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Why Be Choosy About a Smoothie?

If it’s one thing we are known for here in the West, it’s smoothies!

Shops that sell smoothies dominate street corners and you can find smoothies on menus in a plethora of restaurants. Strolling down the street with a smoothie in hand is a favored celebrity past time. It’s also a top go-to meal replacement to have on hand for many busy people on their commute.

One would have to agree that smoothies are quite convenient, satisfy the sweet tooth, and are a popular comfort food. So, why doesn’t Ayurveda support drinking smoothies?!

While you may not be well-versed in the particulars of proper food combining, I’m sure you have heard of the concept. 

The classic smoothie is yogurt- and fruit–based and this is where it gets “ugly,” for several reasons.

In general, foods require different enzymes in order to be digested by the body and the body only activates one type of enzyme at a time. Fruit and dairy require different enzymatic functions. If we eat fruit and dairy at the same time, the body is going to choose one enzyme to do the job, not both. Meaning either the fruit or the dairy is not going to get digested properly. Improper digestion paves the way for toxins to form and get stored in the body where they accumulate and create imbalances.

Another consideration is the density of foods. Think light or heavy. Most fruits are among the lightest substances we eat. Light foods are digested more quickly than heavier foods like dairy or meat. 

When we combine fruit with a heavier food such as dairy, the body is inclined to allow the fruit to pass through the digestive system more quickly than the heavier food. In the case of the fruit and dairy smoothie, the fruit gets caught in a “traffic jam” behind the dairy. While it waits for the dairy to be digested, it begins to ferment. This can create a sour stomach by way of the fermented fruit curdling the dairy.

Factor all of this in with the preference many people have for a nice COLD smoothie. Cold foods and beverages put out the digestive fire (agni), and the cold energy (virya) has the added detriment of creating toxic buildup. This turns a smoothie into sludge in your tummy!

But cutting smoothies out one’s life can be like a sad break-up and we don’t want that to happen, so here is a recipe for an Ayurvedic smoothie you can fall in love with!


  • 8 ozs room temperature (or just slightly chilled if you are weaning yourself off of cold drinks) plant-based milk (almond, coconut, hemp, oat, macadamia, etc.).
  • ¾ C. strawberries or a combination of the berries of your choice OR, 1 tbs. raw cacao powder* if you prefer a chocolate smoothie.
  • About 1 tbsp. chia or flax seeds (these thicken the smoothie and the longer you blend, the thicker it gets)
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract (non-alcohol based)
  • 1/8–1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1/8–1/4 tsp. ground ceylon cinnamon

*If using raw cacao powder, add two large pitted medjool dates for sweetness; add one if using berries but would like a bit more sweetness. If dates are hard, soak them in hot water for 5–10 minutes to soften them up; add the soaking water along with the dates to the rest of the ingredients once the water has cooled. 

Blend all ingredients well. Give thanks and enjoy!