Smoothie Bowl Fun: A How-To Guide
I love food. So, when I discovered that I could learn how to cope with pain tolerance and learn mindfulness through my food, I was pretty happy. Smoothie bowls allow me to have fun with my food and experiment with recipes, not only for my IBS but also blood pressure, fat content, fitness, protein intake, cholesterol... and the list goes on.
Smoothie bowls vs. smoothies
You may be asking, what's the difference between a smoothie and a smoothie bowl? Well, the main difference is quite simple: thickness. Most smoothies are a thinner consistency, meant to be slurped through a straw or simply poured into a glass. Smoothie ingredients are often more creamy, with a larger portion of liquid (such as milk, soy, or yogurt). Regular smoothies are usually made with fresh fruit and/or vegetables.
Smoothie bowls, on the other hand, are more heavily based in frozen fruit and are often thickened by adding chia seeds or oats. Depending upon how frozen your fruit is, and whether or not you've included banana (a natural thickener in smoothies), a thickening agent shouldn't be needed. Smoothie bowls still include a liquid portion but this is simply a small amount to help the frozen fruit blend. Ultimately, the smoothie needs to be a thicker, smoother consistency, somewhat akin to sorbet or frozen yogurt.
You may be asking, what ingredients should I use? Well, that's a good question, and the answer is quite simple: whatever you want.
When choosing your ingredients, remember to keep in mind what fruits may upset your IBS. Some, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, can cause flare-ups and bloating, while others, such as bananas, can trigger IBS-C. Ultimately it depends upon your body and what works for you. Experimentation may be required.
I've noticed that if I make a smoothie with only berry ingredients, I tend to feel rather sick and bloated. The berries are simply too strong for my gut, and often don't sit well. However, if I mix a berry with bananas or something quieter, such as peaches, I don't feel as uncomfortable. So, get familiar with the fruits your body likes or dislikes, and learn what combos work for you.
Powders and coloring agents
Some people go all out for their smoothies. They buy expensive vitamins, protein powders, coloring agents, and unique fruits for the perfect Insta pic. Though I try not to spend too much money on non-essentials, I like to experiment with coloring agents, such as pitaya powder (a bright pink powder derived from the skin of dragon fruit) and spirulina (make in both green and blue varieties, usually derived from seaweed). But, be warned, they can get pricey.
The interesting thing about coloring agents is that some of them also have amazing health benefits. But, you could get just as many benefits from adding a scoop of your favorite protein/vitamin powder.
I try to have fun with toppings while also being careful not to upset my IBS. There are a few ingredients I include lower blood pressure, such as buckwheat and raw pumpkin seeds. In the end, it's all up to you! Here are some yummy toppings:
- Buckwheat oats (gluten-free, tasty, and full of texture)
- Frozen fruit
- Fresh fruit
- Raw cashews
- Hemp hearts (gluten-free, and adds a little earthy flavour)
- Raw pumpkin seeds
- Dried fruits (fig, berries)
- Cacao nibs
One of the things I love about making smoothie bowls is not only the chance to be creative but also the ability to experiment with different combinations. I've discovered some tasty mixtures -and some not-so-tasty ones.
If you're wondering what to avoid, remember that green and purple make black, so avoid blueberries and kale, spirulina, or any other green substance.
Remember to have fun!
The most important thing to remember when making smoothie bowls is that you need to have fun. Once you've made your smoothie, you're free to top it with whatever your heart desires. Sure, you can make it pretty or spend time creating designs but ultimately, just have fun with it. Practice mindfulness, choose your ingredients based on whatever you love and what will make you feel the best. Go ahead, just throw everything on top in a big ole' mess! After all, once it's inside, it doesn't matter how pretty it looked!
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?