Do Daily Greens Really Make a Difference?

March 27th, 2013 | Posted by Alison Spath in Fitness

This smoothie looked really good and chocolate-y, until I added two handfuls of spinach to it. Then it looked a bit closer in color to a pair of combat fatigues than a delicious chocolate drink.

Chocolate Spinach Smoothie

Oh well.  Drink up, soldier!

I gave the juicer a break today and made a green (brown) smoothie instead. Today’s combo was frozen banana, cocoa powder, cottage cheese, milk and spinach. It might not be pretty, but it tasted fine and went down the hatch without hesitation.  I only felt hesitation when I got the camera out.

This whole Greener March Challenge started because I got to blabbing about my theory that eating leafy greens on regular basis makes running easier for me, and that when I figured this out, I made a habit out of eating greens most days of the week.

And while I already ate greens regularly before this month, there were certainly days that I didn’t.  After nearly a month of eating greens in some form every single day, I have to say that I can’t remember the last time I had a bad run.  I have increased my mileage considerably over the past few weeks here as part of half marathon training – I have zero complaints.  I have felt really good during every run this month.  I’m not saying this because I’m trying to get you to think I.AM.AWESOME.  I’m telling you this because I believe the same could be true for anyone, whether your preferred form of exercise is running or something else altogether.  If you eat well, you can feel well!  The proof is in the avocado and spinach pudding.

I can remember struggling to keep going during a few runs around the holidays at the end of December, when I was eating too much sugar and too many nutritionally-void food items at parties and gatherings for too many days in a row.  I clearly recall feeling that running required more effort than usual during that time and having the thought “THIS is why I don’t want to eat junk!”  Because I hate feeling like junk.

But is it the addition greens that makes the difference, or is it the subtraction of crappy foods?  Or a little of both?  Ideally, the good foods you eat leave less room for the not-so-great food choices we might otherwise make… but not always.  Over the weekend I went to back-to-back parties, both on the same day, both with big buffets of rich, savory and sweet foods (man, that was an awesome day) and I didn’t worry too much about what I ate.  I didn’t go crazy, but I enjoyed myself for sure.  (Translation: I ate my fair share of sugar that day!)  It didn’t seem to impact the way I felt the next day though.  Was it because it was only one day?  Or was it because I’ve been loading up on chlorophyll for days and days in a row here?

Just some random musings because I don’t have anything new or exciting to share in the green food department today.  (I’ve got a bunch of collard greens in my crisper that I can’t seem to work up the courage to cook.)

Do daily greens make a difference?  My answer is still Yes.  And I still encourage you to experiment to figure out what works for you if you don’t have your own answer yet.

What happens when you do X, Y and Z?  What happens when you do X and Z?  What happens when you do X, Y and a piece of cake with fondant?  (Eat the cake!)  Then let X = a green smoothie tomorrow.

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