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Why I Really, Really Hate the Smoothie Trend

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Just try it, you'll love it! I can't tell you how many times I've heard those words from well-meaning smoothie pushers. And honestly, as a girl who works out on the regular and tries to eat a healthy diet, I wish I loved smoothies. They're so nutritious. And how else can you get that many servings of fruit, veggies, and protein all in one super-portable cup? Plus, they look so pretty and refreshing in all my friends' Instagram shots. After countless failed attempts to find a smoothie I enjoy, I finally said, 'They just aren't for me, and that's OK.' But accepting that wasn't always easy. 

Take this recent shopping trip gone wrong: The other day a friend ordered a mango-pineapple smoothie when we were out at the mall. She insisted I try just a sip, telling me that it's a delicious, low-calorie treat made of just fruit and water. I thought, "I love fruit! I love water! It'll be fine!' Nope. I swallowed one gulp. It went down, and then it wanted to come back up.

My friend saw my face and started laughing, "What is wrong this time?"

"I think it was the pulp," I groaned.

I politely swallowed, but as dramatic as it sounds, I felt sick the rest of the day.

Ever since I was a kid, drinking juice with pulp has been like finding hair in my glass. But that's just the beginning of my texture issues. All smoothies, regardless of their ingredients, end up with that slimy-yet-chunky texture I just can't stand. I might be a little more sensitive than the average person, I admit. I also can't manage to swallow milk, yogurt drinks, pudding, most soups, oatmeal, fresh-squeezed juice, and even chocolate milkshakes because of the texture. I can't even handle soda because the bubbles bother me. What kind of girl can't enjoy a milkshake or a Diet Coke? (Actually, I'm okay with avoiding the unnecessary sugar from those last two.) I don't know why, but if a drink isn't perfectly smooth, like water, then it triggers my gag reflex.

My husband, who is a serious weightlifter and protein smoothie (excuse me, shake) lover, has tried to help me out. He's whipped me up a batch of his famous muscle-building concoction more than once. He even blended it extra smooth for my rebellious taste buds. But did I mention he puts hard-boiled eggs in his shake? And peanut butter? The smell of eggs, nuts, and chocolate protein powder... well, it didn't end well. So I compromised and ate scrambled eggs and peanut butter toast. They're fine ingredients and menu items on their own, but something terrible happens when you blend them all together. And, seriously, why drink my food when I can chew and savor it?

My last smoothie issue is with protein powders. I don't love meat so I struggle to get enough protein in my diet. Having a convenient, affordable source of the nutrient sounds great—in theory, anyhow. But no matter which versions I've tried (pea protein, vegan protein, whey protein, you name it), or what I choose to blend it with, they end up tasting really chalky to me. See, at least I knew I tried and I tested, so I can't say that I didn't give smoothies a shot. I try to eat as many foods in their natural form as I can, and there is just nothing natural about powder in a can.

I understand the appeal of a smoothie, really, I do. Some people may feel a peanut butter, vegan protein blend is the perfect, satisfying lunch, but the bottom line for me? A drink, no matter how protein- and nutrient-packed, is still just a drink in my opinion—not a legit meal.

And you know what? That's okay. I don't need to like smoothies. (That's the theme of Shape's #MyPersonalBest campaign this month—doing the things you love and giving up the stuff you hate.) Thankfully, there's a solution to my smoothie problem. It turns out there is a delicious, convenient—dare I say perfect?—way to get mega-servings of fruits and veggies, protein, and healthy fats all in a convenient bowl. No, I'm not talking about an açaí bowl. Who wants to join me for a salad? You can even eat yours out of a cup (à la mason jar) if that makes you happy.

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