relieving constipation . . . part 3 of 9 on ELIMINATION

When I was 25, I was in the middle of a period of having left behind the solid nutritional education and background I’d come from.   I was at work one winter day, and I was totally sick.   I was 20 lbs. over my current weight  (at age 41), lacking energy every day, unable to conceive for several years—but THAT day I was downright ill.   I told my boss I was going home, but on the way home I stopped at Dr. Christoper’s Herb Shoppe (now just called The Herb Shoppe) in Orem, Utah.   I went in  to buy  a Champion Juicer to get started on my new health kick, because I remember that being a fixture in my grandmother’s kitchen as she beat cancer.

Interestingly, the employee there, an older woman, was doing a demo of the juicer at that moment.   (That was my first time in that store, but 15+ years later, I believe she still works there!)   She was telling everyone how she and her husband had measured their poop!   They scooped it out of the toilet, placed it on newspaper end to end, and measured it to see if it was 18″ long like it should be.   She said, “You should be eliminating from here to here, every day!”   (She held up her arm and pointed to the length from her elbow to the tips of her fingers.)

My jaw was on the floor.   I was horrified.   “I am so outta here,” I thought.   (Some of you are thinking the same thing, reading this blog series.)   Couldn’t wait to see DH that night and mock the wacko at the health food store.   (He still brings it up and makes jokes.)   I did, however, stop to buy the juicer as I bolted for the door, muttering under my breath.

My, how things have changed.   Not that we’re quite as intimate with elimination as the demo employee was, nor as earnestly open. But, DH is the only one making jokes about it now.   And I know that while some will be saying “Ewwww!” and mocking this blog, it’s just because they’re not ready.   (“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” haha)

But really, I’m telling the truth here because even if this sounds like lunacy to some now, talking about poop and cleansing and stuff, I think someday you might feel quite differently about it.   The health food store lady planted a seed, helped me a lot actually, even if it was a few years later when I began to learn and embrace what she already knew and I couldn’t handle at the time.

Next we talk about chronic constipation, laxatives, intestinal gas, and colon cleansing.

Foods that cause constipation . . . part 2 of 9 about ELIMINATION

Yesterday, pee.   Today, poop.

Green bowel movements are completely normal (that’s the plant fiber in all those greens  you’re eating!).   Take a look at the horse poo you see along the road, if you live where you can see horses.   It’s indicative of what they eat (alfalfa, all plant foods).   You can read about indigenous people who  have no toilets and therefore “squat” outside.   They don’t worry about human waste removal like we do, because it’s not toxic and disgusting, like it would be here in the U.S.   The poop of indigenous people who eat mostly raw plant food looks like horse poop: lots of it, lots of fiber in it,  greenish, no odor.   Brown feces are simply a result of bile pigments coming from the liver, also normal.

What you should be concerned about is dark, hard, smelly, putrified poop–that’s what most of America is experiencing.   (And that, I believe, is why we’re so shamed about the topic of elimination–feces of people eating the S.A.D. are, in fact, disgusting!)   That’s what eating meat gets you: rotted stool that took days (or with pork, even weeks) to digest.   Accumulation of decaying material in the digestive tract, euphemistically known as constipation, is the single biggest threat to our health, the “modern plague,” according to Dr. Jensen.

I helped run a babysitting co-op for 10 years while my children were small, and I was always horrified when I had to change other babies’ diapers–the smell was astonishing.   I was at a party last week where everyone watched a little boy straining, his face beet red, trying to have a bowel movement in his diaper.   This little boy is fed a steady diet of hot dogs and potato chips, zero-fiber foods.   I never once saw any of my children do that.   Many parents have come to think of that phenomenon as normal (people thought this was funny at the party—I just felt bad for the little guy).   It’s not normal.   Straining at a bowel movement is this, plain and simple: constipation.

People get painful hemmorhoids–that’s when your bulging veins pop out of the anus instead of staying inside like they should–when their colons are overtaxed with low-fiber foods and they must exert lots of force to eliminate.   And that’s just one of many side effects of eating a low-fiber diet.

Diverticulitis is a very dangerous disease caused by chronic constipation, where pouches of the colon sag, lose nerve/muscle tone, and become breeding grounds for bacteria that eventually rot the colon.   Foods that cause constipation?   Meat is mentioned above, and constipation is well catalogued in any honest review of results of the Atkins Diet, since anyone on that diet is excessively eating animal proteins.

But Dr. Jensen and his researchers also constantly noted that those suffering from the worst colon problems ate lots of WHITE BREAD, which functions like the gluey mess that it is, slowing and gumming up your digestive system.   He said anyone eating refined flour better be eating lots of vegetable roughage at the same time (and he recommends whole millet, rye, cormeal and rice instead).

People who eat lots of plant food have soft but formed stool.   People who have been eating an almost exclusively plant-based diet for a long time, and have been through all the “cleansing” so they are now rather clean, have . . . are you ready for this? . . . poop that doesn’t stink.

Chime in about this, if you’re brave!   You can always post on my blogs as “anonymous” if you like!

Green Feces . . . part 1 of 9 on the subject of ELIMINATION (yes, pee, poo, flatulence, colon cleansing, the whole 9 yards)

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: This is kind of a personal (and slightly embarrassing) question here but I really need to ask it. I have read that dark colored urine means that all the vitamins you take aren’t being absorbed into your body. What about green feces? Is that a good or bad sign? Is it typical?

Answer: I’m gonna get really clear and blunt about this subject, no euphemisms. People want to know about it, but they don’t want to ask. This being a big and important topic, involving a 30-feet long tract plus a number of organs in your body most of us know little about. So, I’m going to write about it for 9 days! Thanks for giving me the impetus so others can learn from the privacy of their own computers.

Dr. Bernard Jensen is basically the poo guru of all time (Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management and other books). See Dr. Jensen’s book. He often complained that other cultures talk about elimination without shame or squeamishness, but we Westerners are so neurotic about it. For the rest of this post, I’m going to pretend we’re not, because elimination is so critical that we’d be wise to get educated about it!

You might not know I was trained as a sex therapist, within my education as a marriage and family therapist. If I taught parents about how to talk to their children about sex, I’d insist on using anatomically correct sexual terms. Not weewee and tata, which send this message: “Dear Daughter or Son, I am embarrassed by this topic! Please don’t expect me to ever give you any good information about it! Get your info from your friends, or online–anyone but me! Go right ahead and have an unhealthy attitude toward sex, like I do!”

Vagina, penis, clitoris, orgasm . . . did that shock you? Do you feel you got punched in the face? Well, if I were teaching you a class on how to talk to your kids about sex, I’d use those words so many times that after a while, you might actually yawn as I said them. (Heck, I’ve done this for a roomful of 100 men, most over the age of 40– ohhh, the raised eyebrows and dropped jaws! My own objections to talking about human sexuality are LONG gone!) Why would I do such a crazy thing in a sex-ed class? Because that way, your walls are down to go talk to your kids about the body parts and passions they HAVE and are going to USE someday. Information that needs to be precise, objective, and CORRECT–coming from the people they trust most who have their best interests at heart.

I’ve digressed. But we’re going to do the same thing with another subject (like sex) that everyone needs to know about but nobody seems to want to talk about except to make jokes. We’ll talk about pee, poo, cleansing, flatulence, the WORKS. Prepare yourself or abandon ship now.

First, pee. Dark yellow (concentrated) urine is normal, especially for first thing in the morning. You can’t and never will absorb ALL the minerals and vitamins you eat, even if you’re on the S.A.D. and not getting enough. (Thus the need for high bioavailability, which means food that’s most useful and readily absorbed by humans.) If you’re seeing dark urine throughout the day, you’re not getting enough WATER. All about poop tomorrow, and the green poo question (you have 24 hours for mental prep). diet “problem”: ridiculous joy and energy!

Some really cute 12 Stepper wrote today on that blog about her “problem” of overwhelming happiness and so much energy she’s bouncing off the walls, as a result of a GreenSmoothieGirl plant-food diet and mostly raw food.

I have to tell you, I have the same bizarre thing happen to me the more raw I go: I am bouncing off the walls much of the time and feel an overwhelming sense of joy for absolutely no tangible reason.  I’ll be driving along in the car to a soccer practice or something and just feel so HAPPY!  I’m not talking about manic, like people suffering from Bipolar Disorder (or even someone whose Economic Stimulus check just showed up in the mail).  I’m talking about peaceful and positive, like I can do anything I set my mind to, and I want to do so many good things!

When Todd did the Green Smoothie Challenge and blogged on my site for a while, he said to me that one of the curious things he noticed was a sustained, positive mood that had never happened to him before. 

Some of you want to slap me.  Back-and-forth a few times, like in the movies.  Maybe you want to slap the cute 12 Stepper, too.  Today in the grocery store, I was in one of those episodes, feeling so much pure joy and love for people I don’t even know.  I know exactly why it was: I have eaten 100% raw for over a week now, just to cleanse.  I usually feel positive and energetic, but when I go 100% raw (which I do fairly often, for weeks or months), it’s just uncontainable.  I’m not saying I’m like Bozo The Clown or Polyanna, and I’m not saying that I feel this way every minute of every day, or that anyone should expect to.  But I feel this way a LOT.

On the flip side, eating the S.A.D. has the consequence, for so many, of anxiety and depression.  Besides the chemicals and hormones acting on you from the meat and  fried foods—can I just be honest here?  Being overweight, of course, makes you hate yourself sometimes.  Know why?  Because it’s not really YOU!  It’s just something that happened to your body while you were asleep at the wheel for a little while! 

While I was feeling so outrageously happy at the store just an hour ago, I saw this lady unloading her groceries.  She was moving very slowly and was very overweight.  I fought a completely genuine impulse to run over and hug her and unload her groceries for her.  (Why do we fight impulses like these?)  I wanted to tell her that while she may not believe it, there’s this gorgeous, fit, healthy woman inside her, just wanting to get out.  When you’re overweight for a while, you forget who you REALLY are.  And who you REALLY are is a vibrant, fabulous person who loves life.  We just forget sometimes, no thanks to Carl’s Jr., McD’s, and the habits of the crazy culture around us.   

The answer to the 12 Stepper’s “problem,” of course (of what to do with all the energy), is to make a list of all your goals, and when you’re feeling excited and energetic, tackle one of those goals.  Clean out a closet, write your grandma, start the Great American Novel. 

Anyone else experienced energy transfer when your body isn’t coping with digesting animal protein and cooked food and can put it into being productive, loving, and joyful?

help your community: organize a co-op!

Many readers are leaders.   You may not think of yourself that way, but are you always organizing things?   Are people starting to come to you for advice, answers to questions?   If so, then you should start a co-op.


First off, you’ll want to start keeping a list of people who are interested in nutrition, with their email addresses.   Spend a little time tracking down lists of people who are interested in nutrition, and/or food storage (the LDS/Mormon people in your area are interested in bulk buys, and some of them within that group are also trying to get high-nutrition food storage and are always grateful for help).


Second, you’ll want to contact to see about monthly deliveries (of virtually every product carried in health food stores).   Require that people send you a check in advance for anything you order, so you aren’t left holding the bag when 20% of the people take weeks or even months to pick up their order.   (This will happen, I promise.)   The people I know who handle Azure Standard locally charge 10% of the order totals, to be paid for their time and effort.   They used to deliver but don’t any more, with gas prices so high.   Make clear that any refrigerated/frozen items must be picked up within a few days.   Have quarterly catalogs and sale catalogs for your people with their orders to be picked up.


Third, contact me, and I will hook you up with my contacts to get RAW ALMONDS directly from the ranches in California, since no retailer can sell you unpasteurized almonds any more now. Anyone interested in health/nutrition should have sproutable almonds.   (Ch. 7 of 12 Steps gives you ideas and recipes for what to do with them.)   This is an important group buy, because it’s something that your friends cannot obtain on their own.   In my recent local buy of raw almonds (over 13,000 lbs.!), I made a sample of teriyaki and/or candied sprouted almonds for each person picking up, so they could see what can be done with raw almonds to make them live food that families love to eat.


Fourth, be on the lookout for community-supported agriculture.   When you’ve built up your list, you could ask the CSA farmer in your area for a free share in exchange for publicizing his program that you like and finding a certain number of people to participate.   (I confess I am paying for my share, and didn’t do this myself, but you could.   And having a group of people take turns picking up from the farm is still worth the organizing hassle for me, with gas at $4+ and going up!)


People want a leader to help them with nutrition.   They really need a little help.   If you lead out and organize a co-op, you will bless many lives, including the lives of children who will have dramatically better nutrition as a result.   You can also reach outside your own carbon footprint to help really decrease the effect OTHERS are having on the environment, a great way for a stay-home mom to make a difference.


I’m happy to help if you blog your questions.   Any of you currently running a co-op, I hope you’ll share here what you’ve learned.   Email me privately if you want to do an almond buy in your area and I’ll see if I can work it out.


Your network will grow with every group buy you do.   It’s hard for me to quantify here the ways that bringing this group together will enrich your life.   People tell me new things, hook me up with resources I didn’t about, bring me recipes and samples of their own good ideas—because they are on the same quest I am, and because I often invite them into my home to try whatever I’m working on that day.   If you want, use those same names to put together a monthly meeting on a topic related to health you’re all interested in.   It’s fun!


So tell us what you’re learning as a co-op organizer, as several of you have already done, by blogging here!

Kincade writes an essay (or two)

We had 15 minutes of fame on ABC’s show Wife Swap, where the show was quite fascinated with our discipline technique of assigning our children five-paragraph essays (with intro and conclusion) for breaking major family rules.   In Albuquerque, in the Espinosa-Marquez home, several of the “tribe” of skaters wrote essays I assigned about why using the “F” word is inappropriate.

We actually don’t do this very often.   But, we do find that our kids all ace English and don’t experience writer’s block at all, thanks to their copious home writing experience.   I keep their essays to entertain them in the future when they are adults (or to entertain all of us if they continue to not learn the lesson, by reading us all their original essay out loud).

My 14-year old son, Kincade, had a bad day on Sunday and wrote not one, but TWO, essays.   Because I thought one of them was hilarious, I share it here for your enjoyment.   Note the skilled use of lots of “filler,” which will come in handy for high school length requirements:

Are Fathers Important, and Do They Deserve Our Respect?

 Fathers are very important in a family, and so we should be respectful to them.   In my second essay of the day, I will discuss why fathers are so important to families.

In our family and in most families in our country, and the United States, and the world, and probably the universe, the fathers bring home the bacon; or, in our family, it’s more like the lettuce.   Fathers all around the world work very hard to provide the “lettuce” for the family and they work too hard for their snot-nosed kids to be disrespectful to them.   I think this is pretty much the reason why fathers are so important, but because I need to fill up this page, I guess I’ll need to make some more stuff up.

Fathers are also important because as a clinical study shows, families with fathers who take an active role are less likely to have children who become juvenile delinquents.   I think that 86% of these “clinical studies” are just made up, but fathers are important because if we didn’t have fathers, we would probably drive our mothers crazy.

Fathers are also incredible role models.   They set examples for their children like being responsible, working hard, and being a stud.   These are some of the examples that my father has showed me, even though I have picked up only on the last one.   If a father were a gang member, then the child would probably show some type of interest in joining a gang.   Fathers’ examples are the most important because every child looks up to his father.   This is why I think fathers’ examples are important.

Now I have told you why I think that fathers are so important.   I feel bad about being disrepectful to Dad last night, and I know that I should try harder to be more respectful.

By Kincade Pay

What do YOU spend on groceries?

I have wondered this for years and was so interested and enlightened to learn, on a Yahoo group I belong to, what others spend on groceries in a month.   Only a handful answered the question, but the answers ranged widely, from $1,000/mo. for a family of 4, to $400/mo. for a family of 7.

Unless you’re new and not a subscriber to 12 Steps to Whole Foods, you know that part of my passion for teaching families to eat a health-promoting, plant-based diet, is helping them do so INEXPENSIVELY, within a budget, since the moms who are teaching the kids are usually in the stage of life where money is a scarce resource and must be accounted for carefully.

Maybe it’s a taboo subject, but if so, I’ll try to  pave the way  with some self-disclosure:  my family of 6 spends $800/mo. on groceries, on average (less in the summer, more in the winter).   It’s also important to note that all of  my kids are athletes and big eaters, two of them teenagers.   (Shouldn’t a teenager count as 2 people?!)

We save by gardening, participating in a CSA, buying in bulk and stocking up, and preparing meals from scratch.   We preserve and freeze food in our basement cold storage, second fridge, and upright freezer. As you probably are now aware, we eat whole foods and don’t buy meat, dairy, or boxed/canned processed foods.   All of the budget is whole plant foods except for the occasional church social, extended-family, or after-soccer-game food assignment.  We grow organic, but we don’t always buy organic.   We splurge by going to Sweet Tomatoes once a week, and I’m actually not counting that in the budget.

Please write here what you spend, and give any tips on how you save and how you splurge within that budget (and what percentage of your grocery budget is whole foods).  I think women (or the money manager in the home) will find this fascinating and helpful.   I know I will.

“the plural of anecdote is not data” . . . part 4 of 4

Third, is the study reliable?   This is the second basic research standard, and it means is the research repeatable with consistent results? Reliability is one of the best things about Colin Campbell’s The China Study, the largest nutrition study in history, which will be referenced throughout this book.   Dr. Campbell’s animal research showing the benefits of a low-animal-protein diet were duplicated by other researchers, using various animals, all over the world.   The results were very consistent.


Finally, have a basic understanding of and consider carefully a few other things before placing much stock in what you read.   Is the study longitudinal (covering a long period of time)?   If none of 500 subjects got cancer in three years, that’s much less compelling than if none of them got cancer in 30 years, like in the Framingham study, the Harvard Nurses’ study,  or the Oxford-Cornell (China Study) Project.


Was the study double-blinded, which means that neither the researcher nor the subject knew which of multiple therapies the person was receiving?   Was it placebo-controlled, meaning that some subjects received a placebo (sugar tablet) instead of the supplement or drug?   Was the research published in peer-reviewed journals (often but not always ensuring more scientific analysis)?   How big was the sample size?   Bigger is better, and although case studies (with only a few subjects) are interesting, without further research, you shouldn’t bet the farm on findings of those kinds.

The more you read and study, the more confidence you can have that the very important decisions you make about how to fuel your body are sound.   12 Steps to Whole Foods undertakes to synthesize the research and best practices from around the world, leading to dietary practice that is simple and achievable and customizable for your personal dietary needs–a direct route to optimal health.

“the plural of anecdote is not data” . . . part 3 of 4

This is an excerpt from the intro of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.


Advances in the field of nutrition are taking place faster than ever in history.   For example, just this decade, the “master hormone” leptin has been discovered, which governs the other hormones.   New data calls into question the popular counsel of the past decade to eat 4-6 small meals daily: leptin research suggests that we should eat three meals daily and allow our bodies much rest from digestion.   In just 2004, a class of glyconutrients (sugars) have been found to have powerful healing properties, which disputes a decade of anti-carb “experts.”   Many people become frustrated by all the new information and competing voices telling us what to eat, what not to eat, and why.   So that you don’t give up and “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” I have a bit of common-sense advice that super-simplifies the essence of a statistics class.


The main way to push through the inevitable cognitive dissonance is to read and learn all you can:  12 Steps to Whole Foods  is a good start, and you may also consider the reading list on (I am adding to it shortly). When you encounter contradictions, consider several things.


First, what is the funding behind the research?   You don’t have to become paranoid to examine whether research was undertaken to objectively examine an issue, or to promote an agenda.   It’s simply a part of being a savvy consumer of information in an age when we are all bombarded with thousands of voices.


For instance, if a study tells you that drinking wine daily prevents heart disease, use your critical thinking skills.   Why did researchers study wine instead of grape juice–or better yet, grapes?   Before you go out and stock up on a year’s supply of wine, ascertain if you can who paid for the study.   Was it the wine growers of Sonoma Valley?   Often studies in the modern age are funded, second-level, by an industry wanting to promote a product (often one that is under fire), even if the legitimate-sounding researchers named in the media, such as a university, are not directly linked to a motive.   When that is the case, researchers know they are to publish whatever they can that is favorable to a product or industry, and publish nothing they find that is unfavorable.


Second, is the study valid?   This is the highest standard in statistics and research, and it means does the study measure what it purports to measure?   This seems simple enough, but it is in fact a difficult thing for researchers to achieve.   If wine drinkers have much less cancer than beer drinkers, wine must be preventing cancer, right?   Not necessarily.   Maybe wine drinkers are a higher socioeconomic class than beer drinkers, in the aggregate, and beer drinkers also eat more fast food and smoke at higher rates.


Third, in tomorrow’s post.