For the past 20 to 25 years, I have eaten leafy greens and other green vegetables probably 98 percent of those days. I have learned in these past two to three decades that if I go a day without eating greens or fermented beverages (such as beet kvass and kombucha), I just don’t feel right. Not only don’t I feel right, but I also inevitably overeat because I have the sense all day that I am missing something that I need. To compensate, I keep eating, sometimes whatever is available. If, instead, I eat a bowl of green vegetables and drink a fermented drink, that nagging feeling goes away, replaced by a sense of satisfaction.
I tend to think these types of experiences are “all in my head,” but try as I might to ignore them, the result is always the same: I just don’t feel right unless I eat my greens and have a fermented drink. I am pretty sure this “addiction” is annoying to my wife and children, but there is just no getting around it.
I have reflected on what’s behind this experience, why this “need” to drink fermented beverages and eat greens. Quickly, I realized that, judging from the culinary history of the world, whether the habits of traditional peoples or modern gourmands, eating greens and drinking fermented drinks (beer and wine for most) is an almost universal experience, so at least I know I am not alone in my compulsion. I also suspect that green vegetables help balance our pH levels, which is especially important when eating protein foods, which require the addition of biochemically balancing foods. I suspect a meal without greens makes me too acidic, which I begin to sense and don’t enjoy.
My second hunch is that “green” is the essential signature of the plant kingdom, meaning, only plants are green, unlike animals, which (except for aliens in science-fiction accounts) are rarely green. Plants harbor an abundance of phytonutrients, chemicals that protect them and us against disease, and when we eat a wide assortment of vegetables of all colors every day, it is like taking a natural multi-vitamin, disease-prevention medicine every day. Apparently, when I and most humans miss their “medicine,” we just start to feel “off,” or worse.
As I have said before, I try to eat at least five types of greens every day, some raw (lettuce, gynura), most cooked (kale, Swiss chard, tree collards, spinach) and some powdered (especially ashitaba, kale and mixed perennial greens). I do this every day and interchange the types of kale (lacinato, dwarf, Siberian red, etc) most days – each of which has a slightly different flavor and nutrient profile, which keeps things interesting. I’m not sure about my similar “obsession” with fermented beverages, although this feels like a pH-balancing strategy as well.
We at Dr. Cowan’s Garden hope that our assortment of green powders will help you get your “fix” so none of us has to go through life with that unpleasant feeling that we’re missing something. Of course, we encourage you to keep eating fresh vegetables; our powders are meant to be an easy way to diversify!
In good health,
Tom (Dr. Cowan)