For your body
Let me be clear: Adding turmeric does not make your food ayurvedic.
Getting to the point: Smoothies + Turmeric = Yay or Nay?
I say: Nay
Smoothie cannot be justified by adding turmeric in the form of powder, fresh root, tincture, juice or curcumin extract to it.
Smoothie, as its most common form, is a classic example of incompatible food combination known as viruddha ahara from ayurveda stand point. It is incompatible in atleast 5 ways:
- method of preparation known as vidhi viruddha: we are simply taking the turmeric and adding it to the cold and/or frozen food items. Turmeric must be cooked in order for it to release its health benefits
- wholesomeness of the food known as satmya viruddha: The best way to take turmeric in everyday life is to take it as powder added to sautéed vegetables, lentils soups, curries etc. When we add as tincture we take away the wholesomeness of the food substance by trying to isolate the active ingredient. It is the entire thing that works and nature knows it
- incompatibility of the ingredients added known as samyog viruddha: In smoothies we generally mix fruits of various kinds with vegetables, fats, nuts of various kinds. This mixing of various nature of substances is not advised in Ayurveda. Each food substance has a basic innate nature, heating / cooling or acidic / alkaline. This nature can remain post digestion or changes. This can bring conflict in digestion. Mixing food of various kinds complicates the digestion process
- time of the day known as kala viruddha: Morning time is considered kapha time of the day, smoothie has the sticky, heavy, cold, dull nature which adds to the kapha like nature. In this case it causes kapha accumulation and clogging of the tissue channels
- digestive fire incompatibility known as agni viruddha: Smoothies are mostly heavy to digest. If a person has weak digestive enzymes, poor appetite, poor elimination it can further add to the weakening and diluting of the digestive fire
I know it might sound bad to all the smoothie fans (sorry!) but I don't mind saying it as it is: No matter what you do to your smoothie, it is simply not healthy for the digestive fire and its assimilation is extremely difficult.
Now, what about spices like turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and adding them to a drink?
Spices are to be taken in food to enhance flavors, awaken fire, support digestion, extract nourishment from food. They are not to be taken as capsules, tinctures, supplements, juices and guilt fixers.
Any food substance that can be considered a nourishing, healthy, wholesome, ayurvedic food should follow three principles:
- Hitam: Is it purposeful? Will it add to your energy or squeeze more energy from your body? Will it add to your health or it is just adding more crunch, spice, salt, fizz to the already vata, pitta, kapha based lifestyle? Turmeric smoothie is neither adding to the digestibility of the food nor the energy levels of the body, it is not Hitam!!
- Mitam: Is it the amount that the body can digest or just the quantity that is served in a package to you? Have you recognized the measure that is appropriate for turmeric to be really nourishing to the body. An adult needs about 1/4to 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric in powder from (as a part of everyday meals (ahara) mixed in cooked vegetables, soups, curries etc. for it to be a balanced quantity. It is not following the guidelines of Mitam in a smoothie.
- Priyam: Does the food adds to the pleasantness in your heart, personality and is it pleasingly digestible to your body? Is it made, served and ingested with love? The idea of mixing everything together, quickly fixing a smoothie and expecting it to work miracles, well, it is not satvik, ayurvedic as well as not Priyam.
The purpose of food is to provide energy, to support us in performing our dharma, artha, kama and give us a platform of health to move towards moksha. It is medicine. Not just a snack, a habit, not just because, or just to satisfy hunger or our taste buds.
Let me leave you with two thoughts to ponder:
Whatever food goes inside, becomes YOU!
When will we wake up to what are we eating, how much are we eating, how are we eating, when are we eating and why are we eating?
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