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Tarrantrl

Smoothie bowl success?

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Hi all, it's day 20 of my second Whole30 (after 1.5 year break) and I wanted an opinion on something. Almost every day, I've had two eggs, a piece or two of bacon, several handfuls spinach (cooked or not), a handful of sweet potato hash brown, and half an avocado for breakfast. I love this breakfast! However, this morning I was running extremely late and I made a smoothie instead. I have read a ton of forum posts and the whole30 book three or more times all the way through, so I know and understand why smoothies are discouraged. In my smoothie, I put half a can of coconut milk, a banana, 1/2 C frozen blueberries, half a zucchini, a modest spoonful (1 tbsp ish) of almond butter, and a little cinnamon. I also ate on the side about half a cup of shredded chicken thigh. I put the smoothie in a quart jar and layered in slivered almonds (maybe 1 tbsp) and coconut flakes (3 tbsp ish). I ate it with a spoon (in the car unfortunately while my sister drove us to school/work), and honestly I think it went ok. I had to chew it a lot because of all the coconut flakes, and near the end of it I was starting to feel pretty full, even though it was probably only 2.5 C in volume. I definitely felt a little more "empty" before lunch than I usually do, but I wasn't really hungry between breakfast and lunch (which is my norm). I recognize that there was more fruit in the smoothie than I would normally eat (and I won't be having any more today), and I definitely prefer my heartier routine breakfast option, but I think that this smoothie bowl experiment was actually pretty successful from a satiety perspective (the main complaint about smoothies in W30 other than the fruit content). If I do have any more smoothie bowls (doubtful), I'd probably omit the almond butter (so I can keep the slivered almonds for the crunch!) and replace the blueberries with another veggie (maybe several handfuls of spinach?). I'm interested to see what other people think about smoothies when they're eaten with a spoon/chewed and with a side of actual protein!

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For me, I love green smoothies. And I'm talking pretty green, green smoothies. Like, ones with only a single, small portion of fruit and then lots of vegetables, including green, leafy ones. I don't understand why they're not okay on Whole30. I don't see how they're that much different than drinking calories in bone broth. I don't see how they're that much different than eating a creamy soup. 

And I certainly don't see why they aren't a good source of greens in the morning for breakfast when they have fat in them and are served with protein. 

But, I like the black and white of the rules and recommendations, so I avoid them while doing a Whole30. Are they a regular part of my non-Whole30 diet? Yes. But I don't drink them on Whole30 because I try to trust the rules and recommendations just as they're written. 

I guess this isn't much help. I guess I just want to say that I can definitely relate to where you're coming from. But yeah, I still choose not to drink them while on Whole30. 

Best of luck to you! 

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Kirbz, that is just what I was thinking! What is the difference between a soup and a smoothie? Usually soup contains much less fruit and sometimes has animal protein, but not always. You could definitely get a similar veggie/fruit ratio in a smoothie or soup if you tried. So... what's the difference? Usually that you'd drink smoothies faster. But if you ate a smoothie with a spoon, now I REALLY don't see much of a difference.

I appreciate the intention of the rules. Better to rule out all smoothies, including the ones that are all fruit so way too much sugar/not meal template, than to try to tease out the details. But really a smoothie may not be that different from a soup, and soups are highly recommended on Whole30. A little confusing!

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With a blended soup like butternut squash for instance (so we're comparing smoothies and a similar soup), we would not recommend that you eat that by itself for a meal anymore than we would recommend you eat a smoothie.  The main difference is of course the fruit and high concentration of nuts/nut products when people use a nut milk to make their smoothie where in soups you generally don't do that.  Also, most people are not 'attached' to soup like they are attached to smoothies... 

There are no Whole30 police so you can really do whatever you want, but do know that the recommendations like these are to ensure you get the best out of your program and smoothies aren't going to give you the energy, satiety and experience as eating a template meal.  Part of the program IS the experience of going outside your comfort zone and leaving things like smoothies behind to really embrace a change.  If you find that smoothies work in your life after Whole30 like @kirbz then that's great but I would really encourage you to commit to the full 30 days using the rules AND the recommendations to see just how much you can get out of the program.

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@SugarcubeOD thanks so much for your reply! When I had the smoothie bowl I described at the beginning if this thread, I actually did eat it with a plate of chicken. That smoothie had too much fruit, and I did notice cravings later. 

However, I like to experiment! I don't really have an emotional relationship with smoothies; they weren't part of my diet before this Whole30. But sometimes in the morning I eat my veggies and literally feel like I'm going to be sick. So this is what I tried this morning:

Two eggs fried in herby compound clarified butter (so delicious!)

1 piece of compliant bacon

2-3 C spinach

Half a can coconut milk

Half a large zucchini

1 banana

On the face of it, this seems like a fine breakfast. Does it matter that I blended the last 4 ingredients into a smootie, poured it in a bowl, and ate it with a spoon after I ate the eggs and bacon? I guess we'll see as I monitor cravings today.

[And I know people generally recommend more eggs (3 or 4), but I tried that several times and I really struggle not to throw up when I eat that much for breakfast. 2 eggs gets me to lunch 6 hours later no problem every day.]

What I'm getting at is that, at some point, a very green smoothie in a bowl becomes a cold soup. Which I think should be fine. What do you think of that breakfast?

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Personally, the blending of those ingredients still falls contrary to the recommendations.  The other thing to consider is that when we feel ill eating savory foods in the morning, that's a sign our hormones (cortisol and leptin) are off... if you want to be a person that can eat a proper veggie, protein and fat breakfast without feeling sick, you just sort of have to power through and keep trying until you get there... we suggest people plate up a template breakfast, eat evenly from around the plate until you can't anymore, wrap it up and take it with you as soon as you feel that you can stomach more - not waiting to feel hunger again.  

There are no Whole30 police and what you're eating is technically compliant but no one here is going to say it's a good idea, especially for someone who has the 'veggies make me want to barf in the morning' issue.

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That's actually not really what I meant. On day 25, maybe 3 times I've felt nauseated at breakfast. And then I think it was a texture problem, not the fact that there were veggies. I would make it most of the way through the meal without a problem, but sometimes at the end it would be hard to finish it. I think probably this was just too much food for me. Judging by the fact that I can go 5-6 hours between breakfast and lunch without getting hungry, I think I'm doing alright.

Still, this doesn't answer my question. What's the difference between what I have described and a soup? I think I could even cut the banana down to a half or a third if the answer is just going to be "there's too much fruit", and then I really don't see a difference. I'm not necessarily trying to defend smoothies because by no means do I consider them necessary, but I think it's an interesting question.

The other thing is that Whole30 has their rules and recommendations for a science-based reason. For smoothies, the primary reasons I am aware of are that there is too much fruit and that drinking your meals doesn't trigger satiety. Totally valid, important reasons. So a "smootie"/cold soup that has very little fruit (or maybe none!) and that you eat with a spoon out of a bowl should address those concerns. The breakfast I had this morning I found incredibly satiating, and I had no cravings today (unlike when I had a fruitier smoothie). I honestly can't think of a reason why this would be in conflict with the intention of the Whole30 recommendation. Especially since I don't have an emotional relationship with smoothies and they're not something I crave or even often want. So for what reason, other than that it is called a smoothie, could this be an issue? I'm all for hearing another science-based reason that I haven't considered. 

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You may want to reconsider your professed lack of attachment to smoothies if you need to keep defending them.  Have you read "It Starts With Food?"  They talk about some of the considerations of of a liquid diet and how it influences hormones.

This is going to come off slightly harsher than I want, but as has already been stated, there's no Whole30 police, you can do what you want, it's in the recommendations of the program not the rules, but no one here is going to tell you that you cracked the smoothie code and it's OK.  It's good that you're eating protein on the side since that is a thing often missing in smoothies, but I'd try to get the protein amount up to template standards (the template is also just a recommendation, not a rule).  

Here's a quote from a few years back on exactly the same subject.

On 9/15/2013 at 3:25 PM, Tom Denham said:

Nobody fights to keep soup on the menu. No one develops logic puzzles to defend soup. Soup is occasionally eaten as a meal unto itself, but ideally it is part of a meal and an occasional part at that. Pureed vegetables in soup-form keeps you satisfied a shorter period of time than eating the same volume of whole vegetables would. That can be a problem, but we don't see a problem with the abuse of soup the way we do smoothies.

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@slc_melissa, thanks for your reply! I think the nature of posting online makes it difficult to convey that I really don't have an unhealthy attachment to smoothies. I have not consumed smoothies regularly for 3 or 4 years, and have probably had under 10 sporadically in that time. The main reason that I'm "defending" smoothies is because of the resistance here! I don't care about smoothies for the sake of smoothies, but I want to understand the difference between the problems smoothies pose and the problems soups pose. I don't see why one is bad while the other is good.

To that end, the quote you provided was really helpful. Strangely, I seem to remember a line in Whole30 saying that soups are "incredibly satiating." I don't have the book with me, so maybe I'm misremembering that. However, the quote you posted seems to say the opposite. 

It makes total sense to me that any liquid food would be less satiating in whatever form (soup, smoothie, or especially juice). That's why I stopped having smoothies regularly. What confused me was that I thought soups were highly recommended on the Whole30. If that is not the case, then soups and veggie smoothies could potentially be on the same footing, but for many people smoothies also present other issues. Even if you can elevate smoothies to the healthful level of soups (which I think is totally possible), you can't elevate either of them to the level of just eating your veggies whole. At least that's what I'm getting from this quote. Both of those things could become a problem, but it's hard to imagine that happening as much with soup.

All in all, I think this was something interesting to think about. And if I want to break up some food boredom in the morning, maybe I'll just add some garlic to my blended veggies and call it a soup ;)

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I've never particularly thought of or noticed soups as "highly recommended," I've more just thought of them as a food option.  Smoothies don't need defending, they are specifically called out in the program as not being recommended in the Whole30 101 page.  It's not resistance to the smoothie, it's people who looked at a program, liked it enough to commit to the rules and recommendations, and are following through with what they decided to do for themselves.

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The strange thing to me is that in a lot of the forum posts I have read, I sometimes get a sense of hostility even from the moderators when people talk about things that are not exactly the same as the whole30 recommendations. That's sort of what I'm getting from that reply, which implies that I DON'T like the whole30 enough, I'm NOT committed to it's rules, and I'm NOT following through with it.

Quite the contrary! The whole30 is the only nutritional plan that I have come back to over and over again. I can tell than Melissa and Dallas have done a lot of great research and have a lot of experience, which saves me from having to do all of that research and experimenting myself!

However, that doesn't mean that I turn my brain off during a whole30. The rules of the whole30 have been developed over time, but they're not perfect. If there are issues, then how will they find out to change them unless someone says something? I definitely think that the smoothie rule doesn't need to be changed, but that doesn't mean I won't continue to think about the intentions and science of the whole30 and use my knowledge as well as theirs as I make my decisions for my health.

I also like to solve problems! In this particular thread, I was exploring whether smoothies were inherently a problem or whether I could address the main problems I see them presenting. The answer for me was yes, but that doesn't make me really want to eat smoothies any more than I wanted to before this experiment. And I didn't really want them to begin with. Silly as it sounds, I only explored this "for science"! And I have suffered no ill effects from this little foray.

I don't by any means think that I should or could contribute anything to this forum that will significantly change anyone's understanding of how the whole30 program should be set up. But someone else might, and I'll always be open to giving their ideas serious and respectful consideration before shooting them down. The whole30 is an excellent but not perfect program, and I don't think it is necessary or productive for someone to call into question my committment to the program just because I'm playing devil's advocate on a particular topic. Such conversations are worth having even when we arrive at the same conclusion we started with because there is still so much to learn about human health, and considering the opposite of what we think is correct can sometimes lead us to that new knowledge. 

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Nowhere did I call into question your personal commitment.  Presumably you are "are following through with what they (you) decided to do for themselves (yourself)" which is exactly what I said.  Smoothies are not recommended.  That's it.  You can do a complete technically compliant whole30 using only smoothies.  Or only almonds and compliant bacon.  Neither would be recommended.  When people come to this forum, they are often looking for advice and troubleshooting.  Moderators and others are not going to recommend things that are not recommended.

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I completely understand the no smoothie recommendation for the duration of this program. No problem with it at all, and know moderators will stick by the somewhat arbitrary guidelines because that’s what the written program (their employer) dictates. Clearly, smoothies have come up again and again as somewhat of a trigger food for many and it’s been decided they are not the best choice for a Whole30, even with fully compliant ingredients. That being said, I’m R1D28 and I’ve only posted on this forum one time because I feel like the moderators are extremely condescending. @Tarrantrl I understand where you are coming from, because I have noticed it myself on 85% of the threads. There is a difference between a helpful, educational tone and the more common one that intends to belittle and embarrass those who ask an honest question. 

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3 hours ago, kjo1193 said:

 I feel like the moderators are extremely condescending. I have noticed it myself on 85% of the threads. There is a difference between a helpful, educational tone and the more common one that intends to belittle and embarrass those who ask an honest question. 

I'm very sorry to hear that you feel that way and that you feel that 85% of moderator answers are rude or condescending. :( Could you kindly private message me so that I can get a feel for which threads and what your concern is and we can work to resolve it? We are always looking to better ourselves and have admitted on occasion that it is easy to forget that while it might be our 50th time answering a question, it is brand new for the person asking.

Please message me so that we can be better and do better.

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I found an article about how soup has benefits that smoothies don't have, and it looks like it really comes down to the bone broth and meat that are typically included in soups but not smoothies. So unless you're willing to blend meat into your "smoothie," you won't get those benefits from a smoothie. By this logic, savory soups that are water-based and don't have any animal protein wouldn't really be much better than smoothies (except that people are probably more likely to find smoothies to be a food with no brakes than any kind of savory soup). Take a look at the article if you're interested! https://www.thepaleomom.com/move-over-smoothies-and-juice-the-soup-rising-benefits-of-souping/

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4 minutes ago, Tarrantrl said:

I found an article about how soup has benefits that smoothies don't have, and it looks like it really comes down to the bone broth and meat that are typically included in soups but not smoothies. So unless you're willing to blend meat into your "smoothie," you won't get those benefits from a smoothie. By this logic, savory soups that are water-based and don't have any animal protein wouldn't really be much better than smoothies (except that people are probably more likely to find smoothies to be a food with no brakes than any kind of savory soup). Take a look at the article if you're interested! https://www.thepaleomom.com/move-over-smoothies-and-juice-the-soup-rising-benefits-of-souping/

Soups also don't have the sugar load that a smoothie usually has.

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