A lot of these smoothie recipes nowadays are quite comprehensive and cover a wide variety of dietary needs and nutrients. At times, they seem like a meal onto themselves.
Therefore, my question is, how should smoothies be taken? As a meal substitute? Meal supplement? Snack? Pre-workout snack? Post-workout snack?
Smoothies are meant to optimize.
If you are in a deprived state of nutrition, convenience, time, and resources, then smoothie.
Whole foods cannot be replaced. Mother nature did not invent smoothies, they are man made to cope with our stressful and demanding lifestyles.
For athletes, they help immensely with getting the body what it needs to recover, grow, and repair, but that speaks again to the high demands that we put on ourselves and the results we aim for. High level performance requires higher means of energy and fuel supply, and therefore a higher level method of delivery.
Do not meal replace with smoothies, only enhance with snack smoothies and post recovery smoothies. Drinking your food and eating your water is a luxury that we can afford. Do not take advantage of this ability, but make the best of it.
Do not just chug your smoothies, chew them. Allow for your saliva to mix and mesh with it. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbW3MmRWg_s) Paul Chek reinforces this act of chewing because it tells your brain that food is being consumed instead of liquid, and turns off satiety activity, allowing your hunger to be satisfied.
Experiment with different types of smoothies, not just sweet tasting smoothies, but green smoothies made up of all vegetables. This will give you creativity and freedom over the tool of smoothie making. Once you have achieved creativity and freedom, it no longer becomes a necessity, something to depend on. It transcends into that life optimizing category. It becomes your secret weapon.
For myself, my career that I have chosen forces me to go above and beyond, but If I was on vacation, I would most likely eat my foods rather than drink them. The act of eating food gives you a mindfulness that drinking cannot. When you respect your food by eating it slowly and savoring it, you will start to appreciate it to the utmost, and be grateful that you have it, and plenty of it.