is a green smoothie a license to eat a boatload of junk food?

I was at a family party last night. My youngest brother and his wife (I have six brothers) just built a new home and hosted a game night. (Actually we mostly just watched the Olympics where Apolo Anton Ohno got juked out of a medal by a bad DQ call. According to Ohno,  by a Canadian judge favoring a Canadian skater.)

As we were sitting around, my brother-in-law Matt said to me, “Hey Robyn. You’ll be so proud. I’ve been drinking a green smoothie every morning.”

I gushed a little. About how proud I am (and  props to my baby sis–she’s making them, I ask, right? Right.). And do you feel more energy, have better digestion? I wonder.  Oh yes! he said. And my sister, looking very pinched, like someone who is trying reaaallllly hard to hold back, finally said,

“Sha. And he eats NOTHING else that’s healthy the entire day. Just crap. He figures that if he drinks a green smoothie, he’s golden.”

Do YOU? Think you’re golden, I mean?

Could your green smoothie habit possibly be holding you back in some ways, because you’re so self-congratulatory after slugging down a pint, that you figure it earns you a double portion of DoubleStuf Oreos after that?

(That was for you, Matt, just on the off chance you read this–since Oreos are your favorite cookie.)

If so, I’ve got some work to do.

‘Fess up.

10 thoughts on “is a green smoothie a license to eat a boatload of junk food?

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  1. Ha ha that’s funny. I feel less like eat junk food when I’m eating lots of greens and fruits and veggies. I don’t do as many green smoothies these days because everything I eat is raw (well, pretty much) and it is awesome! I guess everyone is at a different stage. And some people just have their thinking a little bit off.

  2. I totally want to date Apolo Ohno. I mean, he lives in SLC now! And I was VERY sad about the DQ. sniff sniff

    I totally feel like I’m golden if I get in a green smoothie. Well, not really. I still know I have so much more to do, but I feel a lot more confident about my nutrition if I at least get the green smoothie in.

  3. Oh, I can be guilty of this type of skewed logic. I’ve been drinking a quart of green smoothie a day for about two years, and while in many ways it has heralded a new set of healthy habits, it has also given me that false sense of a “free pass” to eat junk.

    It seems like my impulses to eat healthily and my impulses to satisfy junk food cravings take turns winning out all day. I always start with a green smoothie, but then I might eat a stack of crappy, processed cookies, then a delicious lunch of broccoli, quinoa, and lentils, then another stack of cookies (Oreos, also a weakness of mine) …

    It’s horrible–sometimes I feel like I’m canceling out all the good stuff. I know exactly how damaging the junk is, and how renewing the whole foods are, but I can’t put the junk down for good. I wish my partner would stop buying it! That would be a big step.

    I do find that when I keep a food diary, (hello, accountability!) I am better at avoiding those junk food binges. It just so happens that I started a new one yesterday, so the issue is obviously on my mind, and your blog entry is a well-times reminder to be real with myself about the destructive excuse that I “usually eat really well.”

  4. I’m realizing more and more what an emotional eater I am. When I drink my green smoothies and eat a whole foods diet I don’t feel hungry. I have never in my life had that sensation so I don’t know what to do with it. I’ve always been a person who lives to eat. As a result, I honestly forget to eat. Then I binge because at the end of the day when I’m hungry, tired and stressed out, I just want that comfort and convenience. I try not to have these unhealthy foods in the house but I have been known to make a run out to the store just to buy junk at all hours of the night. Fortunately, I am realizing more and more how badly it tastes and how crappy it makes me feel. Hasn’t stopped me yet but it is starting to get me to stop and think about it though. I will get there eventually. Thanks for all of your incredible information and support.

  5. I’ve notice something about ‘cheating’ recently.

    My wife is sensitive to gluten–it usually gives her stomach cramps. So, she was able to completely remove it from her diet and (as far as I can tell) she doesn’t get tempted to cheat and doesn’t find herself accidentally eating any.

    We’ve also eliminated all sugar from our house and normal diet. However, she buys a candy bar almost every day at work. I think the difference is that subconsciously, she feels she’s allergic to gluten but she doesn’t feel she’s allergic to sugar. So, it’s easier to cheat with sugar, even though she can feel a reaction from both (either immediately or as diminished energy later).

    Now, I have no strong allergies, but I’ve recently noticed white wheat makes me gassy. The only white wheat we keep in the house is (so called) whole wheat fish crackers, and I find myself popping a couple pieces in my mouth when I give them to the kids. And, if we buy the kids a sandwich at a restaurant, I find myself finishing it for them.

    Now, my wife would never do that, because she believes (and rightly so) that she’s allergic to wheat and that it will bring her harm. But, my subconscious ‘belief’ is probably more like “it’s not the best choice for me”. But, my reaction could really be considered a type of allergy, and the presence of gas after eating it should tell me that I’m (1) not digesting it properly and the food is partially wasted and (2) I’m creating toxins in my gut.

    So, I wonder if I should really start considering white wheat harmful for me, instead of ‘not the best choice’. Maybe that would make a difference. Or maybe just stopping and meditating on what’s going through my mind when I eat something I don’t want in my life (or gut).

  6. Wanted to give my 2 cents and say that for me, the more greens in my diet, the less I crave junk. I wasn’t a big junk food eater anyway, but I feel like when my nutritional needs are met, and I am getting enough rest and water – I don’t want junk.

    Also wanted to comment on the comment by jayroo….As a person with Celiac, I just wanted to let you know that if you are NOT gluten intolerant or celiac, cutting wheat completely out of your diet may not be the way to go. I agree that as Americans we are totally over-wheated! Way too much processed flour! But, there are many nutrients in whole grain wheat products — and lots of fiber — which can be harder to get from gluten free grains. Oh and if you ARE gluten intolerant or celiac, you also need to eliminate barley, rye, spelt, kamut, triticale, and (most) oats…as well as any ingredients derived from them.

  7. I have a GS for breakfast and lunch, so feel that for dinner I can eat ‘whatever I want’. The thing is, because of the green smoothies, what I want is changing, and also I feel much less hungry at dinner than I have in the past. So if we are having ribs, I’ll eat one now, instead of three. And my baked potatoes are now scooped out to where its mostly skin with a little potato on it, and instead of of butter, sour cream and salt, it’s filled with lightly sauteed mushrooms and red onions. My compromises are changing. Whereas the fattening add ons used to be the compromise, now it’s the fact that the veggies aren’t raw. But there are still things I won’t touch, even though I’ve had two GS: chips, sugar laden stuff, lots of white carbs. They just make me feel bad. No ‘treat’ is worth the migraine that comes with it in the middle of the night – for me it’s all about migraine management. GS has saved me, on that score.

  8. I had to come back a year and a half later and comment. For the longest time I didn’t think I was that “Oreo” person, but I am. I think I went and got a handful of Oreos right after I read this post thinking, “that’s not me, I eat super healthy. I don’t eat junk food, I have salad every night, I’m practically vegetarian, I eat all whole grains, that just isn’t me. I haven’t had Oreos in years. I eat so healthy– I’ll just eat this handful of Oreos to reward myself. Just this once won’t hurt”. I have the “just this once” conversation with myself every night about 8pm, then I find something nice and sugary…

    I’m a sugar addict and I often use smoothies, salad, and other health foods from the day to justify the sugar sprees at night. I used to wonder why you always said “get off sugar” like it was a drug or something, but I’m starting to realize it is like a drug. Maybe not a drug for everyone, but it is for me and probably a lot of other people. I’m admitting it now, so I think I might have a chance at finally kicking the habit. Wish me luck.

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