A bowl filled with smoothie and topped with sliced bananas, raspberries, small blueberries, and seeds is photographed with a phone.

Smoothie Bowls: A Fun & Tasty Option for IBS

Recently I've been finding my way around, through, up, and over a nasty case of high blood pressure. The path is murky, especially in combination with my other illnesses: IBS, acid reflux, fibromyalgia... unfortunately the list goes on. On top of these physical complexities, I also suffer through bouts of anxiety and depression (and have recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. But, we'll save that for another day.) Sometimes, it feels like the health issues and illnesses just pile up on top of one another, doesn't it?

The highs and lows of chronic conditions

Fortunately, I'm trying to catch the blood pressure "issue" quickly, but it's taken its toll regardless. Somehow, I feel embarrassed by it, as if I've done something wrong. It's as though I feel that I've "let myself go" in some way or another. Though, logically, I know this is not necessarily true (perhaps just a tiny bit) knowing I have very high blood pressure certainly makes me feel guilty. So, I did what any other curious creature does: I researched.

Tasty coping

Listen, I love food.

I'm not going to lie and tell you that I embrace diet culture or that I think you should avoid the things you like. In fact, I will vehemently shout the opposite; I believe that because this life is short and, very often, incredibly dismal. You should not only enjoy the things you love but that you should also do them in a mindful way. This is where my new obsession with smoothie bowls comes into play.

Looking into remedies

After I discovered my nasty case of high blood pressure I did some research. Instead of painstakingly writing down everything I shouldn't eat, I looked into what I should eat. This way, I feel as though I have control albeit, imagined over the situation. I feel as though I can choose what will make me feel good.

I saw that, among other things, food like raw pumpkins seeds, berries, green vegetables, raw cashews, and food with healthy omega-3 were great for maintaining blood pressure. So, I thought to myself, "Self, how can I combine these ingredients in a tasty way that isn't boring?" Then, the image of a beautiful, colorful, mouth-watering smoothie bowl popped into my head.

Mindfully eating pretty things

Instead of feeling defeated and simply going on medication I tried to make a mindful effort at lowering my blood pressure naturally. This is not to say that medication for blood pressure is not healthy, natural, or necessary in certain circumstances. In fact, there's a good chance that I'll soon be on some! This is where I decided to take on the fun, though often expensive hobby of making smoothie bowls.

Soon, I sleuthed and creeped socials, poured over gorgeous images of #smoothiebowls on Instagram, and found great, beautiful smoothies. I even created my own recipes -with some disastrous consequences (did you know that spirulina powder, kale, and blueberries create a nasty black goo? I didn't either).

Once I started making these bowls of yummy gorgeousness, I found myself obsessed with creating pretty bowls of goodness. I topped each bowl with little pumpkin seeds, buckwheat oats, and fresh berries, all the while snapping pictures for socials. Ultimately, making these bowls and subsequently devouring them became a mindful way to eat. I chose each ingredient specifically and placed the toppings on bit by bit, eating each spoonful with a beautiful, small, hand-carved wooden spoon. Now, I was hooked.

Smoothies, IBS, and energy

How does any of this affect you, you ask?

Well, not only have I found myself feeling more energized after eating a smoothie for lunch, but I've also been more regular and had fewer blockades of constipation. On top of that, I feel better. At first, I thought that I lost weight. But, that wasn't it; I simply stopped feeling puffy and bloated. I felt lighter.

On days that I skipped my smoothie-lunch, I felt more sluggish and crashed much sooner in the day. I know, I know, some of this energy is from the sugary fruit in my delicious smoothies, but hey, it's a small price to pay. Besides, these are natural sugars, not refined, not bleached. At least, that's what I tell myself.

So, give it a try

Make your food beautiful, eat more mindfully. Feel lighter, fresher.

And, don't forget to post those pretty bowls on Instagram (because if it's not on the socials, did it really exist?). Use the hashtag #smoothiebowlsforIBS so we can track your awesome recipes. Have fun, eat well, feel better.

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