Powdered greens are everyone’s best friend. They’re packed with mineral-dense algae, super nutritious leafy greens, carefully selected probiotics and everything you want to eat from a natural diet but usually struggle to find the time or wherewithal to do so. And while I believe that this can be overcome with some good ingredients, and little kitchen knowhow and quick and varied wholefood recipes – that don’t require an ingredient list as long as your arm, an expensive dehydrating machine or a pantry as big as your entire home – sometimes a little help sprinkled into your morning smoothie is a wise and easy alternative. A little boost when you know you need it.
There are so many clever drinks, powders and supplements available on the market and it is a really exciting time to be learning about nutritional aids and the increasingly intelligent combining of science and nature to deliver stressed-out and run-down people like us high-grade nutrients that help us along the way. Algae are an essential part of many of these, as they contain vital proteins that we would otherwise look to meat to obtain, as well as vitamins and minerals. The most well-known of these is spirulina, so-called because of its spiral shape, which is composed of around 60% protein. Add calcium (26 times more than milk), potassium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, selenium, iron, and phosporous on the mineral side, plus vitamin C, B vitamins and essential fatty acids including anti-inflammatory GLA and it is a more than adequate substitute for meat or fish. No other plant contains all the essential amino acids our body needs to build protein. For more in-depth detail, my brilliant nutritionist friend Mischa over at Think Like a Tree has a really useful post on spirulina and its super powers here.
Green powders don’t stop there: they are also packed with dehydrated greens and juices such as barleygrass, wheatgrass, kale, spinach and all the things you would love to be able to consume vast amounts of each busy day but can’t always be relied upon to do so. Add helpful bacterial cultures that help our exhausted digestive systems and they’re a potent little friend indeed. And, of course, no gluten or dairy in sight.
So – which to try? There are tons around and they are all a little different. And it is fun trying sachets of them and figuring out which floats your boat. In general I think it’s ok to say the more you pay the more you get – no one wants low-grade kale powder and half a jar of rice bran filler. I enjoy mega all-rounder Life Drink – thanks to Mischa who devoured it when working in our hot and hectic van – which also contains berries, power-mushrooms, digestive enzymes and a flax, borage and olive oil omega blend.
But when on a militant gut cleanse and off anything containing yeast-friendly mushrooms, for pure green goodness I went for Nature’s Living Superfoods, by Kiki. It was recommended to me by two friends and my teacher in the same two weeks, and these things usually point towards something good. It has no cheap fillers and an extensive list of green guys plus oat grass, kamut grass, alfalfa, kelp, dulse, nopal cactus and burdock root. You can read the details here.
For its price, I’d say it is pretty good value, and Ben and I have been whizzing it into our smoothies and managed to stave off many a threatening bug during a hectic six months trading non stop, so – like all things here – I recommend it from a place of tried and tested loyalty.