San Diego, thank you! Part 1 of 2

I really enjoyed meeting many amazing friends in San Diego last Weds. night, before the wedding festivities of one of my BFF’s.

Thursday we did Sea World and had a party that night. Friday morning before the wedding, we–the four best friends, and the bride–went for a five-mile run along the water. Just like we do every morning at home (sans the waterfront).

I was complaining about 2 days of having to listen to Jamie’s never-ending Pandora lineup of Whitney, Celine, Barbra, Neil, and Barry sappy love songs. (If you’re a Fanilow, sorry.)

The bride, Kristi, said, “Yep, it’s a weird thing about Jamie, but we love her anyway. Just like we love you despite your weird RAW FOOD thing!”

They laugh, but they all drink green smoothies even if they also eat candy by the truckload. I try to do my part. When they’re ready we’ll take it to the next level. Nobody was really going for the homemade sprouted veggie-flax crackers and sprouted cocoa almonds I pulled out of my purse, and I was the only one ordering wheat grass shots at Jamba, too.

Stacy S. was the host of my lecture. She and her husband Todd not only organized the event (175 chairs, not easy to come by!) against a gorgeous ocean backdrop (can you see it in the photo?), but they did it while facing some daunting personal challenges. I am thankful to them, so impressed by them–Stacy is a great communicator and event organizer and one of those people you just adore even if you just met her.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the warm welcome in California and especially to Stacy! My gf’s and I loved our stay at the Ocean View Villas.

I told Stacy that the year after my divorce (2008), I felt like I was underwater, just clobbered with the catastrophe unfolding in my life. But one of the few things I didn’t let go of was my family’s nutrition.

(I let go of many things. I was a dedicated piano mom, and I let all my kids quit! Three of them came back, voluntarily, two years later! If you’re going through a dark time, I promise, there is light at the end of the tunnel–nothing intense lasts!)

I clung to strong nutrition practices because I knew that it’s hard to get back in the wagon when you fall off. And because I knew it would keep ugly depression away. And it did! That, meaningful work (I developed 12 Steps to Whole Foods that year), and yoga, saved me from feeling that my life had spun completely beyond my control.

I’m so impressed that in one of the darker hours of Stacy’s life, she’s a ROCK for her family, progressing their health while being brave in the face of challenges. One of the great blessings in my GSG life is getting to meet people like her whom I’d never otherwise know.

More tomorrow about this….

Marathon Birthday Party

Jennie said to me on the ski lift during yesterday’s Marathon Birthday Celebration, as she called it (she’s my friend that recently converted from a pure-junk diet to an 80% raw diet):

“You know what I like best about eating this way? It’s that after a workout I feel good. Instead of exhausted, like I always did before.”

That’s so true. I haven’t ever felt exhausted after a workout. Maybe that’s why I do it so much–after intense physical activity, all I feel is the positives: endorphins and calmness.

I imagine this has everything to do with fueling one’s body appropriately.

Here we are at the top of the tram at Snowbird. It’s not the beach in San Diego, the backdrop of my lecture last week (photos tomorrow). But it’s beautiful, nonetheless, where I live.

We worked out for half an hour in the morning, then played tennis at the U of U. (I smoked Jennie 6-2, then she eked out a second-set win 7-5, and then we had to leave for skiing, no time for a third set to break the tie. Jennie is an amazing athlete, and super quick, so my drop-shot/lob combos don’t often work on her.) Our ski day was beautiful: Snowbird has the longest runs–20-25 mins. to ski to the bottom! (I’m not going to lie: at 4 p.m. I was tired!)

Our two friends we were with would NEVER go for Rawtopia food, so Jennie and I bought it as takeout, and then we went with the others to Olive Garden. We told the waitress we would tip her as if we all ordered entrees, and then J and I ate our raw “falafel” and “pasta” while our friends ate fettucini alfredo. Yum! There’s always a way to eat right….traveling, with friends, in third-world countries. I think I’m going to write a book on that eventually, but I drop tips all over the place in this blog.

On turning 30: what a difference 6 months makes!

No, I’m not turning 30. (That was LAST year.) My friend Jennie is. To celebrate, today we decided to do our favorite activities all day long just to prove that we’re still young. We’re snowboarding at Brighton all day (after Jennie promised I don’t have the ski the trees). And then playing tennis for hours and then going to a play.

Saturday night I took her, at her request, to Omar’s Rawtopia in Sugarhouse (a neighborhood of Salt Lake City) for dinner, before her big party that 75 people showed up for at her tiny house. She loved the crème of broccoli soup, pasta, and hummus wraps.

I teased her about how she turned her nose up at Pure Food and Wine in New York City, just last Thanksgiving. And she lit into me:

“You didn’t prepare me for that at ALL! The pizza didn’t taste like a pizza. The lasagna was nothing like real lasagna. Everything is made of veggies and stuff. I would have liked it better if I’d just KNOWN.”

Fair enough. (Hanging my head.) I often need reminders of where people are in their journey. Just because I’ve been doing this so long, I forget what my initial reactions were to gourmet raw-food recipes. Sometimes I need reminders of what yours are!

Now that I think about it, I thought the exact same thing in the beginning! In fact, it ticked me off that “raw” folks tried to mimic cooked foods. I’d say, “Just be who you are, make a raw dish that is unique! That didn’t taste like a taco, so why pretend? Don’t call it a taco!” I remember ranting about that to a friend, too.

I’m way past that now, and I actually like the idea that even if a raw “burrito” or “sloppy joe” doesn’t taste anything like a real one, you know how to handle it, from the title on the menu. (OMG, thank goodness they don’t taste the same. I confess I once went hungry at my own birthday party when I was about 28, because my mom made sloppy joes—gross.)

But if you’re new to raw foods or are thinking of going to a raw restaurant, here are some things you should know–inspired by Jennie’s diatribe last night:

“Cheese” is going to be seed cheeses: sesame, pine nuts, lemon juice, etc. “Pasta” noodles will be raw zucchini or yellow squash or both. Wraps will be in collards, chard, or romaine. Crackers or bread will be made of flax. Burritos will be in dehydrated, sprouted seed/grain tortillas. Alfredo sauce or cream sauces will be cashew-based, no dairy.

You will also experience an explosion of flavors, far more flavorful than anything in the cooked world. You’ll leave feeling light. (Unless you overdo on seeds/nuts!)

the virtues of coconut water

Stacy S., organizer of my San Diego event last week (I will blog about it this week, just waiting for photos), that I should write more about coconut oil. How about the liquid, or water, of the coconut? Thanks for the help on this, Jenny Cook:

It’s an amazing alternative to water – low in calories, zero fat, and lots of naturally occurring nutrition including potassium, magnesium and calcium, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It rehydrates you 3 times faster than water itself.

It’s a natural sports drink that stands apart from the blue-dye, chemical-sweetener-added competition. It is isotonic and contains more potassium than a banana and the perfect balance of electrolytes.

It has the same osmotic pressure as that of blood plasma, which means it can be safely administered as an intravenous fluid. In fact, it was used during WWII in emergency transfusions to replace blood plasma and save the lives of many wounded soldiers in the Pacific. Coconut water has also been used to treat cholera because of its electrolyte properties. Think of it as your own natural blood transfusion.

Secondly, it’s a very clever, wholly natural sports drink that knocks spots off the factory-created competition. It is isotonic and with more potassium than a banana and the perfect balance of electrolytes. Its just a natural and far more healthy alternative to mainstream sports drinks.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Coconut water is a natural diuretic that helps to dissolve kidney stones. It has oodles of potassium, which helps the body to fight water retention, muscle cramps and heart irregularities.

The calcium in coconut water is an important mineral for bones and teeth. It also plays a role as an electrical conductor in nerves and muscles.

Sodium is also needed in the body to maintain life. This vital electrolyte plays a number of roles to support health and wellness. Potassium and sodium interact electrically within the cells and outside the cells in the blood plasma and this is required for cardiac contractions, skeletal muscle movement and nerve impulses.

Coconut water helps dissolve kidney stones. It’s a natural diuretic, with lots of potassium, which helps the body fight water retention, muscle cramps, and heart irregularities.

It’s calcium rich, supporting strong bones and teeth. The highly bioavailable calcium plays an important role as an electrical conductor in nerves and muscles.

Sodium is an important electrolyte supporting wellness. Potassium and sodium interact electrically within and without cells in the blood plasma, aiding cardiac contractions, skeletal muscle movement and nerve impulses.

Coconut water also has fiber, protein, antioxidants and dozens of other nutrients. It takes 9 months to draw the water up from the earth through the trunk, into the nut and develop. We should appreciate the miracle that is the young coconut.

As more is known in the mainstream about coconut water, it will become harder to obtain. I am already having a hard time buying young coconuts–which are sold as a drink all over Asia, the Pacific, and many other places in the world I have been in the past several years.

I recommend buying cases of canned coconut water and keeping it in your long-term storage for emergencies. It’s a power food. And it has the benefit of tasting lovely. Coconut water is in my Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie every morning (Ch. 10 of 12 Steps), which may be part of why I suffer from no chronic health conditions at age 44.

The Rest of the Story with Rich the Pharmacist. Part 2 of 2.

I don’t buy that baloney. (In more ways than one.)

If you eat hot dogs and soda on a regular basis, you’re almost certainly spending lots of money on doctor bills. Or you’re about to, as springs start to break loose in your internal box spring.

Your health insurance company is going broke, too. I may buy bulgur and quinoa and collard greens instead of hot dogs and Mountain Dew, but guess what. Mountain Dew ain’t cheap. And neither is a lot of what my reader claims is all America can afford.

Legumes and whole grains, and many vegetables and fruits, are cheap and don’t hurtle you towards cardiovascular disease and cancer and 100 different auto-immune nightmares. Let’s learn how to use them!

Maybe some aren’t ready to hear this. But what you can’t afford is to have your chest and abdomen weigh so much that it’s crushing vital organs so you can’t breathe all night and are exhausted all day. THAT is what you can’t afford. It’s crushing more than lungs. It’s just crushing, period–literally and figuratively.

It crushes vitality. Hope. Your sex life. (C-pap at night? Your partner loves that. It’s like the scene in the trailer for the recent movie where Tina Fey asks her husband, Steve Carrell, if he’s in the mood, and she then offers to remove her retainer and does so, drool everywhere. Sorry to be blunt, but obesity isn’t pretty in the bedroom, and neither are medical devices, digestive disorders, or immobility.)

Sorry for the tough love. But hot dogs just might be ruining your life.

A friend of mine in his 50’s who owns a runner’s shop and sometimes hosts my lecture saw an obese woman in the crowd as he ran past, running a marathon. He said to her, “YOU SHOULD BE OUT HERE RUNNING WITH US.”

She was shocked. (Who says that?!) They became fast friends as she snapped out of her dream fugue and decided to change her life. Join the race. Show up in his shop. She’s now a normal-weight marathon runner and I read her story in the paper, quoting my friend who said that to her and changed her life.

It can be done. It starts with a tenacious statement like Rich’s, in yesterday’s post. Read his “no holds barred” paragraph and see if it inspires you!

Watch Karen Wilbert when the first GreenSmoothieGirl Makeover film clips come out, as she cries in frustration, telling us how her friends in the neighborhood run races together, while she stares at the trees outside her window, through all four seasons. Like Rich, she’s younger than me. She hates that other people are living life while illness, loss of energy, and depression have drained her own life to a tiny slice of what she once enjoyed.

Eating M&M’s does NOT stand in for a life. What a sorry substitute. Start visualizing the price for eating cancer sticks (hot dogs–also bacon and sausage) being $200 a bite. How does it taste now?

After we completed some filming at Samantha Cornia’s today for GreenSmoothieGirl Makeover, Kels, my filmmaker, was telling me about his mom doing my 12 Steps program, in her second bout of chemotherapy against ovarian cancer. He says she’s sick of the devastation of chemotherapy, and she’s motivated and excited to try something different.

I told him to make sure she gets a juicer (in addition to her new green-smoothie-blending habit) and juice beets, carrots, celery, parsley, apples, and wheat grass in huge quantities. And I told him, “Tell your mom to visualize, as she drinks it, that beautiful, powerful, high-oxygen, high-antioxidant super-powered drink starving EVERY CANCER CELL into oblivion, exploding, obliterating them into nothing. Have her imagine the healthy cells kicking butt and taking names.”

She’ll be blasting the hell out of cancer while strengthening the muscles of her immune system. Rather than nuking everything in sight like chemo and radiation do.

David Wolfe said this, last weekend, about watching animals heal themselves–we could learn a lot from them:

“You can heal almost every condition there is by hiding, sleeping, being quiet, and not eating.”

I totally agree and suggested to Kels that his mom just eat little or nothing for a while after chemo is over, just juice and green smoothies and lots of water. Give cells and organs a chance to rest, repair, rebuild.

You, my friend, reading this:


The rest of the story with Rich the Pharmacist. Part 1 of 2.

So here’s the rest of the story with Rich, my first high-school boyfriend. I told you how I ran into him on the plane on his way to pharmacists’ immunization training, and he helped us out in Seattle.

I told him, as we reminisced, that before I straightened out my lifestyle, I was 26 and weighed 206 lbs. I was walking in the mall trying to induce labor 2 days after my due date. I saw him and cheerfully said, “Hey Rich!” He looked at me, like, “No comprendo!” and walked right on by. He literally hadn’t recognized me. I was mortified.

Guiltily, he said, “Well, I relate to that. I saw you getting out on the curb, outside. I didn’t even want to approach you because I am ashamed about how I look.”

With 70% of America overweight, I often get the sense that the vast majority of us feel trapped inside someone else. We barely recognize ourselves. Can’t believe this happened to us. Just a five-pound weight gain annually is obesity, in a decade. That’s gaining just ounces a month.

And it seems almost sudden that, in mid-life, we’re ashamed and shocked that we got this way and we wonder how it happened and where’s the way out.

Rich texted me after we were both home in Utah. This is part of it:

“If I do this I want to do it full on, full tilt, full bore, hardcore, never look back, no holds barred, past the point of no return. If I am going to approach it like that, I figure I need the very best tools.”

(He then asks me to hook him up with a BlendTec.)

About the lecture in Seattle, he said:

You gave me hope. I’ve listened to so many doctors, psychologists, “professional” pharmacists, counselors with all their psycho-babble and I can tell they are just saying what they’ve been told to say. You and I talked about people who claim to be experts on nutrition but who look like the ‘before’ poster for a weight-loss program.

“Because of the way I know you, I was already open to your message. I watched you very closely, as you talked to a long line of people after the lecture about their very personal problems and hopes and challenges. To make sure you’re the same Robyn with whom we hid our affection for each other when we were young. And, you are. Just more secure and wiser. Your smile never turned and your enthusiasm never changed.

“Because I am apple shaped rather than pear shaped, people are surprised to know that I carry all my weight in my upper body. So I can still bench press 225 a few times, but I have to wear a C-pap at night with supplemental oxygen so I don’t stop breathing and suffocate. My lungs have more weight pressing on them than they can handle. If I could become one of your miracles, I could kick the C-pap habit. That would be worth so much more than money could buy. I guess I don’t have to tell you that. Look at me, preaching to the choir.”

A few days ago, a GSG reader pushed back on this blog, not just once but more–against my stating that YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO EAT HOT DOGS.

I always appreciate pushback, because it keeps an honest conversation going. But I’ll tell you what I think of that tomorrow.