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.

 

 

Questions and Answers about PROTEIN

Check out these common questions about protein, with my answers:

how much proteinQ&A

Question: What about “PERFECT PROTEINS?” Aren’t those the best?

Answer: No, not at all. A “perfect” protein just means it very closely matches human flesh. In fact, proteins from plants, where the body builds from the “raw materials” of amino acids (protein’s building blocks) yield more durable muscle mass. They aren’t “perfect” proteins, but that doesn’t mean they are inferior. Quite the opposite.

Eating the flesh of animals does “bulk you up” more quickly. It also breaks down more quickly.

boddy builderAnd eating the amount of animal protein that bulks up a bodybuilder also dramatically accelerates aging and increases disease risk.

(For a moment, stop looking at a bodybuilder or fitness competitor’s body, 99% of them who overload on animal proteins and whey protein powders. Look at their FACES. They look OLD.)

Question: Should I be worried about getting enough protein?

Answer:  Again, nope. The World Health Organization says 5% protein is adequate! Even an exclusively plant-based diet averages about 10%, especially if it contains decent amounts of greens, legumes, and nuts/seeds. Virtually no one in the world has a protein deficiency. We do, however, have deficiencies in many nutrients found in PLANTS.

R U sureWhat does the average American eat, relative to the 5% “adequate protein” recommended by the most legitimized health organization in the world? Fully 20% animal protein! This is more than any culture in the history of the world has ever eaten.

And the China Study (Cornell/Oxford collaboration) found, by tracking 6,500 people in China, that eating 20% animal protein is highly correlated to cancer, heart disease, and other risks.

Question: What if I feel better eating more protein?

Answer: First of all, consider this. The research doesn’t say, only A blood types have high cancer and other disease risk if they eat a lot of meat. It’s ALL blood types who do. The New York Times called The China Study the Grand Prix of Epidemiology. It’s the biggest nutrition study in history, and its main macro implication is, high animal protein diseases lead to all the diseases of the modern age.

If you “feel better” eating more protein, it’s only temporary. It has nothing to do with your blood type. Or what your ancestors ate.  That diet has made its creator a lot of money, but it’s been very well and soundly debunked. (Sure, you feel better “eating for your blood type,” but that is because the diet eliminates refined carbs for ALL the diets. Virtually all Americans eat lots of processed carbs, and you will always feel better getting off them.)

The easiest way to explain why the Blood Type Diet is a sham is to ask you two questions and let you mull it over. Use your critical thinking skills. First of all, are ALL your ancestors from the same place? How do people whose ancestors are from different continents prescribe their diet according to A, O, or AB blood? And, why did every one of the ancient cultures the authors refer to have ALL THE BLOOD TYPES? That’s right, ancient Asians had O, A, B, and AB blood. Ditto ancient Europeans. Hmmm. Makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it?

If you feel better eating a lot of protein, it’s because when you shift to eating a plant-based diet, your body immediately begins to detoxify. That process often initially involves weakness and fatigue. That’s simply a transition.

vegan energyI felt the same way when I stopped eating animals, a temporary malaise. Now I virtually never eat any animals (a bite of red meat now and then makes me nauseous, which I couldn’t have imagined back in the days I ate a burger for lunch every day). And I have never had so much energy. In my 20’s, I was exhausted by the things I now do on a daily basis, and love every minute of it! When I was 22, I was exhausted by the time I rented skiis, drove to the resort, and strapped on my boots. I did it to be with my friends, but secretly I wondered, “What’s fun about this?” That was my attitude towards much of my life! Now I ski 2-3 afternoons a week, after working out in the morning and doing my job all day, and I still have plenty of energy for my evening.

I’m just a case study. My experience isn’t everyone’s. I get that. I’m just using my own experience as an example. The principles in this answer are a synopsis of much reading and research, and they are solid and well documented. Unfortunately some of the Food Cults of the past few decades have you legitimately confused, conflicted, and overwhelmed.

Give any shift towards nutrient dense foods TIME. Be patient with temporary reactions that aren’t always comfortable. Proteins are needed to build and repair. But excesses of them rob the body of minerals. Excesses of them radically increase risk of cancer and heart disease and auto-immune conditions, due to fragments of undigested proteins floating in the bloodstream en masse, far more than the body can metabolize.

If you do eat animal proteins, eat only range fed and organic. This will massively increase your grocery bill, whereas legumes and whole grains, with 10 percent protein (which is ideal for digestion) are very inexpensive.

eat bloodQuestion: What about “eating right for my blood type?” Aren’t O blood types supposed to eat lots of animal protein, and A types do well as vegetarians?

Answer: I have written more extensively on this subject on the site. ( read it HERE) Let me give you the nutshell version of why experts like Dr. Joel Fuhrman have thoroughly debunked the junk science that underpins this fad diet. Before you get emotional about this because you feel better “eating for your blood type,” let me point out that EVERYONE will feel better eliminating processed foods, and thankfully, the D’Adamos tell ALL of the blood types to eliminate processed carbs.

But the entire philosophy is based on where your ancestors came from. What to do about people whose mother and father are from two different continents / cultures? And what about the fact, just think about this, that ALL of those cultures had A, B, AB, and O blood types? It all falls apart here.

Certainly people are all different and there is no “one size fits all” diet. If you are very emotionally attached to meat, eat it. Just eat very little of it (there is NO “type” who shouldn’t eat disease-preventative, low-environmental-impact raw plant foods, none!). And eat clean meat. (It’s very expensive.)

Question: Tell me one more benefit to not over-consuming animal protein, to pinkie push me into eating more legumes and nuts and seeds and greens!

Answer: I confess I made this question up. No one has ever asked it of me before. It’s a totally opportunistic fake question designed so I can tell you THIS:

food moneyWhen the economic bubble supporting meat and dairy bursts, you’re not going to be able to afford meat or milk. It takes 20 pounds of plant food to yield one pound of beef. That’s why no other culture in the history of the world has eaten as much meat as we do! (Yes, some cultures who lived on the water ate LOTS of fish, or whale blubber. But this was long ago, when fresh fish nutrition wasn’t heavily counterbalanced by terribly polluted waters.)

Do the math. If one pound of plants costs $1, then a pound of meat, with NO PROFIT for the rancher, should cost $20/lb.! Oops, we forgot to factor in that that same pound of beef also requires 1,000 gallons of water! You read that right. One thousand gallons.

So, when the U.S. government stops propping up meat and dairy with subsidies, people will be FORCED to stop eating it, unless they have a ranch with all the raw materials and can raise beef and pigs and chickens themselves.

We might want to just get used to eating low on the food chain now.

Giveaway: Non-toxic deodorant!

Primal Pit Paste is a company founded by CrossFit Trainer and GSG reader Amy Cazin, who sent Kristin and me samples. It’s an all-natural deodorant she developed with the goal of finding natural and safe products that actually work. It’s easy to put on, and it works!

You don’t want to put aluminum and other toxins into your bloodstream. In my cancer travels, researching at clinics all over a few continents, I’ve learned that ALL of these docs find high concentrations of heavy metals in most cancer patients. Why put heavy metals in your brain with your deodorant? It’s entirely unnecessary!

I have had a few people come up to me in public lately and say, “Thanks for teaching me about how toxic anti-perspirant is.” (I love when I get to be a catalyst in a healthy life change, for anyone!)

Then they tell me what solution they’ve found that works. Sometimes you have to try a few before you find the right answer.

The Tom’s of Maine roll-ons don’t work for me and drive me chafing-nuts when I run 5 miles. The crystal stick I buy at health food stores works GREAT for me and I’ve used it for 10 years. (Have to reapply if I work out again at night, though!)

Other people say a coconut-oil solution like Amy’s works great for them, and the crystal stick doesn’t. Everyone’s chemistry is different.

Amy’s solution is the most natural solution I’ve seen. Kristin and I think it’s great!

Check out www.primalpitpaste.com. Their deodorant is easy to use and it’s made with

Coconut Oil: a natural anti-bacterial

Raw Shea Butter: a natural emollient, soothing the skin

Organic Arrowroot: absorbs moisture while allowing you to still perspire (an important function of your body for detoxification!)

Baking Soda: kills bacteria that causes odor

Go Primal and check out our friend’s web site www.primalpitpaste.com, where you can learn about three different strengths in their products and pick what’s right for you!

Meantime, if you’re the first three to write us at support123@greensmoothiegirl.com with your name and hometown, Maria will write you back. (If you’re not one of the first three, so sorry that Maria doesn’t have time to write everyone back! She’s still buried with group-buy fulfillment!)

If you see this blog entry after the morning it’s posted, probably not worth writing Maria. I love you anyway, muah. Be quick next time.

If you’re a winner, you’ll get to choose a regular deodorant, a stick for travel, and a kids’ flavor FREE. Thanks, Amy, for making the world a better place!

 

Bruce says, “GreenSmoothieGirl Isn’t Just for Girls!”

I have a testimonial from a guy for you, in a minute. But first….

I play on at least two tennis teams, all four seasons a year. Last Tuesday morning, I did yoga for an hour, then did my 20-mile bike ride in the canyon in 100-degree heat. That night, I had our last tennis match of this season, and for some reason my captain put me in as first singles.

That’s where you generally put your best player, since you usually face the opponent’s best player.

I mostly play doubles—hadn’t played singles ONCE since advancing rank in December. Most of my new teammates have played at this rank for years, and they take or even teach private tennis lessons. Most were high-school tennis players. One of them plays on five teams at a time, and many of them play tennis 20-30 hours per week.

I wish I had time for that, but I don’t. My entire team, besides me, is married and not employed outside the home. I started playing tennis less than 4 years ago, not in high school.

For my night matches, my ritual is to drink a quart of green smoothie on the way there. That’s all. And I’ll find myself in a third set—or a second-set tiebreaker at 10:30 p.m.—like I did last Tues., thinking, “I’m not tired at all!” while I see my opponent falling apart.

I truly haven’t been tired once, and I’ve had 8 wins in a row. I won that singles match last Tuesday, 6-4, 7-6, in high winds. Even though I am, to be honest, too new at this rank to be qualified to play the top seed.

My green-smoothie ritual is becoming an important part of pulling that off. My teammates sometimes complain between sets that they’re tired. I never am. Despite hard workouts earlier in the day.

So Tuesday, I got home at midnight because my match was an hour away. Before I went to bed, I read this email from Bruce in Michigan, forwarded by our customer support team because they know I love to read this stuff:

“I noticed that you don’t have very many testimonials from men…so I thought I would tell you about how the green smoothie lifestyle is changing my life.

I am 48, and over a year ago I weighed 206 pounds.  I decided that I needed to lose about 40 to 45 pounds since I am 5’10” tall and a thin frame.

I bought P90x and started the most difficult exercise program and followed Tony’s diet..  P90x is not for the faint of heart. I worked hard for 7 months, lost 23 pounds. My blood sugar was all over the place, and I felt tired and hungry all of the time. I stopped after 7 months and did absolutely nothing for the next 6 months and went back to eating poorly since I could not do that diet. I gained back 13 pounds….discouraged, I searched for a better way.

I found www.greensmoothiegirl.com and heard Robyn say, if you do what I tell you to do you will lose weight faster than ever, never be hungry and you can even work out while just drinking green smoothies. I bought the complete program and I must say she was right!

On May 15th I started to drink 2 quarts of green smoothies each day and started working out again doing P90x.  I am 10 pounds away from my goal weight in just 60 days! I have lost weight faster, feel better and look better than I have in 15 years.

Ok, men… here is the deal….drinking green smoothies, doing p90x is crazy….but it works!  I have had zero blood sugar dips, no hunger between smoothies and feel great!

I have done more in 60 days than I did in 7 months on the p90x diet….I just can’t believe it!  So Robyn, I am proud to tell other men….I visit www.greensmoothiegirl.com and have had several of my friends already buy turbo blenders and start drinking smoothies. You rock, girl!”

Bruce in Michigan

The manliest men on the planet

Ben texted me that surfer Laird Hamilton is 48 and looks 26, eats a lot of raw and organic, and is one of the “manliest men on the planet,” and I should blog about him. Then I said, “Then how come I haven’t seen him on vegetarian athlete lists?”

He said, “Because he’s not pure vegetarian. Which is why he’s still a manly man.”

Eye roll. I texted him back and said, “Two words for you. BILL PEARL.”

(He was a vegetarian Mr. Universe. Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “Bill Pearl didn’t convince me to be a vegetarian. He did convince me that a vegetarian could become Mr. Universe.”) Gotta love the brilliant things that The Governator says sometimes.

I looked Laird Hamilton up, and found this quote from him: “You eat potato chips, you’re going to perform like a potato chip.”

I don’t date much anymore, but I recently went out with a guy named Brent who, like lots before him (when I used to date), was rather terrified of what I do for a living. (A bane of my existence is that men feel I will judge them when I see what they eat. Often this is a deal-breaker for them, even though I am realistic and non-judgmental. I’m not likely to meet a guy who has my philosophies about food! However, I do really like guys who at least are interested in eating better. As long as they are that AND tall-dark-and-handsome! Hehe.)

So Brent is 38, attractive, and looks fit. But he wanted me to know he eats a whole box of Cap’n Crunch, or 8 cookies and a glass of milk, before bed. And sometimes a plate of nachos. And wakes up with a flat stomach. He doesn’t work out routinely—only in fits and starts.

In other words, he’s a genetic anomaly and gets away with murder. I don’t know why some people are born capable of full-on nutritional abuse without obvious or mid-term consequences. If I did what he does, I’d have no energy and would weigh 300 lbs. almost overnight. It’s not fair!

That said, I believe in karma, and the fact that at some point, everybody has to pay the piper.

On facebook, GSG reader Joel W. pointed me to Scott Jurek, one of the world’s best ultrarunning phenomenons featured for running with the legendary Tarahumara Indians as profiled in Born to Run. (I’m reading this book, and most serious runners have done so. It fueled the “barefoot running” craze.)

Scott Jurek can run 6.5 marathons – nearly 166 miles – in a 24 hour period. And he’s a long-time vegan, after being raised in a meat-and-potatoes family. His book Eat & Run tells all about it, helps you commit to the understanding that food is FUEL. His book contains his favorite plant-based recipes.

Perhaps the most spectacularly credentialed, famous ultrarunner in the U.S., though, is Dean Karnazes, who is 46 years old and looks 20. My friend Ben is preoccupied with Karnazes, an ultrarunner with superhuman genetic gifts. But unlike my date, Brent, Karnazes is increasingly laser-precise about his diet as he gets older.

Wikipedia has his list of Karnazes’ staggering accomplishments, one of which is running 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days. (He ate 5,000 to 7,000 calories each day during that period.) He also ran 350 miles in 81 hours without stopping, even though he took a break from running from age 15 to 30.

He eats vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and things you could “pick and eat.” The Neanderthal diet, he calls it. He says, could cave people have eaten whole grain? (They couldn’t have milled it, etc.)

In an interview I read of Karnazes, he was asked if he misses pies and stuff he used to eat, and he says,

“I really don’t! It was kind of an indulgence…I really don’t long for those things anymore. I think cravings for sugar and sweets just stop when you stop eating them for a while.”

Another Karnazy quote: “…if you’re going to be a foodie, you’re going to suffer the consequences! Some people live to eat, and I eat to live…”

I don’t know that it’s a good thing to run 42 miles a day for 100 days, as Karnazy recently did. I’m in awe, while at the same time I have no interest in pushing my body that hard. But I do like that he has found things that are not FOOD to give him joie de vivre.

People for whom food is their passion are, as he says, in trouble.

And I think it’s interesting how, even though meat is hard to not eat, if you eliminate grains as Karnazy does, the best athletes, who are able to continue for decades, as Jurek and Karnazy have, eat a LOT of greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

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!