Why I am not a fan of smoothies
I break ranks with the rest of the nutrition world on this one. Smoothies are the darling of social media and wellness advocates everywhere (in fact we’ve all seen them on our feeds ad nauseam) but I will only recommend them in certain circumstances.
Smoothies are a popular breakfast choice for many people, but they may not be the best option during winter and particularly not for anyone with impaired digestion like those with Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism.
There are thyroid hormone receptors in the gut so when you aren’t getting enough of those hormones gut function can slow and decline. Thyroid antibodies can also bind to hydrochloric acid producing cells of the stomach lining decreasing stomach acid production.
The stomach environment is meant to be super acidic with a pH of 1-2.
You need plenty of digestive fire (acidity & lots of it) to properly break down food. If that isn’t the case then you can wind up with uncomfortable digestive symptoms like burping & bloating as food sits too long high up in the GI tract for too long. What do you think happens when you suddenly poor a tall glass of icy cold, wet liquid into a stomach with low acid?
Hisssss… (that’s the sound of you digestive fire being put out).
Pepsin, the fancy name for the enzyme that helps you absorb protein, needs a pH environment of under 3. Eeeeek! What’s happening to your fancy collagen protein powder now?!
In order to extract and absorb nutrients from the food we eat we need that digestive fire to take the first step and break our food down into a sludgy substance called chyme. If it can’t do that we are at risk of nutrient deficiencies. And guess what?! Stomach acid production relies on sufficient levels of several nutrients. Yep, it’s a nasty cycle.
My other bugbear with smoothies is their temperature. Hypothyroidism lowers the metabolic rate making you (literally) colder. This can make winter a pretty miserable time for those with slow thyroid function. Being cold all the time can make you grumpy & uncomfortable so why not give yourself a lovely hot & easy to digest breakfast that warms you up. Ancient medicinal practices like Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine promote the consumption of hot foods in winter with avoidance of cold drinks and it really makes sense doesn’t it?
Try these winter breakfast options:
- An omelette with sautéed vegetables and goats cheese.
- Porridge (if tolerated) with stewed apple, cinnamon and natural yoghurt.
- Loaded toast is a favourite of mine, smashed avo, topped with pan fried chicken, sprinkled with cracked pepper, chilli and salt flakes if you like some kick with a side of sautéed spinach & mushrooms.
If you are still going to have smoothies, why not try warming them up and sipping on them slowly? I hear a warm banana smoothie bowl with cinnamon is sensational.
What’s your favourite winter breakfast?