Avoid Bloating and Cramping in your Protein Breakfast Smoothies with these 6 Simple Rules
What works for one person may be different for another person, what I am going to share with you here is what I learned about combining ingredients and types of ingredients that makes a simple, nutritious, delicious, fueling and easy for me to digest morning breakfast smoothie. I have had so many different types of smoothies & protein shakes over the years, I have experienced cramping, bloating and sugar rushes, not really understanding why or what exactly was causing this or what exactly I was combining made any sense in a balanced meal for me. Since I have learned a lot about protein powders, the good ones and the not so good ones, and our need to properly balance our protein intake with fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) which properly breaks down the protein AND in order for the body to absorb the fat soluble nutrients we need to eat them with a healthy fat, I have finally found a balanced and highly nutritious solution. To read more research and data on fat soluble vitamins and the need for healthy fat to absorb them and how they break down protein, you can read an extensive article here on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website.
Problems with Protein powders
There have been studies about popular protein powders having traces of heavy metals and other contaminants. Consumer reports writes an article here talking about this and the false advertising claims a lot of them have that mislead consumers. Also you can read more about the good, bad and ugly truths about protein powders here on Pat Etcheverry Ph.D.’s well referenced article.
6 Simple Rules for my Breakfast Smoothies
I want to share with you some basic rules & ingredients I learned that combine well for my digestion and health and my favorite ingredients in my morning breakfast smoothies…Hope this guide makes your life easier and helps you understand the proper balance of what to put in your smoothies. I believe these combos would work really well for most people, they are dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and pure REAL FOOD! My favorite blender for these quick smoothies is my NutriBullet… for larger quantities (2 or more servings) I use my Vitamix Blender.
You can click on the specific items I list if it is in pink, that means I put a link in there so you can see some of the exact products and brands I use and recommend.
#1 Use Pure Protein
I use a pure protein that is in a real food form, not processed and stripped and then have added back in ingredients to add other nutrients or chemicals that may have been exposed to certain processing that may leech heavy metals and other toxic things to the protein. My pure protein powders I choose are ONE of the following Amazing PURE Proteins:
- Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein: 3 tablespoons equals 14 grams of protein. Hemp protein is also rich in Omega-6 & Omega-3..with proper ratio. To read even more benefits of hemp protein, here is a thorough article on Natural Health 365. This is the exact brand highly recommended by natural health & functional medical doctor community and the one I use.
- Paleo Pro – Paleo Protein Powder Aztec Vanilla: 25 grams worth in one serving derived from egg protein and beef protein, all organic and humanly raised. Great company. This is the brand I found that is amazing, it was highly recommended by my Gut specialist nutritionist. It is a bit pricy, but a very good product.
- Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate: 3 tablespoons equals 18 grams of protein. Great for skin, hair and nails… This brand is highly recommended by many natural health professionals and health bloggers. This is a fabulous collagen supplement to add to smoothies amongst other things, this brand here: This one is endorsed my a ton of big health bloggers I follow, I love it, this particular one can be used for cold smoothies or hot broths, so hot or cold. Vital is a great brand also, I use this Vital Collagen or Great Lakes in my morning hot broth beverage I drink.
# 2 Add in a Healthy Fat
Add a healthy fat to my smoothie..A MUST! I learned that we need fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E or K) to break down the protein we eat and in order for our body to absorb the fat soluble nutrients which break down the protein, we need to eat them with a healthy fat. My fat add ins are ONE of these:
- Raw Egg that is pasture raised no hormones: Healthy fat & has fat soluble vitamins A & D
- Avocado: Healthy fat and has fat soluble vitamin A
- Almond Butter: Healthy fat and has protein
- Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil: Healthy fat and one of the best fats that help A, D, E or K absorb which breaks down the protein.
# 3 Superfood
Smoothies are a GREAT way to add in superfoods that are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 and more. There are a ton of great superfoods, my go to superfoods I have in my pantry are these here, I add at least one and sometimes up to three depending on the recipe and rotate them…:
- Ground Chia Seed: A rainforest superfruit that is a powerful antioxidant most famous for it’s potent vitamin C. In addition, it contains beta -carotene, potassium and many amino acids.
- Camu Camu Powder: This superfood is great during menstrual times, as it aids in balancing hormones nicely… also known for its ability to enhance energy and endurance.
- Maca Powder: Great fiber, ALA Omega-3 which is great for hair and nails, also known to aid in preventing breast cancer, assists in weight loss and digestive health. Ground versus whole flaxseed is a must also for easier digestion.
- Ground Flaxseed: Great way to add in the detoxing benefits of chlorella, spirulina and wheatgrass which are great heavy metal detoxers. And loaded with fat soluble vitamins A, E & K. I added this below in greens also because it can be used as a green add in and it is a great superfood.
# 4 Adding in Greens
I add in some greens which are rich in the important fat soluble vitamins needed to break down the protein powder in the smoothie, and the healthy fat added allows these fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E or K) to be absorbed so they can be used to break down the protein. There are many choices like collard greens, lettuce, chard, bok choy, etc.. but these are my go to choices. I just add one of these most of the time.
- Baby Spinach: Super high in fat soluble vitamin A
- Kale: Super high in fat soluble vitamin A
- Green SuperFood: Great way to add in the detoxing benefits of chlorella, spirulina and wheatgrass which are great heavy metal detoxers. And loaded with fat soluble vitamins A, E & K
# 5 Adding Liquid
My go to liquids are these.
# 6 Adding Fruit
I stick mostly to low sugar fruit. I also like to use bananas. I use other fruits depending on the recipe. Berries are high in antioxidants which I love.
- Organic frozen or fresh blueberries
- Organic frozen or fresh strawberries
- Organic frozen mixed berries
- Banana (if they become really ripe before I eat them, I peel them and freeze them in a freezer bag, they are fabulous in smoothies).
- I do other frozen fruits sometimes like mango, peaches, cherries etc.. depending on a good recipe I find and try.
A few recipes to get started
To get started, here are a few smoothie recipes I made today, the power smoothie for my son (which he LOVES & makes me happy that he is getting a ton of nutrients) and the simply divine blueberry almond butter protein smoothie for me today. Click on the images to get the recipes.
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What smoothie combos do you find that work for you? Do you ever get bloating and cramping?