I’m about to tell you exactly how I eat. Simply, inexpensively, and with endless variety.
Except for salad dressings, I use few recipes. (And even those, I take liberties with!) The first few years in your journey to a whole-foods, plant-based diet, you follow a lot of recipes. (Longtime raw foodies call this “transitional eating.”) It’s normal. In fact, it’s an important phase. It’s instructive, as you experiment with whole foods and ingredients.
You spend a lot of time. Then eating starts to get much easier and simpler. You have many tricks up your sleeve. You are resourceful. Missing an ingredient or two is no problem.
The key to my method is, don’t stress about it. You can’t mess this up! Eating this way is cheap, and it’s also a great way to use a hodgepodge of random plant foods or leftovers in your fridge.
Be inventive and never get stuck in a rut–anything in the produce section fits in this way of eating. I virtually never add salt (even sea salt) to my food. Many of these fillings and sauces have so much flavor, you won’t miss added salt.
Start with a base, add one or more toppings or fillings, and play with sauces or spices. I hope this helps you enjoy the magical world of eating greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds–the nutrient-dense plant kingdom of food!
Bowl: brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet, lentils, split peas
Salad: romaine, spring greens, bean sprouts, or other sprouts
Wrap: sprouted grain tortilla, collard leaf, organic corn tortillas, nori (seaweed for sushi)
Sauces for Chinese, Thai, Mexican foods (avoid MSG, corn syrup, and other chemical ingredients–these are very inferior to all Ch. 3 dressings)
Have Indian, Italian, Thai, and Mexican organic spice blends on hand.
Always have ginger, turmeric, chili pepper, cayenne, dried parsley, and garlic powder, too. (I avoid pepper, as it is a gastrointestinal irritant.)A few dashes of whatever you feel like, to any of the above, and you’ve completely changed the flavor of the meal, plus added some nutrition!
You can toss into your fillings raw apple cider vinegar or miso (non-GMO) for flavoring.
GreenSmoothieGirl reader Kristen, from the east coast, sent me a story about her family’s improvement in health when they started drinking green smoothies and “cleaning up” their diet. Check out the chart that Kristen’s husband, Lee, made, showing how dramatically their healthcare costs went DOWN when their consumption of nutrient-dense foods went UP!
Kristen’s daughter’s health was declining, as a preschooler. An ENT doctor told Kristen that Riley needed tubes, as well as tonsil/adenoid surgery. Kristen began to study. She bought the Blendtec at Costco. The sales guy wrote GreenSmoothieGirl.com down, for Kristen, and told her to go there. Lee bought Kristen a 12 Steps to Whole Foods program several years ago, and she’s been devoted to increasing whole foods in her family’s diet. They cut out dairy. They dramatically decreased sugar. Within 6 months, Riley was off all drugs, including albuterol. She’s now 9 years old!
[Note from Robyn: Kristen is probably aware my oldest son was on albuterol and many other drugs, and that’s what we did–got him off dairy and sugar, and onto a diet of primarily greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, in their natural state. As with Kristen’s story, the drugs and underweight and mucous and constant viruses didn’t disappear overnight–but they disappeared over 6 months. I agree with her, that it takes a dedicated effort, and a willingness to watch and wait as changes show up!]
“I love our story. I love how God has directed our path to better health. Four lives are changed, right here!”
Kristen, thank you for sharing. Your story is so similar to mine, and I hope that for years, as people search this blog and find you, that you are a part of inspiring them to make nutrition part of their wellness journey!
I am updating the 12 Steps to Whole Foods manual for our 5th Edition, and I’d love some of your very best HEALTHY TREAT recipes. If it’s made from whole plant foods, no processed or animal products, and you’re willing to share and have it published, send it with your NAME and HOMETOWN, and we’ll print it in this next edition! Send to firstname.lastname@example.org, and THANK YOU!
I love helping people figure out how to get away from corn syrup and chemicals and toxic fats in their “junk food” of choice, and how to find something delicious that also nourishes their every cell. I’ve got lots of great recipes in 12 Steps, but I bet you can help me make that 400-page, full-color manual even better!
Your sending the recipe is your permission to share it—and please don’t send anything that is copyrighted by someone else. Please check your measurements and instructions very carefully, as we won’t have time to kitchen-test these before this new edition goes to print.
I love to share what’s working for you, with my readers. I’ll share some of your recipes on my blog, too!
I recently blogged Kathy’s story. I met her in Baltimore, on speaking tour, and then again 6 months later when she looked like a different person! She lost 40 pounds doing the 26-day GreenSmoothieGirl Detox. You can see the before and after photos she took with me, here. An amazing testimonial to the miracles that happen when we eat clean, nutrient-dense, healing plant foods and give up our vices…..even if it’s just for a season.
Kathy has been sharing with us how her co-workers about to finish the GSG Detox, and one she has converted to green smoothies, are doing:
Ron and Brian have started Day 15 (Watermelon Extravaganza!). Ron has lost 13.5 pounds! He can now fit into pants he had outgrown. He has struggled with lower energy, and I told him his body is working overtime to detoxify, and that energy comes back. Brian shared that he cheated a little because he was afraid of losing too much weight. It was a minor cheat. I told him that 98% of a detox is better than 0%! Brian has been able to keep his weight loss to just 5 pounds. In his case, that is good news as he doesn’t need to lose any weight. He likes the Hockey Pucks recipe in the program, and his kids ate them all, so he had to make more. His 5-year old asks for “pucks!”
Chuck is getting used to drinking brown smoothies. Chuck and I are having a debate as to whether to peel a beet or leave the skin on before putting it in a smoothie. He is determined to convince me that I should leave the skin on the beet. (I peel my beets.) I know that most of the nutrition in a potato is in the skin. I also scrub carrots (instead of peeling). But beets? I think the skin of a beet is pretty “earthy”. I’d rather peel.
The pictures were taken shortly before our Tuesday lunch-time Bible study began. Our group is small. It consists of myself, Brian, Ron, Chuck, Jean (Ron’s girlfriend), Cole, Louie and Bill (a recent addition to the group). Bill entered the room with his lunch and sat down at the conference table. He looked over at my mason jar filled with a brown smoothie (FYI: blueberries!) and commented, “That looks disgusting. You’d never catch me drinking that stuff.”
I looked over at him and said, “Just for that, I’m going to get you a drinking cup from the water fountain so you can taste it! I know you chew tobacco so tasting this smoothie won’t kill you.”
Bill quipped, “Yeah, but I don’t swallow my tobacco!”
Jean suggested, “Why don’t you get 3 cups so he can taste them all?”
Bill looked around the table and saw that the majority of people had a green smoothie in front of them. I arrived with the cups and poured Bill a sample from my smoothie.
Bill commented, “That’s pretty good.”
“What was that, Bill??” I said. “Say it again!”
“That’s pretty good.”
Next, Bill tried Chuck’s smoothie. “Yuck! That’s nasty! What’s in it?”
Jean pipes in. “It’s probably his gall bladder medicine.”
“There’s no medicine in this.” Bill countered in disbelief.
“Yes, there is.” responded Chuck. “I put gall bladder medicine in everything I drink.”
The entire room busted out laughing. Bill’s expression was priceless!
I later found out that Chuck had an entire (unpeeled) beet in his smoothie as one of his ingredients. Bill, to his credit, did try Brian/Ron’s smoothie and liked it. I asked Bill if he was willing to sample a smoothie some other time, if I thought I made a good one. He was willing. The next day, I left Bill a sample of Robyn’s delicious, famous “Hot Pink Smoothie” recipe on his desk. (It’s part of the Detox, and also 12 Steps to Whole Foods.) He emailed me and said it made him smile.
Note from Robyn: Kathy, thank you! Here’s Chuck’s green smoothie recipe she shared. He has embraced the idea of “green smoothie with whatever you have on hand.” Cheers to NEW CONVERTS to an amazing lifestyle in a world full of toxic food that destroys “la vida pura!”
Chuck’s Good Stuff (Green Smoothie)
2 cups water
1 small banana
1 ½ cup of berries
1 TBS agave
3 TBS concentrated lemon juice
3 TBS olive oil
One peeled and pitted avocado
Cilantro (to taste)
Added enough spinach and kale to 2 cups of water until the blended mixture reaches 4 cups. Add remaining ingredients. Blend. Enjoy.
My friend Lyle is a 5th generation farmer. He has a marketing degree (partly thanks to yours truly, as I was once his professor). He lives and works in Boston and bears an uncanny resemblance to Jesus. But he grew up in a very small farming community in Utah, the youngest of a big family, where he says, “We were dirt poor and couldn’t afford junk food. So we ate food we made on the farm.”
He said his mom would “go into town” (he’s referring to Springville, Utah, which is pretty funny if you live near here) to this “crappy store” where they had unlabeled can sales. Only $0.10 a can, but you have no idea what you’re buying. Then his mom would make Ten Can Soup. They’d open 10 cans, and no matter what was in them……into the pot they’d go, with some broth and hamburger.
The kids got good at shaking the cans and listening carefully to make their best guess at what was in them. What a relief when a can was some form of tomatoes! One wrong move, and you’ve got yourself some mighty weird dinner.
One time Lyle and his brother dared each other to open one can and eat the contents no matter what they were. Lyle’s can was……dog food.
Imagine my surprise when Lyle announced he was going to do the GSG Detox. In fact, he was my own Detox buddy in January, while he was here for a month helping on the farm. He lost 10 lbs. and felt great, never cheated despite having a typical single 29-year old’s social life…and then devoured the 12 Steps to Whole Foods course, and did pretty much everything in it, in a matter of weeks. (I told him that Coach Sarah did it in 6 weeks. He is rather competitive.)
I think he slid back into his front-row days as my Management Communications 320 student where he got A’s. Just as long as I dished out lots of praise. (I’m pretty good at that—happy to oblige, if it provokes the student to work and learn.) Six years later, he repeats specific compliments he got on specific papers he wrote. He liked teacher praise and still does—I guess I’m dishing out more in this blog.
A few months after the detox, he’s devoted to making kefir, green smoothies, kale chips with his dehydrator, and eating healthy treats he makes himself, instead of former processed go-to snacks. Gone are the days of drinking gallons of cow milk. It’s not that he eats a perfect diet. It’s that he has a solid foundation in true principles of nutrition, now, and lots of great habits. As opposed to bits and pieces of nonsense from the various food cults, and a lot of food from boxes and cans and the drive-thru.
Lyle has great habits now that very few 29-year old single American men would be willing to make. Not while they’re at their ideal weight and not yet suffering from any health issues. We have whole conversations about how his kefir grains are getting much bigger, and are acclimating well after he accidentally shocked them. Stuff like that. He was bold and growth-oriented during the detox…..even did Level 2 after a while! I couldn’t be prouder.
His whole life will be radically different if he stays the course. Jeff Olsen’s book, The Slight Edge, talks about how small healthy, or unhealthy, habits, don’t show up as radically different lives, in the first week, or month. But after a year, the positive slight edge habits arc your health upward dramatically. And negative slight edge habits take you downward, quickly, after a significant period of time. I wish we could all see an age progression of what we’ll look like, in 20 years, eating the S.A.D., versus eating 12 Steps to Whole Foods. I think we’d find it shocking and compelling.
No one is ever sorry they adopted healthy eating habits.
Lyle is even trying to talk his parents into changing the farm into an organic operation.
Today he told me when he was home in January, his mom’s two-year old Blendtec had 87 cycles on it. When he left a month later, it had 175. And they’d given him a new one for Christmas.
(Use that sucka! Touring Blendtec last year, I saw their sound-proof testing rooms where they run test blenders 24/7—they’re committed to making a blender that literally never overheats. It’s kind of freaky, actually. A blender running all night, while everyone’s gone? They’re serious about making the best blender in the world.)
Sometimes we get profound stories of people changing their lives, and I love to share some of them here. This one has an amazing twist in it that might give you chills, if you’re like me.
Melissa is a new green smoothie convert and shares with everyone around her. In fact, the day before she wrote me this story, a mom at her son’s baseball game came running up to her waving a big jar of green, saying, “Aren’t you proud of me? I’ve got my green smoothie today, too!
In 2012, Melissa was exercising and thought she was “eating right” when her cardiologist told her she needed to be on prescription drugs for her high blood pressure. Melissa was devastated because she had watched her mother being subject to more and more drugs, with their cascading negative effects.
After starting the drugs, Melissa began to have frightening additional tachycardia that caused her heart to beat as high as 244 beats per minute–requiring another IV drug to “shock” her heart and stop it momentarily to return it to a normal rhythm. She underwent an ablation surgery, and because she was not completely anesthetized, she suffered severe trauma during the procedure and vowed to never again find herself in this situation.
Melissa began to pray and search, and she saw her childhood friend, Emily, writing on facebook about GreenSmoothieGirl coaches’ classes. She also came to my lecture in September last year, and won the 12 Steps to Whole Foods course!
As Melissa listened to my green smoothie lecture last fall, she said she “felt this may well be the answer I was looking for.” She prayed and miraculously won the 12 Steps to Whole Foods course. She says,
“Suddenly weight that I had always dismissed as ‘genetics’ melted off me. […]This new way of eating….my blood pressure is better today OFF meds than it was a year ago ON meds!”
Melissa sent me her bp reading to prove it!
People started asking Melissa what she was doing differently. She’d fill them in on her changes: using plants as medicine, and plants as food. In fact, she filled them in even if they DIDN’T ask! If someone said, “My back is really sore today,” she’d share! In January, she started hosting classes of her own.
She invited a friend, who hates veggies and calls herself a “supertaster.” This friend ended up loving Coach Mariza’s famous Orange Julius Green Smoothie and instantly decked herself out with essential oils and a turbo blender.
Melissa had tickets to my lecture in San Rafael earlier this month with her daughter. She announced to her daughter, as well as her husband, who laughed at her, “I’m coming home with the Blendtec.”
Here’s where the story gets really interesting. Melissa says:
“While I was at the lecture, I again was praying for a sign. ‘If this is really what I need to pursue I will win that Blendtec, right, God?’ The moment of truth arrived, and a red ticket was pulled. We had white tickets, so my daughter and I both sighed. The woman right in front of us won the Blendtec. How exciting for her! We were bummed, but it must not have been meant to be.
“As the lecture ended, the woman who won the Blendtec turned to my daughter and asked her if she drinks green smoothies. My daughter told her yes. I let her know that she takes them to school and kids give her a hard time, but she couldn’t care less. She then asked me if I had a Blendtec. I told her no, just a smaller and less effective blender. She told us that she has a Blendtec.
“She went on to say that she knew she was going to win, and had decided in advance she wanted to bless us with it! My daughter and I couldn’t believe it. We were in shock!
A note from Robyn here: Because there are people in my audience who come specifically to win the Blendtec, and need it desperately to turn their life around, and can’t afford it, I’ve been doing something at the end of class lately. I tell the audience that if they already have a turbo blender, please don’t tell the audience when they come up to claim the Blendtec. (I want the audience to meet them. I want to ask what they’re gonna do with their blender.)
I make a joke about how we’d like them to actually make it to their car with it, and we don’t have bodyguards. (I’ve already talked about how I use my Blendtec 5 times a day, and how it’s critical for use in any whole-foods lifestyle.) So, don’t tell.
But, if they already own one, their task between their chair and coming up to claim their grand prize, is to decide:
Who in your life would be blessed by your USED one?
Everyone usually laughs, since I just gave them permission to keep their prize and pass off the old one.
But I’m deeply moved by this Good Samaritan, who didn’t stick around–I don’t know who she was—-who already knew she was going to give this brand-new, $450 whole-foods machine to a perfect stranger.
I love that some people do selfless things quietly, just because it’s the right thing to do. Melissa wrote:
“I asked her if she was sure, several times. She assured me it was ours. I held back my tears and gave her a big hug! I am glad we didn’t win it because to me this was an even clearer sign that this is what I need to and want to do. I want to share Robyn’s message with others. I want to help others heal themselves, by taking control of what they eat back into their own hands. I want to continue to share my own story to inspire, support, and nurture others into finding the health and peace in their lives, that Robyn’s story helped me find for myself.”
I want to thank Blendtec for donating one of their amazing machines for me to giveaway at all my classes. That’s 90 cities in 2014! An average 4-5 city lecture tour costs, not including my time, about $8,000 in airfare, employee time, hotels, rental cars, gas, hotels, volunteer gifts, etc. We do not always come out ahead.
So, Blendtec’s sponsorship helps make it possible for me to share a message I love, that changed my family’s life, and continues to change others’ lives.
THANK YOU BLENDTEC!! And thank you, Melissa, for sharing this beautiful story. I’m so excited that you are sharing what you’re learning with everyone around you.
And most of all, Melissa, her family, and I thank the Good Samaritan who did this good deed. Not for the first time, editing this story for publication on my blog has brought tears to my eyes.
I am inspired and will be a better person because of you, friend.