It’s a long and winding road to good nutrition!

In my first newsletters, I told you a little about the rocky path to health that my family and I traversed.  It’s not very often clear and linear, that path, is it?  You try a lot of dumb stuff, yucky recipes you throw away, before you end up at the truth—and that’s if you’re lucky.  (A lot of people spend an entire lifetime following false prophets and believing false information.  Like the folks who put all their faith in the barbaric practices of oncology, or the crazy dietetics of the Atkins Diet, for instance.)

The good news?  That the failure of all the dumb stuff you tried before (drugs, Atkins Diet, etc.) were useful in one sense: they help you recognize the truth when you see it.

The longer and more twisty that path, the more likely you are to recognize the beauty and efficacy of pure, simple truths.  Like the one GreenSmoothieGirl.com is dedicated to: that eating an unadulterated diet of whole plant foods is a savior in a thousand different ways.

There’s the thing you’re preoccupied with now.  It might be cancer, or psoriasis, or leaky gut syndrome, or Epstein Barr.  An affliction that’s kinda wrecking your life right now, or someone close to you.

But the crazy thing is this.  Not only are your chances of addressing all degenerative disease and energy issues HIGHEST with a diet approach (and everything else I’m teaching on GreenSmoothieGirl.com), but you’re going to have so many unexpected health and wellness benefits, you’ll barely be able to count them at the end of a year.

Once I took RESPONSIBILITY for my own health and my little son’s, I undertook my own private health course. (I found that health and nutrition education in traditional institutions were heavily influenced by industries like meat, dairy, processed foods, and pharmaceuticals.)

Although my program 12 Steps to Whole Foods is a crystallized version of the education I underwent for 15 years, if you’re a reader, you can immerse yourself in the very best books.  I’ll give you a leg up, because I read a lot of dubious stuff.  Here’s a link to the very best, my favorite books by authors you can trust:

http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/book-reviews/

Enjoy!

To Your Health,

–Robyn Openshaw

p.s.  The first thing you should do as you’ve decided to get healthy is invest in the most important tool in my kitchen: the BlendTec Total Blender. It’s so much more than the best tool ever for making mixed drinks at your next party. You’ll be a green smoothie chef in no time at all!

Have any of you seen Food, Inc. yet?

Have any of you seen Food, Inc. yet?   I haven’t, but plan to.   Here’s a review in the Deseret News, for those of us here on the Wasatch Front.   It’s showing in one or two theaters in Salt Lake Valley , and elsewhere in the U.S.     Fans of food expose authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation, etc.) and Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, etc.), and anyone concerned about what has happened to food in the modern age, should find this enlightening.   Those of you who have seen it, your thoughts, please?

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705317326/Food-Inc-explores-the-frightening-food-industry.html

Storing green smoothies: BPA in plastics [part 1 of 2]

Dear Green SmoothieGirl: What should I store my green smoothie in?   I’ve read that certain chemicals in bottled water and other plastic items leach into my food.

Answer:   A government study by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) in Washington, D.C. recently uncovered a surprising (and unnerving) finding.   The plastic lining used by manufacturers of metal food cans have more bisphenol-A (BPA) than plastic containers do.   BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that is linked by research to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and neurological problems for babies exposed in utero, among other things.   Cans that test to have the highest BPA levels are chicken soup, infant formula, and canned pastas.   And, the FDA says the average American eats about 17 percent canned foods.   The longer a can sits on the shelf, the more leaching occurs in the food.   And when a container is heated, more chemical is released into the food as well.

What can we do about this?

I believe that eventually the BPA will be removed from cans.   But in the meantime, the first tip is that Eden Foods, a maker of organic items found mostly in health food stores, has BPA-free cans, if you can afford a pricier product.

Second, we can make more of our own food (like soups and beans) and keep cans around for only food storage and emergencies.   Cook the beans you use a lot and freeze them in 2-cup amounts for later use.   Some foods you buy in cans can be purchased in glass jars (spaghetti sauce, for instance).

Third, store your green smoothies in glass pint or quart jars.   I have always done this.   The downside is that if you drop it, glass shatters.   It’s not as convenient as some drink containers for taking in the car and putting in the car’s drink holder, either.   You can obtain stainless steel containers, too.   With either of those options, you will have no chemicals leaching into your food.   And keep in mind that the best way to keep your body removing toxins like BPA from sources we just can’t control is . . . to drink green smoothies.   The insoluble plant fiber in greens mops up several times its own weight in toxins and removes it from the body.

Fourth, you can google “BPA free” and buy baby bottles and other items free of toxic synthetics.  

More tomorrow about what to store green smoothies in, plastics, and the Sheryl Crow email.

is agave safe?

Recently GSG readers raised questions about agave nectar after some well publicized concerns surfaced on the internet.   Agave is my favorite sweetener because it’s largely unprocessed and is a very low glycemic index product with a neutral flavor.   Many of my recipes call for it, and I have found the human body reacts to it well (and entirely differently than it responds to chemical and refined sweeteners).

 

For my locals, I do group buys on cases of raw, organic agave for a great price.   (I am working on a way to open this group buy up in January to those of you who have begun organizing your own co-ops nationwide, so stand by for that!)

 

I wrote about the agave controversy briefly at the time the issue was raised and now want to summarize and call attention to the comments of Craig Gerbore, president of Madhava, one of the biggest importers of raw agave.   He, like my own supplier, relies on unprocessed agave harvested by hand through the supplier Nekutli.

 

The article that created such a stir was a response to a 90% fructose agave sometimes sold in the late 90’s that is NOT what I buy in local group buys, nor what is offered on the market by Madhava and others, which comes from the agave salmiana plant.   I don’t even know where that high-fructose product is available.

 

The author of the original article claims that starch is the primary ingredient in agave syrup, and Gerbore explains that no starch is added or found in the agave sold in this decade.   Plants store energy as starches or fructans, and agave stores its energy as fructans.   Comparing corn syrup to agave is like comparing apples to oranges, as those starches (like what is found in corn and rice) is not in agave nectar.

 

The only processing of agave is the enzymatic and low-temperature reduction of water from the product–no thermal or chemical cooking takes place, and no chemical agents are used.   Only a vegan enzyme is used to pull water from the plant, which is then removed by a vacuum process.

 

In summary, avoid overconsumption of any sweetener.   But if treats are important in your home as you transition away from the standard American diet, use raw, organic agave with confidence.

stevia approved by FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just granted approval to the natural herbal sweetener stevia.   You may know that I endorse stevia as a sweetener I use because it is plant-based without altered (synthetic) molecules, it has no impact on blood sugar, and no adverse health effects have been reported from its use.   In short, it’s a dramatic improvement over chemicals like Splenda, saccharin, and the widely used aspartame (brand name NutraSweet).

 

Aspartame is a public health nightmare.     More complaints have come in to the FDA from its use the past two decades than all other food additives combined (and we have over 4,000 approved food chemicals).   The frightening array of complaints include migraines and other neurological phenomena.

 

This doesn’t mean, incidentally, that your FDA is a friendlier organization somehow changed to truly protect your health.   Far from it.   The very same organization is well documented to have blocked stevia from store shelves just years ago.   You couldn’t sell it as a food in health food stores (it had to be labeled so as to not make consumers think they could eat it).   A company was banned from using it as an ingredient in its recipe book.   Companies attempting to use it were threatened with fines.   And stevia imports were seized and destroyed.

 

But due to public pressure following years of complaints about aspartame, Pepsi and Coca-Cola petitioned the FDA for stevia approval to replace aspartame in its products.   So the FDA has yielded once again to big business, not somehow become committed to science, the public health interest, and safety.

 

The patented product they’ll be using is called Truvia, and from what I can learn, it does not contain any altered, synthetic ingredients.   (I’ll let you know if I find out otherwise.)   While this is good news, of course, two things I want you to think about:

 

  1. The FDA is still bowing to corporate interests and its activities shouldn’t be the rubber stamp you use to guide your purchasing decisions.
  2. Even when Diet Coke has stevia in it, it’s still really bad for you, so please don’t think it’s a health food.  

Tomorrow, important information about another sweetener I endorse, agave nectar.

foods that help digestion . . . part 5

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   What are foods that help digestion? Some raw foodists eat raw meat.   Raw meat and milk have enzymes, so aren’t they good foods?

Answer:   We’ll leave the Oxford/Cornell China Project out of this discussion, which shows that animal protein causes many diseases.   (The primary author of that pivotal study, Dr. Campbell, told me he did not study predigested or fermented milk products, such as kefir or yogurt.)   Raw milk has over 35 enzymes.   If you’re going to use dairy products or milk, raw certainly has those many advantages over pasteurized.   One very old study showed the highest morbidity (death) rate in newborns drinking pasteurized cow milk, a much improved rate for those drinking raw milk, and higher still for those who were fortunate to be breastfed by their mothers.

However, you run many bacterial risks with the way milk and meat will be raised, handled, and transported to you.   Meat in particular is troublesome, and I would not recommend eating it raw, even if you go to all the trouble of finding truly range-fed, organic chickens or beef.   The shockingly lax U.S. standards for poultry allow virtually anything to be legally given labels like “natural” and “range fed.”   We can obtain live enzymes through plant food, much more safely.

That said, I believe much evidence shows kefir or yogurt to be an excellent food with its natural probiotics.   If you can find a source you trust of raw milk, and can obtain kefir grains, you can use the raw milk and predigest the casein proteins with the action of the live kefir grains.   Raw goat milk is preferable to cow milk, with its smaller fat molecule that is not mucous forming like cow milk is.   (Vegans can make kefir with coconut liquid.)

I’m visiting my grampa in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, for the rest of the week and may be offline.   (He is in a home, and I am flying out with my aunt.)   After that I’ll talk about what enzymes supplements to take.   Happy Thanksgiving!