I Never Knew My Green-Smoothie Habit Was Making a Difference!

Sometimes I re-post comments my readers make, because….I think they’re important enough not to get buried. Because someone said something pithy or cool or weird. Or because it’s my blog and I just feel like it.

In response to my post “Classroom Rewards That Aren’t Food”:

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I’m new! Just bought your book, which is brill. When should I drink my green smoothies, and how many times a day?

Answer: Sue, you can have green smoothies WHENEVER YOU WANT, as much as you want!

I drink mine at the baseball game, in the car, at the tennis match, in the airport, at my classes. The more publicly, the better. The more people who see, RIGHT ON! Turned up noses, gagging sounds, jokes? Bring it. That’s just a first reaction. Starts a conversation and in 90 seconds of my telling WHY I do it, they’re 80% more likely to go make something GREAT happen in their daily food regimen.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: As an elementary music teacher, I have to explain that my green smoothie isn’t kryptonite or mold. (No coffee or soda for me!) Several students wrote me thank-you letters at the end of the year and drew pictures of my green smoothies (your drink). I didn’t realize it had made any kind of impression! I quoted you about sugar being “the nice girl’s crack cocaine” and asked friends on facebook to join me in the sugar bet….no takers so far! —Sandi

Answer: Sandi, kryptonite, mold. Haha! Realizing WHAT AN IMPACT we make when we set a nutritional example. Isn’t it AMAZING?! In no area of life are people MORE desperate for a Pied Piper than in the arena of NUTRITION. It’s like people need to be led out of the abyss, through the Red Sea, somewhere better than the hell of lupus, high blood pressure, and obesity they’re living in. We need as many examples as possible. On average, when people hear it from the 3rd person, that’s when they start listening.

None of your friends wanna give up their cocaine? Heh. Well, that’s too bad, but do it with me and Matthew and we can all feel superior, holier than thou. (I’m kidding. We’re doing it, and we’ll tell about how great we feel, and more people will join in…..when they’re ready. Maybe after they get the flu this winter.)

In response to my blog entry, “How much is your health worth?” Victoria invoked this saying (let us know if you are aware of the author):

“A person with their health has hundreds of dreams. A person without their health has ONE.”

Fermenting foods: it’s freaking me out!

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I really like the idea of adding the Rejuvelac as my green smoothie base, but I’m honestly totally freaked out to leave something perishable on my countertop in an unsealed container for several days. What are the chances that “bad bacteria” get in there and make me sick? I really appreciate any feedback you have. It sounds like a great opportunity to make green smoothies do even more for me, but I can’t get over the initial concept. –Grace

Answer: Grace, I think it might help if I explain the concept a bit more. Fermented foods are part of your diet already, if you eat yogurt or sauerkraut, or even beer. The manufacturer had to let it sit at room temperature for a time, to grow the cultures.

Also, before refrigeration, human beings had a stronger inner terrain and microbes rarely harmed them. Of course, now we have antibiotics that have seriously damaged most people’s balance of beneficial microorganisms colonizing the digestive tract. We also have refined foods weakening us, and few, if any, cultured foods strengthening us. We now seem to believe that killing a couple million of the billions of microscopic critters around us will somehow do the trick.

It’s a weird modern concept that everything we eat has to be sterilized—ancient peoples lived amongst billions of organisms very peacefully for thousands of years. So maybe our food is sterilized, fumigated, pasteurized, irradiated…..but there are billions of organisms everywhere ELSE (which makes the antibiotic wipes a pointless waste of money).

So, it feels unnatural to you but only because of our strange modern traditions, and the fact that we’ve gotten away from eating foods that nurture our gut’s need for healthy colonization. Just ONE course of antibiotics can change the gut’s internal terrain forever.

Every culture of the world eats cultured foods. Some chew up a food and spit it, with their saliva, into an earthen pot, and drink it a week later. (I won’t be teaching you those methods, don’t worry.) There are literally hundreds of types of cultured foods, in traditional / indigenous peoples, and in people who have not completely adopted processed diets.

The most complete and well known work on this concept is Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, which has some good info but advocates for lots of meat and dairy and a very rich diet. My 12 Steps to Whole Foods program deals with it in a condensed way in Ch. 8 and uses what I feel are a do-able, moderate amount of probiotic foods that do not require us to purchase $10/lb. animal parts. My work focuses on culturing vegetables, optionally some raw, antibiotic- and hormone-free milk, or coconut liquid. (I now culture my coconut liquid before using it in Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie).

My blog on 9/15 talks about learning vicariously through others—the examples I gave were learning from others’ health disasters. But you can learn from my health victories, too. Does it help you to know that I have had a quart or a half gallon of raw kefir, or yogurt, or coconut kefir, or sprouts, or Rejuvelac, or sauerkraut, on my counter, pretty much every day of my life for the past 17 years? We have had zero instances of problems, illness, food poisoning.

It also helps if you understand the process of how food has historically been preserved. You can preserve foods a few ways. One, drying it to dramatically slow oxidation, which often involves lots of salt. Two, can it by killing all its lifeforce (enzymes and vitamins) so that there’s very little to oxidize, and then sealing it against air and bacteria. Third, utilizing lactobacillus and other beneficial organisms and lactic acid to break down the proteins and preserve the food (fermenting).

The way I make sauerkraut (see Ch. 8 of 12 Steps) is that the unrefined salt preserves it for a few days while the (slower) lactic acid begins to take over. I have two-year old raw sauerkraut (that I preserved with whey from my yogurt/kefir) that has been unsealed (but covered tightly with a lid) that we are still eating. It’s too soft, and it’s better, texture-wise, at six months old. But it’s preserved, and the healthy bacteria help my family stay healthy.

It might help to address the semantics. The word “fermented” has a negative connotation. (Although beer drinkers who wouldn’t be caught dead eating fermented vegetables drink PLENTY of fermentation.) When you think of fermented, do you think of ROTTEN? We aren’t eating any rotten foods at my house. We could mentally replace that word with a much nicer one: cultured!

So, don’t eat fermented foods. Eat cultured ones!

If “bad” bacteria gets into your cultured foods and makes them “go bad,” you will know. They will taste bad and/or mold. I have almost never had this happen. Once it happened with a bottle of sauerkraut. Never with kefir or Rejuvelac.

My Rejuvelac ferments in a day. At CHI, they told me 3-5 days, but mine tastes plenty tart 24 hours after I blend the sprouts and water, and put it on the counter to grow (aka ferment, aka culture).

Here’s my new video showing this easy, inexpensive habit that has the potential to see you through the winter without viruses or infections!

The Grody Bloody Eyeball

The 1,200 people ticketed so far, for my Boise, Kennewick, Portland and Seattle classes later this week deserve to be warned that I look like a vampire. And also, I’m hoping a medical professional of some type can explain this to me.

A week ago I got hit, hard, in the eyeball with a tennis ball, in a Saturday league I play in. It was a minor injury considering that we forfeited after being up 4-1, when my partner fell on her wrist and sprained it, couldn’t keep playing. I didn’t think anything of it until I was driving a couple of days ago to soccer practice and looked at my daughter in the rear-view mirror–and gasped out loud. It was a…..Grody Bloody Eyeball!

I said: “Libby! Have you seen this?”

“Yep,” she said.

“Why didn’t you tell me?!” I asked.

“I figured you knew. Don’t you ever look in the mirror?”

I then texted or showed 3 of my 5 BFF’s that day:

“Did you see my Grody Bloody Eyeball?” I got exactly the same response from Matthew, Kristin, and Jamie:

“Yeah.” And then, when I asked why the heck nobody filled me in:

“Sorry. I figured you knew.”

Where is the Love? The Compassion? The Sympathy?

If you ever have a Grody Bloody Eyeball, I will say this to you:

“Awwww, I had that once! Does it hurt? I’m so sorry! It looks painful.” This is good Grody Bloody Eyeball etiquette.

I googled “Grody Bloody Eyeball,” and learned about Subconjunctival Hemmorhage, caused by injury–but also by sneezing or vomiting, or eye rubbing, or high blood pressure! The conjunctiva, or outer layer of the eyeball, is WHITE. Why do no capillaries show in the white part—until one breaks? Is that how the Grody Bloody gets there? It looks like a blood vessel broke and spread out over a square inch.

Is the Grody Bloody the ‘eyeball equivalent’ of a BRUISE? If so, why can’t they just call it Eyeball Bruise?

Every day it morphs, moves. Today it’s touching my iris.

I roll my eyes to the left, hiss and snarl and pull my lips back, and make my fingers into claws, to make my children scream. Except for that, the GBE isn’t all that fun.

Classroom rewards that aren’t food

One of my readers gave me a cool resource, in response to my story about going to my son’s 6th grade teacher asking her to reconsider her policy of giving candy for good behavior and academic performance.

It’s called, How to Reward and Motivate Kids Without Using Food. Here it is.

I bet few teachers have ever seen this. But it’s a great idea and I’m supportive of anyone who tries to interrupt the easy path to good behavior and good grades. That path is a cop-out, and the results to children are harmful. With 1/3 of our kids overweight, and childhood diabetes and asthma and ADD skyrocketing, we don’t need to add calories, acidity, and disease risk to their too-sedentary school day.

Not to mention the tooth decay, depression, fatigue, vulnerability to viruses and bacterial infections, and many other consequences that come with feeding a kid sugar and salt as a reward.

When I talked to the teacher about my wish that my son not be rewarded with candy in the classroom, she said, “Can I give him pretzels instead?” I said, “Uhhh, white flour. Salt.” She laughed and said, okay.

(It’s still rewarding behavior with junk food.)

I hope parents and teachers read this report and share it with others, because it has lots of great ideas.

EVERY time I have a conversation with other parents about the junk-food-in-the-classroom thing, they express their frustration and disapproval. Even regular “Standard American Diet” families aren’t happy about their subpar diet being supplemented with an extra couple pocketfuls of candy almost every day.

But it’s like Matthew said with the Zumba class last week—WHY were we the only ones to leave, or say anything, about the music that made our ears ring long afterward? Virtually all the parents dislike it. Virtually none SAY anything.

I wish more people would speak up. I talk to the teachers in a respectful, non-threatening way. If you’re a parent, I hope you will, too.

How much is your health worth?

Yesterday, I rode my bike on my usual path. It’s a 20-mile ride up and down Provo Canyon, turning away from Sundance, to the top of South Fork. The road dead ends there, in front of the Girl Scouts’ Trefoil Ranch.

On the way up, a bull moose in my path took my breath away. I’ve heard moose (Meese? Meesen?) bellowing at each other, but I’ve never seen one up there! I stopped and tried to take a photo, but then he snorted so I figured I’d better get a move on!

On the way down, just past Bridal Veil Falls, there was a bighorn sheep in my path! I have never seen one, outside of the zoo! I had to slam on my brakes to stop short of him. Then he ran down and kinda chased a terrified jogger off the path and into the trees. Then he ran back up into my path and trotted towards me. Scary, because I couldn’t have turned my bike around on the narrow path if I’d wanted to.

I got a picture, but it’s just his tail; you can’t even tell what kind of animal it is.

This made my day and I had a giant grin on my face all the way down. My life is ridiculously awesome because I’m blessed to be so physically active—even though I was fat and ill, 20 years ago. Sometimes when I’m skiing, biking, or just won a tennis tournament, I feel a little guilty. I think of all my peers who couldn’t make it up that 10-mile ascent if they were handed a $15,000 decked-out Trek road bike.

Tons of people my age are coming home from work and going into “energy conservation” mode, plopping into the La-Z Boy every night after work and doing as little as possible until bedtime. They don’t even LIKE television, but it’s all they have the energy for. Some of my peers are sidelined by diagnoses like ALS, migraines, obesity, diabetes.

Somebody said to me recently, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Your work, your hobbies, your relationships, everything is impacted negatively, eroded, as you lose your health. The cool thing is, you can regain it—incrementally, gradually, but you CAN regain it, but only if you’re willing to put in some effort.

I have gone to Zumba the last three nights in a row with Matthew. Last night, the teacher’s music was so LOUD that our ears were ringing and we both left before the end.

Today he sent me an article about how verbal persuasion is the LEAST effective way to motivate people. The MOST effective is personal experience. A study showed that nurses who had suffered a hospital-acquired infection were much more likely to tell others to wash their hands.

But, nurses in the study were just as motivated if a close friend or family member suffered an infection. So, vicarious experience can be just as powerful! This is exciting news—apparently, we DON’T have to learn everything “the hard way!”

Matthew wrote in the same email, “Why were you and I the ONLY people saving our ears and walking out? No one even asked the teacher to turn it down! It’s like people eating stuff that hurts them because everyone else is doing it.”

I like the fact that MY experience can help you avoid the same fate. Matthew also wrote, about the quote from the article that nurses were “turning their hand hygiene into a moral passion:”

“This is totally you, when you teach your class!”

When I teach, I tell my story, of 21 CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS I had at the age of 26, that went bye-bye because of my excellent diet and simple but consistent lifestyle habits. When I teach, I tell about the desperate health crisis of my baby boy, once on constant antibiotics, steroids, and bronchodilators, who is now a 6’3″ drug-free, illness-free college-prep athlete. Learn vicariously from my story, rather than doing it the hard way!

It’s so worth the time I’ve spent educating myself and developing new habits. Drinking Rejuvelac every day, my new habit from Creative Health Institute, makes me happy! I don’t really love the stuff yet, but I don’t hate it, either. And I love the thought, “Wow, I just drank a big glass of enzymes and probiotics!” It’s SO easy to make, and now it’s the base of my green smoothies and no one has even noticed!

I am going to learn something new and awesomely cool everyplace I go in the coming year, and I’m going to teach it to you when I get home!

Great people and great stories from last week!

In my Utah classes last week, we had 200 in Layton, 300 in Sandy, and 400 in my hometown of Orem. A few people stood up to tell us the radical health changes they’re experiencing, as they begin eating whole foods.

(Lauralee in Layton came for the 5th time with new friends, and Elisa in Sandy came for the 6th time! I feel like I should make up new stories, just for them.)

Knight Hunt who had a heart attack at age 30, now my age, had to fly to NYC at the last minute, so he wasn’t there. But he emailed me the day of class that he’s now drinking 3 QUARTS of green smoothie a day, and his tastes have changed so much that he puts almost no fruit in them, and looks good and feels amazing!

Jen Baldwin won the blender in Layton and was ecstatic (here’s a photo she took). She blogged about her journey to health using my 12 Steps program and green smoothies—check out how her weight finally started to really drop when she added the green smoothie habit! Read about her reaction to winning the blender, and more, here:

http://jenbearbaldwin.blogspot.com/

Steve Terry has been to my class 3x and he looked so great this time, having lost 45 lbs., that I gasped when I saw him. He was a cardiac patient in a desperate health crisis, blood pressure and triglycerides off the charts, when his daughter got him to read my book. He’s now a green smoothie devotee and 12 Stepper and he is RUNNING MARATHONS in his 50’s!

Mechel in Sandy read my book six months ago and lost 9 lbs. the first WEEK, as she put it, “sitting on the couch eating ice cream.” I was stumped when she told me this, thinking, “Uhhhhh, that is NOT part of my program.” (And I was also thinking, “You must have been retaining a lot of water!” How does anyone lose 9 lbs. in one week? Wow.)

She then explained that she learned about GSG from the blender demo guy at Costco, who showed her how to make my “Green Ice Cream.”

I have a chocolate pudding with greens in it, but unless they’re freezing it, I’m not sure where the Green Ice Cream came from in my books? When I started doing green smoothies 17 years ago, I did call it “Green Cream” for my 1-year old. If I’ve forgotten a recipe, somebody help me. Mechel is not the first person to tell me that a Costco Demo Guy is showing a green “ice cream” and attributing it to me. I think it might be in one of our recipe collections with reader contributions!

But here’s it is:

Costco Guy’s Green Ice Cream He Thinks Is My Recipe

3 Cups Spinach

7 oz. Almond Milk

4 oz. raw, organic agave

1 Scoop vegan protein powder

3 Cups Ice

Blend on your ice cream setting in your BlendTec, and enjoy!

Mechel went on to lose a total of 31 lbs. in the past several months and DISAPPEAR all her symptoms of multiple sclerosis!