How I Got my Kids (& Myself) to Drink Greens

I remember the first time someone tried to give me a ‘ Greens drink ’. The schooner-sized glass was dark green, frothy & had lumpy looking bits clinging to the sides. It smelled like lawn clippings, but more pungent, kinda like ‘off’ lawn clippings.

My flatmate in second-year naturopathy was much more ‘experienced’ with superfoods than I – she’d  worked in a smoothie bar / vego cafe, so knew her way around things like spirulina, guarana, tofu, lentils, wheat & barley grass…all very foreign to me as I was fresh off the family farm, where grass was for the cows.

She was taking it to fix an outbreak of vaginal thrush – something which we were all (my fellow naturopath students & party girls) a bit prone to from our fruit-heavy diets & alcohol-heavy weekends! We were 19 & conducting some informal studies on ‘detoxification’ on top of our naturopathy lectures. For the record, my party days ended not long after my naturopath course did – when I was 22, & we did discover some great natural hangover cures – but that’s another blog. 

So back to the drink – I held my nose as advised, raised the murky glass to my lips, & embarrassingly could only manage one slimy gulp. YYYUCCCKKK!!!! Quick, rinse & spit!! There was NO WAY I could finish one of those, I said she could have her disgusting barley grass & I reached for the natural yoghurt (no fruit) & vowed to party less.

But then it seemed that everyone who was drinking variations of this vile green stuff at college was raving about it – not the taste, they hated that only slightly less than me – but the effects. Skin clearing, digestion improving, energy increasing…those are BIG. The people who were into greens were glowing (& not itching).

Months went by & I had to try it again. This time, baby steps. 1/4 of a teaspoon, mixed not just into water, but with some ice & a dash of orange juice as well (to desensitise the tastebuds & mask the grassiness). I still held my nose & tried to down it fast, & I think I managed half a glass before leaving it ‘for later’.

I continued with this method for a week or 2, gradually increasing my green powder & decreasing the juice until eventually I was able to down 1 heaped tsp of barley grass easily with just water & ice. The ice was key – greens are way less gross when they are cold! And shaken, not stirred is definitely the go (no lumpy bits). I found that protein drink shakers were perfect.

I tried spirulina & chlorella but they were a whole different level to the barley grass – greener, slimier, & stinkier – plus more expensive! I stuck to the grass, it was awesome – & my skin, energy & digestion told me if ever I got slack, it was true – this green barley stuff was magic! I was a greens convert.

Fast forward a few years to my first pregnancy, all the grasses were easy & I swore I would master spirulina. I bought the best value 1kg tub which cost me I think $90, at wholesale pricing! I was going to glow, my baby was going to glow…& I’d got a bargain, life was great! Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken into account the extra squeamishness of pregnancy / morning sickness, & I ended up composting most of that tub, barely able to finish my usual grass drinks on most days.

A healthy (if not glowing) baby was born, fed well & was pretty good with solids by 7 months. I still had the spirulina on the shelf when he was 1, so decided if it was ok in a banana smoothie, he could have some in his mashed banana (I had no blender, don’t know how I survived back then). He wasn’t a fan though & I didn’t blame him, so compost / chooks / dogs got the rest :(

…a cutie sampling Pondy at the markets!

My second baby actually seemed to like the spirulina / banana mash – she guzzled it down! (I had more by this time as I could now stomach a half teaspoon mixed into my barley grass).

I went back to working in health stores / pharmacies when that baby was old enough, & greens were one of the products that pretty much everyone I spoke to walked out with! I always warned them about the taste, said to start slowly, use a shaker bottle & ice, & make sure they mask the flavour if squeamish. Sure enough, most of them came back very happy with the results – skin, energy & digestion were the most common improvements.

I know as a naturopath that when you can see skin results, good things are happening with the gut & liver too – skin is just the organ you can actually see from the outside, often a great reflection of what is going on with the internal organs. And energy – that is one of your main indicators of health & vitality, so skin, gut & energy improvements = overall good news.

Fast forward to 2015 when goodMix launched PondWater – I was so much of a green fan that I had to make my own! I knew that almost nobody really gets enough greens, & that everybody looks & feels better when they add more in…but I’d also seen some great gut results with Aloe Vera & read about some trials with type 2 diabetics / metabolic syndrome. So I thought, given that we have so many ‘gut’ customers, many who are insulin resistant / needing some metabolism & blood sugar support, a greens plus aloe powder was a good idea to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

PondWater, as a 2-in-1 ‘greens plus aloe’ was going to support gut, liver, circulation & skin like a regular greens powder – but it would also have some metabolic support provided by aloe vera, a little help to get the glucose out of the bloodstream & into the muscles for burning as energy. Add in the immune benefits, the different nutrients & gut soothing benefits – & we would have a winner!

My babies are now teens – & they both take Pondy willingly with just lemon & ice, or in a green smoothie, as they know it keeps their skin nice & clear (use the fear of acne to motivate your teens) & it provides awesome nutrition & energy to help with their sports. It wasn’t always the case, & I did get some very vocal objections at first! But I got around those using some of the below methods:

A few easy ways to get your kids (& yourself) used to taking a yucky green powder! It may not be easy at first, but it is sooo worth persevering!

Cordial & water. 

Just use a small amount of the most natural one you can find, & use it ONLY to help get used to the greens initially, cordial is NOT something I’d normally recommend buying, but useful if it can help get you through the green powder ’yuck’ barrier! I know that ‘Ribena’ & some of the Lime ones work well for most, but use whatever you think will work for your family. Short term!

Kombucha

Another yummy sweet option, with a bit of fizz & the added benefits of probiotics. You can call this brew ‘Frobscottle’ (from the BFG book / movie) for kids! Use whatever flavour they like most, & add small amounts to begin with.

Pineapple juice & water with ice

Half / half cheap pineapple juice & water – freshly juiced is obviously best, but use whatever works to start you off, & this is easy, esp if you’re trying to get multiple kids onto it & there may be wastage! Once again, use only for the greens, juice is not something I’d normally recommend you buy! 

Coconut water

Just gives a mild taste & a little sweetness, plus a few extra minerals.

Fresh juices

Fruit & vegetables juiced, just add a tsp of Pondy & ice. Celery, cucumber, mint, lemon, lime, etc to keep it green & sugar free, but still a bit flavoured. Or you can add in some yummier things if you need, like banana / kiwi / pineapple.

Squeeze of lemon 

2 wedges or 1 half a lemon, squeezed into the shaker bottle & then throw the peel in as well. Rinse your teeth after lemony drinks & juices to protect your enamel.

Lime (same as lemon)

Mashed banana

With a fork, mash 1/2 a banana in a bowl with approx 1/6 to 1/4 of a tsp of greens (good way to get greens into bubs if you don’t have a blender)!

Green smoothies 

Loads of recipes online (banana, mango or pineapple really hide green powders well, & then add some green leafy veggies like baby spinach, celery tops, kale, mint etc). Check out all these smoothie recipes 

Balls 

Add a couple of teaspoons to your protein ball mix when making them. Test to get the amount right – you don’t wanna ruin the entire batch by going overboard with greens!

Stir some into a not-too-hot meal

Works with a meal that has a strong masking flavour (this will only work in the dark or for little people unconcerned by the colour of their meal!)

A Few Things That Extra Greens Can Help With…

 

*Always ask your health professional first before trying, everyone is different & this is very general & just based on my own observations.

  1. Eczema, psoriasis, acne, boils, rashes, dry skin…pretty much any skin complaint responds well to extra greens.
  2. Blood circulation (which helps everything else, a healthy, well-functioning body depends on healthy blood cells & good circulation).
  3. Fatigue. So many nutrients, so easy to digest & a nice helping hand for your gut & liver too (overloaded liver & gut are often the problem with fatigue).
  4. Balanced Immunity – good gut = good immunity. Anything that helps the gut will also help your immune system. Not too reactive, but reactive enough is how we want it! Plus it has some great antioxidants & nutrients.
  5. Aches & Pains – Arthritis & fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue – all kinds of aches & pains seem to respond well to extra greens. It makes sense as anything you can do to decrease systemic inflammation (i.e. look after your gut flora & gut lining) will help with these. Also the immune-system-balancing effect of having a healthy gut.
  6. Mood – When your gut is happier, your brain feels happier too! They talk to each other, you cannot really seperate the gut & brain as they work so closely together. If one is out of whack, the other will be too.  Plus – there is a certain ‘I’m so healthy’! It’s almost the same feeling you get after a good exercise session…the ‘I’m being good to my body’ buzz doesn’t get much better than downing a big ugly green drink!

Love to hear your stories of how you get greens into the kids (or yourself)! Please leave a comment below or send me an email.

Jeanie Xx
jeanie@goodmix.com.au

Brad & Jeanie