2013 Wellness Challenge Week 4 Recap
Green drinks have long been touted for packing a nutrition punch in one glass – where else can you benefit from two or more servings of leafy greens, veggies and fruit in one meal that doesn’t taste bad or leave you feeling like you overindulged? Revered in health nut circles, the masses are still slightly skeptical about drinking anything green, or even worse, brown.
I’m a fan, but also understand the hesitation experienced before sampling a green drink for the first time. Even though I was excited to be drinking mine, I noticed how unappetizing the drinks looked and smelled and I’ll admit that the taste takes a little getting used to.
Because I got a new VitaMix recently, I was eager to put the machine to work and take in bonus nutrients. I was acutely aware of how sipping the smoothies and juice made me feel, as I came down with the flu early in the week, lost my appetite and was in desperate need of a speedy recovery to get me slope ready for this week’s family ski vacation!
My consumption of green drinks psychologically made me feel great. Physically, I noticed an absence of negative symptoms, such as bloating or overeating, that I might have experienced had I opted for other breakfast options like my normal oatmeal, the occasional pancake indulgence or my biggest guilty pleasure, granola. When I had my green drinks as snacks, I was gaining even more bang for my buck, as the greens replaced guaranteed carb-filled snacks like chips and salsa.
One benefit I noticed right away was the regulation of my blood sugar. When I added greens to my smoothies, I was able to go longer without suffering a blood sugar crash. This was significant, as I usually eat every couple of hours despite the fact I might not actually be hungry; my blood sugar drops really fast and I absolutely can not function when this happens. Not only that, but if I don’t manage it, I will grab the quick fix (bread or some other carb) and feel the consequences soon after. My energy levels were high most of the week, especially during my recovery, and better yet, steady.
Increased Productivity, Creativity, Brainstorming & Strategic Planning
On a productivity and creativity level, I tackled some really huge strategic and brainstorming issues and essentially determined the future of my business and life…all why lying on the couch being sick. I felt healthier when I drank green and felt the positive antioxidant fighting effects of my healthy choices on my body. The funny thing about healthy eating is that you’re eating to feel an absence of sensation as opposed to feeling anything in particular. This is hard for the mind to comprehend and trust, since we are accustomed to getting feedback through sensation to help us make decisions to stop, continue or switch food groups. Unfortunately, most of us have become normalized to the feelings of bloating or fullness and so we eat to attain those sensations. When we start eating healthy and no longer feel the negative effects, we actually feel nothing and can become dejected, like this whole eating healthy thing isn’t working because we aren’t receiving immediate, sensory feedback. But in this instance, nothing is much better than something; unfortunately, it takes a massive shift in mindset and a huge mental effort to wrap your brain around that one.
In essence, I was drinking green to attain a goal of feeling nothing, and I successfully achieved that. By contrast, when I did choose unhealthy options, like the soft pretzel or a cheesy quesadilla, I almost immediately felt the effects and felt more ill than I had before consuming. With the green drinks, I didn’t have that. In fact I felt at least the same and sometimes better!
The Green Drinks
I started the week with a super drink a good friend of mine recommended. I can’t share the recipe because it’s part of my friend’s paid menu-planning service, but lets’ just say that it wasn’t necessarily an intro to green drinks type of drink. It involved mushrooms, tomato, protein powder, kale, chard and a lot of other stuff and was surprisingly delicious, but definitely for advanced green drinkers.
I kind of cheated on Monday and opted for a green soup instead of a drink to help me feel better as I started coming down with the worst of the flu. Chicken Potato Spinach soup – another creative way to go green!
When I traveled at the end of the week, I made my green drinks ahead of time and brought them along in a thermos, but I’ll admit I did skip Friday because I forgot to drink my smoothie before I hit the road. Admittedly, it took some planning and a little extra work. On Sunday, I hit up Jamba Juice for my first ever shot of wheat grass. It didn’t taste as bad as people say; the benefits of wheatgrass include increased blood flow, better digestion and detoxification.
Overall, I felt better than I did early in the week, and I’ll continue to add more greens and fruit in my smoothies because it just makes me feel good. When I feel good, I’m more motivated to work!
Here’s a great recipe for getting started in green drink consumption:
Beginner’s Green Smoothie
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup red grapes
- ½ cup pineapple
- ½ banana
- 2 cups of spinach
- A handful of dandelion greens (optional for those who want to improve their complexion…)
- Ice cubes
Do you have a favorite green smoothie combination? Let me know in the comments below!
Check out my other Wellness Challenge Recaps so far:
p.s. – Sign up for my newsletter to get a new challenge emailed right to your inbox every week, plus wellness tips, free yoga videos and more!
photo courtesy of chispita_666
Start living life inspired today!
Have you mastered the 7 elements to inspired living?
Do you have a plan in place to integrate them into your life?
The Inspired Life Checklist draws from core concepts in the Yoga Sutras and helps you identify where to focus your energy so that you can start living your most inspired life right now!