IFBB Pro Evan Centopani explains the importance of micronutrients, veggies, and Animal Greens.

The Importance of Micronutrients, Veggies & Greens

Ever since I can remember, we've been told to eat our vegetables. It’s highly likely that we could exchange stories of our creative attempts to avoid consumption of all things green, mushy, or leafy. As a kid, I would regularly and gladly volunteer myself for hours of yard work as penance for my unwillingness to eat my veggies. As I got older, I started to not mind vegetables so much, and by the time I was a teen, I actually liked them. To this day, I rarely eat a meal without some form of produce. In short, I believe in vegetable consumption. I think it’s really important. Although people subscribe to everything from the “carnivore” style of eating to all-out veganism, I believe that a variety of food is most beneficial for me and for the majority of people. While that is a debate all its own, let’s talk veggies—why they’re important and what options exist for those who simply refuse to eat them.

Do we really need to eat veggies? Some argue that they are the only things we should eat and others argue that they really aren’t necessary. Based on my own experience and what I have seen in my years of coaching others, people feel and look better when they accompany animal proteins with a significant amount of plant foods. It’s well known that everything from green leafy vegetables to root varieties can be potent sources of specific micronutrients. The list of antioxidants and phytonutrients found in vegetables goes on and on. Why is this significant? Micronutrients are responsible for helping our bodies to function optimally. Even if we consume a diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, there is still a possibility that you can be nutritionally lacking. Additionally, the athlete who is consuming large amounts of animal protein will likely benefit from the alkalizing tendency of plant foods. Although the body tightly regulates optimal body pH, that regulation can occur at a cost. Those who go heavy on the consumption of meats while skipping the veggies may force their bodies to balance pH by leaching calcium from bones and glutamine from muscle tissues to form bicarbonates used to buffer acids—not an ideal scenario. I think we can all agree that it’s better to provide the body with foods that naturally help with pH balance instead of chronically making it harder on the body than it has to be.

Keep in mind, while the macronutrients we consume each day are extremely important, there is a lot more to that picture. When we are dieting and in a caloric deficit, we are able to feel and perform better when the diet we are consuming is more nutritious. Restricting calories doesn’t mean that we should also restrict nutrients. If you were to take two identical versions of a person and feed each the same number of calories and give each the exact same macros, the individual whose diet contains more micronutrients will feel, perform, and look better. The exact same holds true for individuals eating in caloric excess in an attempt to gain size and strength. A calorie-restricted diet should not be nutritionally bankrupt, and a high calorie diet should be, at the very least, rich in micronutrients.

My most sincere hope is that every single one of you reading this right now will take what I’m saying seriously and reconsider your inclusion (or lack thereof) of veggies in your daily diet. If you shy away from veggies, stop doing that. Try some new stuff or try different preparations and find something that you like. Approach vegetable consumption with the same seriousness as protein consumption. Don’t have a meal without them. If you’re someone who already consumes veggies, take a look at your selections and ask yourself if there’s a possibility that you could be consuming ones that are even more micronutrient dense.

Of course, I’m aware of the fact that there are some of you who are either never going to eat their veggies or at least not eat them in any significant amount. If that’s you, I strongly recommend supplementing with a greens product. Take it from someone who used his first greens product almost 20 years ago—greens products can be rough. If you detest vegetables so much that you refuse to eat them, then I would not suggest a powdered, drinkable greens product. You probably won’t enjoy it much. Taste aside, one of the main considerations when selecting a greens product is making sure that it will not cause gastrointestinal upset. When it comes to greens products, formulators have a hideous tendency to combine as many eye-catching ingredients as possible by adding a sprinkle of every trendy “superfood” and whatever trademarked ingredient the budget will allow. The result is a useless product that makes you fart and shit your brains out. I’ll pass. I’m guessing you will too.

Animal Greens is a product that delivers where so many others fall short. First and foremost, Animal Greens allows you to bypass the number one reason for not eating veggies: the taste. Its formula is in the form of tablets and capsules, so you simply open up a pack and wash it down. While Animal Greens is certainly comprehensive, every ingredient has been included in reasonable amounts and for a specific purpose. There is no crop dusting with meaningless doses. The greens component of this formula is also very substantial. A surprising number of greens products actually have a small greens component and go overboard on all sorts of fruits and cheap fibers. Most importantly, Animal Greens digests well and is highly unlikely to cause any sort of gastrointestinal upset. Not a single one of us wants a dodgy stomach at any time of day, but especially when we’re trying to train. Furthermore, the last thing you want is a product that takes up valuable real estate in your stomach limiting your ability to consume your daily volume of food.

Ultimately, whether you’re restricting calories to drop body fat or eating in excess to gain size and strength, increasing micronutrient intake can pay big dividends. Further, all of us can look, function, and feel better with the inclusion of more vegetables. Animal Greens is the ideal greens formula for those looking to add the benefits of vegetables or supplement their current intake. These capsules and tablets have no taste and, unlike so may other products, they are loaded with meaningful ingredients in sensible amounts. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you’re not going to run into digestive issues with Animal Greens. It’s everything you want in a greens product and nothing that you don’t.

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