I’m not the only one saying the BMI is a bunch of voodoo

Here’s an email I got today by alert GSG reader Jessica C. with a link to an NPR story.   It’s about the subject I get the most angry email about: the fact that the BMI is bogus.   Enjoy.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: Um, haven’t you been saying this for ages?! Way to be ahead of the game!!


family parties on the 4th of July

I hope you’ve all enjoyed family and fun–plus a chance to reflect on the great blessing of our freedom–this Independence Day weekend!   My two oldest brothers are in town from Dallas and Boston, and with the other four brothers and sister who live here, we’ve had a blast.   Golf, volleyball, and a tennis tournament and swimming tomorrow.   (Do you sense a theme in what we all love to do?)

We had a conversation on the 4th about one of my brothers’ church leaders being about 5’8″ and 450 lbs.   My brother was saying he is the biggest person he has ever known who is actually ambulatory.   He said this man is known as an epicurean (everyone asks him where the best place is to eat this or that).   It takes him a good 30 seconds to stand up, and his knees are in serious jeopardy of being unable to hold him.   This gentleman routinely mocks my brother, a 38-year old marathon runner with washboard abs, for “doing all this crap just to look good.”   (My brother indignantly  declared to me that looking good is nowhere near his primary reason to  care for his body.)

Another brother of mine (who, ironically, just lost 20 lbs.) said, “Yeah, but all those overweight people are laughing at us because they’re actually HAPPY!”

We had quite the lively debate about this principle.   You’ve heard people say things like this many times, right?   That the “eat, drink, and be merry” and “take no thought for tomorrow” folks are somehow having better lives than us health food nuts?

What is wrong with this notion?

You probably have something to say about this, but my sister was the first to react: she sputtered and said, “Whatever! One second it tastes good in your mouth and then you HATE yourself until the next time you put it in your mouth again.   That’s HAPPINESS?”

Interestingly, there were proponents of the “fat people are happier” argument among my family.   (Or maybe we all just grew up loving a debate so much that someone always naturally slides into the “devil’s advocate” position!)

We discussed one of my sisters-in-law’s parents completely running out of steam in their 60’s after a lifetime of energy.   We discussed some other inlaws’ several joint replacement surgeries.   We discussed the brother who made the “they’re happier” comment (the least interested in nutrition of all my sibs) having been in the hospital at the same time as his wife–with gall bladder and kidney stone problems, respectively–hobbling out of the hospital while two 300-lb. people carrying Big Gulps came barrelling past them.

I said, “You can trust in the law of karma. Sometimes it takes a while. But it’s called a LAW for a reason.”   I was sitting there listening to the raging debate, thinking, I wonder what FORTY YEARS of drinking green smoothies — getting literally 15 servings of greens and fruit daily (in a quart) even if that’s all you do  — will  do for someone, compared to his peers.   We just don’t have that data yet.   But I’m certain that over an extended period of time, it can make a MASSIVE difference in preventing the diseases felling everyone else around us.

I think the idea that the obese among us are happier because they eat whatever they want is ludicrous.   First, they can’t actually eat anything they want without gaining weight.   It takes very little calories to maintain fat.   (Muscle burns more calories.)   Second, they’ve lost the ability to do the TRULY beautiful things in life.   Go down the slides at the water park.   Play on the ground with the grandchildren.   Go for a long hike and enjoy nature.   Have enough stamina to be truly productive.   (I could go on and on.)   When all the other things that give life meaning and pleasure are gone because we’ve abused our temple, and the only pleasure left is junk food, something has gone terribly wrong.

I’m not advocating for being food monks.   It’s not either-or.   A miserable life of eating miserable food, or a happy life of eating happy food.   I’m wanting us to have a rich, fabulous life and ENJOY FOOD, too!   Just find more foods that are whole and nourishing and indulge only rarely, if ever,  in the rich foods that make us ill.

Why does a green smoothie come FIRST as I change what I eat?

I teach classes to people who are beginners in nutrition, eating the Standard American Diet.   I teach intermediate classes to those who are more savvy, and even advanced classes in sprouting and fermented foods.

Regardless of where you are, nutritionally, I have found that in every group, people experience profound health benefits by incorporating the green smoothie into their daily routine.   Even 100 percent raw foodist vegans are often mineral deficient because they don’t eat enough greens!

People get so excited when they begin the green smoothie habit–even people known as the “health food nut” in their families who have juiced vegetables for years and don’t eat meat.

Why?   Because making your green smoothie is the highest and best use of your kitchen time.   How else can you spend only 10 minutes in the kitchen and get 15 servings of raw greens and fruit in one quart?   Not only is the prep time 10 minutes or less, from start to cleanup, but a blended drink is quick to drink, too.

And it lets you get lovely, raw, nutritious things you may have never eaten before in your diet, like what I had today: kale, collards, Chinese celery, bok choy, and alfalfa sprouts.

Tips and strategies for how to make them a part of your daily routine inexpensively is covered in detail in Chapter 1 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Start here, with the green smoothie habit, and this will give you more energy.   Then you’ll want even more and you’ll have that excitement to go on to Step 2 . . . and Step 3 . . . and before you know it, you’ll be a GreenSmoothieGirl or Guy and everyone will be saying, “You look fantastic! You’re like a whole different person! How can I do what you’re doing?!”

And then you’ll be the Evangelist . . . spreading the Gospel of Green.   Because once you convert, you’ll never want to go back.   And you’ll want to help everyone you know.

To Your Health,

–Robyn Openshaw