Top 10 legumes, part 3 of 4

legume wordHere’s a primer on using some of my favorite whole foods with a weird name, pronounced “lay-gooms.” Eating a lot of these, along with lots of greens, vegetables, and fruits leads to finding your ideal weight. Everything about them is perfect for weight loss! They are bulky, high in fiber, low in calories, and high in micro-nutrients. Legumes in general are high in fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and calcium.

lentilsLentils. My lentil soup with cooked carrots and celery and onion, in Ch. 6 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods is the best thing ever. Lentils are truly a super food. And you can buy the red, green, or brown varieties, all of which have a slightly different nutritional profile and texture. Brown lentils are the most common and least expensive. You don’t need to soak lentils, like beans. They’re high in fiber, protein, Vitamins B1, B5, B6, niacin, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese.

split peasSplit Peas. They’re so easy to use in soup–and please leave the bacon out! In my next post, I’ll share my split pea recipe. They take about an hour to cook and are called ‘split peas’ because when they’re harvested and dried, they naturally split in half. They are high in protein, fiber, Vitamin B1 and B5, potassium, and phosphorus.

Black Beans. Everyone’s favorite legume. I love to add it to guacamole and salsa as a dip, or mash for a burrito. High in protein, Vitamin B1, iron, folate, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese.

black eyed peasBlack-Eyed Peas. Most people in the Northern states don’t know this delightful little legume, but they cook in an hour or less. I grew up with a bowlful, plus a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar, being dinner! They’re high in fiber, protein, four B vitamins, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese.

pinto 2Pinto Beans. These might be the cheapest legume you can buy, and easy to store. I grew up with this food as a staple that raised 8 children to adulthood on one military salary. Big pots of vegetarian chili are one of my main memories of growing up. Pinto beans are high in fiber, protein, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, B1, and molybdenum.

Kidney Beans. These are my favorite for adding to a salad, as they taste very starchy, which is a nice complement and balance to crunchy greens and vegetables. Plus they’re pretty and dark red. A mix of these and pinto beans are great in vegetarian chili. They are high in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins B1, B3, B5, and calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron.

chick peasChickpeas (Garbanzo Beans). Everybody loves hummus, and there are so many things you can put in mashed chickpeas with a little lemon juice, sea salt, and tahini (sesame paste): sundried tomatoes or any kind of olives, for instance. I also love them in salads. They’re low in calories and high in protein, fiber, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, and iron.

soy beansSoybeans. Soybeans are heavily genetically modified in North America, so buy ONLY organic to make sure you’re getting the good available from this food, and not the bad. Soybeans are extremely high in protein, so for many years, vegetarians made use of soy-based “meat replacement” products. I suggest avoiding all processed soy products and eating only whole, organic, occasional soybean foods such as edamame, tofu, or tempeh, or organic miso or nama shoyu as seasonings. Soybeans are well known to be high in isoflavones, a class of antioxidants known to be anti-cancer that ease hormonal symptoms in women and increase bone density. They’re also high in fiber, calcium, Vitamin B2, manganese, molybdenum, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and omega-3 fats.

lima beansLima Beans. Called “butter beans,” these large Peruvian beans make a nice soup with onions and root vegetables (potatoes, turnips, carrots, etc.), or they’re great mashed in a burrito or with sweet potatoes. They’re high in protein and fiber, as well as folate, molybdenum, tryptophan, manganese, potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin B1.

mung beansMung Beans.  Ayurvedic doctors feed this to sick people because they’re such a power food. It’s easy to sprout these tiny beans; just soak them overnight, drain in the morning, and rinse and rotate them twice a day until you see “tails” about ¼” long. In two days, you’ve got a superfood for your salads and sandwiches. They’re chock full of protein, fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, iron, and phosphorus.

Everything you need to know about legumes, part 2 of 4

square legsMatthew wrote me and said instead of telling people to eat legumes, I need to tell people what legumes are, and what the best 10 are.

That last part, the best 10, is somewhat subjective. I will tell you, nonetheless, 10 great legumes, because this whole class of food is HIGHLY UNDERRATED. That’s my next blog post. For now, I’m going to tell you some reasons to commit to eating this food group regularly.

heart legumesThey’re cheap, they’re high in fiber, they’re high in micro-nutrients, they’re filling, they’re low in calories, and they’re easy to obtain, worldwide. They store well and have a long shelf life, especially split peas and many beans.

They’re great for your heart. They have nutrients and fiber that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help you lose weight.

Eat a cup a day of cooked legumes, or more!

You can eat them in soups and stews, add cooked or sprouted ones to salads, or grind dry ones for bread or baked goods to substitute for part of the grains. I have LOTS of recipes in Ch. 6 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods with fabulous main dishes that deliciously leverage legumes.

They generally take an hour to cook, some even longer. But I highly recommend cooking your own, rather than buying them canned. Not only will you save money, but you’ll avoid sodium and any weird phthalates and other stuff leaching from the inside of the can.

Cook a big giant batch, to save time, and save 1 cup servings in Ziploc baggies in the freezer.

blacksalsguacI like to add black beans and salsa to guacamole, so that I can eat lots of it on homemade organic corn chips. Then I’m guilt-free about the high calories and fat in guacamole. (I usually eat a whole avocado in one sitting. It’s very nearly a perfect food!)

I like to add chick peas (garbanzo beans) to salads. I love all varieties of lentils in soups. Find a few ways that you love to eat legumes!

Rinse legumes very well before putting fresh water on them to cook. They are amazingly dirty when they come out of the bag. Beans need to soak overnight (legumes lentils and split peas don’t). Or, bring clean beans to a boil, turn it off, and let them soak two hours, to speed up the process. If they have been in your storage for years, I recommend soaking them, draining the water, and soaking them a second time, for up to a whole day. This makes flatulence less likely, which is a significant risk of eating really old beans.

beans soakFlatulence comes from the oligo saccharides sugars in the beans not converting well a form of sugars your body can use easily. Soaking the beans before cooking makes them easier to digest.

To cook them, drain the soak water, and add at least 3 cups of water for every 1 cup you originally had of dry beans. Cook as much as you want, but remember that 1 cup of dry beans will become about 2.5 cups of cooked beans! Put clean, soaked beans in a heavy saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, keep covered, and cook until beans are tender.

For lentils or split peas, this will be about 45 minutes. For beans, it will be 2-3 hours, or for very old beans, it could be 4 hours.

Don’t add acidic things to your beans until they are fully cooked. Add tomatoes, vinegar, salt, or lemon juice later; otherwise it inhibits the beans cooking.

Edit: Corrected a typo above about soaking legumes.

On the Epic Price of Bad Food

images-26I’m running through tiny towns near pastoral Nidda, Germany, early in the morning in mid-November through a frost-bitten field of collard greens. Past a stream full of tiny, white-as-snow ducklings, cowbells clanking in the distance.

Or I’m winning a doubles match in an 11-9 third-set tiebreaker. Or losing it. Doesn’t matter, for the purpose of this little essay.

Or I’m bending myself in half, with the tops of my feet on the floor over my head, a yoga pose called the Plow.

I often want to put the scenes from my life, just a few from the last couple of months, in my back pocket, for later recall.

My LIFE! I only get ONE! I want to live it OUT LOUD doing new things, doing outrageous service that helps others! Meeting new amazing people all the time! Putting stuff on the bucket list and checking it off.

In these moments, like the frosty morning with the amazing white ducklings, I often think about the majority of people around me immobilized by their appetites. Salt, sugar, refined fats, MSG and aspartame have sidelined millions of people from the most rewarding parts of life. They don’t know what they’re missing! Or they do—but they think this cool stuff is for OTHER people.

images-28When you fuel your body right, do you know you make more money? Dream bigger? Experience more JOY? Actualize more goals? Live more authentically in your relationships? Act true to yourself more? Attract more good people in your life?

When I was fat and ate the S.A.D., my life was a flat line. Sure, it’s AGONY to lose a third-set tiebreaker after a 2.5-hour match, which I didn’t have when I couldn’t run a city block at age 26.

But ecstasy and agony are what gives life rich complexity.

I wouldn’t trade the highs and lows of the life I have now, for the flat-liner life I had then. Eating ice cream and watching TV and not much else. Wouldn’t trade for a million bucks.

I say this not to judge. I say it to encourage, to help you dream of finding that health, peace, spine-bendy, giddy, loving-to-be-in-my-skin quality you once had and CAN BE HAD AGAIN.

images-30I taught a wellness class recently. A lady raised her hand, after I made a passionate plea for a shift in lifestyle and diet. “I’m in my 50’s. Is it too late for me?” she asked.

“That’s the exciting thing!” I said. “A year from now, you will have replaced virtually every cell in your body! You will, in a very literal sense, be a completely different person! So, you can and should start RIGHT NOW and expect to see RADICAL CHANGES, and soon!”

In just 90 days, you’ll have a completely new liver. A GSG reader named Jeremy, in Dallas, recently found out he has Fatty Liver Disease, NAFLD. He tells me it’s a silent epidemic, and kids as young as 10 have it. He’s undertaken a 45-day juice feast, and a 45-day raw vegan diet after that. He intends to have a brand-new, clean, lean liver, so he can be playing basketball when he’s 65.

I said, why stop at 65? I know 80-yo basketball players who go to the Senior Games. You can be the most competitive you’ve EVER been, at that age! Because 99% of the competition is in a La-Z Boy or dead!

images-32In Europe, far fewer people are overweight. In Switzerland especially. I said this to the Swiss, and they laughed at me and said, “One in four of our schoolchildren are overweight!” Well, there’s a bakery on every corner.

I think they seem so thin to me partly out of relative comparison (70 percent in the U.S. are now overweight or obese), and partly because they ALL SMOKE. Seriously, I’ve never been around so much smoking.

And they drink coffee. So those two things make you sick (and they are sick, just like we are), but not fat. I choke on the exhaust in European cities, where there are no emission controls—Prague and Budapest, in Eastern Europe, are the worst.

When I see an obese fellow planet-dweller, American or Euro, I don’t feel condescending; I feel sad. I simply have this thought:

images-29“You are missing all the good stuff, my brother.”

Besides momentary pleasure on the tongue, sick foods rob us of nearly all the other pleasures of life. You know that “flow” of doing meaningful work you get lost in? It’s one of my favorite things in life.

Getting deep in a project. Pure PRODUCTIVITY, utilizing your talents. Challenging your brain, grabbing references off the shelf and looking them up, absolutely lost to the world. Getting thoughts on paper. Those are MY favorite projects, research and writing.

When your head hurts and you have no energy, FLOW is lost. Sleep apnea and fatigue mean that sitting through a play, or a movie, isn’t pleasurable like it should be.

Even sex isn’t the sweaty, athletic, joyous thing it’s meant to be.

images-33You see all the losses? The Standard American Diet adds up to nothing more than a pathetic mountain of loss.

I think sometimes that Americans are mice trapped in a labyrinthine maze. Nobody protests. We just eat the pellets we’re fed and walk around in the maze as directed. Asking no questions, following all the other mice.

Hop the wall of the maze with me, friend. Let me help pull you up. Hang around the GSG blog, come to our classes, do my 12 Steps course, never stop learning and practicing.

 

 

How I Beat My Sugar Addiction

sugar enticingDear GreenSmoothieGirl: Please do an article on the dangers of artificial sweeteners. I am trying to stop eating sugar, but am SO weak!  I’ve been reading some recommended books, and trying to exercise willpower, and I still struggle.   I’m curious what your process was, that led to success, and how you’ve been able to stay off sugar.  I could do it before I had kids, but now it seems SO much harder. I’d love to hear your tips of how she was able to enjoy family time, birthdays, holidays, etc, without the sugar.

–Dixie

Answer: You got it, Dixie. First, today, the “how I did it” part of your question. Then, tomorrow, some data download on the artificial sweeteners and why they’ll kill ya. I’ll review aspartame (Nutrasweet), Truvia, Splenda, saccharin, maltitol, and stevia.

HOW I BEAT MY SUGAR ADDICTION

I really believe that to truly kick the sugar addiction, you have to go off it permanently, cold-turkey. Can an alcoholic just “cut back?” Can a cocaine addict do lines “just on the weekend?”

no sugar pleaseI’m not saying you will NEVER eat sugar again. (I can’t handle that thought either. I have come further than most, though, to say, “I will not eat it for a year.” Don’t think too far in the future. Think about a long period of time, though. Something that hurts your brain a little. Something challenging.)

What I AM saying is, as long as it’s going to be a casual indulgence, it’s going to be an addiction.

It doesn’t work like that, casually. Addiction to chemicals hijack the brain. It makes us less than we are. It makes us feel we have no “willpower” and aren’t in control of our weight, our life, our health.

Is it worth it? Is sugar worth the price we pay? Academically, we all know it isn’t.

One day, I got completely out of the sugar rat race. It was Sept. 11, 2011. Matthew Flinders and I bet $10,000 that we wouldn’t eat sugar for a year.

When the option was off the table, I stopped thinking about it. It’s so incredibly rare that I even think about sugar now. Seriously. It takes a matter of DAYS before you just quit thinking about it. (Why think about it? Is there a cookie that’s worth $10,000? There isn’t, right?)

comboI have other treats I *could* have. I love COCO MOJO in hot water with COCONUT MILK POWDER. (So much that I put it in my store.) I have a mug full at my computer nearly every day in the winter. After I have my green smoothie or veggie juice.

I have agave-sweetened coconut-milk “ice cream” in my freezer, and a fruit-juice sweetened dark-chocolate hot fudge in my refrigerator. It’s legal, I could eat it every day if I wanted, but sometimes it’s there for months and gets freezer burned. Ditto a case of maltitol-sweetened cookies that are in my closet, haven’t touched them in months.

It’s important to know I COULD IF I WANTED. I just don’t really care, most of the time.

“Ah,” you’re thinking, “now you’ve lost me. You’re not like me. I really don’t see the point in living, if it doesn’t involve my daily treats.”

sugar thoughtsNo, listen. I get it. I don’t know if anyone was a bigger sugar addict than me. Writing that treats sit in my freezer and closet are a big triumph, since I was a lifelong sugar addict. I have deep fillings in all my molars to prove it. Did I fight it more successfully than most? Yes, by sheer will. Like a daily arm wrestle. But in MY OWN RESEARCH, 65% of green smoothie drinkers have fewer cravings for sweets and processed food.

I, my friend, was in the 35%. I still wanted my damn treat.

But here’s something true. A weird thing happens when you get off REFINED sugar. All sugar seems less interesting.

I’m just not interested in brownies anymore. (OMG! Thank you for asking me this question, Dixie! I’ve been thinking about so many MORE INTERESTING THINGS THAN BROWNIES the past 18 months, I hadn’t even realized…….brownies aren’t interesting anymore, and my brain is occupied by better stuff now!)

At first, I’d go to a family birthday or Christmas or any number of other holiday parties, and just not dare LOOK at the dessert table. Now it doesn’t matter. I might look, but I don’t feel the cravings. Now when I look at mint chocolate brownies (my former favorite), it looks like a bunch of chemicals and food colorings and stuff. While I do have lots of memory of pleasure associated with that food, it isn’t particularly tempting.

readers-favorite-healthy-recipes-vol-1-350x350I enjoy celebrating, still. I eat the dinner, just not the dessert. If I were still in a place of feeling deprived, I’d take my own (raw, yummy, chocolately) treat. You can do that. Get our READERS FAVORITES books, or check out Ch. 11 of 12 STEPS TO WHOLE FOODS.

I’m over halfway through Year 2 on the Sugar Bet. Matthew did Year 1 with me as a test of his willpower–he loves games and contests–and didn’t want to do it forever. So I had to get Natalie Harris to do it with me as my first bet ended.

This year, I’m allowed to have sugar one day a month. Honestly, in 2013, thus far, I haven’t seen anything I wanted to eat enough to “use” my day. I’m banking them.

happy without sugarI’m not saying I’ll never eat sugar again. If I go to Las Vegas and get to the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan? Totally worth it. Ditto a five-star all-inclusive resort in Mexico, on a vacation.

But I am saying, it’s the nicest feeling in the world to (a) have sugar cravings no longer intruding into my thoughts, demanding my brain functions I need for higher things, making me ridiculously obsess about WILL I OR WON’T I TODAY?

And it’s the nicest feeling in the world to (b) discover that not only is life worth living without sugar? It’s just better.

My life is so much better without sugar.

I didn’t lose weight when I ditched sugar. (I ate little of it anyway. But I spent far more time THINKING about wanting to eat sugar and BATTLING it, than actually DOING it. This might be the definition of ANNOYING.)

I weighed 135-137 then, and I weigh 135-137 now.  I don’t really feel any different. I felt great then, and now.

incharge(I had learned MANY years ago to never, ever do it on an empty stomach. That made me sick from the time I was a hypoglycemic kid. I finally wised up and stopped doing it by my mid-20’s. Then I had a long phase of still eating sugar, but only after a healthy meal. Then a long phase of not eating sugar regularly, but still sometimes.)

So why am I still THRILLED that I’ve been totally “off sugar” for 18 months, if I didn’t lose weight or feel any different?

Because now I am in charge of my life. Only after getting free of the sugar demon am I able to look back and realize how CONTROLLED I was by Sugar’s pushy, interruptive, bossy presence in my life.

It was a gradual process, to realizing that I don’t hate my life without sugar.

You won’t either. Promise.

 

 

 

Live kvass drinks giveaway today!

Kvass line upZukay Live Foods sent me some of all their Kvass products to try. What’s kvass? You ferment organic, raw vegetables, and then you make juice out of it.

Cultured-food habits, and gut health, is what I teach in Step 8 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. Eating live, fermented probiotic-rich foods is the BEST way to restore the health of your gut. People have used natural fermentation processes, to preserve raw vegetables, for centuries in many cultures of the world, before cooking and canning came along! Kvass is a Russian tradition.

I sometimes talk about good, better, and best foods. This one ranks in the BEST category, nutritionally! Scale of 1 to 10? This product is a 10! Not only is it organic, raw, and probiotic, but it’s full of digestive enzymes, too—more than plain vegetable juice, more than a salad, even more than a green smoothie, due to the fermentation process.

Eating live, probiotic foods is critical if you have Leaky Gut Syndrome (millions of people have it and are undiagnosed), if you have Crohn’s or IBS, or just have gas or bloating. If you’ve been on antibiotics anytime in the last few decades. If you take meds. If you have eaten hybridized grains (all wheat not labeled as organic) or genetically modified foods (nearly all corn and soy). If you see yourself in this paragraph at all, you need to get DAILY probiotic cultured (fermented) foods in your diet to restore healthy digestion.

Scott Graybek and Family
Scott Grzybek and Family

I LOVE ZUKAY’S STUFF! The founder, Scott Grzybek, makes all the lacto-fermented vegetable juiciness in rural Pennsylvania.

I’ve arranged for the first THREE of you to write us your NAME and PHYSICAL ADDRESS at support123@greensmoothiegirl.com, to get a CASE of 6 Kvass drinks of your choice.

Don’t write if you aren’t interested in fermented foods and love CRAZY-AWESOME nutrition. If you’re a newbie just dipping your toe into the green smoothie concept, adding very little green and lots of agave, and if you make a scrunchy nose at the word “fermented” and get it confused with “rotten”….this product isn’t for you.

It’s a product the uber-crunchy and the open-minded and the “I’m willing to try anything good for me” folks will love. Tastes like vegetables, but TART.

And the next 10 runners-up will get a free bottle of your choice, shipped to you. Anyone who doesn’t win can “like” Zukay on facebook and then write ZacM@zukaylive.com, to get a coupon book.

veggie-bioticIf Maria or Amy writes you back, it’s because you’re a winner! (If not, sorry, watch the blog for giveaways in the future, and be quick about it!)

Maria and Amy will forward your email to Zac at Zukay to hook you up with your freebies, if you’re a winner, and we’ll post the winners here later.

Zukay.com has a store locator, to show you where you can buy, or I just got some cases online, myself, HERE. Bottoms up! Thank you, Zukay, for sharing with my readers.

Bonnie writes us about emphysema and green smoothies

I met Bonnie at my lecture near Baltimore. What a delight she is, a caretaker to her husband with emphysema. We got this email from her. (And I love to read the stories you send my way, so keep sending them!) Bonnie told me she knows diet won’t “cure” emphysema. I said, “But what if it gives you more years with Bob, and he was happier and healthier?”

I think you’ll enjoy this letter Bonnie wrote as our East-Coast friends hunkered down to get through the hurricane:

As I wait for Hurricane Sandy to slam into the east coast, I have been reading The Green Smoothies Diet.  I attended Robyn’s seminar/class last week in Edgewood, Maryland. I had the great pleasure of meeting Robyn after the class. What a warm and sweet spirit!

Since that night I have read 12 Steps To Whole Foods, given up anything containing aspartame (including my 6-pack-a-day diet gingerale addiction), and added sufficient water to my daily life.

I have begun to purge our kitchen of processed foods and anything containing MSG. I was already on the green smoothie train. I have added Steps 2, 3, and 4 from 12 Steps to Whole Foods to my life.

I talked with Robyn about my 3-year journey down from almost 300 pounds through Overeater’s Anonymous. I am no longer on the 100-pound roller coaster I have ridden for most of my life. God has allowed me to release 88 pounds. (I say “released” because saying “lost” implies I am going to look for them.)

God has led me from bingeing and food compulsion, to green smoothies and whole foods, towards health and well being.

There was a time when I would eat 4+ fast-food “meal deals” on my way to or from work.  I would then look for somewhere to throw away the trash so no one would know.  Food was my cocaine….my drug of choice.

Now God has brought me to this new phase of my life.  He did not do this just for me, but also for my husband who has advanced emphysema.  His diet consisted of sugar, pasta, beef and junk.  Why? Because those white flour / sugar products are SOFT.  It is difficult for him to chew, swallow, and breathe.  Eating salad was a major challenge for him.

He had his first green smoothie about 6 weeks ago, and every day since.  His favorite right now is the Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie. He is virtually off sugar except for us Uncrustables each morning because they’re easy to chew. But he used to have 4 every morning with coffee.

Tomorrow morning I plan to make him a PBJ sandwich using peanut butter powder mixed with coconut water, 2 tablespoons of raw organic coconut oil, on Italian bread. Baby steps! Whole-grain bread will soon make an appearance.

Robyn is teaching me how to make the quality of Bob’s life so much better.  His coloring is no longer gray and sallow.  His skin is pink and his eyes are bright.  I am seeing him get back his sense of humor along with his appetite.  He does not have the constant hacking cough that plagued him all the time. He still coughs, but it is immeasurably better. I think his body was full of inflammation that is being cleared with nutrition. We will not “cure” the emphysema, but we can certainly make the body that houses those terribly damaged lungs a better place for him to live. If this gives us a few more years with a better quality of life for Bob, that’s another blessing in this journey.

As a side note, my carpal tunnel is almost gone in my right hand.  I had surgery for carpal tunnel in my left hand last year, and actually had surgery scheduled for my right hand earlier this year. Life events caused me to cancel the surgery. Thank God! I have (had) severe arthritis in my left thumb that the specialist wants to operate on to rebuild the joint. The pain in the base of my thumb is virtually gone.

I reach out to anyone who asks about what Robyn calls a “gateway drug”—green smoothies.  Okay, I’ll be honest—people don’t really need to ask. I find myself telling total strangers about green smoothies.

I talked with two people yesterday in a grocery store packed with people prepping for Hurricane Sandy, and gave them the website address so they could get more info.  There are five people in my office who have now progressed from the NutriBullet (gateway equipment) to the Blendtec and green smoothies for themselves and their families.

Robyn is on a mission, and the seeds she plants are growing in so many ways, but growing in the same direction toward health and a new happiness with life.  I see my husband and people around me changing…sprouted seeds.

I think Bob may be concerned about power failure in the storm more because the Blendtec needs electricity than for his oxygen concentrator! He says he has backup oxygen tanks, but no backup for the Blendtec.

God richly bless each of you for the work you do.  You have a special place in my heart and in my prayers each day.  You will hear from me down the road to let you know how this is changing our lives.

Bonnie Kauffman

Alternatives to Antibiotics

Winter’s coming up. The more raw plant foods you eat, and the more Chapter 8 probiotic-foods habits you incorporate into your diet, the more your body become inhospitable to viruses and infections.

But be prepared to nip the baddies in the butt, the minute you feel symptoms coming on, with natural alternatives to antibiotics. The sooner you get on it, the more effective natural solutions are.

In fact, even if people around me are getting sick, or if traveling soon, I start taking Kyolic garlic caps, goldenseal herb caps, spraying ACS and ACZ in my mouth every few hours.

I use ACZ nano for chelating toxins out of the body, and ACS 200 silver for killing all kinds of viral and bacterial organisms, only bad ones. They are phenomenal products to have on hand and use regularly, especially in the winter.
When you’re armed with effective natural solutions, which are cell-specific and don’t harm gut flora, you don’t have to get sick repeatedly, and you don’t have awful side effects like thrush and vaginal yeast infections. Sometimes those side effects can go on for years!

(Doing Step 8 to 12 Steps to Whole Foods is a MUST, if you’ve ever been on an antibiotic and need to rebuild your gut health. Making and eating cultured foods can rebuild that all-important healthy GI tract where most of your body’s defenses happen.)

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 GreenSmoothieGirl.com printed on their business cards. Some of them write GreenSmoothieGirl.com 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.

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers…..part 4 of 5

Today’s topic: NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY.

Remember, what you’re eating when you’re pregnant is also contributing to healthy blood, bones, tissues, and organs—or not.

It’s so painful for me to remember back to eating 7-11 nachos, Diet Coke, a Special Burger and fries (extra fry sauce!) at lunch, and Ben & Jerry’s after dinner, throughout my first pregnancy. I didn’t know any better. I assumed my body was making good fuel for my baby, out of the bad fuel I fed myself—as illogical as that is.

I imagine that’s why I not only gained 65 lbs., but it’s also why my baby developed significant auto-immune problems in his first year of life. With my later pregnancies, I was learning and implementing good nutrition strategies, and the babies were FAR healthier.

My last baby was (and still is, at age 12) completely healthy—never once a bacterial infection of any kind, never any antibiotics or meds or even doctor visits. The labor and delivery got easier, too, when I ate the right foods throughout the pregnancy and gained only 35 lbs. instead of 65!

I can’t even count how many times a 12 Steps to Whole Foods young mom has talked to me after a class I teach, and told me this:

“I’m so thrilled that I changed my diet to eat whole foods, because this last pregnancy has been my easiest and healthiest!”

I’ve had many moms tell me about major complications they had during their earlier pregnancies, while they were eating the Standard American Diet, and how all that changed when they embraced whole-foods fuel.

One mother in Texas told me that with her first 4 children, she was on bed rest, with terrible edema, and pre-eclampsia. As she told me this, she was 9 months pregnant, and beaming ear to ear. She said, “This is my first problem-free pregnancy. I’m about to deliver, and I’m so excited I learned all about whole foods from you.”

My diet now is the diet I would eat if I were pregnant again. The “pregnancy diet” is no different than the ideal diet for life.

It’s high in greens, in vegetables, and in fruits—80% of more of them raw. I also eat cooked legumes (beans, split peas, lentils), and whole grains (organic quinoa, whole wheat, rolled oats or oat groats, spelt, Kamut, buckwheat, millet—most of them sprouted before they are baked at low temperatures). I buy sprouted-grain (whole grain only) bread or English muffins or tortillas at the health food store. But I also make my own granola.

I eat nuts and seeds every day, some of them sprouted, many of them rich sources of essential fatty acids. I soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds to add to my granola.

I use coconut oil on my skin and in occasional baking, for medium-chain triglycerides. I always have a quart of green smoothie a day. Most days, I also have a glass of vegetable juice, although at many points in my life, I’ve not had the time to make juice, and now I hire someone to do it.

I choose big salads in restaurants. I don’t eat refined sugar, ever, nor do I ever drink soda, or eat processed meats, or pork or beef. I eat a 95 percent plant-based diet, and I keep refined foods or animal products at 5 percent or less.

While I was having my babies, I was learning how to do all that. It was new to me then—it is habit now. I didn’t give up sugar cold-turkey back then. I had fits and starts in dealing with my addiction.

My changes involved bucking “the system.” Lots of systems, in fact. The medical system. The social system of parties and barbecues and family events and Easter and Halloween and Christmas. The church system of keeping kids quiet in nursery and later, in class, with junk food. The family system of generations of “comfort foods” that contributed to my babies’ health problems. It wasn’t easy. But it was one of the BEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE. I’ve never looked back, and I have absolutely zero regret.

What I did HAD TO BE DONE.

So, what I’ve just described my diet being now is a great diet for a pregnant or nursing mom. It’s a terrible idea for a pregnant mom to eat a diet high in refined carbs. The baby does need good protein for brain health, and overall for building. There’s plenty of protein in nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and greens.

If you avoid those good food categories, eating a vegan diet, you’re likely to develop dental problems, blood sugar issues, and fatigue-related disorders. If you want more protein, I suggest a scoop of our whole-food, vegan protein powder added to your green smoothies.

Doctors tell women to eat lots of protein, and everyone’s first thought with protein is meat and dairy. Those are “perfect proteins,” to be sure. But “perfect” doesn’t meant “better”—it just mean it is protein the body doesn’t have to assemble from amino acids, because it matches human flesh very closely. Protein from greens, seeds, legumes, grains, and nuts is protein the body has to work harder to build muscle with. But it’s far more durable muscle mass.

Always eat protein when you’re eating sugars. For instance, if you have a green smoothie and yours is high in fruits, eat a handful of almonds, too, or a bowl of lentil or split pea soup. Or add a scoop of protein powder. I make my green smoothies as high in greens, and as low in fruits, as I can tolerate. Slow down and regulate impact on blood sugar, by eating FIBER and QUALITY PROTEIN. This is how you can, with lifelong habits, avoid insulin problems and eventual diabetes, which currently most of our population is heading toward.

Don’t undertake a major, radical detox program while you’re pregnant or in the first year of nursing. As toxins range your body, on their way out, they flush through a developing fetus, and through your breast milk, as well.

Again, don’t take my advice in lieu of competent practitioner care and counsel.

Tomorrow, we talk once again about WHAT TO DO ABOUT PICKY KIDS.

 

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers….part 3 of 5

Today’s topic: WHAT DO I WEAN MY BABY ONTO?

So, you can’t feed your baby nothing but breast milk, and then goat milk (or yogurt/kefir) forever. Now you know why I highly encourage you to breastfeed as exclusively as you can, for 18 months.

But when you do begin to wean your baby, avoid all the boxed ‘cereals’ and the jars of baby food. I never fed my last three any of those things, not even once. Not one of them drank any ‘formula.’

Babies sensitive to dairy formulas are often given soy formulas, which is deeply troubling to me. Soy is estrogenic, and it is a very well-known endocrine disruptor. It is very possibly my least-favorite option to feed an infant. Plus, over 85% of America’s soy crops are genetically modified. Some evidence links it to degenerative gut conditions. Obviously we don’t want to start your baby down that path, shortly after birth!

I started weaning my babies onto raw, primarily non-sweet plant foods. More greens and vegetables than fruits.

If you start there, when your baby is hungry (beginning to outgrow the milk-only diet, and getting interested in table foods, wanting what you eat), you’re setting her tastes, which truly last a lifetime.

What you feed her NOW will be things she always gravitates towards. Programming at this very young age is very powerful. (Even the things you ate while your baby was developing in the womb, are often foods the baby later craves.)

So you have the opportunity to craft your child’s tastes. Make it easy on yourself, instead of choosing years of tantrums if you don’t feed her Skittles at every meal. That’s what you’re choosing for yourself, if you start feeding your little one sugar! A guaranteed future of refined-foods addiction.

Mash avocado. Make a simple green smoothie with only two ingredients. Chard and a small amount of banana, with water. Spinach, and an apple, and water. Blend it in your turbo blender. (Blendtec is the best one, Vitamix is the second-best one.)

MAKE IT ORGANIC. Your body doesn’t do well metabolizing pesticides. Your baby’s body is even more sensitive—plus, his body is just tiny. It should be developing, not struggling against organophosphates, or heavy metals.

Don’t cook the veggies to puree them in the blender. Blend RAW carrots and just enough water to blend. Cooking makes it soft, yes, but also kills vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Remember your baby isn’t producing digestive enzymes yet anyway. So give them to her in the form of raw plant food!

Don’t feed your baby raw honey until after 12 months, to be sure that her body is equipped to deal with the very mild pathogens occasionally found in that food.

Don’t sweeten the green smoothies with any concentrated sweetener. The only reason YOU think they have to be sweet is that you weren’t lucky enough to have a mother systematically weaning you onto wonderful living, whole, raw plant foods. Your baby has no addiction to sugar. Yet. Your baby has no emotional attachment to eating. Yet. Add nothing to sweeten but a bit of banana, or dates.

Add only one food a day, or each few days, to carefully observe any reactions in your baby, any potential food sensitivities. If you noticed when you were nursing, that your baby reacted to your breast milk when you ate certain foods, there is a higher likelihood that your baby is going to be sensitive to some foods when you feed them to her directly.

A mashed banana is a wonderful food for a baby. I think a banana and an avocado mashed for a baby is a FABULOUS baby or toddler meal. Perfect fats for brain health. Great potassium and many other vitamin and minerals, full of enzymes to make it easy to digest.

When you see the eyeteeth come in, at about 18 months, your baby is better able to digest foods, because that developmental milestone also generally means the body is in full digestive enzyme production as well. That is when I introduced cooked foods. But every meal or snack, then and now in my home, has been 60-80 percent raw. That way we are providing most or all of the enzymes our bodies need, rather than forcing the pancreas to release its limited stores.

Good cooked foods for toddlers would include toasted sprouted English muffins, “buttered” with coconut oil, or manna bread, or homemade, wholegrain sourdough bread. You can make lots of soups that feature legumes and vegetables, and many ideas are found in 12 Steps to Whole Foods, recipes I’ve raised my own family on and continue to make. Sometimes we eat whole-grain pastas, which is an excuse to make a sauce full of raw tomatoes and vegetables, and toss in steamed veggies. We make lots of different things with sprouted-wheat tortillas, and vegetarian refried beans that we make our buy, and veggies.

We eat a lot of salad. All of my babies were big salad eaters well before they were 2 years old. This helps them build a strong jaw capable of breaking down whole, raw plant foods.

You have perfect control of what fuel you give your child to make the most of his natural gifts, his natural intelligence, his naturally perfect mental health. Avoiding giving your baby sweet foods in his first two years of life also helps him have a better chance of excellent dental health, for many years to come. You can easily avoid white flour and sugar, food dyes and chemicals, hormone- and steroid-fed animal products. You might have to talk to church and daycare workers and ask them not to feed your child the standard snacks. (I told them my child was “allergic.” Aren’t we all?)

It’s worth it to swim upstream against the culture, to protect our children’s right to grow up healthy and strong. It’s worth a little money to buy organic for our babies. It’s worth a little time to plant a garden to control more of our food, decrease our carbon footprint, and set an example to our kids.

Tomorrow, nutrition during pregnancy.