Quit Your Kale Smoothie Addiction in Three Easy Steps

Step 1: Try eating food.

by Moira Lawler
Jan 1 2017, 3:00pm

Here's the good news about a smoothie addiction: At least it's not a crack addiction. That said, if the thought of liquified food has become so appetizing that you'd rather go broke than eat a solid meal, then you have a problem. We're here to help.

Step 1: Try eating food. 
Once you've grown accustomed to piping in most of your food through a straw, chewing can feel awkward. Your jaw muscles may have atrophied from months of neglect. But do not be deterred: Ancient hominids learned to chew long before the advent of the motor-powered mastication devices we know as blenders. In fact, your body is so finely tuned to the chewing process that it relies on the steady chomp-chomp routine as a signal that your calorie needs are being met. Chewing triggers hormones that make you feel full; in one small study, lunch-eating subjects who forced themselves to chew each bite for 30 seconds were less likely to snack later. 

Do you chew smoothies? No, you do not. Because smoothies are not food. They are beverages, pre-digested by the blender's aggressive metal teeth. Think about this fact until it starts to sink in, and then think about it a little bit more. Prepare yourself to act indignant when a friend suggests meeting for a smoothie. "Yes, smoothies are tasty and nutritious," you'll say. "But unlike food, they require no use of jaw muscles, which means you'll be more likely to eat more later." Your friends will not want to hear this. But this is what you have to say.

Step 2: Try thinking about how poor you are.
Those smug smoothie places sure are running a hustle, and you know it. Just because everybody who works there is limber and has perfect skin, they think they they have the right to increase the price of produce by several hundred percent. And then they have the audacity to add $.75 for a scoop of protein. 

Let's do some math. Say you're paying $10 a day for your smoothie fix—which isn't all that uncommon after the up-charges for hemp milk, bee-pollen, and general godliness. That means that every two weeks, you're spending $140 on something that, as we've established, is not food. That's a lot, right? It sure sounds like a lot. 

Step 3: Brace yourself for the withdrawal.
Shortly after giving up smoothies, you'll be reacquainted with chew-able foodstuffs like eggs, chicken, and broccoli. You'll feel more full during the day; you'll be newly proficient with cutlery. But you'll come to miss the familiar squeak of the straw entering a plastic cup. You'll miss the way it purses your lips to deliver its icy payload. 

So you'll take the long route through your neighborhood to avoid walking past your old smoothie bar. You'll put in your earbuds to drown out the voices trying to lure you back to your liquid diet. Do what you must. Be strong here. Smoothies are baby food for adults, and the smoothie-craving baby in you will cry for a fix. 

Instead, you'll stuff that baby with real food, which is cheaper anyway: A cup of fresh kale costs just $.77, according to the most recent USDA data. And a half-pound boneless chicken breast? That's $1.63. 

Sure, you could just make smoothies at home. That'd save you money, too. But then, you realize something: Smoothies are a pain in the ass. Cleaning the ingredients, blending them, and then washing the blender takes at least 397 times longer than drinking the smoothie. You're hungry within 30 minutes, your blood sugar having spiked and then crashed

Once you're smoothie-sober, your blood sugar will be more stable and you'll be saving money. Good for you. And hey—you're kind of into chewing. You like not feeling hungry for a third of the day. You've been slightly enjoying the disappointed look in your friends' eyes when you say you will meet them for coffee, but not a smoothie. You've gotten used to the route that avoids the smoothie place. Congratulations, you're free.