During my green smoothie challenge, I lost 5.5 lbs and 1.3 % body fat! But so much more happened during the challenge than just weight/fat loss. This is what I learned:
1) Green smoothies provide you with energy…
2) …but they also make you crash. On Day Four, I slept for nearly 12 hours! I was so exhausted. I can function really well during the day on green smoothies, but as soon as I take a break or sit down or I’m finished with my workload, I’m exhausted. This might have also been partly from the rapid weight loss: it’s a bit of a shock to the body to cut back on calories and to lose that much weight in eleven days.
3) Smoothies provide you with a ton of nutrients. One of the biggest reasons why I prefer smoothies to juice is that smoothies give you all of the fibre and nutrients that are left behind when you press a fruit or vegetable into a juice. Plus, smoothies can also include tofu, nut butters, protein powders, etc. If you can blend it, you can turn it into a smoothie! This gives a lot more options for nutrients and flavours.
4) Cravings aren’t that intense if you supplement your smoothies. An apple one day, a bite of brownie the next, a few spoonfuls of nut butter the day after… this was a brilliant way to satisfy cravings and hunger. I wound up “eating” more than I had planned, but that was okay. It felt right for my body to have a bite or two of something here and there each day.
5) …However, if you eat too much solid food in the midst of a smoothie fast, you feel awful. On Day Seven, it snowed. It snowed. Aggghhhh! I wasn’t in the mood for smoothies and wound up not only having kale chips, some chocolates and nut butter, but also homemade banana bread and a couple oat cakes. Now, the foods themselves were all very healthy – but I guess I had gotten used to drinking green smoothies and not really having grains, so my body was not pleased. My tummy felt upset all day that day and I felt pretty lethargic and even headachey. I missed my green smoothies terribly by the evening. The next day I still wasn’t feeling overly great, but it cleared up as the day went on. I found it fascinating that I didn’t have any negative symptoms when starting the green smoothies, but I did have those negative symptoms of poor digestion and headaches (oh, and did I mention that my nightmares returned with a vengeance on the evening of Day Seven?) when I returned to my regular way of eating. Hmm. Curious!
6) I have the best support group ever. No one called me crazy the entire 11 days! I have to admit that I was surprised. People were really supportive about it all. It’s so nice to finally be reaching a point where I can trust that the people in my life aren’t going to be weirded out by my eating habits and that they’ll accept that it’s okay if my choices are a little different.
7) Smoothies make you pee a lot. It’s even worse than if you just happen to be someone who stays ridiculously well-hydrated! If you’re going to drink lots of green smoothies, make sure you know where the restroom is.
8 ) I ended up using way more protein powder than I expected. I was very surprised with how much protein powder I used, but my biggest problem was that I ran out of my favourite Tropical Traditions berry-flavoured greens powder within the first couple days… and my new order took forever to come in! So I experimented with other flavours, but I found that using berries and grapes and such – yes, pure fruit – was too much for me. It was too sweet to be drinking all day long (and I do not like vegetable-flavoured drinks that are all bitter like gazpacho and such, so that wasn’t really much of an option). I used a lot of vanilla protein powder to make vanilla smoothies which were amazing. But I also made a point of using reasonable portion sizes: when I use protein powder, I generally use half of what they recommend, such as a half scoop instead of a full scoop. This ensures that I don’t have protein powder overload and it also makes the protein powder last longer, which is an added bonus.
9) Smoothies are a great way to lose a ton of weight fast. I lost five pounds within the first four days. Not too shabby! By Day Eight I had gained back one of those pounds, but that was due to my overeating/under exercising debacle the day before (when it had been snowy and cold). I wasn’t starving myself or anything, but when you’re drinking green smoothies it’s pretty difficult to overindulge. Besides, they make you feel fantastic. You find yourself wanting to take really good care of yourself. And I expect that contributes to the weight loss, too.
10) I want to continue doing this. Green smoothies are amazing. I felt so good from drinking them. I am of course eating solid foods regularly again, but I intend on consuming green smoothies for about 50% of my diet for the rest of the summer (at least). They’re a great way to stay hydrated and to incorporate greens and moderate hunger/cravings/energy levels… plus they fit very well into my high raw/mostly vegan plan! Green smoothies have captured my heart. I am so, so glad that I did this.
Did you drink green smoothies with me during the past week and a half? Do you drink green smoothies regularly? How do you feel about them?
If anyone is interested in learning more about green smoothies, I highly recommend Victoria Boutenko’s Green for Life: The Updated Classic on Green Smoothie Nutrition. I bought it on Day Six and had the entire book read within a day and a half. There’s lot of really good (and well-researched) information in there!