How One Supplement Can Fill In Nutritional Gaps for Health and Performance
There’s a lot of conflicting information in the fitness, nutrition, and weight loss world. One day, fat is bad. The next, carbs are bad. Next Tuesday, protein might be the target.
Much of this conflicting information comes from a surface level interpretation of the results of scientific studies. We’ll save that discussion for another day but know that there’s generally one thread that holds true across nearly all dietary philosophies: eat more fruit and vegetables, particularly the latter.
While most can agree more fruits and vegetables will benefit the masses, I wholeheartedly acknowledge the challenge in doing so. We know more fruits and vegetables will help us look, feel, and perform at our best but like many things, it can be challenging to do what we know.
I’ve generally followed a plant-based diet for the last five years. I never considered myself vegetarian or vegan rather I made plant-based foods my priority. Sometimes this would mean 100% plant-based. Other times it would be 80%. Lately, I’ve been hovering closer to 60-70%.
Even following this approach to varying degrees, I still can’t discount how difficult it is at times. It’s not always the easiest or most convenient to include fruits and vegetables at every meal.
I often challenge my clients to include eating fruits and vegetables at every meal as one of the Shibbys in their Backlog. For the uninitiated, Shibby is short for Skills, Habits, and Behaviors (SHBs) and a Backlog drives their Fitness and Nutrition Action Plan.
How we bring this to life is going to vary from person to person. Some need to start by focusing on adding a fruit or vegetable to just one meal a day, and we progressively build on this over a couple of weeks. Others simply need to fill in some gaps.
For both sets of clients, I often recommend adding in one of my favorite “supplements:” a whole-food greens powder.
While not a substitute for actual, whole fruits and vegetables, greens powders offer a simple, convenient way to fill in some gaps. While not a necessity, it’s an easy way to add nutrient dense foods (in powder form) to any diet.
Even better, most powders include more “exotic” greens that, on their own, taste like dirt (I’m looking at you Spirulina an Chlorella). Most companies that produce these powders have done a great job formulating their blends around taste.
There are plenty of options to choose from that can fit any budget.
My favorite is the Berry Blend from Amazing Grass who also has a whole line up of other flavors. At about $20 for 30 servings (via Amazon), this is the most cost-effective powder I’ve found to date.
My friend and personal trainer, Sara Ticknor, swears by Opti-Greens from 1stPhorm. Organifi, Athletic Greens and Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients are all popular options as well. I’ve only tried EGN, but I’ve heard few complaints of the others.
Again, a greens powder is not a substitute for adding in whole fruits and vegetables to your diet but is one of the easiest ways to fill in some gaps. Barring an allergy or intolerance to one or more of the ingredients, this is one of the only supplements where the benefits are plenty, and the downside is negligible.