Food & Fitness

Green powders: health or hype?

Tropical Traditions sent me a jar of their Antioxidant Natural Greens powder, a berry-flavoured supplement which includes ingredients such as milk thistle, kelp, beet, aloe vera, flax, chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, spinach, and several different dairy-free probiotics. The added ingredients that weren’t there for health purposes include: stevia, citric acid, natural flavor (no MSG), cinnamon powder (certified organic), and natural berry flavors.

berry greens

I’m wary of “greens” in powder-form, because something always makes me think that I should be consuming my nutrients in whole-food form. Still, I jumped at the chance to try this powder. I liked the ingredient list and I’ve been hearing lots about green powders – it was time to try them for myself.

So I gave it a shot. I first tried mixing this into a smoothie, using 1 cup cold water, 1 scoop greens powder, 1/2 frozen banana, and about 60 grams medium firm organic tofu (about 1/6 of a package). It was really yummy! And what’s more, it was both filling and energizing. And I don’t think that was just from the tofu.

I’ve had several of the same smoothies since then (in fact, I drank three of them yesterday!) and I’ve been really enjoying it as my morning breakfast shake. There’s a few reasons why this one is equally as awesome (and in some ways even better) than my old favourite shake (1 cup cold water, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/3 cup frozen blueberries, handful mixed greens, scoop of calcium/magnesium powder, and the contents of a probiotics capsule):

1) This jar of green powder has a long shelf life… lettuce does not. And in the middle of winter, I’m usually not super pumped to eat salads! So there’s a greater chance, at this time of year, that my lettuce could start to wilt in my fridge. With powdered greens I don’t have to worry about that.

2) It’s more filling than my usual green shake. That also might be because of the added protein from the tofu, but I find that this one stays in my stomach a little bit longer.

3) I get a surprising amount of energy from this shake. Tofu has a really good affect on my body, but I’m certain that such a small amount of tofu wouldn’t give me the energy that I have after drinking a shake with the green powder. It makes me feel kind of uncomfortable to admit it because I feel like an infomercial, but every time I drink this shake, it really does provide with me a long-lasting supply of energy.

Now, is a green powder equal to munching on real leafy greens? My verdict is no: you should still eat real leafy greens! There are some added ingredients, such as stevia and “natural flavours”, which aren’t that great in this powder. And most other green powders have lots of nasty added ingredients. But a green powder is a really great way to get in some extra greens when the weather is cold and you aren’t in the mood for eating salads, or if you want to add some greens to your morning smoothie. It’s a supplement to your healthy diet, not a replacement for a healthy diet.

All of the above being said, my final assessment of this product is that it’s awesome and I’ll be adding it on a regular basis to my diet… without letting it replace my usual veggie intake! I recommend that you track down a jar of greens powder for yourself and use my recipe for a morning breakfast shake or a pre- or post- workout snack :) You’ll be glad that you did it. I think it’s the most nutritious green powder I’ve seen on the market so far.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. The green powder, mixed on its own in water (as instructed on the jar), is disgusting. It truly tastes awful. I took one sip and turned the drink into my green shake recipe because there was no way I was going to drink it straight up. The “berry flavour” is very subtle and the green taste is overwhelming. I’m accustomed to a more bitter drink since I’ve weaned myself off of heavily fruiting and sweetening my shakes, but this green powder is just far too much. Don’t drink it on its own and then think that it’s a crappy product! Instead mix it into a smoothie. I bet it could even be tossed in some oatmeal or added to a baked good (ooh I think I’m going to try that now!), and it would work pretty well.

Giveaway time!

Because I know that you’re super intrigued and that you’re just dying to try out my crazy awesome recipe, Tropical Traditions is giving away a jar of Antioxidant Natural Greens to a reader! Leave me a comment below describing your thoughts on “green” powders, how you get your greens in the middle of winter, your favourite smoothie recipe, or anything else remotely related to enter to win my green powder giveaway.

The winner will be announced one week from today, on Friday January 28!

41 Comments

  1. Stephen

    I always have an organic spinach and organic kale salad after dinner everyday in order to get my greens, and for breakfast I have a shake made up of Prairie Naturals’ Berry-Force and Progressive’s Vegegreens. I completely agree that green powders shouldn’t be used exclusively, but they can be a great addition to an already awesome diet.

  2. runRedrun

    Normally, I’m of the opinion that it’s better to get nutrition from actual food as opposed to powders or pills, but I agree with your statement that green powders are a good addition to your normal diet. It’s kind of like taking a multi-vitamin — insurance that you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals. I’ve been eating a lot of salads this winter, surprisingly enough. I find myself craving the vegetables.

  3. Holly

    It’s interesting you posted this….I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately! I’ve been getting sick a LOT more lately, and I wondered if something like this or Amazing Grass would help. Admittedly, I get a lot less greens in the winter. :-( Last summer I ate probably 4 spinach salads a week!

    I agree with you, though, that these types of things (and protein powders, too?) are a great addition but should not take the place of “real” foods. This is inspiring me to start making my green smoothies, again!

    1. Sagan Morrow

      I’m with you on the protein powders too – I usually like to add 1/4 or 1/2 serving protein powder to a bowl of oatmeal for chocolatey taste, but I’d definitely rather NOT rely on it as a mainstay.

      Sorry to hear you’ve been getting sick! I bet there’s a good chance that increasing greens could help. Or oranges? :)

  4. Kristi

    I have been struggling to eat salads in the winter but like you have had no desire. I don’t have any powders currently but I could see how this would be a great substitute to still get nutrients!

  5. Geosomin

    I think it’s a great way to get in more veggeis in your diet during frozen season when there’s less fresh veggies to chose from. I think it’s like a protein powder – a way to get in the extra things you’re not getting that day from what you’re eating but not a substitute for the real thing.

  6. mary

    I’ll be honest, I am wary of green powders as well. The few times I have tasted someone else’s shake or drink made of green powder I was not a fan. Some of them will even drink their shake while making an AWFUL face. My question is: why do it then? Just because it is “good” for you? Nature has too many delicious foods to be struggling through a nasty shake. Perhaps I (and them) just have never tried a good one.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      I’m with you on this one. My mentality is to eat healthy foods that you ENJOY. I happen to love a good green shake recipe. And I also love many vegetables. But I just don’t eat vegetables I don’t enjoy. Like avocadoes. Blech. I know that they’re super healthy for me, but I don’t much enjoy the taste. Same with kale. I figure, if we eat a variety of healthy foods, then we’ll be okay if there are some things that we do without. There’s certainly no need to consume stuff that we can’t stand the taste of just because it’s “healthy”!

      1. mary

        I am not an avocado fan either, but roasted kale ranks among my fave foods (olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Bake in oven till krispy) so simple but so YUM. But just cooked kale, not so much.

  7. Dr. J

    I know nothing about these. I did take green algae from Klamath Falls once, but never finished the bottle. It’s probably harmless. I try to emphasize less of the unhealthy over more of the healthy. Just my thoughts.

  8. The Bird Cage

    I have never tried these Sagan but I completely agree with you vereditc of using them like a nice addition to a healthy diet and not as a substitute for greens. My favourite way to consume my leafy greens in the winter? Soups!!!!!! Many many many soups!!!!! In fact, I just finished making a very tasty lettuce soup! I had a ginormous bag of mixed greens that was about to go wilty, so I made a nice sofrito, added some broth, submerged my greens and blended away with some ricotta cheese. Delicious!!!

    Oh, I so wish I win this, it’s a great giveaway, thanks!!!!

  9. Lori

    I have been drinking green smoothies on and off for quite some time. I have not really met a green powder that I really like so far. This may be the one. I have tried a couple different ones and would love to find one I really like. Thanks for the recipe on the breakfast smoothie. I think I will try it.

  10. patty harlan

    I am almost 62 years old, have become a diabetic this past year and take high blood pressure meds. I am over weight and and trying to do a new life style. Thinking of going strickly vegs. & fruits to see if i can do away of medicines. This is all new to me but thought it worth a try.

  11. Sharon

    I am really interseted in this product but the money is very tight. My husband has been unemployed for almost two years, we live on a small farm and grow a nice garden in the summer. I just ordered my organic seed for my next garden, but need something to get throught the winter.

  12. Sharon

    I am really interseted in this product but the money is very tight. My husband has been unemployed for almost two years, we live on a small farm and grow a nice garden in the summer. I just ordered my organic seeds for my next garden, but need something to get throught the winter.

  13. Linzi Baruah

    I love greens and always have collard greens, spinach etc in my fridge abd try to eat them at least 3-4 times a week. I also like ‘green’ powders although I have only used them in smoothies but I am on the lookout for other possible uses. Thanks for your article and giveaway.

  14. AMANDA

    WOW, I would love to try this great product!
    It’s may be less challenging for us, as adults, to eat the greens but this would be a great way to ensure our children are getting all the nutrients they need by adding it to juice or a smoothie!!

  15. Joan

    I have tried other green powders, and some I do not like, (have some still setting in my cubbard ..yuck!)…I was just going to make an order with one I do like, and also make my my coconut oil order, I seen your page so now I need to decide which one to order…hmmm

  16. Ann Marie Eckles

    Hopeful to try this product!! Eight children and in menoopause…I will try anything to help get me through this season of life!!
    Thanks for your consideration!
    Ann Marie

  17. Reeva

    I always thought you should eat greens for the fiber instead of going with powders, but how many times does one actually incorporate greens into the meal? for me, rarely. I think i’d be more likely to get my vitamins and antioxidants from the green powder than eating a ton of roughage. i’d loe to win and try this out!

  18. Bobbie

    I like to start out my day with a protein drink with Rice ‘N Shine and fruit. Was thinking nearly everything that could possibly be needed was included. After reading about this Greens powder, my drink can be approved apon greatly, as I don’t tend to eat l lot of raw greens during the winter. Would love to win this product as I am trying to resolve many health issues as naturally as possible. Good-Bye to all Rx’s soon!

  19. Katerina

    This sounds a little off the wall or even gross but to get my greens in winter, I will fill a big old travel mug with baby spinach leaves and keep it handy as I go throughout my day. It’s honestly the only way I will remember. I eat about 1/2 a bag a day that way (by pressing them in tightly) and it makes me feel super great like I’m really making an effort to eat healthy, even when it’s cold. But wow, how nice would it be to have a powdered mix! I didn’t realize that it was possible to combine everything into one glass a day. Cool!

  20. Jill

    I had lapband surgery 3 years ago, so eating a large volume of green leafy veggies is not possible for me…I look forward to trying this powder. I think it will really help boost my green veggie consumption.

  21. April

    I definitely believe that eating fresh, raw fruits and vegetables is healthiest, but in order to get the vitamins and nutrients we need, we would have to eat a huge amount daily. Green powders seem to be a healthy way to supplement an already nutritious diet. I would surely be willing to give it a try.

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