Temperatures are rising and it’s officially smoothie season!
Go with me here for a moment, you’re on your way to work, sipping your morning smoothie and beginning to get frustrated with traffic. You’ve got your favorite music or podcast going and you’re running through a list of things you need to get done today in the office. You made sure to pack that smoothie with lots of healthy goodies, kale, protein powder, maca or maybe greens powder, some of your favorite fruit. Fast forward, you arrive at work, finally, and get started on that to-do list but for some reason you feel uncomfortably bloated and maybe a little gassy. You might begin to feel anxious about your current digestive symptoms as you prepare for a morning conference with your team.
Sound familiar? I will be the first to say I’ve been there, and done that! But why? Why do smoothies lead us to feel bloated so frequently, aren’t they supposed to be healthy?
My answer, distraction turns off digestion. Well it may not completely turn it off but it’s drastically down-regulated. Digestion is a mean’t to be a restful process, and eating anything on-the-go is not going to be supportive for your body. Stress can show up in many different ways as I say frequently, but in this scenario there are many stressors or distractions, the traffic, podcast/music, to-do list planning, not being present with the meal. These things lead the mind to be overstimulated and cause the body to switch into a sympathetic (fight or flight) mode.
Another reason why smoothies or liquid food in general are hard on digestion is for one simple reason, we skip the chemical breakdown phase of carbohydrates. The enzyme, salivary amylase, does its most work in the mouth. This is another reason why eating solid foods too quickly could lead to bloating, our stomach doesn’t have the means to mechanically breakdown food like our teeth are able to leaving it to stay put in our stomach a bit longer and requiring more energy.
“So how can I enjoy the convenience of smoothies without getting bloated shortly after?”
The first thing I’d say is, if you can, (1) prioritize eating your smoothie at home before heading to work. Not just while you’re getting ready, because that would still be a distraction, but setting aside 10-15 minutes to enjoy every bit of that smoothie at your kitchen table. (2) Opt for a smoothie bowl instead of a drink, this will allow you to enjoy it with a spoon and encourage a slower consumption, allowing those enzymes to do their job. (3) Add something crunchy to your smoothie bowl after it is blended like coconut shreds, granola, whole fruit or cacao nibs. This will also encourage a slower rate of consumption and improve the mechanical and chemical breakdown of the carbohydrates as you’ll be actively chewing.
Till next time,