Today’s review is going to cover the Greens Plus Original Superfood.
Greens plus is a company that has specialized in concocting superfood powders for more than a decade, and their success has allowed them to expand into an impressive variety of nutritional products for a company in this niche. For example their Camu Kaze energy shots are one of the more creative offerings in the energy drink field, one which badly needs creative inspiration. (Damn you, Red Bull!)
I titled this review the “Redwood of Superfood Powders” because the Original Superfood is an older product whose roots have slowly grown deep throughout the supplement industry and now has an expansive reach.
What’s Most Unique
In my green superfood powder buying guide I discussed the general categories of features most greens powders have, and this is true of Greens Plus as well. However, what about Greens Plus is most unique to the particular product? Here’s my $0.02:
- Ingredients – Soy sprouts and Dunaliella Salina Algae. Dunaliella is a sea algae that’s very dense in trace micronutrients and for whatever reason is rarely used in supplement mixtures. I’ve never seen soy sprouts used before in a superfood mixture.
- Strong Brand – Greens Plus has been around for a long time and has well established business processes and product quality standards that make them more trustworthy than many other supplement companies. The supplement industry as a whole does not have a good reputation for being transparent, and it’s very common for many operations to evaporate into a puff of MLM induced smoke once short term sales dry up. A strong brand justifies a premium for its products but Greens+ and its various product offerings are still competitively priced. Bravo.
- High ORAC – On its website it states that Greens+ has an ORAC score of over 20,000, which is very high for this type of product. In my opinion the ORAC score has some shortcomings as a measure of nutritional value and it’s not officially supported by the different regulatory agencies, but nonetheless a high ORAC is better than a low ORAC supplement all else being equal.
Ingredients and Label Analysis
Many superfood consumers are confused when they read the labels of different green food products. I can’t say I blame them. It’s a huge cluster**** of exotic ingredients that are hard to differentiate between one another. How do you tell the difference between one product and another?!?
Let’s take a look at the Greens+ Label and see what’s underneath the hood:
Here are some relevant points:
- Nutrient Categories: If you go by what I talked about in my Superfood Powder Buying Guide, Greens+ contains grasses, leafy greens, aquatic sea organisms/vegetables, fiber, probiotics and biologically active herbs and extracts. This is a very well rounded mix. The only thing that might be lacking is digestive enzymes. This is not a deal breaker, but they do help with nutrient absorption.
- Transparent Labeling! – The label lists the specific amounts of individual ingredients. As far as I know Greens+, Incredible Greens and Green Vibrance that do this. (There are probably others, I’m just not sure who they are). This is a big advantage in my opinion because many supplements will engage in “ingredient stuffing.” That is, they list a large number of ingredients to make their product sound impressive but disproportionately fill up the bottle with low cost bulky ingredients which don’t add the highest amount of nutritional value.
In my opinion here are the best ingredients in Greens Plus:
- Royal Jelly – The growth engine of queen bees.
- Japanese Green Tea Leaf – Rich in catechins, one of the most beneficial molecules in the plant kingdom. Sourced from Japan is also a plus.
- Dunaliella Salina algae – A unique sea vegetable, which are already very nutritious
- Astragalus root – Great for your immune system and cellular health
Overall I think the ingredients list in Greens+ is very good. It’s actually very similar to Incredible Greens. However, one point of contention could be the large amounts of soy in the mixture. It has over 2500 mg of soy products in one serving, over 30% by weight. I personally do not see a problem with soy ingredients, assuming they’re sourced properly. I’ve defended this position in the past and written about the benefits of lecithin and it’s use in superfood powders.
But never the less, soy is a contentious ingredient in today’s health food market, and anyone who puts it in their mixture is going to have to defend its inclusion and be proactive about explaining its health benefits. (Feel free to use my writings as a reference material if you’d like to do that).
The backlash against soy is a result of its mass industrialization and not the health properties of the food itself, but when it comes to customers perception is reality.
Taste, Texture, Mixability
Greens+ is very granular and fine, mixes well, and has a very distinct taste. It’s not sweetened with Stevia and has very little detectable sweetness. It’s after taste is mildly salty, and has a flavor that I can’t quite pin down. I’d guess it mostly comes from the combination of the spirulina and grasses, but I’m not quite sure.
It has a fairly strong, earthy flavor as far as superfood powders go, and its taste easily expands into 6 oz of water. When put in smoothies its flavor is much less detectable, but I could still detect the distinct saltiness of the mixture when I added it to my morning drink.
Like most greens powders, Greens+ is best absorbed with water or other liquids that allow it to enter your system quickly. You can certainly feel free to use it in smoothies or other drinks. Heating it with foods is an option but of course you run the risk of degrading some of the nutrients in the mixture. (This is true of all greens powders).
On their facebook page they actively post different recipes and uses for their products, so I’d recommend that page more than any other to find out about ideas for using it in your day to day life.
However, if you’re looking for a little bit of inspiration here’s a Green Detox smoothie that fits Greens Plus like a charm:
Green Detox Smoothie
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 kale leaves
1 handful spinach
Handful of fresh parsley or cilantro
1 lemon peeled
1 apple, seeded, cored and chopped
If using a juicer: Add all the above ingredients to a juicer and juice.
If using a blender: Add all the above ingredients to a blender along with 1 cup chilled water. Add ice if desired. Blend until smooth.
Price, Value, and A Comparison Chart
On its homepage Greens+ can be bought for $34.99. On Amazon you can get it for $24. On a $$/oz basis that comes out to $3.70/oz (going by the price on the company site), which is pretty good but not exceptional for its value and reputation.
(Note: These prices are as of 02/09/2013)
Here’s a condensed infochart that breaks down all the relevant information about Greens Plus. (Note: If you see something inaccurate please let me know!)
|Name||Mixture Type||# of Ingredients||Lecithin?||Stevia?||Enzymes and Probiotics?||Fiber?||Taste||Organic||Raw||Vegan||Price on Website||Price on Amazon||$/oz (from company website)||Vitamins Added?||Review|
|Greens Plus||Balanced||33||Yes||No||Probiotics, no enzymes||Yes||Earthy, salty after taste||Some organic ingredients||N/A||no - bee pollen and royal jelly||34.99||23.99||3.72||No|
Like most of the products I review, I like Greens Plus. It’s a solid product, and I like how its popularity has paved the way for different complimentary products. From my point of view the company has done a good job of crafting a well rounded product offering around “the median consumer.”
Other fantastic companies like Boku and Healthforce have carved out well defined roles for themselves as serving the hardcore, purist supplement consumer, whereas Greens+ and Amazing Grass cater well to the person who likes to go to their local health food store but isn’t especially well suited to differentiate between superfood products.
Good job guys!