Smoothies have had a profound impact on my life. Is it odd that a bunch of blended plants can have a huge impact on a person’s life? Perhaps, at first glance, it’s a little strange. After learning the reasons why smoothies have had such a big impact on my life, though, you may begin to understand how mashed fruits and vegetables can change the lives of their consumers. 🙂
Smoothies Helped Me Defeat Acne
Acne is a condition that many people deal with. While the condition of acne itself is relatively harmless, the mental effects can be crippling for one’s self esteem. This can result in depression and avoidance behavior, which in turn affects relationships, school, social life, and just about every other aspect of the acne sufferer’s life.
Usually a person suffering from acne will try over-the-counter topical treatments, and/or go to a doctor and receive a prescription for antibiotics, lotions, or even accutane. While these products may alleviate the symptoms of acne, the underlying inflammatory disease still exists. Acne is a battle that needs to be won internally.
I’ve struggled with acne since before I can remember. I’ve been on accutane, antibiotics, creams, gotten zapped by lasers, had peels done, etc. If you’ve struggled with acne I’m sure you can relate. Some of the treatments I’ve tried worked well for a while. The acne, unfortunately, would always return. All of the treatments I was trying were only masking symptoms. The acne was an indication that something was not right inside my body. I began to attack my acne at the source. The one-two punch of a nutritious smoothie and a less-stressful lifestyle has knocked my acne down for the count.
Getting rid of acne from the inside requires a multi-pronged approach, one of which is nutrition thru dietary intake. In order to reduce inflammation, your body needs to function properly. In order to function properly, your body needs nutrients. All of the nutrients you need can be obtained through a healthy (and, by the way, great tasting and easy to prepare) eating lifestyle. This is where smoothies can be of great help.
The type of smoothie I recommend for those suffering from acne is called a green smoothie. Green smoothies are named after their key ingredient. Can you guess what it is? You got it; Greens! Before you picture yourself eating a mushy piece of broccoli, let me explain.
A green smoothie usually consists of a cruciferous green and some fruit. Some cruciferous greens are more ‘earthy’ than others. For first-time green smoothie drinkers, there are some greens that are surprisingly mild. When mixed with fruit, the taste of the greens is virtually eliminated, while the great nutritional content is preserved.
Green smoothies are extra nutrient-dense. They contain a high ratio of vitamins and minerals compared to calories. In other words, you get all the benefits (and probably more, if you are eating a typical diet) of your normal food, while also taking in less calories.
Smoothies Help Me Control Weight
Losing weight is hard. I don’t care what any of the infomercials on TV, or Jane down the street who just lost 50 lbs. tells you. It’s hard. What isn’t hard is the formula – live a lifestyle that includes eating healthy foods and some physical activity. The hard part is the implementation of a healthy and active lifestyle. Some people don’t know what that means, and some just aren’t able to summon the willpower to make the changes. Smoothies make it easy to cover the ‘healthy foods’ part of the equation.
After waiting tables and living an active lifestyle in college, I started working in an office. I promptly gained 60 jiggly pounds of fat. Smoothies helped me solve this common problem. I wanted to lose some weight, but I didn’t want to starve or eat boring food. Smoothies provided me with a satisfying and nutritious alternative to the foods that made me fat. Specifically, they helped quench my cravings for sweets. I ended up losing all the weight I had gained, and I’ve been able to keep it off, even while being exposed to the same pre-smoothie temptations.
Smoothies are incredibly nutrient dense, they are very low in calories, high in fiber, and, surprise, they taste great too! They are made from fresh ingredients, so there are no artificial sweeteners or other chemicals in your food. The main attribute that makes smoothies great for weight loss, though, is that they are low in calories.
When I was tipping the scales at 220 lbs. (I’m 170 now), one simple substitution really cascaded into an altered lifestyle that allowed me to shed my excess weight for good. I started drinking a smoothie before I went to work in the morning. I used to eat eggs, a piece of meat, some wheat toast, and some cottage cheese with a piece of fruit for breakfast. This sounds pretty healthy right? I guess it could be worse, but if you add up all the calories, I was eating about 600-700 calories for breakfast.
To lose weight, I got rid of the meat, cottage cheese, and fruit, and replaced it with a smoothie. Now, eating an egg, a half-piece of toast, and about 2.5 or 3 cups of smoothie, my caloric intake for breakfast is in the 350-450 range. Just that simple switch, leaving everything else constant, would result in losing weight. Something funny happened when I made that switch though…
I found that I had more energy! I wasn’t just more energetic right after drinking the smoothie either. My energy ‘high’ lasted for hours. I started drinking a smoothie when I got home from work instead of snacking. With all the extra energy I had, I began to do some exercise and more work around the house. In a mere 3 months, I lost all of my excess weight. You can do it too.
Smoothies Helped Improve My Athletic Performance
While smoothies are a great weight loss tool, they can also be tweaked to accommodate an individual who wants to gain weight. Usually when someone wants to gain weight, they would like to gain lean mass, aka muscle. The smoothie is the perfect ‘food’ for weight gain; it is packed with nutrients, and can provide the necessary calories and protein to facilitate lean mass gain.
When I lost a bunch of weight, I wasn’t in the best athletic shape. I decided to join a recreational soccer league to get in shape and have some fun. After several games, I realized my body wasn’t able to keep up. I wasn’t feeding it the fuel it needed to perform well. After a few weeks of tweaking a smoothie regimen, I was able to go from huffing and puffing throughout a 1-hour game, to playing three 1-hour games with plenty of energy to spare at the end.
It is important to eat healthy when gaining weight. If the goal is to gain muscle, eating a bunch of big macs and chicken nuggets will not give you the energy or the nutrition your body needs to gain muscle. Training to gain weight causes small tears in your muscles. Your body needs protein and nutrients to build them back up; not a bunch of saturated fat.
Smoothies for weight gain provide you with all of the nutrition you need. They can be made high in protein and calories, while still remaining a nutrient-dense treat. I recommend eating a healthy meal with lean protein and vegetables, and using a smoothie as a sort of dessert. They are also great for after a workout.
No Acne, Healthy Weight, Athletic Machine…
Pretty Big Impact, Right?
Smoothies solved my problems with acne, weight loss and lean mass gain. The benefits have never stopped amazing me, and there are no negative side effects. I hope that by sharing the impact that smoothies have had on my life, others who suffer from the same problems as me can see some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s never too late to incorporate smoothies into your daily regimen.