It’s a hot summer day and you’re cruisin’ around town in your sweet ride trying not to melt. You glance up the street and THERE. IT. IS. The answer to your 120 degree problem – “The Smoothie King” is going to save the kingdom (well, maybe not but you get the idea). You pull into the ‘courtyard’ and enter the ‘castle’. You are greeted by a heavenly blast of cold air and the smiling faces of the king’s servants (all of whom look much like high school students…) ready to serve you. What a kind and generous king to just give up his staff like that for you! You glance up at the menu board and start to salivate just thinking about the “Pineapple Pleasure”, “Blueberry Heaven” and “Passion Passport”. You decide to take the “Caribbean Way” in the ‘medium’, 32 ounce size. The king’s servant hands you the frosty cup and you take the first sip. You think to yourself, “If heaven could be sucked through a straw – this would be it…”. You are suddenly snapped back into reality when the servant tells you that you have to pay for this deliciousness – the dream is over and in your mind the king has just lost some major points.
Damn, I should write children’s books, or maybe some non-fiction. That last paragraph was pretty darn entertaining if I don’t say so myself… Okay, back to this smoothie thing. Common societal belief is that smoothies and fresh made juices are healthy. That’s how places like Smoothie King, Jamba Juice, etc. make their money. They offer ‘healthy’ alternatives to ‘normal’ drinks, milkshakes and snacks. Shoot, the fast food chains are even getting in on the action – McDonald’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Sonic – they’re all pouring out tasty purees. The restaurant industry isn’t the only sector making bank on this deal. ‘natural’ juice companies are all over it too – Naked Juice, Odwalla, etc. And although the ‘Protein Zone’, ‘Green Machine’, and ‘Citrus C Monster’ sound like nutrition powerhouses, the names and labels are downright deceptive.
Now, I’m not out to trash the juice shops, smoothie cafes, and bottled drink industry alone here. No, I’m an equal opportunity fun-hater. So let’s get to the hardcore stuff – I want you all to look at your kitchen counters. I’m guessing that a majority of you can locate a blender – some of you may even have one of those fancy, top-of-the-line pulverizers that require goggles and a helmet to operate. Whether you’ve got a Vita-Mix, Juice Man, Oster, or Black and Decker, I’m willing to bet you’ve whipped up a smoothie or two in that handy little appliance. I’d venture to guess that there’s a handful of you that have even jumped on the juicing bandwagon. It’s okay –we’re not gonna judge. But, to be fair – you and the king (the smoothie one) are equally guilty in this game of ‘destroy your pancreas in 30 seconds or less’.
Anytime you take food, throw it in a blender and whir the heck out of it, you’re setting yourself up for a mainline of sugar. (I am assuming there aren’t too many out there blending up a ‘steafisken’ smoothie (that’s a steak-fish-chicken combo in case you we’re wondering) and pounding that beast for breakfast – although, that would be pretty badass…). You’re probably reading this thinking, “What the heck is wrong with my spinach-apple-beet-carrot-parsley and sometimes protein powder concoction?” Well, let’s talk about it. Liquids hit the system much more quickly than solid food (even after you chew it). The rapid transit requires an immediate and marked insulin response to get that sugar out of your blood. Your body doesn’t know the difference between the sugar in a ‘green drink’ and the sugar in a soda. (I’m sorry if this completely ruins your year – it’s the truth). Sure, the juice or smoothie has some vitamins and minerals that the soda most definitely doesn’t, but if you’re looking to get lean – step away from the blender. Your beta-cells will thank you. And yes, when you throw 2 pounds of spinach, 3 carrots, a handful of berries, ½ an apple and a scoop or two of protein powder in the blender and push start, the end result is still a form of sugar (with some protein thrown in for good measure). Next time you’re getting ready to fire up the old juicer or concoct a new smoothie creation, I want you to try eating all of the food you’re planning to pulverize. Could you? Let me rephrase that, could you eat all of it ‘comfortably’… Yeah, that’s kinda what I thought.
Now, let’s talk a little about hunger and cravings. I’m guessing we can all agree that liquid food isn’t exactly ‘satisfying’. Sure, it tastes good and it might fill you up for an hour or so, but when the crash hits, and it hits HARD. Can you say ‘hypoglycemia’?? And seriously, unless you just had your wisdom teeth removed, who doesn’t like to chew? They make dentures for a reason, people… If you’re lucky enough to have your teeth – USE THEM! Additionally, liquids and sweet tasting things can set you up for a day of hunger and sugar cravings – yeah, sign me up for that one, right? If you’re still not convinced and I am more than positive that some of you have already got your rebuttal and or hate diatribe composed and ready to post in the comments. Go ahead, let me have it – we all defend our vices – I get it. You and your smoothie are close, and breaking up is hard, but I’m trying to save you from an unhealthy relationship and am willing to take the hit. Now, to drive my point home, here are the stats and for your entertainment – the Bacon Equivalents for some deceitful drinks:
|Drink||Serving Size||Calories||Carbs (g)||Sugar (g)||Bacon Equivalent|
|Smoothie King – “Caribbean Way”||Small (20 oz)||395||97||89||8 strips|
|Jamba Juice – “Mega Mango”||Original (24 oz)||340||85||78||7 strips|
|McDonald’s Wild Berry||Medium (22 oz)||310||71||67||6 strips|
|Burger King Tropical Mango||Medium (22 oz)||330||78||63||6.5 strips|
|Sonic ‘Real Fruit’ Strawberry Slush||Large (24 oz)||440||117||116||9 strips|
|Naked Juice “Green Machine”||1 Bottle(16 oz)||280||66||56||5.8 strips|
|Naked Juice “Probiotic Machine”||1 Bottle (16 oz)||360||86||78||7.4 strips|
|Odwalla “Tropical Energy”||1 Bottle (12 oz)||240||59||44||5 strips|
|Odwalla Carrot Juice||1 Bottle (12 oz)||100||22||19||3 strips|
|Vita Coco Coconut water||1 Bottle (16 oz)||90||22||22||3 strips|
|Your Blender “Green Juice” – 1 cup kale (3 Large leaves),1 cup green grapes(28 grapes), 1 cucumber, 1 Granny Smith apple||Full Recipe (16 oz)||220||54||42||4.5 strips|
|Your Blender “Detox Drink” – 1 medium size beet, 4 medium size carrots, 1 medium apple, 2 T chopped fresh ginger||Full Recipe (16 oz)||310||74||62||6 strips|