Green Powder Power
My patients are a fascinating lot, I am continually learning from them. They never fail to surprise me not only with their questions and insights, but also the creativity they bring to trying to turn a lifetime of hard living into a healthful one. Recently, I was talking with a patient about adding powdered greens to supplement his diet. He was eating a fair amount of greens, but still falling short. He needed to fill the gap to get his digestion function back on an even keel and help tamp down the inflammation that was eroding his health. Initially he’d been resistant to the idea – he didn’t like the taste, didn’t have the time, didn’t see the need, traveled a lot, had a hang nail, and so on. Eventually, he saw the (green) light and decided to give powdered green drinks a shot. Fast forward a few weeks and he’d become a green-powder fanatic, calling it his “Popeye Powder.” His health made a U-turn for the better and he felt more energetic, clear-headed and a few pounds lighter as well. And he came up with some creative ways to work green powder and green drinks into his day despite his earlier protestations. Here are a few of his ideas, plus a few of my own, on how to put greens to work for you – no more excuses:
1.) Straight, No Chaser: The classic green powder drink is a simple one, just a scoop plus water or coconut water (per package instructions). Shake it well and bottom’s up. Cool water is fine, but if you’re just getting into green drinks, try making yours with super cold water and plenty of ice. If the greens don’t fully dissolve to your liking, try whisking them with a coffee foamer for a few seconds.
2.) Morning Glory: The hands-down easiest place to slip in some greens? Your morning smoothie. Not only will it boost the nutrient content, but you’ll be starting your day with roughly the equivalent of 3 – 4 of your daily fruit and veg servings already checked off the list. If you’re more of a morning yoghurt fan, add green powder to a mix of almonds, walnuts, fresh fruit and cinnamon. At lunch, sprinkle powder on your salad or blend into your salad dressing. Keep in mind though, green powder, be it drink or mix-in, is intended to supplement your daily dose of veggies and fruit, not replace them, so be sure to eat enough veggie and fruit servings throughout the day.
3.) Tiny Bubbles: After lunch, to prevent the afternoon slump and Starbucks run, have some soda pop – but make it with green powder. Mix up a green drink with club soda or seltzer and sip through the afternoon to keep energized. Mixing tip: put a scoop of green powder in glass, then very slowly add soda to keep the concoction from expanding too rapidly and spilling over the top of the glass.
4.) Gym Dandy Green Lemonade: For a green drink with a bit more flavor, try adding lemon juice, plus a touch of stevia or raw honey to the mix. Headed for a tough workout? Add a scoop or two of ribose to your drink to sip during your workout for extra energy, and afterwards to aid recovery and muscle repair.
5.) Green Immuni-tea: Combine the health benefits of iced or room temperature roobios tea with a green drink and you’ll help make your body a considerably less hospitable environment for cold viruses and bad bacteria to take hold. Many of my patients, particularly the frequent travelers, report that when they feel they’re on the verge of coming down with a cold or flu, they’ll bolster immunity with an extra scoop or two of green powder in a glass of iced (or not hot) roobios tea (plus a little extra sleep!). It can often save their day!
So how much to take? It depends somewhat on how many greens you’re already getting from your diet every day, but in general, as a supplement, one daily 9 gram serving of green powder offers significant benefit for most adults. But check with your doc first, particularly if you have allergies to grasses, take prescription medications or any have contraindications. Another tip? Try to take your powdered greens earlier in the day so they don’t interfere with your ability to fall asleep when it’s time to turn in for the night.
For more “greens-spiration,” check out my Love Your Leafys post – to learn more about the amazing power of greens.