Having low body fat (less than 10%) is seen by many as a guaranteed benchmark for good health. As a personal trainer there was a time in my career, when my life revolved around my ability to change someone’s body fat. The ability to change a person’s body fat is a journey in itself.
Working with my clients over the last 15 years has given me a super strong, lean-ripped, body. My heart and lungs felt great, and I was physically at the top of my game. There was only one problem. I constantly had some kind of congestion in my chest. I realized that this was not a “cold” that was simply going to go away, so I decided to figure this out.
I’m a big fan of case studies and believe that you can learn a lot from others who have gone down the same path. This lead me on my journey to study super foods. I looked for a simple definition of what a nutrient dense or super food was. I started noticing that most info was about a pill or powder. I like to stay all natural when possible, so I kept looking for an answer.
One day I saw this documentary on how to use nutrient based foods as super foods. I had not really put the two together just yet. The truth is my certification nor my education ever really detailed what exactly this was. You can get into the eat this and not that, but it’s never really spelled out in away I wanted to know.
Then I started looking for the foods in their natural state that had the highest vitamin content. I was not focused on taste or convenience, I just wanted optimum nutrition. In my research, I found that leafy deep green vegetables were packing by far more nutrients than all other vegetables. The top two vegetables which towered over all over foods are Spinach and Kale.
Just like my favorite cartoon “Popeye.” Spinach does have the ability to make you stronger with its nutrient dense makeup. Bite for bite they were producing a whopping 200% to 400% more nutrients. Most fruits and vegetables are in that 100% or lower range. This information really shocked me because I knew that it was not common knowledge.
As a child, your parents always told you to eat your greens. Nobody really ever explained the nuts and bolts of why. I was always told to eat it because “I had to” and it would “make me strong”. I’ve included nutrient facts below for your reference. This is what a super food looks like. As you can see it is very well-rounded. It’s common to think that a protein has one of the best nutrient resources. Although proteins may have some nice nutritional profiles, there are many more things to consider with them.
I spent my early years as a trainer, sticking by the side of any protein. The more protein the better! Protein, protein, protein, and more protein. You had your shake for breakfast, then another after the work out. Throw in there a snack with it too of protein. It was all well in good that I was nice and crispy lean. Not sure where you get some of your protein sources from, but I can tell you that it is allot easier to follow a trail of greens than any meat. Not to mention all the debates around eating dead flesh. However, I still eat meats but look for organic and hormone free options.
Realizing that I needed more of these super foods in my diet, I decided to start juicing them. Eating greens everyday is frankly not that satisfying. I had learned that juicing provides the same nutritional benefits as eating the solid vegetable, yet you are able to get an instant surge of vitamins directly into your body, whereas with eating the solid vegetable you have to wait for the process of digestion to absorb the nutrients. Realizing that I could not take in the amount of green vegetables that my body needed in the traditional way, I started on my path to juicing them (roughly 14 ounces) a day.
Less than 60 days went by and I began to notice two major things, I gained muscle and while people around me where getting sick, I stayed healthy!
Keep in mind I did not stop eating other foods. I simply added my serving of green juice to my normal meal plan. I was only consuming around 40 grams of protein a day. That’s it. I had a small muscle gain and my cough went completely away. I didn’t want to have to juice every day, so I would store my liquid greens in a gallon container. I saw people around me get colds, flu and other sickness. I kinda of kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t get sick. One key was staying consistent. Just like having the proper foods daily to get the optimal results for being lean. It’s the same here. I didn’t need a bunch of other juices. I never used anything I didn’t make my self. Way to much risk for the case study.
Here is a heads up on a few things. Have you ever had someone say you need a blender versus an extractor? There are basically two types of juicing. I think they both work. Lots of people will say they need the fiber and won’t use the extractor. I used the extractor. You will still need to watch the amount of juice you are consuming in the beginning. I was very regular. You get more bang for the buck from a nutrient standpoint if you use that method “extract.” Remember certain fibers don’t digest. Another thing to consider is the amount of water you are getting in. I saw this because there were many times I would feel dehydrated. So, just have 10 ounces of water. The juice can become thick. Listen to your body. Go with your feeling of what you feel is right.