3

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Can one eat too much greens?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 17, 2013 at 4:31 AM

I've noticed that when I drink my smoothie too consistently I feel weak, my muscles are tired and I generally feel fatigued. In my Vitamix I put in Swiss Chard, carrots, burdock, blueberries, parsley, beets, ginger, bananas, maca and ashwaganda. Sometimes it varies but I generally put in some kind of greens which can also be kale or spinach. The liquid is generally 3 - 4 cups of water for an entire pitcher.

Is this a detox effect, a bad combination, a bad week, or all in my head?

I was told the greens may be too much phosphorous. My family has a history of diabetes but I don't, yet. Granted, I am 80% paleo. Am I cheating too much? When I first started paleo I felt great. Now I have gained the 5 pound weight back that I lost easily in the beginning and I cannot seem to lose it now, even with more exercise.

I notice when I do eat a lot of greens I don't feel as good. I thought greens are good for you. Any bio chem answers?

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on May 22, 2013
at 06:52 PM

Its what i base my current diet off of! Love that book.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 17, 2013
at 08:23 PM

I think there is a book "Fiber Menace" how too much fiber is actually bad for you.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on May 17, 2013
at 05:20 PM

And yes, you can consume too much of anything. That's the definition of too much.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on May 17, 2013
at 05:19 PM

If you are consuming that smoothie rather than eating whole foods, you are weak and tired because you are not getting enough calories.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on May 17, 2013
at 01:58 PM

I have a question - WHY do you consume these green smoothies? Is it hard for you to get your calories in due to low appetite or another problem? Is it convenience? Is it because you don't really care for the taste of greens so you try to sneak them in? That would give us an idea of what you're trying to accomplish and we could suggest other options to help you reach your goal.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on May 17, 2013
at 01:57 PM

Agreed. It would probably be hard to EAT too many greens, but it is easy for many people to DRINK too much of anything and when you're talking raw greens I can see where the issue would come in.

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7 Answers

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2
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on May 17, 2013
at 05:31 AM

Don't rely in exercise or try to upper it to overcome a setback in your goals, weight managing is all about hormone status, if you're exercising more and improving less it seems that there's some issue that you should address first, if not, you may become overwhelmed by stress and fatigue and then things just get worse.

Regarding the greens, they carry some toxins and whether they are really healthy or not is pretty debatable. 100% of common wisdom world wouldn't ever question that greens are good and healthy no matter what, and most paleo folks also won't. But there some of them with the thinking like Ray Peat that greens have too many toxins to be suposed to be eaten and that maybe it's not that a good idea...

IMHO I think that the benefits far ought-weight that possible issue and nowadays our breed species are pretty much safe as carry less toxins.

But even like this, there are some greens that in too much quantity could bring some bad sides. For example, spinach and most of the cruciferous greens carry oxalate, which seem to be able to impair thyroid function. If you don't have any thyroid issues you shouldn't be concerned but you say you have some low energy so just to be safe... I'd try not to eat cruciferous veggies more than once every 3 days or so and observe.

Then there's also the nightshade family of greens which seem able to trigger some sensitivities to certain people that can bring inflammation and arthritis like symptoms...

And the list goes on, even berries, with their amazing anti-oxidant properties can have some other little toxic compounds... the same with nuts... etc

So, I'd suggest: why don't you leave your green shake for some days and try to get a lot of just one of the ingredients at a time for, lets say, a week? Then you can start a log and write down how do you feel on it. The idea would be to isolate what is harming you. Maybe it's not even related to anything you're putting on your shake or even eating but if you don't try to isolate unfortunately you won't probably know what happens.

I'd also suggest you have a look at Jack Kruse's Epi-Paleo diet and lifestyle, it's mostly based on seafood and seaweed, then offal, butter and finally muscle meat with greens and occasional fruit. It's also precisely timed for seasonality and circadian rhythms so you eat when you are supposed to. Until now I think his approach is the better one out there. Greens get limited to the half or so when the diet is so much rich and that will automatically make you feel better if you have an issue with them. But you will still get a load of nutrients from the seafood so no need to worry at all.

http://www.jackkruse.com/so-you-completed-the-leptin-rx-what-is-next/ http://www.jackkruse.com/brain-gut-6-epi-paleo-rx/

BTW sorry no biochem answer, more like one more based on evolution hehe

best answer

3
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 17, 2013
at 08:12 AM

I was trying to figure out the same thing... but was never able to find the right answer. One of the possible explanations I have heard from the GAPS lady is that the purpose of raw foods (vegetables) is to cleanse the body from (something.... toxins?). So when you keep eating only raw foods, your body is in a constant state of cleansing. Your need cooked foods as well.

I could not juice at all - I got so exhausted. Basically I felt they were giving me die-off effects and I was in a constant state of die-off. This explanation could be flawed though.

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5
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on May 17, 2013
at 11:16 AM

Yes, I second VB's answer. Maybe a green smoothie occasionally, but for me personally, greens go down better cooked. It may also be that I cook them in oil or animal fat, so the addition of fats makes them more digestible. If you think about it, drinking a cartload of greens is a pretty unnatural way to consume them... you are bypassing the chewing process, which is part of digestion (adding in saliva, etc).

If you are looking for weight loss (or have other health issues) 80% may not be enough. Instead, if you really need to cheat, try limiting it to one cheat MEAL a week. Or....

In my experience, it is more effective for weight loss to eat 100% paleo, and allow yourself free reign over all acceptable foods (even if you are consuming huge amounts of calories), than it is to cheat. Other people have different experiences, but that seems to be what works for me. Anytime I try to restrict my eating, at some point I mentally snap and cheat on something crazy.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on May 17, 2013
at 01:57 PM

Agreed. It would probably be hard to EAT too many greens, but it is easy for many people to DRINK too much of anything and when you're talking raw greens I can see where the issue would come in.

best answer

4
7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on May 17, 2013
at 04:50 PM

I agree with RK, too many raw foods eaten at once may not be the best thing. If your still going to do it I would tinker with taking out the herbs especially the maca. Inca warriors use to eat that before going into battle, I know it gets hyped a lot but I don't know how good that would be for you when eaten consistently. I think that's the general rule for herbs; taken for about a month and no longer unless guided by a practitioner.

I don't really think juicing and smoothies are really all that good anymore. You can concentrate nutrients but at the same time you concentrate anti nutrients like oxalic acid and goitrogens which are normally destroyed by cooking.

Sorry, I didn't mean to harp on your smoothie ritual. Maybe just some fruit and some greens would be more tolerable for yourself.

best answer

3
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on May 17, 2013
at 06:23 PM

yes!! i attribute my ulcerative colitis to a high fiber diet. i would eat 1 lb of greens on most days in my salads. i only eat small amounts of cooked spinach these days (maybe 1/3 cup at a time) and don't do any raw veggies. fiber isn't all that it is cracked up to be. it can be very detrimental to your health if you eat it in excess.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 17, 2013
at 08:23 PM

I think there is a book "Fiber Menace" how too much fiber is actually bad for you.

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on May 22, 2013
at 06:52 PM

Its what i base my current diet off of! Love that book.

best answer

0
C7023fb2a4aaad9af27da49332c41ac1

on May 22, 2013
at 05:35 PM

Thanks for all your responses. I will look into the suggested links and responses. The smoothies are meant to be supplemental. I am entering my 50's and notice changes which I attribute to hormonal drops and fluctuations. Hence, the maca. I have a smoothie when I work early mornings (I do shift work.) and I do eat paleo foods (as much as I can) other times. I drink a glass during the one week time and each glass has about 2 medium leaves of Swiss chard.

I've had a thyroid test in the past which showed nothing. From a gut feeling I know it's my hormones (thinning hair, diminishing menses, sleep problems...) I thought the greens would help with the phytoestrogen.

I read on paleohacks that cooking greens only gets out a small fraction of goitrogen. So I stopped my smoothies for three days, ate my seaweed and selenium (brazil nut and supplement.)

After 3 days off work, which is very physical, my body feels more rested.

It seems each time I exercise (bike, yoga...) my muscles takes a looooong time to recover. My chest feels hollow and gaspy when my heart rate increases and my legs burn walking up a simple flight of stairs.

I have a doctors appointment coming up but I doubt she will not be able to help as many tests in the past show nothing wrong.

I will experiment with your suggestions.

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1
2edfcc5c8044bbb4f22ba6ea4289f592

(1398)

on May 22, 2013
at 05:54 PM

Another interesting factor which may be at play. When you take high dose antioxidants you can suppress your bodies endogenous production of antioxidants. I think that could play a factor in your general feelings of malaise during high consumption of greens. Bump it down to maybe twice a week and see how you feel.

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