire akin to putting out the fire under the cooking pot. This can be experienced as variable appetite; gas or pain after eating; dry constipation or loose motions (increased mobility); dry/rough skin and hair; variable energy; poor circulation and pain.
So how can you make your smoothies healthier:
If you’re already addicted to green smoothies and are determined to keep having them for whatever reason, try the following adjustments to make them slightly more digestive friendly:
Over the last several decades, over-use of antibiotics has reached an all-time high. The result has been drug-resistant bacteria and “superbugs” that evolve faster than scientists can figure out how to fight them. A future where bacteria are at the top of the food chain is not unheard of.
Long before there were pharmaceutical antibiotics – developed in the 1940s - there were foods and herbs that helped guard against infection and disease on a daily basis. Many of these natural defenders are still in use today with holistic healers around the globe.
Our ancestors also had a solution for healing, using antibiotics from nature and it would be good to remind ourselves who these antibiotics are and possibly think about using them in case of an illness.
Oregano and the oil of oregano
You’ve probably used oregano as a flavoring in your favorite Italian dishes without even realizing the health benefits that it contains. Beyond its antibacterial properties, oregano can help with digestion and aid in weight loss. An oil that is found in oregano, Carvacrol, has been found to fight the bacteria that can lead to infections. The oil of oregano has been found to treat digestive infections, and even one particular yeast infection. It is more than just a food flavoring.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
The far-reaching benefits of daily doses of apple cider vinegar (ACV) include antibiotic and antiseptic properties, naturally alkalizing your system, and can aid you in everything from managing your weight to lowering cholesterol and your risk of cancer.
A chemical-free astringent, ACV can be used topically to disinfect and sterilize.
Ancient Romans used honey on the battlefield to treat wounds and prevent infection.
Civilizations all over the world continue to consider honey one of the best natural antibiotics, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories, and antiseptics known to man after thousands of years.
New Zealand’s Manuka honey has been proven to have the highest levels of antioxidants and curative powers.
An enzyme found in honey releases hydrogen peroxide. This process helps your body fight infection and prevents the growth of bacteria. Soothing to the digestive system, honey removes toxins from the blood and helps your liver operate more efficiently.
A great boost to the immune system, consider combining honey with cinnamon to strengthen your white blood cells! Raw, organic honey is the best option since most pasteurization methods kills the antioxidant effects.
This spice isn’t just rich in color and flavor, but it also protects your body against harm. Turmeric can be both consumed and applied externally, making it a great choice for fighting against bacteria. For extra benefit, from combining two bacteria fighting substances, you can mix turmeric with honey and create a paste to apply to infected areas on your skin.
You can protect your body against infections and bacteria based sicknesses by taking advantage of these safe and natural remedies that are available in the average kitchen. Protect your body without the use of prescription drugs by using honey, oregano, garlic, echinacea, and turmeric.
Flavorful and wonderful on a piece of butter toast, this plant also has very powerful qualities to it. Garlic can fight simple infections such as the common cold, pushing the germs away before they have a change to disrupt your life. Using the allicin that it contains, garlic protects against yeast, parasites, bacteria, and more. If you are looking for a simple way to live healthier, add more garlic to your diet.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study that found grapefruit seed extract (GSE) effective against more than 800 forms of viruses and bacteria, more than a hundred strains of fungus, and many parasites.
High in many antioxidants, GSE boosts immunity, alkalizes the body naturally, and aids in digestion by improving your beneficial gut flora.
There are sulfur compounds found in cabbage – a member of the cruciferous family that includes broccoli and kale – that have been shown effective as cancer fighters. What many people don’t realize is how much vitamin C is found in cabbage. One cup provides 75% of what you need every day. Naturally antibacterial, adding shredded raw cabbage to your salad, or as a side dish in the form of slaw, or drinking fresh cabbage juice (with honey added to sweeten) is an excellent way to improve digestion, prevent disease, and even manage your weight!
There is not enough that can be said for the benefits of coconut oil. It has naturally occurring anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and is packed with antioxidants you can’t find anywhere else in nature. Use it to boost your immune system, balance your thyroid, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and even improve your brain function. Safe to use internally and externally, coconut oil is one of the most versatile and unique gifts from Mother Nature.
Unpasteurized cabbage, homemade pickles, kefir and probiotic yogurts, all of these renew our intestinal flora, protects us from cancer and keeps our body fit to fight off infections.