Firestarters in the journey

I teach in 50 cities annually. After my lecture, I talk to people one-on-one for 90 minutes, to sign books and answer questions.

This is the first thing they say to me, almost always:
“I’m here because my [brother, hairdresser, college roommate, next-door neighbor] introduced me to you.”
Isn’t it interesting that after standing in line for an hour, sometimes two, the very FIRST thing someone wants to tell me is who the person is they thank for starting them on what they intuitively recognize as a JOURNEY? We’re all on a journey. Picture an actual path. You’re on it. I’m on it. A lot of people you know aren’t even on it yet. It’s a lifestyle shift, and it has to happen to regenerate health. The Atkins Diet won’t do it. Weight Watchers won’t do it. A return to wholeness has to include a return to whole foods.Let’s call the person who introduced you to GSG, or a whole-foods journey, your personal Firestarter.Sometimes the Firestarter is with the person attending my class. Beaming. Because it’s rewarding to get the credit as the person who puts someone on a path to health and wholeness.I always thank and congratulate the Firestarter, if I get to meet him or her.

Sometimes Firestarter is not there. Might even live in a different state or even country. Sometimes introducing a friend to whole foods living is a simple as an email saying, “You should check out this site—you’ll love it.”And the new GSG reader is born and takes it from there. They sign up for the free newsletter. They might become a blog reader, read one of my books, participate in the group buy in the Fall, or dive in with 12 Steps to Whole Foods, which is the game-changer around here.By the way, you know who the #1 group of Firestarters are? The Costco Blendtec demo employees. I don’t know any of them personally. But they send tons of people to the site. Some of them have printed on their business cards. Some of them write on the box when people check out at Costco.Why? They’ve told me why, when I stop by and say hi if I’m shopping at Costco. It’s because then people don’t return their blender. They learn that it is actually a powerful tool for turning their health around. It’s not just an expensive milkshake maker.
The commonality in this experience I’ve had hundreds of times, meeting people who attend my class and hearing who introduced them to me, is that we never forget the person who taught us something life-changing.
I will never forget my grandmother, whose example I watched when I was 15, swimming upstream to opt out of oncology treatments and buy a Champion juicer and go to work starving her cancer out from the roots.She was doing it to save her life. Not to save mine, or my son’s, 20 years later. But I was watching and learning. She wasn’t a warm or nurturing person, my grandmother—she was steely and distant. Raised in the Depression without a mother. I still loved her, and she still changed my life. Turns out, you don’t have to be perfect to inspire others.
I will never forget my neighbor Brenda Corbridge, who was diagnosed in her late 30’s with colon cancer. And did wheat grass juice and a mostly-raw diet rather than undergo chemo and radiation, after losing her sister at a young age to cancer.
Brenda told me to go see a practitioner way outside the medical model, named Paul Leatham. He was the biggest Firestarter of all, for me.He shocked me by saying he didn’t give a #$&! what my son’s diagnosis was—he just wanted to “drain the swamp.” He taught me to stop the mucous production and inflammation and spasms in my son’s lungs. In a different way than with pharmaceuticals.
Later Brenda and I took turns making wheat grass in her garage, 2 oz. a day for each of us, while I was pregnant with my third child. It was wintertime and very cold, and the smell of the wheatgrass made me gag. It was banished to the garage because Brenda’s husband complained he didn’t like the smell of it in the house.
Paul Leatham taught me to eat alkaline, living, plant foods. Sixty to 80 percent raw. Abandon highly acidic meat, dairy, white flour, sugar. In so doing, we disappeared all symptoms of my little boy’s asthma. We got his life back, and I got my health back in the process, too.
I will never forget Gwen Lund, who provided my family raw goat milk for 10 years. She taught me about yogurt—years later, I’d learn how to make kefir. (Even better, made with raw milk rather than scalded, and easier to make.) My children stopped getting sick with that step, which I teach, along with lots of other probiotic-food ideas, in Step 8 of 12 Steps.Gwen did little sourdough bread classes in her home, free of charge, and fed her nine children whole foods.
I will never forget a neighbor, Charlene Stott, another mom of a big family living on a tight budget, who went 100% raw for 5 years. Her front yard was filled with fruit trees and her backyard had a big homemade greenhouse. She was a self-taught herbalist and made an amazing concoction she calls “Anti-Plague” that astonished me with how fast and effectively it knocked out viruses and bacterial infections. Garlic, raw apple cider vinegar, and 8 immune-stimulating herbs.
I love these women. And Paul Leatham. Paul died after a motorcycle accident two years ago, and I rarely see any of those women anymore. But they will forever be titans in my memory and in my journey. My personal Firestarters.
You have this power in the lives of people you introduce to the lifestyle you’re living, or even beginning to learn.
Think about this:
People who love you are suffering with all kinds of unnecessary health problems.
Before there were refined foods and chemical additives and a 20% animal protein habit, there was virtually no cancer or heart disease.

I love that I have a career in introducing people to simple but revolutionary concepts that are nothing less than life-changing.

You have that opportunity, too. Be the change. Introduce others to the magic of a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods.
Remember, most people don’t know what nutrient-dense is. They are obsessed with protein. They’re completely exhausted by all the food cults that compete for their attention. They have no idea that the way they’re eating is all wrong—or at least mostly wrong.
You will enjoy the path to wholeness better if you bring a few friends along.
Make it simple for them.
Good nutrition is simple. We don’t have to obsess about calories or macronutrient breakdown.
We just eat greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
We find easy, low-effort, delicious ways to do that. We root the lifestyle in habits.
Thank you for your role, as a green smoothie girl or guy, in bringing awareness to our grass-roots campaign, to re-educate the Western world about where health comes from and how you get there.