Are “eating healthy” and “obsessed” synonymous? Part 2 of 3

Regarding faux diagnoses: I’m always frustrated when someone wants to create a pathology out of something healthy, as with this “orthorexia” thing that a number of readers wrote us about.

Fact is, before we had artificially-colored Cheez Whiz and a few generations of exposure to it, that kind of “food” would have been shunned. If you’d squirted a blob of it on a plate and put the can next to it, folks in 1875 would have skirted it, poked at it, maybe sniffed it…..but wouldn’t they have been terrified to actually eat it? They certainly would have never seen that color before. Imagine being at an 1875 farmhouse and explaining the ingredients of Cheez Whiz to the inhabitants.

If your senses weren’t dulled and changed by ubiquitous processed foods, wouldn’t Cheez Whiz seems like a really terrible, crazy idea? Yet now we are 180 degrees from there, where you have an eating disorder if you WON’T eat the Cheez Whiz.

So if we go back to eating the way people did for thousands of years–before cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases became common–now we are mentally ill.

I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn I reject coining the word “orthorexia.”

But. The way folks have made a healthy idea pathological is through “guilt by association.” Fact is, a lot of people who are really healthy eaters are ….. no offense if this hits close to home for anyone …… kinda neurotic people in general. In fact, their healthy eating comes from being a rather paranoid, fear-based person.

So, because some people who eat all-raw are, um, kinda “weird,” by mainstream America’s standards ….. then eating high-raw, by association, is weird. So goes the logic. And bam, we’ve got ourselves a new diagnostic label to toss around the internet.

Okay, so this is a tricky subject. I’m not naming any names. But just by nature of the subject matter on this site, I get TONS of email from people who sound like they’re losing a lot of sleep, over food. Lots of regular people read this blog, but some folks struggle with excesses of uptightness. They worry about all kinds of details, trying to find the “right” diet.

An older reader recently mentioned on this blog that her new learning curve about health and nutrition has resulted in family members calling her “obsessed.”

I replied that I think that’s what it looks like, when your eyes first open. It’s pretty natural to upset the equilibriums in your life initially, when you learn truths that you may have known nothing about for 50 years. You’re shocked, you’re excited, you feel like the scales have fallen from your eyes and everyone else around you is still in the dark!

You overachievers don’t do things in a small way. So suddenly you are voraciously reading everything you can get your hands on. You read all 12 steps in my course and try to do it all overnight. You listen to the audio files from 12 Steps in your car (for the 4th time) and feel resentful when a family member makes a snide comment. You carry your high-lighted, battered manual in your purse for when you get a spare 10 minutes to plan your groceries. You find yourself having a conversation with a stranger in the grocery store line about The China Study.

Sound familiar? (If so, it’s because I’m not making this stuff up. I’m taking it as examples from things y’all have told me, at classes or in emails.) More tomorrow about how “weird” I was when I started on this journey and what a healthier place looks like, once all the pieces settle into awesome habits.

Are “eating healthy” and “obsessed” synonymous?” [part 1 of 3]

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl (from Linda):

“I just received an e-mail earlier today from a friend who considers herself a very healthy eater (she’s a nurse) with a link to the following article “New Eating Disorders: Are They For Real?” about newly discovered or classified eating disorder, Orthorexia.

“It says: ‘Orthorexia is Latin for ‘correct eating.’’ Here, too, the focus isn’t on losing weight. Instead, sufferers increasingly restrict their diets to foods they consider pure, natural and healthful. Some researchers say that Orthorexia may combine a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder with anxiety and warn that severely limited “healthy” diets may be a stepping stone to anorexia nervosa, the most severe – and potentially life-threatening – eating disorder.’

“Linda continues: Okay, I say, but I am not “severely limiting” my healthful foods, I eat quite a variety, probably more than the average adult. My weight is well within normal limits, and I do not worry too much about calories or restrictions, other than making a clear attempt to eat unprocessed whole natural foods, as much raw as I can.

“So, this doesn’t seem to apply to me…. But then the article goes on to say…”Orthorexics: Those affected may start by eliminating processed foods, anything with artificial colorings or flavorings as well as foods that have come into contact with pesticides. Beyond that, orthorexics may also shun caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods. Some limit themselves to raw foods.”

“Hmmmm, like that is something bad, say, compared to eating unlimited junk food, highly processed food and foods with pesticides? But that was not enough: the article goes on to describe the TREATMENT the newly classified Orthorexic needs in order to be “cured”, I guess, of their disease/condition! Wow, this is the kind of stuff that I find myself running up against since I took up a whole foods, high raw diet just over two years ago.

“I say very little at this point to anyone about what I choose to eat or not, and this is very sad to me, since I am trying to just be the example of what good fitness/nutrition can be. This just seems to put the ultimate stamp of “disapproval” on the way many of us are choosing to eat to circumvent GMO, pesticides, processed foods and additives. Robyn, I have to give you credit that you can keep up the good fight despite resistance, but would love to know what you do when confronted with this type of information?

“This is the link: http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/new-eating-disorders-are-they-real.”

Robyn’s answer: in my next post!

Contest!—be the green smoothie girl who tells everyone you know

So I’m going to give away a 12 Steps to Whole Foods Complete Course….and do a personal consultation, free, to whoever sends the most of her friends/family to my upcoming GreenSmoothieGirl Makeover Tour.

That’s because I love those of you who SHARE the message of what profound things can happen to your health when you turn 180 degrees, away from the S.A.D. and towards a whole-foods lifestyle.

I’m in California for the rest of this week: sign up here for any of the four cities. We just got a new video camera and I’m going to start doing lots more videos, starting with talking about EATING RIGHT ON THE ROAD, and we’ll interview interesting people we meet on the way, people who attend my classes and have a great story.

We have outgrown the Good Earth stores and therefore are moving our Sandy and Riverdale Utah classes so more can attend. After these classes in May, I won’t have any classes scheduled locally till the fall.   I’ll post the new addresses and email those signed up about the change of location, but go ahead and use those links.

I’m in Ocala, Florida in July.

I’ll announce upcoming classes in Orlando, Idaho Falls, Boise, Sun Valley for June/July as soon as I have the details. You don’t have to live in the city where you refer your friends to attend–they’ll be asked at each class for who referred them.

XOXO,

Robyn

 

 

I won’t die on most hills: thoughts on parenting

I had five 10-y.o. baseball players in the car last week, with this conversation:

Me:  Hey Tennyson, get your stuff off my expensive tennis racket!

Baseball Player #2:  Cool, you play tennis?

Me:  Yeah. I have a 10 and 1 record so far this year. I lost one because my doubles partner barely had a pulse that day.

Baseball Player #3:  How does it work? Do you have the same partner all the time?

Me:  No, we have a team captain and she makes the assignments.

Tennyson:  Why don’t you just be the captain?

Me:  Because. I’m the only single mom on the team and the only working mom. I don’t have time.

BP #2:  Where do you work?

Me:  At home. I work for myself.

Ten:    She’s the GreenSmoothieGirl! Duh! I’ve told you guys that! Mom, I’m your living, walking advertisement.

BP #3:  Are they good? Or gross?

Ten:  It depends. They’re good if you first put chocolate powder in it. And then vanilla powder.

[I try not to laugh out loud. WHAT IS VANILLA POWDER?]

Because I’ve got a few things that are really important to me, I try to be chill wherever I can, to earn the right to be an occasional stickler.

Last night, we went down 140 North in Lindon. Since I served a three-year term on the Planning Commission, I happen to know that, at a 10% grade, it’s the steepest road in our city. So for a decade, I have played a game that some of my kids like better than others. (My 17-y.o. son may or may not be scarred for life due to this game.)

As we start down it, picking up speed, I pretend I’ve completely lost control of the car. “OMG OMG, THE BRAKES WENT OUT!” I scream like I’m in a horror flick and mock-cover my head and lean to the right as if trying to avoid the inevitable crash. I flail my arms and fake-cry. The car crosses the median line, veering off-course. (It sounds dangerous. It’s really not; I’m in full control.)

After we did that on the way to Baseball Player #5’s house, we decided to do it all again, only they were in on the joke. They would all scream their heads off, too, as the car looked to be careening out of control.

I trained my rearview mirror on Baseball Player #5.

So much fun!   After the joke was up, a whole carload of us laughing hysterically–poor little Dallin was a good sport. Weakly, he claimed: “Heh…heh…I wasn’t scared.”

I try to be the fun mom, not uptight about stuff that doesn’t matter. Good parties, chats with my kids’ friends, always up for a trip to Jump On It or the movies.

You’ve heard psychologists say that as kids get older, you get to control fewer and fewer things. So I choose not to die on most hills.

Sometimes I let go of things that are actually heartbreaking for me. Right after my divorce, I was overwhelmed and let all 4 kids quit piano. A year later, 3 of them begged me for lessons and have practiced on their own ever since. I just told my oldest son that he doesn’t have to go to mid-week church activities. He’s old enough to make the choice himself.

Carefully evaluating which things I want to go to the mat for, I can hold my standards firm on the Big 3 that I care about. One, decent grades. Two, do what you say you’ll do and be responsible (everyone has work to do, and we do it well). And three, we eat right. I’m firm on those three and not much else.

“Best Day Ever” stuff

I have a group of friends I play a game with called “Best Day Ever.” When something good (or bad–that you decide is Perfect in its learning opportunities!) happens—we find that moment in every day that makes it the Best Day Ever—we text each other.

It makes your day so great, looking for that funny or cool spot, and hearing about them from people you love. It’s a reminder that truth is stranger than fiction. (One day last week my BDE moment was seeing Orem High School’s boys’ track team do the Macarena on State Street, shirtless. I have no idea why. Maybe they lost a race?) Playing this game is a reminder that there are gold nuggets even in hard days. Here are a couple from last week.

Wednesday. The checkout employee at Good Earth told me I should go to a really great site called GreenSmoothieGirl.com. (Is this because I have returned to my natural hair color? Cracked me up.)

Thursday. I was walking out of BlendTec’s offices after doing some filming with their crew. This gorgeous 25-ish woman’s eyes got big and she grabbed my arm as she passed me. “Are you…..?”

I told her I am GSG, and she introduced herself:  Elona, originally from Albania. She has a 2 ½ year old son with severe asthma, and her friend Heather, the wife of BlendTec’s founder (Bev, whom I have not met), and a small group of friends sent her to my site.

She said, “We have gotten him off dairy. We’re still working on sugar.”

I said, “Know what the easiest way to do that is? Don’t have it in your home.”

That sounds hard, but once you know some good alternatives and you start filling your diet with greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds (in that order), it’s easy.

He won’t be deprived of treats. Unfortunately they’re everywhere at church, Grama’s house, preschool, after sports events, neighborhood and family parties, and his friends’ homes. (If you’re not willing to police those sugar sources as I confess to doing when my children were younger. Now I stick to getting them to drink a big green smoothie before they go to the party, and requiring that they have a big helping of salad before they eat the other junk. And I draw the line at soda and processed meat.)

Anyway, Elona said, “Do you have two minutes that I can tell you how my life has changed since I started all this?”

She said her little one hasn’t had his constant Pulmacort spiked with Albuterol, and frequent liquid steroid prescriptions, in three weeks. A first for him! She described the doctor’s and nurses’ guilt trips, bordering on bullying….she said it’s scary because everyone around her places so much faith in doctors.

I literally got chills listening to her–took me back to that “fear spot”  of the day it became clear to me that my doctor’s authoritative statements and prescriptions to cure my extremely ill child were of little value. As I say when I speak, I became aware that the entire medical model is like Oz. We’ve built it up in our collective consciousness to be something it isn’t. It has some value. Much more limited value than what we’ve invested in it.

And it wasn’t gonna save my little boy. I was going to have to start at Square A and look for other answers.

Elona ‘s eyes filled with tears and she threw her arms around my neck. I’m so happy for her.

Drugs are an expressway to hell. I’m not saying everyone should go off them, cold turkey, immediately when they figure out that something more is needed. I’m saying that you have to go to the BOTTOM of the pyramid and deal with what’s at the root of the problem. If you’re weak, mucousy, acidic, with a beaten-down immune system, more drugs isn’t going to solve that.

Paul Leatham, my original mentor, taught me 60-80% raw. He was my beginning. Or my renaissance, since my grandmother and mother originally mentored me–but until Paul Leatham taught me the connection between my son’s illness, and nutrition, I was floundering.

Paul taught me, “If you have a swamp full of alligators, what do you do? Throw a pill in the swamp to kill the alligators? IT’S STILL A SWAMP! More alligators are gonna show up.”

You have to DRAIN THE SWAMP.

That is what we are doing. We are not putting mucous-forming foods in our mouths to burn out our tissues with acidity. We don’t want our body spending its precious energy fighting being swamped with thick goo that is a breeding ground for bacteria, virus, mold, fungus, and the waste products of all those ugly creatures.

Green food and other raw plant foods DRAIN THE SWAMP.

Off topic, Elona said this to me:

“I watch all your videos. I thought you couldn’t be older than 35. I mean, you look so amazing, for how old…..” (Her voice trailed off….)

I cracked up. “For how old I am?” I said. “Um, my English isn’t that good,” she said, weakly.

What an adorable girl. I laughed all the way home.

FROZEN DESSERTS

These days, there’s no excuse to not eat healthy! You can get virtually ANYTHING you like in the junk-food world, in a vastly more nutritious version. You just have to know where to look! I’m not a big ice cream eater, but I was in my 20’s. I wish I’d known this stuff before I ate gallons of Ben ‘N Jerry’s!

In this video, I’m showing you really delicious alternatives to ice cream that won’t damage your health like dairy and sugar will. You can get them at your health food store–and if you can’t, you’ll at least get a sense of what I look for when I read labels, to evaluate the selections where YOU shop.