Living With

Drink Your Veggies

David Mendosa Health Guide April 15, 2009
  • Maybe some day I will question the advice of the American medical establishment to eat the 2.5 cups of vegetables that they say I should eat every day. Already I doubt the wisdom of eating starchy vegetables, peas, and beans, and avoid almost all fruit except avocados, green peppers, and lemons (in the form of TrueLemon). But so far I still think that it's a good idea to eat lots of the good veggies.

    Except that I haven't been eating enough. Oh, for lunch I do get my big salad, which usually includes lettuce, BroccoSprouts, chia seeds, avocados, and green peppers. It's my main meal.

    But that alone doesn't give me enough of the good veggies. And it's not enough variety to make sure that I cover all the nutritional bases.

    So I started to drink my veggies. My wonderful new chiropractor, who I'm seeing for my sore shoulder, gave me the idea.

    "The one major addition to what you eat, David, might be greens powder," he told me after reviewing my diet. Isn't it strange that chiropractors are so much more concerned with nutrition than M.D.s?

    I listened to my chiropractor's advice. As someone who has diabetes I know that I have an impaired immune system and need the best possible nutrition to make up for it.

    My chiropractor drinks three types of greens powder himself. Like many chiropractors, he also sells these powdered vegetables in his office. But he recommends only one. He says that the others taste too bad for most people.

    The brand he recommends is Greens First powder by Doctors For Nutrition. Since I thought that I knew that greens powder tastes like pond scum, I was properly dubious. But I tried a free sample.

    The sample was inviting. It smelled fresh. And it tasted great when mixed with nothing but pure water.

    So I did a little research. The label says that one scoop of 9.4 grams has 45 calories, of which about 5 are net carbohydrates. So it passed my second test.

    The label says that one scoop has the "antioxidant power of 10+ servings of fruits and vegetables." That comes from 49 different foods.

    Sounds good, but too much for me to intellectually digest. So I went to the Web for further research.

    There I discovered a review that lead me to a book by a dermatologist, Jeannette Graf, M.D. Her book, Stop Aging, Start Living (New York: Crown Publishers, 2007) recommends greens power, which she calls "the cornerstone" of her plan to stop aging.

    "Greens powders are nothing fancier than a powdered form of vegetable juice," she writes. "You mix the powder with water and drink. Most notably, these powders are rich sources of wheat and barley grasses, sprouted grains, broccoli, kale, and other green vegetables. Wheat, barley, and other cereal grasses in particular extremely rich in antioxidants, chlorophyll, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The grasses -- the youngest green sprouts of these cereal grains -- are actually much more nutritious than the grains (wheat, barley, kamut) that they produce. They are particularly rich in polyphenols, the colorful pigments in fruits and vegetables that have been shown to promote optimal health."

    Dr. Graf says that her favorite brand is Greens First. The Greens+ brand runs a close second. All the other brands taste so bad that you need to dilute their taste with fruit juice, something that's absolutely out of my diet.

    So I bought a month's supply of Greens First and Greens+ and am alternating. But as soon as I use up my supply of Greens+ I will concentrate on the much better tasting Greens First powder.

    You can buy Greens First from the Doctors For Nutrition website or from Amazon.com. A month's supply will run you about $40.

    Now that I drink my daily veggies I'm a lot more satisfied with my diet. I may even stop aging.

    Update April 19, 2009:
    New research suggests that vegetable juice may help people like us -- those who have the metabolic syndrome -- to lose weight. A study conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine and presented at this week's Experimental Biology Meeting found that volunteers who drank at least 8-ounces of low sodium vegetable juice lost four pounds over 12 weeks. On the other hand, those who followed the same diet but drank no juice lost just one pound.