Many of my weight loss clients often mention to me a popular facebook page, operation lose that pot belly, on how they insist on smoothies for weight loss and on this post I will break down why smoothies are very effective on managing weight.
The ‘ordinary’ Kenyan diet has very little or no raw foods in it. Am not talking about fruit, which is vital for weight loss, though in small quantities, am talking about raw green vegetables with live enzymes and unharmed nutrients which are easily damaged by heat. And considering how most people overcook their veggies, its appalling how little of raw foods people consume and hence the high frequency of obesity and lifestyle diseases among mostly urban middle class.
The basic smoothie I recommend to my clientele is based on fresh (preferably organic) local vegetables. The trick here is to consume more traditional varieties of veg that do not require chemicals to grow, like amaranth leaves (terere) or solanum (managu), which are actually weeds and grow wildly, taste good, raw or cooked and costs nothing. Personally I prefer kale because where I live, it is grown by squatters who do not have time and money to buy chemicals so they do it organically, the most sustainable way :). Plus kale can grow even in the lowest quality of soils but still deliver flavor that you cannot imagine, especially when sautéed, but we are focusing on raw stuff today.
Smoothies are designed to bring in the whole food into your system, unlike juices which might leave most of the insoluble fiber in the bin. That does not make juicing any less superior…yes you will consume less fiber, but will drink more nutrition per ounce basis compared to a smoothie, so, NO, there is nothing better or worse than the other.
Again, the typical Kenyan diet has very little fiber which is crucial for digestion and hence metabolism and subsequently fat-burning. White rice with beef/GMO chicken, white ugali with ‘soya meat’…this is what most people eat everyday, throw in a bag of fries and a liter of soda into the mix and it’s constipation galore.
Seed & Nut Nutrition
I also include some seeds and nuts, in many forms in my smoothie recipes which not only add plenty of fiber but also unique nutrition that is very uncommon in the typical Kenyan diet.
When you say nuts, most people think of peanuts which are technically not even nuts. Real tree nuts are the ones with the super nutrition; walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, and did I say walnuts?
You can simply add the raw nuts into the smoothie or better yet soak them in spring water overnight, blend and strain them, BAM, you have a homemade nut milk that is quintessential to a healthy smoothie.
On top of that, I bind the smoothies with organic ground chia seeds, which are another superfood that you cannot take lightly. This also provides a protein element and together with the nut milk and nuts, a smoothie can be a completely balanced meal with carbs, vitamins, minerals and vibrant antioxidants, that also keep your skin glowing.
No matter how you look at it, you just have to consume fewer calories and burn more calories to create a calorie deficit to burn fat. Don’t get me wrong, not all calories are the same, soda is not the same as eating an avocado, which is also a great ingredient to include in your smoothies to thicken things, apart from bananas which can have too much sugar that recommended for weight loss.
Drinking smoothies is a very safe way to ensure a sustainable calorie deficit that will not leave you weak and losing bone mass rather than fat. One cup of a green smoothie can have enough nutrition to last for a few hours just like the meal that you would have had but in this case you ate less quantity, but more quality, and those are the reasons why smoothies work.