Vegetable Supplements and Powdered Greens

Vegetable Supplements & Powdered Greens

Last week we received a great question from one of our community members – Angie wrote in: 

Would it be possible to talk about vegetable supplements like the powders?? So many fit people I know put them in smoothies or juices to get their greens in.  I sometimes struggle with getting all the veg in. Below is a picture of the brand I am curious about. Protein powders also have been suggested in my baking. Can you please elaborate on pros and cons? 

Ivana, co-founder of Healthcare Evolution, weighs in:

Answering the question whether powdered greens/green supplements are good or someone should take them isn’t a straightforward yes or no. But, hopefully the following will give a bit more info regarding this topic.

Green supplements are designed and advertised to meet your daily fruit and vegetable intake, and it is fairly good for exactly that. It is there to top you up. It’s easy to assume that a supplement which is made of vegetables is good for you, and should be the next best thing to eating the actual vegetables, but there are a few things to consider…

 

PROS TO VEGETABLE SUPPLEMENTS:

  • Provides lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties depending on the makeup of the mix used – which can help in improving long term health 
  • Great for travelling when fruits/veggie intake is usually lower
  • Could improve energy if it has green tea or caffeine ingredients in it
  • Low calorie
  • Contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals
  • Could have enzymes and probiotics as well

 

CONS TO VEGETABLE SUPPLEMENTS:

  • May have added sugar for better taste
  • There is not a lot of evidence out there on vegetables and their benefits in terms of long term health – although there will be claims made 
  • Could have contaminants, pesticides, etc. depending on how the vegetables/fruits were grown
  • Doesn’t have water or fiber which food would have – missing out on that benefit
  • Too many different blends and brands out there to compare which one is best
 

DO YOUR RESEARCH

There are claims that veggies/fruits are more alkaline (most basic) than meats, dairy and grains, and adding more veggies/fruits will help to restore the acidic balance of the body which leads to better recovery of your muscles and longevity of health… These claims are backed up with experiments of testing urine that was successfully made more basic after a diet high in veggies or green supplements. The body has a great buffering system in place, which is tightly controlled, and is much more accurate when checking the blood than checking the urine. Urine is always more acidic and can easily be changed depending on what food you eat because we eliminate a lot of our body’s waste through our kidneys (urine). So LONG STORY SHORT – this claim isn’t true.

 

LOOK AT THE INGREDIENT LIST

Also, when we look at the ingredient list, the items which are in highest quantities are always listed first, and the amount shown last have the least amount. I went on the company website to see if i could find what was actually in your blend, and this is what I found.

 

Looking at the ingredient list, the first 3 are carrots, apples and beets. As far as I know, they don’t have any extraordinary health claims. They are very affordable and are probably added for fillers. The ingredients that are interesting with some health benefits are spirulina and the cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, kale, collard, spinach, moringa leaves (because of their antioxidant properties). These are much further down the list, so I don’t know how much is actually in there. There are generally 20+ ingredients in this blend, and the serving size is fairly small, so you may get the vitamin content, but not necessarily the actual benefit from the individual ingredients. Many of the ingredients are also not uncommonly found at the grocery store, so you can probably just incorporate more of the things you actually like into a smoothie or on its own and get the additional benefits. 

What I did like about the product is based on the website they use organic food to make the powder, no GMO foods, they test for trace metals, and they test their batches for bacteria, mold and pathogens. So, it appears to be a higher quality product from the manufacturing end. 

Overall, the product you are currently using is a quality product, but unless you really are below your daily intake for veggies, it is redundant in terms of the variety of vegetables you are getting from the mix. If you take a good multivitamin, you should be getting what you need in terms of a top up. If you do like using the powders, here are a couple of articles that provide some guidance as to what to look for in green supplements. I don’t have one I would recommend over another, but if you have more questions we will do our best to provide you with more answers – just make sure to ask!

https://legionathletics.com/best-greens-supplement/ 

https://wellnessmama.com/124151/greens-powder/

Hope this helps!! 

Layering for Exercising Outside in the Winter

Walking outside in Snowy Winter

Layering for Exercising Outside in the Winter

As in the summer, spring, and fall, there are innumerable reasons for you to get outside and exercise all winter. There are even a few bonus reasons in the winter. Working out in the cold means your body works a little harder to stay warm, burning extra calories. If you find working out in the summer uncomfortably warm, you might actually prefer the winter.

With the cooler temps, there are a few things to think about that may not have occurred to you if you’ve always been a fair weather runner. The goal is to stay warm, but not so warm that you’re sweating hard. Sweat will make you cold, so we’re aiming for that happy middle ground, which will take some trial and error. There are three key differences to dressing for cold weather exercise: layers and clothing material and more layers.

 

Material

This can get complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. A rule of thumb is to stay away from cotton. Cotton is a poor insulator and holds moisture (sweat) and keeps it close to your body, keeping you cold and chilled. The science is to use materials that allow moisture to travel as readily as heat, wicked away from the skin. Instead, wear clothes that are made from synthetic material blends, or wool if it’s comfortable. For most exercise, synthetics are fine. Synthetic materials will wick sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry, and thus warmer. If they do get wet, synthetics will still maintain their insulating properties, keeping you warm. Same for wool. This is more important for layers next to your skin > socks, pants/leggings/underwear, sports bra, top and gloves.

Layers

You’re going to need a few more of these, but likely not as many as you think. The layers that work best vary from person to person, as everyone has a different tolerance for cooler temperatures. There is also no need to wear leggings or tights if you prefer loose clothes. One rule of thumb for inner layers and mid layers is “Thin is in.” Keep them thin!

Lots of layers.

When you’re learning, it’s better to err on the side of caution. A freezing, miserable experience will leave you skipping your next workout. It’s annoying to have to remove layers, but you can always tie them around your waist and make a mental note to go lighter next time. Build your insulating layers intelligently– Useful layers include:

1.     The inner layer- Something fairly snug and thinner next to the skin. (thinner whisks the moisture to the outer side of that layer travelling with the heat loss, thereby keeping the inner layer next to your skin dry- remember “Near the skin keep it Thin”).

2.     The mid-layer- Next, a looser long sleeve on top (or two). If cooler, add more layers here. 

3.     Outer layer- A light jacket to break the wind yet breathes or a light insulating jacket (pick and choose, depending on the temperature). If you don’t have these, start with what you have, as long as it’s NOT cotton.

Go bold, start cold.

This will take some experience. As you exercise, your body will warm up and keep you warm, even when it’s cold outside. A good rule of thumb it to wear enough layers so that you feel cool (not freezing!) standing still before you begin.

Don’t “lose” your head!

We lose lots of heat through our heads and the back of our necks, so as the air cools down, remember to bring a hat (Canadian Toque) or a headband! Thin headbands are great if you sweat a lot and need to release some heat, yet still keep your ears warm. Bring a pair of gloves or mittens for your hands too – nothing is more miserable than cold, chapped hands that never warm up. For your feet – wool or synthetic socks (layers of socks… thin next to the skin) will make a big difference in avoiding blisters and keeping your toes warm, even if your shoes aren’t water proof. These materials insulate, even after they get wet, unlike cotton.

It may feel like a lot to think about at first, but like all things exercise, the best way to learn is just to start . Pick a day that’s not too cold, to get started, layer up and head out to enjoy the many activities winter has to offer! You can run, walk, hike, cross country ski, skate, bike/fat bike (be careful on roads!), and snowshoe! Plan on rewarding yourself with a hot tea or coffee afterwards – one of the best parts about getting out in the winter is getting cozy afterwards!