Thursday, April 14, 2011

Greens Revisited and Good Eats

 Hey everyone! I just woke up from my daytime nap and feel so good to have three night shifts in a row behind me.
This weekend I'll be doing a lot of traveling:
To Ohio from NC,
to Chicago from Ohio,
back to Ohio from Chicago
then back down to NC from Ohio.
Not looking forward to all the time in the car but really looking forward to seeing my sorority "Lil Sis" who is having her bachelorette party in Chicago:

There will be about 25 of us traveling to Chicago for her bach party.  It will be fun to see my college sorority sisters and catch up, some of who I haven't seen since the last time we all got together for another sister's bachelorette party:

  Ah the days of drinking so much.. (or at least more than never) It will be interesting to see how my body takes it. Last time I had a drink it was on St Patty's day and it was only one draft beer and I felt so incredibly lousy for the next 24 hours that I decided it wasn't worth it to drink anymore. I'm not talking about feeling just a little lousy, I'm talking sick to my stomach, can't get up and do anything, slept for 16 hours, drowsy and sick-feeling. I think it's because I hardly ever drink anymore - (who has time when you're working night shift and sleeping in the day and training for a half marathon and blogging and cooking and etc etc etc) I've shifted to more clean eating, with most of my diet consisting of fresh vegetables and fruit and leaving a little room for whole grains and beans. When you eat like that and then introduce beer or liquor, it doesn't go over so well.  So I'll let you know how this weekend goes...

 I wanted to re-visit some information I gave on this post about green tablets. As you all know, I had been taking wheatgrass shots for almost two months now. I started blogging about them on Feb 26th and you can read about it here but basically the summary is that wheatgrass is good for you because

  • it is a raw, living, potent food. It is one of the most potent healing agents on the planet! The grass itself comes from the wheat plant when it is young, potent, and full of rich green chlorophyll. 
  • It contains 70% of essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that we need to live.
  • one shot is equal to consuming about 3 pounds of vegetables
  • it is a healthy, natural way to get a boost of energy without taking any caffeine.
  • Wheatgrass is good for the glands, tissues, tendons, kidneys, liver, hair, skin, and nails.
So at first, I bought the shots and was taking a serving of wheatgrass shots every day

What did I notice? My mood was the first thing. I was happy all the time and little things didn't make me cry or fly off the handle anymore. Even big things don't seem to make me upset. My energy level was the second thing. I didn't need coffee on my way into work, so that was one less cup of caffeine I was drinking. I didn't need coffee when I woke up in the middle of the day after working all night and only sleeping for 4 hours. My mental clarity was another thing. I was more focused, less anxious, less scatter-brained. Okay, so wheatgrass shots are the thing for me and I love them and I'm going to take them forever and ever, right?
I think I was kind of closed-minded in the way that I thought only the shots could make me feel good. I was reluctant to try powders or pills instead of the shots. However, the shots are kind of expensive, about 20 dollars for the pack of 20, and I was blowing through them since I took a serving each day, so I talked to the girl who works at the health food store and she suggested these pills

These pills were only 16 dollars for 180 pills, and it contains wheatgrass and barley grass, brown rice, chlorella and kelp. The serving says 6 pills per day, so the first day I took three pills in the morning and then my normal serving of wheatgrass shots. Each day I weaned more off of the shots and more onto the pills. Now I take 6 pills in a 24 hour period, and the schedule has been that I take three when I wake up from my daytime "nap" after working all night, and then again around 3 in the morning when I am at work and starting to feel tired. If I'm not at work I don't take this dose. 
 I was skeptical that the pills could make me feel as good as the wheatgrass shots. However, they have actually won me over and I am now a huge supporter of these pills. The girl at the healthfood store says that your body can get used to taking just one kind of thing, so to switch it up every month or so. Next I'm going to try another type of green tablet and of course I'll give you my my full review on those, but this month and next I'm going to stick to Kyo-Green. I cannot describe how wonderful it is to feel this good even while working night shift. I can still engage in life and even work out after waking up from my afternoon nap. It gives me more energy than coffee, but it's not a super high caffeine buzz. Anything that takes you up that fast will drop you down that fast. I used to drink caffeine because I needed it, and I resented that dependance. Now I take wheatgrass pills because they are good for me and because I know my body deserves the best. The energy I'm talking about isn't running-around-the-house shaking and talking fast and acting like I'm hopped up on crack. I'm merely talking about the sustained, even, clear-headed mental clarity and focus that I would expect to feel only after a long, restful sleep or a weekend retreat at a spa. Yes, that's how I feel each day: like I'm treating my mind to a relaxing weekend retreat at the spa. 
 Even though I was replacing my coffee with wheatgrass shots, every now and then I would get tired at work and have to have a small cup of coffee. Our bodies release melatonin naturally, and at 3 am it releases more, which is why 3 am is the dreaded hour for night shifters, and the quiet, peaceful hour for those who sleep through the night. However, the past three nights when the dreadful hour struck and I started to feel tired, I took 3 of my kyo-green pills and I am happy to report I did not have to take any coffee. This in turn resulted in me being able to go home and fall asleep faster and sleep deeper and more sound in the daytime because I didn't have the lingering effects of coffee in my system. This in turn results in me waking up feeling more rested. The conclusion? Coffee was ruining me for 24 hours even though I only drank it once in 24 hours. I thought if I drank a small cup around 3 am it would be wore off by 9 am when I tried to fall asleep. Yes, I did fall asleep at 9 am, but I would wake up around 11, 12, and then finally 2, and not be able to fall back asleep. Then I would be tired going into work and need more coffee to get me going again. A vicious cycle. No wonder I was so tired my first year working night shift! I have now replaced my coffee with natural, preservative-free, chemical-free, caffeine-free green pills and am feeling and sleeping much better. The next few days I am going to be awake during the day, and I'm excited to see just how good I feel during that time, because if these pills make me feel good and I'm working night shift, I can only imagine the happiness, energy, and clarity they will give me during the day! 

 That's a long discussion about wheatgrass/green pills, but I thought it was important to share how much of an impact natural eating can have on us all. I simply cannot dream up these results. No one is paying me to sell or promote these products. I started using them on my own and can't imagine going back to life without them. I never want to go back to my tired, sluggish, depressed moods. 

 In addition to taking the green pills, I wake up each morning/afternoon craving vegetables! What an odd thing. When you give you body good food, it craves more good food! 
The cool, smooth, refreshing taste of a green smoothie:

This green smoothie has one banana, half a lemon, and two cups of spinach in it. I've talked about green smoothies before in this post, but a re-cap is that green smoothies:

  • are easy to make
  • are an easy way to get your daily greens
  • kick off your metabolism and digestive system
  • In order to obtain nutrients from green plants, every cell has to be ruptured. Blending the greens ruptures the cells of the plant, making nutrients available for you that you would otherwise have to chew for three hours to obtain.
The piece of fruit in the smoothie completely covers the taste of vegetables. It may look green, but it tastes like a fruit smoothie (I usually do banana, or strawberry-banana, or apple)
There are so many people who have started drinking green smoothies and swear by them now, and you guessed it, I'm one of them! :) The benefits are simply so great and they are so easy to make! You can throw any kind of green vegetable you want into the blender: kale, collard greens, mustard greens, chard, spinach, dandelion greens. Of all these greens, spinach is the softest and will blend into the creamiest. Kale and chard is a lot thicker and takes a lot more blending. You have to experiment and try for yourself. Bananas are going to blend the easiest and taste the best, in my opinion. Apples tend to blend chunky and remember if you use apples skin them first! My first green apple smoothie was a complete disaster and I had to throw it away, and I hate wasting greens and apples :( 

 Green smoothies usually take the place of my dinner. They are filling and so good for you that I am usually not hungry after drinking one. The Boyfriend has been so great because he does all the cooking while I'm working, and usually packs my lunch for work too. These past few days we had a few repeats: 

Burrito bowls. You can find the full post and recipe on them here but they are basically better than Chipotle! Chipotle's secret is seasoning the rice and beans, and you can do that at home! Add cilantro and lime to your rice or beans. This time The Boyfriend mixed the beans with corn, onions and the cilantro, lime and cumin

Then layered in it in a bowl with rice, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and hot sauce. What a delicious burrito bowl! We find these are better than Chipotle's because at Chipotle we can't add cheese or sour cream, but at home we have our dairy-free versions and that makes it even better! 

 He also made hummus twice in the last three days for me

and I packed lots of veggies for lunch and dipped them in the hummus.

 On the third night of working he made one-pot self-saucing pasta

This dish is so creamy and good, although I did not take this to work with me because pasta would accelerate the tired feeling at 3 am. Instead I took more veggies, hummus, two pieces of fruit and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

 You can find all these recipes on my recipes page.  Let me know if you try and like them. In addition, tomorrow is Inspiration Friday! Please let me know if you have made any positive changes in your diet or have continued to eat healthy/work out, or if you have seen something that inspired you, (like a movie or a poster) or if you have read a good book about vegetarianism, or if you have heard a speaker or presentation, or had a good conversation with a friend. Anything at all that made you think, "That's great!" We should focus on the positive things going on around us because there really are so many! Sadly, this whole week I haven't been able to hear or see much except the walls of my hospital, so you all will have to be my ears and eyes for this week's post. Please let me know and I will shout it out in my inspiration friday post. 
I have to run, pack, and travel in the next 24 hours, but I will try to get a post out before I go.  Have a safe, fun weekend! 


Lauren said...

Thank you so much for providing all of that information about wheatgrass/green pills. They are definitely on my list of things to buy. I think I might try iHerb. They usually have good deals on supplements. And I am totally on the same age with you about green smoothies. Green smoothies can change your life!

Anonymous said...

i dislike you. ur too perfect. and u talk about things i tell my friends about. :D

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting more info on wheatgrass tablets! I went to Kroger last night to check out the "natural food" section (pretty good size in the new Kroger) and saw them there. I wanted to know which brand you take before buying them (the brand I saw was Pine). I'll be picking these up this weekend :) Jane

Maria said...

You're very informative. I've been making smoothies but want to know greener ones.

I'll be following. ;)

Michele said...

Lauren - you are more than welcome! I Loove green smoothies and could talk about them all day long! ANytime I can provide more info I am glad to do so!

Anonymous.. Thank you (i think?) I am glad to know you are talking & thinking! Ideas turn to actions and actions change the world! Keep it up :)

Jane - my bottle of pills doesnt have a 'Brand" i think its just KyoGreen brand.. It just looks like it does in the picture. it says kyo-green. Try a different brand as long as it has wheatgrass, barley, rice, and do your own little review :)

Maria- Thank you for visiting & following! Come back soon :)

Ashley said...

Hi miss. This is all so interesting. Since I have graduated over a year ago and am still actively searching for a job/thinking about going back to school, I feel like I sleep way too much and I don't have natural energy since I'm not really on a regular schedule. The pills and smoothies sound like something I would definitely try. You really can't taste the spinach??! Haha Can we talk more about this Saturday in Chicago, before I start drinking! I'll take some notes on my phone. :) Can't wait to see you.


Maria said...

I wanted to ask if you noticed a difference in your hair or anything from the wheatgrass.

I'm taking a wheatgrass supplement and my eyelashes are different. Darker and either thicker or stronger.