On the surface, smoothies appear healthful. Fruit is filled with vitamins and fiber. Protein powders have a long list of nutrients. Nut butters are filled with good oils. Yogurt, coconut oil, cacao, maca -- what else do you toss in your blender? Taken individually, the ingredients in a smoothie seem to have all that your body needs to function.
But Ayurveda asks you to look holistically. From this view, the results are different.
Combining fruit with other foods wreaks havoc on digestion, resulting in gas and bloating. Adding ice or frozen fruit dampens agni, digestive fire. Topping everything off with a heaping scoop of protein powder fills the void with something that is unrecognizable as food to your body. All this leads to uncomfortable digestive problems that are the first step on the path to illness and disease.
If you’ve got a smoothie habit, leave them out for two weeks and replace them with our recipe of the month: a date shake.
A shake for ojas
The dates, milk and ghee that make up this shake are not only nourishing and tasty, they are also known in Ayurveda to build ojas. Ojas is an energy (and some sources say an actual substance) in your body. We have a full post on the topic, but the main point is that ojas creates vitality,strong immunity and a sense of blissfulness. It is that “glow” that you see in truly healthy people.
They are also great alternatives for anyone who is attached to sugary foods, and are a good snack when you know your next meal won’t be for several hours. Date shakes are also a hit with children (pack a small thermos filled with ojas in their lunchbox or for a snack). No matter how you enjoy it, once you try this lovely concoction of warm, spiced milk blended with sweet, plump dates, you’ll wonder why you ever thought that cold fruit smoothie was so good.
Simple Ayurvedic Recipe: Date shake
1 cup organic whole milk (preferably raw, but at least unhomogenized. You may also substitute fresh rice milk)
1 tsp. ghee
4 fresh dates
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
Warm the milk, ghee and spices in a small pan until it just begins to boil. Stir gently. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Pit the dates and place them in a blender. Add the spiced milk and blend well. Drink consciously, enjoying each sip in your mouth. Finish it up with a smile and the knowing that all is well.