Are you ready to learn about greens powders? Well, let’s get started…
The paleo diet is often consider the diet plan for carnivores. In fact, one of the biggest paleo myths is that it’s all about meat and animal protein. Actually, the paleo diet puts good ol’ greens first. If we went old school on you, and broke out a paleo food pyramid, vegetables would be at the base.
Regardless of your approach to nutrition, vegetables should be your primary source of food. They’re a low-calorie source of vitamins and minerals, making them extremely nutrient-dense.
Most recent dietary recommendations call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables per day, depending on age, gender, activity levels, and a few other variables. This works out at about 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups per day.
It can be difficult to meet those needs sometimes, especially if you’re someone who’s on the go a lot. The good news is you can get all your greens needs met by using greens powders. But what the heck are greens powders? Let’s jump on into that.
Table of Contents
What Are Greens Supplements/Powders?
If you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off, you don’t enjoy the taste of veggies, or you’re struggling to consume enough of them daily, greens powders are an easy way to up your veggie intake.
Greens powders are compacted and distilled powders made from algea, grasses, and other vegetables. Fruits are often used in greens powders too, to add flavor and other vitamins and minerals that vegetables might not contain.
As you can see from the two examples above, some of the common ingredients in greens powders are:
- Wheat grasses
Why Take Greens Powders?
I use them because I’m on the go a lot. I’m always on my feet and I’m constantly traveling. Friends and clients of mine use them because they have a tough time getting down enough vegetables at each meal, mostly because they don’t like the taste of them and because veggies are extremely filling.
Greens powders are a nutrient-dense and convenient source of tons of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.The good ones are full of some of the most important resources your body needs to function optimally:
- Amino acids
- Digestive enzymes
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Water (great for hydration)
Those vitamins and minerals are good for a variety of things, but, more importantly, they are great for reducing your risk of developing a number of health issues:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
Furthermore, if you’re an active individual and you follow the paleo diet, your body could become slightly acidic. Exercise increases acid production in the body because of the amount of times that your muscles contract during a workout. Also, every food that you eat presents your kidneys with an acidic or an alkaline load. Your kidneys do their best to make adjustments, so that your body stays alkaline, but, depending on the foods you’ve eaten, they may need your help.
Because their amino acids and grains contain sulfur, animal proteins are some of the most acidic foods you can consume. If you eat a lot of meat, then, eating high alkaline foods like vegetables is super important.
Some high alkaline foods include:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Green tea
Some high acidic foods include:
High acidic food consumption can contribute to:
- Decreased thyroid effectiveness
- A decrease in anabolic hormones that contribute to muscle building and fat loss (i.e. growth hormone and insulin growth factor)
- Elevated cortisol levels (cortisol is the stress hormone), which can lead to a loss of muscle and bone density
The body uses cellular fluids, the bloodstream, the lungs, oxygen, and the kidneys to tackle some of these issues, but it can only do so much.
Should You Be Using Greens Powders?
Of the participants who took part in one nationwide study conducted by the CDC, 22.6% of the adults said they consume fruits and vegetables less than once per day. 37.7% of the adolescents reported consuming fruits and vegetables less than once per day. The median number of vegetables consumed per day was 1.6 for adults and 1.3 for adolescents.
It has also been estimated that only 6% of men and 9% of women aged 25-34 consume five or more servings of fruits or vegetables per day. Men and women aged 35-49 didn’t fair much better, coming in at 14% for men and 16% for women.
Yikes! Those numbers aren’t so hot are they?
So, do YOU need to use a greens powder?
Don’t guess. Assess and figure it out.
- Do you consume vegetables with every meal?
- Do you enjoy the taste of vegetables?
- Are you constantly on the run or traveling?
- Do you skip meals?
- Do you have any autoimmune-related conditions?
If you answered “yes” to more than one of those questions, a greens powder may be of benefit to you.
How To Buy A Greens Powder
There are a ton of great greens powders out on the market today. Doing a quick Google search gives you thousands to choose from. However, not all greens powders are created equal. Because you eat paleo, checking the labels will be important. Some supplements can contain ingredients that are not paleo-friendly, so be careful.
Make sure the label says the product contains no yeast, soy, dairy, corn, added sweeteners, or gluten. You’ll also want to scan the label for ingredients like oats, peanuts, and various grains. If you’re not sure about a supplement, contact the manufacturer and ask what it contains and whether or not it is paleo.
Some formulas may contain egg and shellfish. If you have any food sensitivies or allergies, make sure to read the labels carefully.
A couple of great greens powders out there for you paleoers are:
Tips For Using Greens Powders
Great for travel: A container of powder doesn’t take up much space in a bag, and can easily be mixed up with some bottled water on an airplane, in the car, or while you’re out and about.
In a pinch: Carrying greens powders around is a great idea. If you forget a meal or get hungry, but don’t have access to good nutrition, you can easily mix up a greens drink and provide yourself with some high-vitamin and mineral nutrition.
Bedtime snack: Consuming a serving of greens combined with a tablespoon of MCT or coconut oil before bed will provide your body and brain with nutrients to help your body rest and recover.
Make them taste great: Some greens powders have a very strong taste. I personally enjoy that taste and find it to be very clean and refreshing, but some of you may not particularly like the taste. By mixing your greens powder with a paleo-friendly protein shake, some low-sugar fruits like blueberries or raspberries, or some fresh lemon or lime juice, you can greatly improve the taste.
Cost: A good greens powder will run you anywhere from 77 cents up to 3 bucks per serving. If you’re on a budget, this may be something to keep in mind.
To end, I’d just like to add a reminder that greens powders are still supplements and that they should not be used as a substitute for real food. Before deciding to use a supplement, I’d recommend increasing your vegetable consumption at each meal.
Are you currently using a greens powder as part of your paleo approach? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
- Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day
- State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables 2013
- Hu FB. Diet and lifestyle influences on risk of coronary heart disease. Curr Atheroscler Rep 2009;11:257-263.
- Anand P, et al. Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes. Pharm Res 2008;25:2097-2116.
- Lock K, et al. The global burden of disease attributable to low consumption of fruit and vegetables: implications for the global strategy on diet. Bull World Health Organ 2005;83:100-108.
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