Dear GreenSmoothieGirl for Arizona, part 3 of 4

Jenny B: I feel sick if I eat ANY cooked food. (She catalogues her diet and laments how difficult it is to stay almost all raw.) Will I always have to be this careful? Do you ever see people as food-sensitive as me? Will my health problems ever turn around?

GSG: I have seen documentation and heard testimonials of thousands of people who, like me, beat:

Seasonal allergies, eczema, occasional asthma, fatigue and excesses of sleeping, skin problems, elevated blood pressure, hypoglycemia, anxiety and mood instability, hemorrhoids, vision deterioration, food addictions, tumors, repeated viruses and strep infections, overweight, low thyroid, PMS and severe menstrual cramps, infertility, Transient Ischemic Attacks (mini-strokes with migraine, right arm going numb, couldn’t speak or see)

That’s just MY list, from 20 years ago. I now have NONE of those things, 20 years later, except I still battle a mild obsession with chocolate. One of my children was born with severe food reactions, and now has no food sensitivities. I hear about turnarounds in health everywhere I go, and on my blog, and in thousands of emails—when people eliminate gluten, or just shift to whole, mostly-raw plant foods. By the way, my theory based on nothing more than observation is that if you stay away from refined and GMO foods and eat at least 60% raw, you won’t likely develop a gluten intolerance–if you’re blessed to not currently have problems with grains.

Just because you have a condition now (like a food sensitivity) doesn’t mean you’ll have it in a year, especially if you go about the business of healing your gut. The vast majority of problems, wherever they occur in the body, are related to a toxic colon. The blood in the colon recirculates everywhere in the body, so filth there means toxicity everywhere. Our goal with a shift to clean foods is the clean the gastrointestinal system first and foremost, with plant fiber, easily digested with high enzyme content–and build it up with good probiotics, and well-absorbed vitamins and minerals.

If you are patient and a truth seeker, and willing to heal your gut with good nutrition, you have a good prognosis. Obviously I can’t promise you any specific outcome for any specific diagnosis. But I believe there is no other way out, without addressing lifestyle! Taking drugs will not cure the health problems you named. Tapping your forehead will not heal the problems you named. (At least the latter won’t hurt you.)

And while you battle an entrenched, difficult problem (like an autoimmune issue), you may find a dozen other health problems reverse themselves!

Make a big ugly list of all your symptoms, like I just did in the bolded paragraph above. Stare at them for a minute. Maybe you’ve never thought about them all at once. Put EVERYTHING on it, even stuff like your brittle nails, thinning hair, insomnia.

What if you could get rid of them all just by eating fabulous food? I did. Would it be worth a try?

Dear GreensmoothieGirl for Arizona, part 2 of 4

[By the way, that video I blogged on Sunday? Alternatives for milk? We had the wrong video up, but now it’s right!]

Amy: What’s the right balance of macronutrients?

GSG: Americans have been duped into thinking we need 20% protein. Dr. Robert Atkins spread that far-and-wide, popularizing the way fast-food-enamored America wanted to eat anyway. (Too bad bacon-and-eggs are NOT a way to health.) Poorly educated bodybuilders and personal trainers continue to perpetuate this skewed diet that consumes far more resources than is sustainable. (20 pounds of plants are needed to produce 1 pound of animal flesh for you to eat.)

There are two ways to achieve that 20%. One, eat a lot of processed protein products (bars and powders and drinks). Or a boatload of animal flesh (this is what most Americans are doing–many of them at all three meals).

Colin Campbell’s Oxford-Cornell China Project is the biggest nutrition study in history, documenting with both animals and then people that a high animal protein diet is linked to cancer, heart disease, and auto-immune diseases.

Read my review of that study here. Dr. Douglas Graham has begun to shift the obsession with macronutrients to a more appropriate breakdown. (He’s a raw vegan.) He advocates for 80-10-10–which is essentially just validating the perfect balance found in nature if you eat a fair variety of plant foods. The average plant food has 10% protein (and about 80% carbs, 10% fats). Greens, of course, have much lower fat and much higher protein.

If you are struggling to accept that 10% protein is perfect, consider that the World Health Organization states that 5% is ideal! Also, carbs aren’t bad. Carbs are your body’s FUEL and should be your predominant macronutrient. Just eat complex carbs, not refined ones that spike-n-crash blood sugar and insulin. That takes a toll on your energy and ages you quickly.

Very frankly, I pay very little attention to macronutrients. I guess I have a sense of what a balanced meal/snack is. For instance, I don’t eat fruit all day. I make sure to get nuts/seeds, greens, lots of veggies, and often some grains/legumes in my diet. But besides making sure each snack or meal is 60-80% raw, and purchasing and eating whole foods, I don’t worry about macronutrient breakdown.

(Do you think Adam and Eve did? Do you think your grandparents did? To me it’s a national neurosis–I’d rather see you focus on other things, because if you follow correct basic principles, macronutrients take care of themselves.)

“Dear GreenSmoothieGirl” for Arizona, part 1 of 4

One of my favorite things about traveling to a new city on my speaking tour is meeting names I’ve been seeing since GSG was a brand new site. And meeting volunteers who come help us at the classes. Jenny and Tosh Black. Tawnya and Chad Hood. Jeannie Kirkpatrick. Shanna Anderson. Thank you all for coming, and for half a dozen of you who brought 15+ friends to Mesa….you “get” my vision of spreading this message far and wide, so that we turn the tide of the health disaster currently ruling in America. And I love you.

I’m going to answer questions submitted to us via email, the next few days:

Dayna: Do you use fluoride toothpaste or commercial sunscreens?

GSG: No fluoride toothpaste. It’s a toxic petroleum byproduct that should have never been in our water supply, let alone in toothpaste or supplements. In the store, we have a few cases of this awesome deal that I got that we provided through the group buy. I put a case in my food storage. Especially for little kids who swallow their toothpaste, please use a natural kind.

Sunscreen can be chemical or physical. I don’t use the chemical kind. I’d rather get a sunburn! It’s full of toxic chemicals. The physical kind uses nano zinc oxide that literally blocks the sun. When you rub it in, at first it makes your skin very white (or you can get the tinted kind here). A few minutes later, your skin will look normal though. We have a little in our store but are not getting any more.

Cheryl: do you know any healthy whole-food bars?

GSG: On my blog, I posted this one from Michelle Jorgenson. There’s also a Manna Bar in Ch. 7 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. At Costco, the Trio Bar is pretty good, and most Lara Bars at your health-food store are good. (But she’s started putting some sugar in a few of her bars, so read labels—the Cherry Pie one is my favorite, with all-raw ingredients).

Please don’t buy “protein” bars made from soy (refined, adding to the excess bad-estrogen problem in our food suppy), or whey (highly refined animal product).

Read what Dr. Michelle Jorgenson has to say here.

Amy: I want alkaline water—but it has to be simple, affordable, and convenient.

GSG: I agree. I am not a fan of putting baking soda or sodium chlorite drops in your water, though. I tried that years ago and noticed no health benefits, plus it dirties your water and those additives make me uncomfortable. We have a group buy going on all the time now, with so many people interested, so we can get wholesale prices on ionizers. Having it installed under your own sink is the only way to do it, because alkaline water you get from your friends’ machine or at the health food store loses its alkaline pH within 8 hours, according to my testing.

Look under Robyn Recommends on GreenSmoothieGirl.com. This is an FAQ about the ionizer we arrange wholesale pricing for you:

Water Ionizer

More tomorrow…..

Home from AZ

Kristin and I are back from our trip to Arizona, and soon, I’ll share with you a video or two of interviews with a couple of readers. The drive is long and boring. We stopped and toured the spectacular Glen Canyon Dam. We prowled around Orderville, UT, gawking at polygamists and whispering about our little fantasy to kidnap their daughters. We busted up the 11-hour drive with my iPod. I yell, “ARE YOU READY?!” and Kristin yells back, “I’M READY!” and I blast a Poison, Heart, Van Halen, or Aerosmith song from her speakers.

I named my senior thesis, in college, after a line from an Aerosmith song: “Live and Learn from Fools and Sages.” (We learn from the wise people in our lives–but we miss out on learning opportunities if we don’t learn from the people doing stupid things, too.)

A beautiful blonde physical therapist about my age talked to me after the Glendale class. Her eyes brimmed up with tears when she said, “Thank you for giving me my lungs back.” I didn’t give her back her capacity to train and run races without tightness in her lungs, of course. Eating whole foods did. (When I made the shift, my autoimmune problems reversed themselves, too–no more seasonal allergies, eczema, or occasional asthma attacks!)

She told me her problem is her kids: after some initial successes, they’re currently resisting the new healthy menus. I suggested that she not panic, consider that they probably don’t want her to suddenly turn into a Little Caesars mom, regardless of the way kids overstate their opinions. (They aren’t geniuses at communication. And remember, even junk-food moms’ kids complain if they don’t get the food they want.) This mom abandoning her principles would be inconsistent and confusing for the kids. They’re probably fine with her being the health-nut mom, just need to know she can let her hair down, be a little flexible.

Every once in a while I invite all the friends of one of my kids over, for a pizza party. This is so my kids know I can lighten up, even if the rest of the time we are really very consistent. (On those rare instances, I am also very nervous that a GSG reader will see me at Costco buying things I normally never would–any remainder of which will go in the garbage after the party.)

I don’t, however, EVER have junk food in my house for the kids to snack on. (Kristin says people always talk to her after my classes to find out if I’m the “real deal.” She assures them that she spends about 60 hours a week with me, with our work-from-home, and travels, and our “social life,” what there is of it. Feel free to grill her. She says, “I’ve never once seen her have junk food in the house for the kids.”)

My kids know what the snacks are, and I find that if someone is complaining, it’s because I need to pay a little more attention to having things on hand that they like. (When moms talk to me about their “picky” and “resistant” kids, they also always name for me the nutritious foods the child WILL eat.)

To that end, it’s helpful to have a list of the food foods that each child seeks out. Making a list on paper will help you realize there are more things than you think, and it’ll motivate you to discover new ones to add to the list. Put it on the inside of a cupboard.

Paying attention to that may go a long way toward helping them eat right. Add to the list when your child discovers another healthy food she likes–praise her when she does.

This is part of a list I have that helps my kids feel there’s enough to eat, and something to look forward to, at home:

Tennyson, Libby, Emma: fresh blueberries

Libby: raw sweet potatoes, cucumbers, raw chocolate in her green smoothie, nori sheets, prunes

Tennyson: Naked juice, wheat grass juice, sprouted “candied” almonds

Cade: pink apples, Raw Melissa spring rolls, bell peppers eaten like an apple

Emma: carrots dipped in hummus

Cade, Libby, Ten: cases of Costco mangoes

I find any complaining at my house stops, as long as I tune into what the kids want that is good for them and make sure I stock those foods. And as long as on a rare occasion, I “lighten up” for a party.

Sorry if you’ve read this before, but my grandmother told me: “It’s not what you do 5% of the time that’s going to kill you. It’s what you do 95% of the time that’s going to save you.”

What can I use to replace MILK?

Newbies ask me this question all the time when they learn that milk, contrary to the $50 million advertising budget of the Dairy Council, isn’t a good food for humans. It’s not even a particularly useable form of calcium (unless you’re a baby cow). Plus it’s mucous forming, and when your body is battling mucous and acidity, it can’t flourish. In fact, it’s a perfect breeding ground for various infections and viruses.

So, the good news is, replacing dairy is EASY. Check out this tour of a health food store, looking at the options!

KRISTIN ACCIDENTALLY TURNS VEGETARIAN

Kristin is my closest friend and just came on working for GSG full-time on June 1. She was here all the time anyway, putting in nearly FT hours, especially with all the traveling we’ve been doing. She has made my classes SO much more efficient and effective. I love her–she’s the best thing that has happened to GSG.com in a long time. She’s strong in all the places I am weak, and she’s so loyal to me and helpful to a fault. I am so blessed.

On May 26, at a class for almost 250 people in Sandy, Utah, she said to the crowd, “You can’t hang around Robyn and not be affected by this movement.” I’d described how for a long time we’d have staff meetings and I’d have my quart of green smoothie, and she’d have her quart of Diet Coke. Then one day we suddenly BOTH had a green smoothie at staff meeting. (I was secretly–and kind of openly, too–so thrilled!) I am watching Kristin change before my eyes. She said to me recently, “If I drank TWO quarts of green smoothie a day, I basically could never get fat again.” (She’s lost 40 lbs.)

On June 3, she said to me, “I think I’ve accidentally become a vegetarian.”

LAUGHING OUT LOUD! (Keep in mind, this girl is from IDAHO. They don’t eat their potatoes without meat there!) That’s what hanging out at my house all day, working, will do to ya. She said that the only problems with this are:

(1) “I like meat!” I told her, I used to, too. You’re not me, of course, but I literally never miss it now. The only time is if I walk into someone’s house, when I’m really hungry on Sunday night, and they’re cooking a roast. (And the once a year that happens? I have a little! I can only stand a little anyway—and maybe it’s good for Vitamin B12. I’m not actually sure that’s important, since your body stores a 3-year supply, and since there are a handful of plant sources of B12 or an analog. But I digress.)

And, Kristin’s other problem with “accidental vegetarianism”…

(2) “I have all these memories of my family past, and my kids will tell anyone, ‘My mom is the greatest cook!’ And the dishes they tell people about, that I make, are pot roast, homemade rolls, and chicken-n-dumplings.”

But like so many Americans, Kristin now finds herself seriously gluten intolerant. And feeling better and better the further she gets from the S.A.D. Eating white flour once a week does not cause her a problem, but if she eats white bread a few days in a row? She’s practically doubled over with abdominal pain and bloating.

Her semi-final comment today, on that subject, was, “Well, I’ll limit it to once a week. Sunday nights.”

Sounds good to me. I always say:

“Incremental progress is progress.”

When you find something else you love on Sunday nights, you might replace the roast like I did (I made a mean roast on Sunday nights, too, 20 years ago!).   I believe no one shifts these family traditions till they WANT to. So I’m not going to pound on Kristin about that one meal a week. (Or anyone, actually. Pretty proud of all the cool stuff she’s done lately, though!)

And, just another plug for young moms: if you do this NOW, you don’t have to “undo” family memories in order to shift to a healthier, plant-based diet later. Then the family memories that your kids will remember you for in 20 years aren’t worse, they’re just different. That pint of GS always waiting for them in the fridge after school, stuff drying in the dehydrator…..Sunday night lentil tacos, black-bean burgers, hummus quesadillas….or whatever! (The possibilities are endless.)

If it makes anyone feel better, my mom never made a roast, in my childhood, not once. I seem to have survived.   😉