What's the first thing you put into your body each day?
Is it coffee? Tea? lemon water? regular water? juice? a smoothie? or maybe a different green drink? Do you like to drink your greens? What's your experience with greens drinks?
I'm genuinely interested (feel free to comment below). And I needed an opener so that what comes next doesn't appear out of context separate from the rest of this piece.
It's Not Easy Being Green
My mother brought home a new greens powder to try, a product called Greens+. Standing in the kitchen, she mixed it with water, tasted it, grimaced, handed it to me, I tasted it, I grimaced. We agreed that it tastes the way fish food smells. We refused to drink it again.
I don’t remember if she returned it, but it was more than 20 years ago.
Return to Greens+
It was over a decade before I tried any greens powders again. There have been a few of brands of greens powders that I've liked, and I stand by my old favourites as good products. However, because of that first experience, I was reluctant to use Greens+ or any other Genuine Health products. That changed a couple of years ago when I looked into the product line after hearing trusted nutritionist friends recommending and endorsing Genuine Health products.
I was already aware that Genuine Health had extended their inventory way beyond Greens+. For much of my adult life, I’ve hung out at health food/supplement stores the way that some people hang out at comic book stores, reading bottles and enthusiastically examining new products. I'm that girl that reads labels for fun. Over the past few years, more “mainstream” stores such as Shopper’s Drug Mart (Canada’s drug store chain) and Loblaws (a Canadian grocery chain) have carried Genuine Health products too and I do love checking out new products at supermarkets and drug stores. I was curious about the newer products but reluctant to try them.
That is, until they started getting those endorsements. Their PR/outreach campaign to nutrition experts worked for me on a consumer level.
Greens+ also tastes better than it used to. It doesn’t taste delicious, but it’s greatly improved.
A few days ago I recounted the “fish food” story to Stewart Brown, President & Founder of Genuine Health and we shared a laugh about it. The “fish food” was the first release of his product.
I had the opportunity to chat with Stewart at an event promoting their greens+ Energy + at fitness studio Studio Lagree. Greens+ Extra Energy, according to Genuine Health:
A combination of herbs, plants, vitamins, amino acids and minerals provide clean, natural energy without the consequences, for all-day 100% energy with 0% crash.
The all-natural formula addresses many underlying reasons for tiredness to restore energy and vitality, providing a complete solution to a complex problem treating root causes of low energy and eliminating the negative side effects that come from the use of sugar and caffeine, which only provide a quick, temporary fix for drowsiness and fatigue. These alternate stimulants cana lso cause negative side effects, such as an increased heart rate and blood sugar imbalances, and can become addictive as they aggravate the causes of low energy. The clean energy-boosters in greens+ Extra Energy address the root causes of tiredness, providing balance and avoiding over-stimulation, for wholesome, high energy nutrition that lasts all day.
After a challenging half hour pilates class I planted myself in the front row (shy but nerdy) and sat for a half hour, mesmerized by the Greens+ Extra Energy education session. We heard from company representatives including Stewart (introducing himself and the company), Director of Marketing, Lisa, the lovely Joy McCarthy (Holistic Nutritionist, RNCP CNP) of Joyous Health and naturopath Jason Marr (BScH, ND).
It won't keep you up all night if you drink it in the afternoon
(And I'm aware that some people can drink coffee at night and still sleep. They're rare, and I'm slightly envious of them.)
Unlike coffee, you can take Greens+ Extra Energy during the afternoon slump without being wired for hours. The ingredients in the product work together to do this.
The caffeine in the product comes from kola nut seed extract. Kola nuts comprise about 2% caffeine, as well as containing kolanin and theobromine, which are also stimulants.
Taurine is an amino acid used for physical and mental energy.
Gotu Kola is used traditionally for mental fatigue. Studies have shown that it has a positive effect on anxiety.
Suma Root (Brazilian Ginseng) is used traditionally for anxiety, fatigue and stress.
Related to that, the experts and product messaging refer to the “multiplier effect” of the ingredients in Greens+. They say, “While the formula contains naturally energizing ingredients, it’s the synergy of the greens+ formula that contributes to energy and vitality!”
Third party testing of the overall product, clinically proven results.
Summaries of two studies were presented to us.
In one double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study done by researchers at the University of Toronto, over 100 participants used Green+ daily for over 3 months. The results, published in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, clearly demonstrated that greens+ increased energy and vitality. Mental health, well-being and overall health all improved in the greens+ users and the results were distinct from the placebo group after several weeks. You can read the study yourself: Effects of greens+® A Randomized, Controlled Trial.
In a second study, scientists from Eastern Michigan University studied healthy, active adults who consumed green+ or a placebo for a month. The results: Post-supplementation, greens+ significantly improved VO2 Max (maximal oxygen consumption) during an intense bout of cycling vs. a placebo. This demonstrated that greens+ improves the max capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during physical activity. With additional research, the scientists concluded that greens+ is most likely exerting its influence through mitochondria.
Why these studies are important, in my opinion: They demonstrate that the ingredients don’t only work alone, but together, and it shows that the amount of ingredients in 13.3 gram each dose makes a significant impact. These are ingredients that have been used for several years and studied independently. The synergy of these products is clinically proven.
(Because I like analogies)
Imagine a multivitamin/mineral, either in tablet or capsule form. Imagine its size. Think about the number of nutrients that go into that supplement. Imagine the vitamins, the minerals, and any other nutrients that are sometimes included. Now, think about how many nutrients can be packed into each one capsule or tablet. Imagine how big it would have to be to maximize its potency.
One of the reasons that suggested dosage is several pills is that you need several to get all the nutrients you need!
Now imagine a powder such as greens+. Think about how many nutrients you can pack in a dose. And they also make a multivitamin formula. To complete this analogy, I’ll demonstrate the difference between the quantity of a couple of vitamins and a couple of minerals in one daily dose of the multivitamin/mineral that I take, and the daily dose of greens+Multi+, which I'm using in the demonstration because I don't know specifics about nutrients in the other greens+ products.
Tablet multi (1)
(15.3 grams/1 scoop)
These four examples are just to give you an idea of what the full comparison would be like, since this post isn't really about the products I'm comparing.
This particular multi in tablet form is an excellent product, made with organic vegetables and herbs and ingredients such as maca, ginseng, turmeric, astragalus, vitamins K1 & K2. I'm a health nut, though, and most people don’t buy a multi of this quality. It’s not cheap, either. The point I’m making is that a) With a powder you can get a lot more nutrients, b) Because of this, powder is generally more bang for your nutritional buck and c) Greens+ specifically provides the clinical research with positive results.
That said, I don’t recommend eating a nutritionally poor diet and supplementing with Greens+. Always eat real food. Eat your veggies. However, know that when you do treat yourself, your greens are doing you good.
But how does Greens+ Extra Energy taste?
Not as bad as you might think. Way better than they did since I first tried Greens+.
In between the pilates class and the pilates class (which I’m still feeling in my thighs 4 days later) and the presentation, I tasted a smoothie made with chocolate, banana and “cappuccino” flavoured Greens+ Extra Energy. It was delicious. However, it was also buried in other ingredients to showcase how it could taste.
After the event, I was gifted a couple of containers of Green+ Extra Energy. I tried the Capuccino flavour with water alone, then blended it with cinnamon, Collagen Hydrolysate, vanilla powder and more cacao. The verdict on the taste of the powder both mixed with water only and with the additions: Still not great. Still something to drink quickly to avoid tasting it. A couple days later I tried the Natural Orange flavour and added some orange essential oil. It tasted better.
I recently caught a “day in the life” YouTube video of Epic Meal Time‘s Harley Morenstein which started with his drinking what he called his “morning greens and crustaceans” (not Greens+). He referred to the taste as “nasty ass” and I thought of this as I finished off my last container of greens and started the new products. Greens+ is not “nasty ass” at all (maybe they should send him some). It’s not delicious either, but that’s okay.
Your entire life you’ve been eating or drinking stuff that's not delicious simply because it's good for you. As an adult, you do it because you’re taking responsibility for your own health. Ideally, you'd like it, but if you can tolerate it without hating it, that's good enough. You suck it up and you do it because it’s part of “adulting”.
How does Greens+ Extra Energy make me feel?
I felt really good too. I was able to focus and had more spring to my step. It didn't make me feel wired. It seemed to have a positive effect on my ADD.
Will I give up my morning coffee for Greens+ Extra Energy?
Not regularly. I like the ritual of coffee and the taste and I don't have a dangerous or addictive relationship with it. I will, however, use Greens+ Extra Energy in the afternoon.
However, when I do a detox, such as the 21 Day Sugar Detox, which I plan to do next month, I will use it instead of coffee.
About Studio Lagree
Studio Lagree is a fitness studio that uses their own pilates-based fitness training called The Lagree Fitness Method. According to their website, this method combines “core, endurance, cardio, balance, strength and flexibility training in every move”. It's based on pilates and uses a machine called “The MegaformerTM“, which Details magazine referred to as “a Pilates machine on steroids”. The inventor of the Megaformer is into race cars, which inspires each generation of the machine.
A half hour mini-class was challenging and left me sore in a good way. My instructor Bianca was a superstar, encouraging and ass-kicking. I smiled throughout even when I had trouble keeping my balance and keeping up. I used to be a bit of a gym rat and while I rarely work out anymore, I sometimes forget that I haven't regularly worked out in about a decade. (Where the hell does the time go?? You blink and suddenly you're about to turn 40…)