Is Chlorophyll Just for Plants?

I’ve always found new and (sometimes) strange health fads to be interesting and appealing. But… drinking liquid chlorophyll? Why would anybody even do that?

This summer, I learned about some of the health benefits of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is considered a “superfood,” and I had read articles suggesting that taking it in liquid form could lead to anti-inflammatory effects, help fight cancer, accelerate wound healing, improve digestion and skin health, and naturally prevent odors. There are also claims that it leads to weight loss, but given a basic understanding of nutrition, I’m generally pretty wary of that kind of claim. At the very least, studies showed that it wasn’t harmful, so I decided to give it a try myself and see if I noticed any changes.

I purchased a bottle of liquid chlorophyll at The Vitamin Shoppe for $10 and I still have it. I can’t find the exact bottle online — it is their generic brand pictured in this post — but you can find the drops elsewhere, including Amazon (not endorsing this particular brand, there are various similar options). This particular example is about $14, and holds almost 100 servings.

I personally chose to incorporate this into my daily routine by adding a few drops to my water in the morning, and sometimes having a second glass of chlorophyll water at some point throughout the day. I also experimented with adding chlorophyll to some of my smoothies. This effectively turned them into green smoothies, without involving actual greens. However, as I’m not a scientist, I can’t speak to whether blending the drops might decrease their effectiveness. I just know it tasted good and made my smoothies feel even healthier. *shrugging emoji*

My overall verdict is that this purchase was worth it, at least for me! Here is a little of what I personally experienced:

Increased energy: I’m definitely a coffee person (this is well established). However, I typically try to drink at least 12 oz of water in the morning before I have coffee. When I tried adding a few drops of liquid chlorophyll to my water, it seemed to delay the pounding headache that I would usually get if I didn’t drink coffee by a certain time. (Bad, I know.) It wasn’t a substitute, but it did help me feel more “alive” before my AM caffeine session.

Incentivized me to drink more water: This might vary depending upon the type of chlorophyll concentrate one uses, but I found that the drops I used added a very slight, minty taste to my water that made it more enjoyable to drink, and was more natural than Crystal Light.

Skin: When I started drinking this, I genuinely did notice an improvement in my skin. I felt that it became clearer and less dull. This, however, could have been attributable to the fact that, as I mentioned, drinking chlorophyll water encouraged drinking more water overall, which is generally beneficial for your skin. Either way, the end result was that it helped.

Speeds up healing: While I can’t be 100% sure it was the chlorophyll water, I had longish-term injuries that definitely improved and began to heal themselves in a way that was almost unbelievable when I began drinking it, and it was not during a time when I made any other major changes, so this is the only thing I can think of that might have caused it. Without going into too much detail, I would vouch for this benefit from my own experience.

Placebo effect?: Of course, perhaps these benefits I claim to have experienced could all be due to some placebo effect. I think the chances of that are less likely since I had that possibility in mind than if I had not, so I’m cautious about making conclusions… yet, even if it is just a mind trick, if it’s a beneficial mind trick, that’s not so bad, right? 😉 I suppose the only way to know for sure would be for more people to try it and share their experience.

I should also say that some of the alleged benefits of chlorophyll are longer-term, preventative, or otherwise unable to be encompassed by anecdotal accounts. For example, it has been argued that chlorophyll strengthens bones, treats anemia, prevents kidney stones, balances hormones, and boosts immunity.

Of course, there’s no miracle drug, supplement, chemical, food, etc. that a person can ingest and suddenly experience optimum health. It’s all about overall balance. I would liken drinking chlorophyll water to drinking green tea, eating chia seeds, or being super focused on #hydration. You won’t necessarily experience negative consequences without it, but you might gain unexpected benefits if you incorporate it as a regular aspect of your lifestyle.

What do you think? Would you ever try it, or, if you have, did you experience any benefits?

-AK

Comforting Carrot Coconut Curry

Take any recipe post from me with a grain of salt (actually, this recipe doesn’t really require added salt, but, ya know)… My whole family has always regarded me as the person who would need a personal chef, due to my lack of cooking skills and my lack of desire to learn.

However, now that I’ve been cooking for myself full-time the past several months, I’m actually growing to really enjoy it. Perhaps it’s in my blood… Both of my parents have spent much of their adult lives working with food. I find cooking to be a calming, meditative activity, but one that also makes me feel productive.

This week, for dinner, I made something in between a curry and a soup with carrots fresh from the farmers market (thanks to my thoughtful boyfriend). It is as good today as it was when I made it on Sunday. Plus, there’s nothing better than soup, particularly if it is a little spicy, to help kick out the in-between-season cold with which I had begun to cross paths…  So I thought I’d share!

This recipe was made in the slow cooker, but I’m sure it could be adapted to cook on the stove top as well.

Ingredients:
-2 teaspoons curry powder
-2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
-1 red onion
-2 lbs carrots (baby carrots work, or chopped large carrots)
-1 large sweet potato
-4 cups vegetable stock (no added sodium if you’re not a salty person)
-14 oz (about 1 can) light coconut milk

-salt if you are a salty person

Instructions:

1. Chop onions, sweet potatoes, and carrots (if using regular sized carrots) into approximately bite-size pieces
2. Place onions, carrots, sweet potato, fresh ginger, and curry powder in slow cooker. Then add vegetable stock.
3. Cook on high for around 8 hours, or until vegetables are soft
4. Add salt or additional spices of desired.
5. Stir in coconut milk while still hot

It’s so easy! I’ve tried adding nutritional yeast to this (for more of a creamy/ chowdery flavor) and that worked well, IMO. This would also be good with some type of coconut garnish on top. You could also add chick peas or quinoa for additional protein. I recommend eating it with rice or some sort of bread.

Enjoy!

-AK

The More I Learn, the Less I Know

(And I’m okay with that!)

I want to share my personal experience with the progression of my political outlook. Not because I think the views that I have or have held are particularly interesting or unique, but because of what it illustrates about growth and understanding and the importance of the willingness to adapt, at least for me individually.

I grew up in Lancaster County, PA. While not as conservative as a small town in Texas, it is a relatively conservative area. My first memories of being politically aware involve the 2004 election. Almost all of my classmates claimed to support George Bush (which is laughable, as we were like, 9 years old, and I have no idea how this conversation began). From what I knew of politics (AKA most likely my family’s spirited discussions at get-togethers) I simply knew that I was not “supposed” to like George Bush (see: political socialization). As a result of the clash between my beliefs and the apparent beliefs of those by whom I was surrounded, the strength of my own beliefs increased, as I felt isolated, alienated, and misunderstood. As a child!

I think that if I had grown up in an environment where there was more diversity of thought, politically, my passion for politics would never have developed as it did, because it would not have been as prominent an aspect of my life as it was when I spent every day thinking “how can I hold such different beliefs from those around me? And how can all these people think the things that they do?” My consequent interest in politics prompted me to make my one friend who called herself a Democrat a John Kerry necklace out of paper. It also inspired this lovely piece of artwork, courtesy of 4th grade me.

It’s not that my entire family is “liberal,” it’s just that the outspoken side was. I happen to have a father who loves hunting and fishing, has no interest in politics whatsoever [especially if it involves interrupting his regularly scheduled enjoyment of football], and sees “staying out of his life” as the only role that government should play. I don’t explain my family’s perspectives to denounce or pass judgment on either side, because I hear them both.

The ability to understand both sides of an issue is a skill that I intentionally started fostering a few years ago. First, I was somewhat forced to take a free market economics class as an aspect of a summer internship program. This class called into question some of my assumptions and beliefs about the world, but I tried my best to be open minded and I can honestly say that it was one of the most educational experiences during my college career. I still do not agree with every single argument advanced within the course, but I can much more fully appreciate them. Additionally, in college I participated in Maryland Student Legislature (MSL), which is an awesome organization that models the Maryland state legislature, encouraging students to write and debate their own legislation. My participation in this club led to friendships and conversations with people of all political affiliations and beliefs.

Both of these experiences were fundamental to my development as a person. They didn’t necessarily shape my views in any concrete way, but they certainly shaped the way that I think. I have learned to constantly be open to assessing and challenging my beliefs, and to apply this in every facet of my life. I am no longer afraid of “being wrong.” I think the fear of being wrong stems from a deeper fear that if one is wrong, then a belief that is important to them, or even their entire belief structure, is called into question. When you mentally detach yourself from your beliefs, treating them not as truth but as incidental consequences of your current understanding of what is logically true, then you can constantly refine your belief structure so that it does reflect truth rather than what you wish to be true.

When I realized how crazy it is to keep arguing against somebody who has a really good point, but one that seems to contradict your own core beliefs, I had to reevaluate the way I approached conflicts with my own perspective. If somebody advances an argument that you really cannot contradict, then it is time to reassess your own beliefs. The only thing stopping you is your own pride.

I am not here to say that I have disavowed all of my prior political beliefs. No, there is still a 4th grader Alex within me, who is inspired by a passion for what is fair and just, and who thinks this should be a political priority above all else, and I do believe that this causes me to align more naturally with one party than the other. However, there have recently been many situations where, the more I learn about a political issue, the less I feel I actually know.

The more I realize how complex government and policymaking are, the less I’m willing to accept as “correct” policy solutions that oversimplify issues and fail to account for many real life consequences. The more I learn about how little the voting public actually knows about politics, the less inspired I feel by the idea of democracy (but hey, it’s the best we’ve got). The more I learn about how injustice has systemic, sociological, and individual choice causes and consequences, the less at ease I feel with certain political remedies, and the less faith I have in their effective execution. The more I learn about polarization these days (example 1, example 2, example 3) , the less I’m sure that a two-party system can effectively satisfy their political wishes. The more I learn about the tendency for people to reject information that is factually accurate but that that does not accommodate their belief structure, while accepting misinformation and bad arguments as evidence for their own beliefs, the more I wonder why everybody can’t just be more open minded so that these tendencies don’t exist.

Why everybody can’t just accept how little they actually know? We should all be wary of the tendency within ourselves and within others to claim omniscience on any topic. Particularly those with a vested interest in convincing others that their knowledge is superior.

Would we be so polarized if we separated our self from our beliefs? Would we then take it as a personal attack if others did not agree with us?

Personally, I think that detaching myself from my beliefs– i.e., no longer embracing them as an identifying characteristic– has been the best thing I could have done. In fact, it actually changed the direction of my life path. When I was certain about the problems I could identify in the world, and certain that I could be a part of the solution and that I had the “right” idea about what that solution was, I believed I was destined to be an active participant in law and politics. Then came the period in which my mentality transformed. When I finally decided that my curiosity about the truths of the world actually outweighed my need to feel like an active player in the political world, I decided that a Ph.D. was a more appropriate path. As of right now, I could not be happier with that decision.

However, regardless of whether it impacts one’s life path in any concrete way, I still believe that it is essential to reevaluate the way that we approach information that conflicts with our beliefs.

Opening your mind leads to opportunities for self-development and improvement. Keeping your mind closed leads to stagnancy, intellectual plateau, and prohibits self-growth.