SMOOTHIES! What plant-based fanatic doesn't adore them? We also love our smoothies here at RASA Ayurveda, and although smoothies are not a traditional Ayurvedic food, there certainly are strategies that we can follow to render them more aligned with Ayurvedic suggestions; with the principles of Ahara Chikitsa, or food as medicine, in order to make them true medicine for the body!
1. AVOID ICE, WARM YOUR SMOOTHIES
The first recommendation is to avoid ice and to prepare your smoothies warm. You may have heard us recommend the avoidance of ice and ice water in the past. But, what is a smoothie without ice?! Is a smoothie even possible without ice or frozen fruit? And why would we avoid ice, especially in the hotter months of summer (Pitta season)?
Ayurveda has always discouraged the consumption of ice for the way in which it dampens and weakens Agni (digestive fire) and therefore causes the accumulation of Ama (toxicity, waste), which over time, leads to imbalance and disease. If we think of Jathar Agni as a burning fire within the belly, which requires stoking and tending–just like any fire–we can imagine the damage that would ensue if we threw a handful of ice onto the flames.
Ayurveda teaches us that proper digestion is one of the 3 pillars of health (Trayopastambha). When our Agni is weak, due to misaligned dietary choices such as ice-consumption, the food in our bellies is not able to be cooked and assimilated properly. It can thus sit in the digestive tract, ferment and turn into Ama. Over time, Ama can travel deeper into the tissues and create all kinds of issues, such as constipation, sinus congestion, fatigue, dullness, diarrhea, skin eruptions, sexual debilitation and more.
So instead of ice, we recommend that you take your smoothies warm. This means that you should use ingredients at room temperature or warmer. You can warm the water, juice or non-dairy milk that your are including in your smoothie on the stove-top just before blending.
2. STICK TO 7 INGREDIENTS OR LESS
According to Ayurveda, another essential component of right diet is proper food combining. When we combine too many ingredients together, we can make it difficult for our Agni to do its job. And when our Agni is especially weak, it can suffer even more from these complicated miss-combinations.
Although there are specific categories of foods which should not be combined with others, a general and simple rule-of-thumb for smoothie-making, is to reduce your ingredient list to 7 or less. This way, your morning smoothie will digest easily, quickly, and leave you feeling light, yet energized and ready for your day!
3. ADD DIGESTIVE + ADAPTOGENIC HERBS
An excellent and incredibly simple way of boosting the digestibility of your smoothies is to add spices that kindle Agni as well as adaptogenic herbs to support the body in adapting to stress.
Some common spices that will ignite the digestive fire, that you probably already have in your pantry, are fresh or powdered ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and clove. Do your best to source spices that are organic, fresh and stored in glass or paper, rather than plastic.
And here at RASA Ayurveda, we have a full line-up of adaptogenic, super-herb Potions for every need, including our Adapt-to Life Potion (for adapting to the stresses of everyday life), Wild Woman Potion (for women's hormonal balance), Mighty Man Potion (for men's energy and virility) and Popeye Protein Potion (for energy, stamina and strength). Throw 1tsp-1tbsp of any of these potions into your blender at least once per day, and reap the benefits of greater energy levels, stable moods, healthier hormones, increased adaptability and more.
4. EAT YOUR SMOOTHIE AS A SNACK OR AT BREAKFAST
It has become commonplace in the plant-based world to eat smoothies as a full meal. But we recommend instead to consume your daily smoothie in the morning for a light breakfast, or as a snack between meals if you have a busy or energy-demanding schedule. Be sure to sip your smoothie slowly, while sitting and without distractions, and to chew your smoothie, as the mouth is the final site of physical breakdown; it's all chemical after that! Avoid eating your smoothies on the run or in the car.
So now that you know how to modify your smoothie recipes for greater digestibility, here is a simple and warm smoothie recipe that you can try, that the entire family will love!
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 pitted, organic dates
1 1/2 cups warm non dairy milk (oat milk is our favourite!)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or powder
2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp Adapt to Life Potion
- hemp seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth and serve!