Category Archives: Nutrition

Should you take Greens supplements?

I just received the following question this morning from one of the participants of my 8 Week Get Lean Challenge. The challenge is one where participants adopt one new habit change per week. One of the habits is to fill half your plate with vegetables a set number of meals per week (depending on what level of the challenge you are doing). The following question refers to this vegetables habit:

Q: ” I wanted to know what your thoughts/opinion was on “GREENS” the popeyes substitute? Would that be considered as half the plate, should I take these? If I can take these how much to they count towards my portion?”

greens_flickr_fady habibPhoto credit: fady habib on flickr.

A: “I think greens are great, however, they won’t count toward your half plate as vegetables. The reason for this habit is two-fold: it ensures you get lots of veggies, and it helps to prevent you from over-eating non-veggies. The latter is as important as it reduces the likelihood that you’ll overeat. So you can see that the greens helps toward the first goal but not toward the second. ”

I do feel a bit sheepish for taking the slightly-misleading-contrarian-blog-post-title approach, but I’m feeling a bit contrarian today, so it seemed appropriate. In fact I have nothing against Greens supplements. I even think they’re a good idea for those who otherwise won’t get much in the way of vegetables. I’d much rather someone take these with a low-vegetable diet than follow a low-vegetable diet and not take them. It’s a way to get the many, many micronutrients vegetables have to offer, and that’s a good thing. But if I had a say, I’d much rather have someone add actual vegetables to their diet so that they get both the micronutrient and macronutrient benefits. What is this macrunutrient benefit? Primarily it’s that vegetables tend to be high in fibre and protein, and they are low in calories. Here are a few examples of what 100 calories of vegetables look like.

100 calories of broccoli
100 calories of broccoli
100 calories of spaghetti squash
100 calories of spaghetti squash
100 calories of spinach
100 calories of spinach
100 calories of tomatoes
100 calories of tomatoes
100 calories of peppers
100 calories of peppers

And for comparison, a couple of examples of 100 calories of not vegetables.

100 calories of almonds
100 calories of almonds

100 calories of butter tart (the little piece on the left; not the whole thing)
100 calories of butter tart (the little piece on the left; not the whole thing)

100 calories of bacon
100 calories of bacon
100 calories of pasta
100 calories of pasta
100 calories of cheese
100 calories of cheese

Interested in this Get Lean Challenge? Here is the registration form along with the details of how it works and when we’re running it next..

Elsbeth Vaino, B.Sc., CSCS, is a personal trainer in Ottawa, Canada who thinks vegetables are the bomb. That is if people still say that things are the bomb. Otherwise, she thinks they are…(please help a once-was-cool-ish-now-is-old-and-less-cool trainer and blogger with her diction by commenting with a better expression below.)

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Q&A: Healthy late night snacking

Q: I find that I am always hungry at night even after a good meal. What are some healthy snacks you’d recommend that are ok for eating later at night and wont affect our sleep?

A: Before addressing good late-night snack options, I have two questions for you: Are you eating enough of the throughout the day? What is the macronutrient (carb/protein/fat) makeup of the good meal?

Some people skimp on calories throughout the day and by evening they are just hungry. And for some reason when we’re hungry at night, we tend toward junkie food options – like we’ve been socially programmed to believe that whatever we eat after dinner is dessert. Is it possible that this is the case with you?

Continue reading Q&A: Healthy late night snacking