When a Naturopathic doctor first told me to start doing smoothies in the morning instead of my usual carb-based cereal or toast, I remember saying that there was "no way" a smoothie was going to fill me up in the morning.
I needed something I could chew, not drink.
However, when everything I had tried to get rid of the constant bloating, exhausting afternoon fatigue, brain fog and cravings for carbs had failed, I reluctantly gave it a try.
After some trial and error with protein powders and ingredients, I realized that not only did they fill me up, but they kept me fuller for a longer period of time than toast or cereal would.
I also noticed that energy levels stayed up throughout the day - without the mid-morning or mid-afternoon crash I was so used to. The cravings for carbs also dramatically subsided.
After studying nutrition, I discovered the reasoning behind this is simple: Our bodies crave nutrients, not simply calories.
Now, I’m not saying that a good old breakfast of eggs is out for me. I have eggs and avocado at least once a week - but I don’t always have the time to make this, so I save this for mornings when I have more time.
For those of us who are time-crunched, a smoothie can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and be taken with us out the door.
After finding my all-time favourite tasting protein powder (after years of searching!) that also contains a perfect blend of easily-absorbed nutrients, all I really need to add is water and shake it up on the days that I'm in a hurry (this is actually my son's favourite way of drinking his.)
The Dangers Of Mostly Carb-Based Breakfasts
Often we start our mornings ingesting too many carbohydrates (toast, muffins, juice, fruit, cereal, etc.) which sets us up on a vicious cycle for the rest of the day.
What happens is this: We eat breakfast, our blood sugar rises, insulin is released to move glucose to our cells, blood sugar lowers, we crave more carbs to raise our blood sugar levels quickly, we eat more carbs to feel better… process begins all over again. At this point, we’re likely tired, cranky, and a bit on edge.
This constant rise (and fall) in blood sugar at most every meal and snack for years and years is very hard on the body.
The more work you give the adrenals by over eating sugars and starches, the more stress you put on your adrenal glands every single day, no matter how many breathing techniques or yoga classes you add into your life.
When, you aren’t managing blood sugar, things in your body become a real mess. And this, in the end, leads to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance – your body can no longer deal with the demand. Many diseases in the body begin with a blood sugar imbalance.
Why Make The Switch To Smoothies
I can cram so many of the nutrients that my body craves into my smoothie (protein, fats, carbs as well as micronutrients, antioxidants and phytonutrients) which really gets me going for the day.
It’s impossible to get all of these from the usual breakfast go-to’s, such as cereal, muffins, toast or bagels.
Again, these types of foods are mostly carb-based, so they spike insulin for a quick burst of energy, with a subsequent crash a few hours later, resulting in the body craving more of these. And the cycle continues.
You want to start your morning off with a smoothie that will NOT spike your blood sugar levels.
Making Smoothies The 'Wrong' Way
Smoothies CAN be a part of the problem because many people I chat with make smoothies that contain way too much sugar, without the protein, fibre and fat to maintain proper blood sugar balance (also beware of 'fast-food' smoothies as they are often sugar-bombs in disguise.)
A mostly fruit-based, yogourt smoothie will spike your blood sugar because it doesn’t contain the protein, fats and enough fibre to maintain proper blood sugar balance.
We want to keep it low-glycemic, which means we don't want the fruit to be the main focus.
What Goes Into My Smoothies
1. Plant based smoothie base for easy assimilation. This is what I use and what I recommend to my clients
2. A healthy fat such as Chia Seeds, Hemp Hearts, Flaxseeds (don’t purchase flaxseeds pre-ground! They go rancid quickly when ground up. Blend them with your smoothie or shortly beforehand) MCT oil, avocado, coconut oil or full fat coconut milk
3. A plant-based milk or some water
4. Use low-carb fruit if desired, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries. You can reduce the fruit and therefore the sweetness as you go.
6. A handful of dark leafy organic greens (spinach is the mildest tasting and is good to start with)
5. Optional - I add in a scoop of Collagen since we lose this as we age. I also add in maca root powder because as an adaptogen, it is beneficial for peri-menopause and stress.
Listen below to what Dr. Jan Roberto has to say about JP Complete, and why she also chooses it.
Smoothie Recipes The Whole Family Will Love
Chocolate, PB, Banana
1/4 cup ice
1/2 cup milk or almond milk
1 scoop of Chocolate JP Complete
1 spoonful natural peanut butter or almond butter
I use a Vita-Mix but you could also use another good blender. I put the ingredients into the cup in the same order they are listed to get a good blend and no powder stickage on the sides.
Green Wake-Up Monster
1 scoop Vanilla JP Complete
Soy or Coconut milk
Hand full of baby spinach and the frozen banana mix makes a great smooth green drink.
Kids love it and have no idea there's spinach in it!
If you need more smoothie inspiration, just send me a message here.
Any good quality blender will do for most smoothies, but if you're adding in things that need to be 'chopped up' you may need something higher powered, like a Vita-Mix (I purchased one about 6 years ago and it was one of the best investments I ever made. It literally gets used every day for things like smoothies, soups, non-dairy ice cream, making flour, nut-butter...you name it.)
Happy smoothie making!
What are your favourite smoothie ingredients?
Until next time,
P.S. If you're ready to up your smoothie game and would like more information on JP Complete powder or would like to place an order, click here.
As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, May Anne's passion is working with women who have lost themselves in the busyness of life and don't feel comfortable in their skin anymore. She uses a step-by-step program that includes nutrition and lifestyle strategies, along with coaching and support, leading them to feeling vibrant, energetic and confident in their skin, without dieting or spending hours in the kitchen.