It IS Easy Being Green
By DCPI Staff
Let's be honest. The odds are pretty good that only a very small number of your patients (if any at all) are actually getting in their full required number of servings of fruits and vegetables. On top of that, studies have shown that the nutritional quality of fresh fruits and vegetables may themselves not be as optimal as we would like, due to depleted soil or use of chemical fertilizers. This can present a dilemma when trying to help your patients improve their health by getting in that daily requirement of fruits and veggies.
One of the easiest solutions may well be in the form of a greens product to help patients supplement their diets. There are several questions you might be considering when looking at which greens products to offer your patients: What should you be looking for in a greens product? What might be the positive health benefits from using green products? And how can offering these products help chiropractors improve their bottom line? In an effort to help chiropractors answer these questions, Dynamic Chiropractic PracticeINSIGHTS went to a panel of industry experts with these questions to find out what they think chiropractors should be looking at when offering greens products to their patients.
(Editor's Note: Obviously, an expert allied with a particular company will tend to be biased to that company's products. Therefore, in this series, Dynamic Chiropractic PracticeINSIGHTS provides comments that reflect a consensus on the general characteristics that make for a good product in order that you may make an informed decision as you do your research into a particular product or service.)
Better Ingredients, Better Taste
As we've seen with many other products in our Ask the Experts column, quality ingredients make all the difference, not only in effectiveness, but also in patient compliance. As Rachel Olivier, MS, ND, PhD, and Physician Advisor for Biotics Research Corporation, located in Rosenberg, Texas, explained, you should look for a product with a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) score. This means that the food product has strong anti-oxidant capabilities, and thus may help protect against many chronic and degenerative diseases. She added, "When choosing a green product, practitioners should look for organic sources ... indicating an enzymatically active product. It should also be void of inexpensive fiber fillers."
Lisa Weeks, ND, with Seroyal, located in Wood Dale, Ill., emphasized the importance of focusing on brassicas: "Make sure the one you pick has a wide variety of green plants and herbs to maximize the health benefits. Look for members of the brassica family of vegetables: kale, cauliflower, and broccoli for example. These help to ensure healthy hormone balance."
Of course, quality ingredients are only one part of the equation to convincing your patients to "go green." If the product tastes like grass, the ingredients really don't matter since the patient won't use the product. Our experts agreed that both taste and texture are very important when selecting a greens product to offer patients. John H. Maher, DC, DCCN, DCBCN, BCIM, Director of Education at San Diego-based BioPharma Scientific, explained, "By far, the most important quality is good taste and smooth texture. What good is product quality and science without patient compliance? Since most everyone does not eat the optimal amount of fruits and vegetables, most especially the greens, a product that pleases the palate of the average patient is what is most important."
Donald L. Hayes, DC. President of Greens First, based out of Boca Raton, Fla., agrees. He stated, "Make sure the greens product you recommend tastes good when mixed in pure water. There is nothing worse than having to mix a greens powder in some sweet-tasting juice that raises blood sugar. Also make sure the sweetener used in the greens product is not a synthetic one like those used in soft drinks. A natural sweetener like stevia will not trigger blood glucose or raise insulin levels yet will make the greens product taste delicious, which will contribute to regular daily compliance."
Once you have got your patients started using a greens product, the next step is making them see you as their sole supplier. The key to this, as our experts explained, is to offer a product that is only available via a doctor's office. This will not only keep your patients satisfied, but improve your bottom line. Hayes outlined three steps to follow to ensure compliance and repeat sales:
"First, stock a greens product that is only sold through health providers. If you carry a greens product that patients can buy anywhere, they will always find someone that will sell it for less. However, if the product is only sold from health care providers it's less likely they will bother. Second, make sure the greens product you offer truly tastes great and makes people feel better. Third, select a greens product manufacturer that gives you a 'money-back guarantee' that you can extend to your patients. When patients know that if they don't like the taste or the product does not make them feel better, they can bring it back for a full refund, their confidence level grows enormously."
Weeks chose to emphasize the benefits that come from better patient compliance: "Patients will be motivated and have enough energy to follow the treatment plans and exercises that you give them, noticing the positive effects of your treatments in a shorter time, further enhancing regular visits and retention."
Olivier agreed with Hayes' suggestions, adding about the importance of using a greens product to create a unique market niche: "Similar to utilizing any nutritional supplement, utilizing a greens products can aide in improving a practitioner's bottom line by supplying a unique product that will fulfill patients needs. Commercial green formulas are typically not readily available, nor are they trustworthy in supplying quality ingredients. Thus, utilizing a green formula can occupy an unfulfilled niche in the chiropractor's office."
Putting It All Together
The truth is that greens can be a very easy sell for your patients. As Maher explained, they know what they should be doing with regard to their nutritional intake; the chiropractor is simply providing them with a simple and easy way to see to that: "The beauty of greens products is that everyone already knows they should 'eat their greens.' With a little coaching, a good-tasting greens product that really delivers a difference can be used to really maximized results, retention and referrals, which can make a huge difference in revenue."
What Can Greens Do For You?
One of the most common questions you are likely to hear when you recommend patients start using a greens products is: "So doc, how can this benefit me?" Here's a list of some conditions for which greens might be useful: