So why did I write A Guide to Buying Green Drink Powder?
Well let me first pose a question. Did you know that the “juicing” industry has grown to a $5 billion a year industry? These days it’s hip to walk around with a shaker-bottle filled with green sludge and whether you are grinding your own produce in your fancy, high-end machine or picking a packaged powder off the shelf at Whole Foods Market, the juicing industry is here to stay.
We buy the juicing machine, go to the store and load up on veggies, come home and clean’em up. We delight in wielding our inherit power over the plant world by pulverizing the veggies with the electric-violent-scream of steel blades, slashing and grinding the produce into an impossibly dark green nectar. And, our first thought is: “Why so little juice for the amount of vegetables I just juiced?”
So we take the first drink and it tastes so god-awful horrible that we immediately wonder what we can get for our new juicer on Craig’s List. But we banish that thought and then begin breaking down and cleaning the juicer. And this is day one of our juicing life.
Three weeks later, after we throw away the second batch of moldy, unused veggies, we post the Craig’s List ad titled, “Slightly Used Juicer.”
It’s no wonder that green drink powders and superfood drink powders are exploding in popularity. Juicing is a royal pain in the tukas. And the good news is that there are more and more green drink powders for us to choose from! Or is that the bad news? You see, most people struggle with which green drink to buy. It’s confusing and overwhelming.
A Guide to Buying Green Drink Powder
It’s tough to look at a green drink label and make sense of it. Some of them contain over 70 ingredients. And what’s worse is trying to compare green drinks to each other. Every one is unique, each with a slightly different emphasis. But if you learn some basic principles you can pretty quickly learn how to make some sense of these labels. Once you can do that, then you can ascertain quality and value.[divider]
I.C.T. – 3 Important Factors When Choosing a Green Drink
What are the ingredients? How much does it cost? And how does it taste? Good ingredients at a decent cost that can be ingested without causing a taste-related seizure. That’s the criteria for choosing a green drink. The I.C.T. method.[hr
Green Drink Ingredients
Most green drink formulas follow a similar pattern. They contain a base of green superfoods, and most contain enzymes and probiotics as well. The more ambitious green drink powders will also contain some antioxidants and herbs, and the higher-end, meal-replacement-green-drinks might even contain protein to make it more of a complete meal.
The greens category can generally be broken down into three categories: Grasses (ex. barley grass, wheat grass, alfalfa), Sea Vegetables and Algae (ex. chlorella, spirulina, dulce) and Green Vegetables (ex. spinach, broccoli, carrots).
When looking at the green superfood section of a product, you want to see that the product uses a variety of different ingredients for each category of the greens. It’s not necessary that it contains everything, but you want a product that has more than just wheatgrass.
It’s also important to look at the potencies of the greens section. You want to be taking a greens powder that has multiple grams of green superfoods. Lower-end products might have 3-4 total grams (3,000 mg – 4,000 mg) of greens per serving. Mid-range products might have 5-7 grams of greens per serving. Higher-end products will have over 10 grams of greens per serving.
A Guide to Buying Green Drink Powder – Vegetable Powder vs. Juice Extracts
Another thing to look for in a green drink powder is the source of the greens. Is it vegetable powder or juice extracts? Vegetable powder is exactly what the name indicates. They take the whole vegetable, freeze it and powderize it. Juice extracts are derived from first juicing the vegetable, freezing it and then powderizing the juice.
It’s just plain common sense that juice extracts contain more nutrition than vegetable powders. Phytonutrients found in plants are largely contained in the juice, which is why juicing raw produce is so healthy. It’s also a lot more expensive for a company to use juice rather than vegetable powder, making green drinks with juice extracts significantly less common.
The “Other” Ingredients Found in Many Green Drinks
If you are paying good money for a green drink powder you might as well buy one that is a complete supplement. And by “complete” I’m referring to the other areas of nutrition that you should be supplementing your diet with on a daily basis.
Most quality green drink products will have at least probiotics and enzymes. Probiotics are the “friendly bacteria” that help create a healthy bowel ecosystem. Digestive enzymes are critical for helping your body utilize the nutrition you are getting from food.
Other ingredients that you’ll find in green drink powders are antioxidants (in addition to the naturally-occurring antioxidants found in the superfoods), mushrooms, fibers, and even protein.
It’s easy for people to get bogged down when they are reading all these different ingredients in a typical green drink powder label. They start seeing these bold titles on the label like “Super Mushroom Complex” or “Proprietary Alkalizing Blend” followed by a list of ingredients that they’ve never heard of and couldn’t begin to pronounce. Their eyes get glossy and they become as confused as ever.
Here’s the thing, focus primarily on the greens. Look for good variety and high potencies. Look for a good probiotics panel; (anything over 4-5 billion), make sure it has decent digestive enzymes (protease, amylase, cellulase, papain, bromelain). For antioxidants, look for things like resveratrol, green tea, MSM, Alpha Lipoic Acid, dandelion root, astragalus, etc.) But the key is to avoid getting sidetracked by all the various “secondary” ingredients while trying to compare those to other products. Concentrate mainly on the green superfoods!
Buyer Beware – Sexing up the Label
The most prolific trick that companies’ use is the “Proprietary Blend” format of listing ingredients. Instead of listing the amount per serving of each ingredient, they lump numerous ingredients categorically in a “proprietary blend” format and only provide the amount of the total. This makes it all but impossible to know how much of a certain ingredient you are getting.
Here’s the problem. This opens up the door for “ingredient stuffing” – or putting ingredients in a product in tiny, worthless amounts just so the name can appear on the label. Why wouldn’t they do that?
This is widespread to the point where it’s rare to find a green drink that lists each nutrient amount. The only thing you can do is to look at the number of ingredients in the category and compare that to the total amount. If it seems reasonable, it probably is. I get skeptical when I see a category that has dozens of ingredients and the collective amount of all of them is less than a couple of grams.
A Guide to Buying Green Drink Powder – How to Identify the Value of a Green Drink
Understanding the economic value of a green drink product is important and not as difficult as it may seem.
What I try and do is look at a few different things and then do some quick math in my head. First, how many total servings per container? Second, how many total grams per serving? Third, how many total grams of the greens section of the product? Fourth, does it have probiotics and enzymes? Finally, what is the total cost of the container? Now, you can do some quick arithmetic and determine what the cost per serving is.
So let’s apply this to an imaginary product.
Fictional Product: The World’s Greatest Green Drink
Servings Per Container: 30
Total Grams Per Serving: 12
Total Grams of the Greens Section Per Serving: 7
Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes? Yes
Total Cost of Container: $39.99
Total Cost per Serving: $1.33
In this example, The World’s Greatest Green Drink may not in fact be the world’s greatest, but it’s very decent value at $1.33 per serving with 12 total grams of nutrition per serving and 7 grams of green superfoods per serving. Plus it provides the probiotics and enzymes.
When you apply this simple process to a lot of different products, you’ll start to get a good feel for identifying value.
Taste & Texture
The taste of green drink powders is the #1 reason why people stop using them. (Which is one of the reasons I decided to write A Guide to Buying Green Drink Powder.) It’s a sad fact because the reality is even the worse tasting green drink powder can be blended with other ingredients to make a health smoothie that tastes very decent.
What I’ve discovered from over a decade of using many different green drinks is that typically the worse a green drink tastes, the better the product is. The high-quality, high-end products are the real deal. They use high-potencies of algae, grasses, dark green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables and never use any type of artificial sweeteners. The rare products that use juice extracts as the source of greens genuinely taste like fresh-juiced vegetables. Which is to say, they taste strong and earthy.
There are three kinds of people who use green drinks:
1) People who have never juiced and never taken green drinks and eat a lot of processed foods.
2) People who have dabbled in juicing, dabbled with various green drinks, and try and eat healthy when they can.
3) People who are hard-core juicers and veteran green drink users.
My advice to the first group, the green drink “virgins”, is to start off with a lower-potent product. Or buy a high-potent product but only use 1/3 of the suggested serving. Find one that you really enjoy the taste of and use it every single day. An extraordinary thing will happen. As your body chemistry begins to change, as the nutrient-dense calories begin to feed the cells and your energy levels increase, your brain will begin to crave the green drink. Not only will the “bad taste” lessen, you will begin to even enjoy the taste. This is absolutely true.
For novice green drinkies and veteran green drinkies, you probably don’t mind the taste of green drinks, so pick a product that delivers the most concentrated nutrition at a price you can live with.
Lastly, if you struggle with the taste of green drink powders, mix the powder in quality organic juices with fresh fruit and veggies and make a health smoothie. You will discover that you won’t even notice the pungent taste of the powder.
A Guide to Buying Green Drink Powder – So What Are the Best Green Drinks?
If you are reading A Guide to Buying Green Drinks, then you probably have already looked at the reviews and discovered the green drink rankings.
The important thing to understand is that there are a lot of green drinks that are very, very similar to each other, both in quality and price. It’s not so easy to rank them.
For what I consider the top-shelf, meal-replacement category, the Total Living Drink Greens, Athletic Greens and Shakeology simply cannot be beat. They are extraordinary formulas and provide the most nutrition per serving than any product I’ve come across. Yes they are expensive. Total Living Drink Greens is around $90 for a 30-day supply. The Shakeology is over $4 per serving ($130 for a 30-day supply). But when you apply the value-determination-method, you’ll discover they are incredibly good values.
For a lower price-point, but still excellent quality and high-potent green drinks, I absolutely love Athletic Greens (among the best tasting green drink) and Patriot Power Greens. It is an extraordinary product. I also really like Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw and Organifi Green Juice.
But quite frankly, the very best green drink in existence is the one that you are taking every day. If you commit yourself to using a quality green drink formula, every single day for 30 days, I’d bet the farm that you will be using green drinks for the rest of your life.