Green Smoothie Challenge Final Week

Our journey has come to a conclusion, the last page has been turned, the ribbon has been cut, the credits are rolling and the final slurp has been slurped…Well.. Felicity and I have completed our four week challenge but our green smoothie engagement is far from over. With results presenting as rapidly and significantly as they have we can both safely say these green concoctions will remain an integral part of our diet.

 

Key changes over 4 week challenge:

 

Increase in energy levels – particularly before and after physical exercise

Less mid afternoon crashes

Excellent hangover cure

Glowing skin (less blemishes)

Craved sugary foods less

Required less food overall

 

Bianca – Week 4

 

From the relatively unappealing bitter green smoothie I sampled on day one to today where I woke up craving that green goodness; my taste buds have certainly matured – The bitterness subsiding, Felicity tells me, can be a reflection of the improved health of the liver, which loves and is stimulated by bitter foods. This is promising news and just shows how quickly change can come about.  It is not too late to start people and I can tell you this is an excellent (and tasty – once your body adjusts to the bitterness) way to incorporate your 5+ a day all at once and set your body up with the nutrients it needs to help you get through the day.

 

My skin has been glowing lately and I think it’s a combination of spring sun and the goodness of the leafy greens – increased nutritional content means my body is eliminating more effectively.  Beauty from the inside out as they always say!

 

I am determined to keep this challenge going but will call it a lifestyle change.  I may not be able to maintain the frequency but would really like to keep green smoothies as a key element in my diet and morning routine.

 

Felicity – Week 4

You know when something is good for you when after a break from it, your body calls you back ………even when it takes a bit more prep time in the morning and adds a few extra dollars to your shopping bill. In my case, my week of opting out of green smoothies has ended and I’m back on the wagon. Of course, I’m doing this challenge so I kinda needed to be if there was going to be any authenticity in my feedback!

But in all honesty, I really did notice that once I had started to recover from my cold, cravings for the green elixir returned. I knew how much better I felt when I was drinking them regularly, and I wanted to feel that way again. I call this “the glimpse” – getting a small taste of how great you can feel when you eat well. I find this is one of the best motivating factors to steer me back on course when things go pear-shaped.

With the challenge coming to an end this week, I’m curious as to what changes might occur if I commit to this for a longer term. In my search to understand a little more about what benefits I could expect, I tracked down “Powered by Green Smoothies” – a doco following 10 endurance runners and cross-fitters who are supplied with 1L of green smoothie daily for 6 weeks, to find out whether smoothies can improve athletic performance.

Powered by Green Smoothies

 

Baseline levels of VO2max, inflammation (measured by blood test) and oxidative stress (measured by urine test) were all taken.

Mid-way through the challenge at the 3-week mark, few changes were noticeable. Some of them were feeling a little better but wouldn’t attribute it to the smoothies. Remember most of these athletes were fit and healthy to begin with – some of them exercised up to 7 hours daily, and ate well to support it.

But by the end of the experiment at week 6, the changes – both in how the athletes felt but also in their baseline measurements, were clear:

–          9/10 athletes improved their VO2 max

–          9/10 athletes reduced their levels of inflammation by approximately 50%. One had a whopping decrease in CRP (a measure of inflammation) of 17.17mg/L to 1.15mg/L. Since higher levels of inflammation are correlated with an increased risk of all cancers, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, this is a significant finding.

–          All reported reduced recovery time following workouts and events. An ultra-marathon runner reported that recovery time following races decreased from 7 days to 3.

–          Harder workouts were done with greater ease.

–          Runners felt lighter on their feet and experienced less muscle pain, therefore could run for longer.

–          Many felt happier with less mood swings, and slept better.

Obviously a study with much larger sample sizes would need to be conducted, but it looks as though green smoothies may be an effective method to reduce inflammation, speed recovery time, increase energy levels, and boost performance in athletes.

Interesting enough, many of the participants didn’t start to notice clear changes until about week 4, meaning I need to persevere to really start reaping more rewards.

One wonders how I might feel if I did this for a year? Food for thought.

 

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