some thoughts on young mothers

Thank you for all the emails, and I’m so sorry I haven’t had time to respond to them all.   I have returned rather somberly from my cousin’s funeral in Northern VA, where I grew up.   She got the stomach flu and we don’t know why she died.   We are all devastated by the loss of this young mother of three  young sons (plus another one who died), and watching them sobbing right before her casket was closed is very possibly the most tragic and devastating thing I have ever seen in my life.   Little boys’ hearts breaking and nothing we could do about it.

Shawnie  comes from a wonderful family, and her parents were my “other parents” growing up.   It was a sweet experience to celebrate the life of Shawnie Romney Tull and I am  privileged that  I knew her.

So I have been more reflective than ever on the power of a young mother, because very frankly that was a more tragic funeral than even the funerals of small children I have attended.   Because a young mother is SO DESPERATELY NEEDED.   Mothers change the world.   They control more than they realize.

It’s a conversation I have with my business partner over and over . . . we discuss the needs of everyone who reads GreenSmoothieGirl.com.   And we try to figure ways that everyone is included, because of course I care very much about the health of everyone–the single people, the teenagers, the elderly–I get emails from all these demographics and more.

But as I try to decide where to spend my time in content development, though, my soft spot is always for the  moms.   I very much want to support them.   If you are one, please take care of yourself first.   Remember that on the plane, you can’t put the oxygen mask on your kids until you have your own on.   Remember that you’re  not helping anyone by neglecting your own mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.   Remember that children learn more by example than anything else.

If you have young mothers in your life, not just this Sunday but today, too, give them a hug and tell them that the work they do is important.   That its rewards aren’t always obvious, but they are in fact extraordinary.   Give them  some extra  love.   A friend said to me yesterday, “Everyone should go to a funeral every six months.   That’s how you remember what’s important, and what kind of person you want to be.”

I totally agree.

Let’s talk about food and sex

No, this isn’t that episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza tried to combine the two in a feverish fantasy . . . and if you can’t handle some frank talk about an important part of your life, WARNING: hurry and get out of this blog and come back tomorrow.

Did you know that what you eat has EVERYTHING to do with your sex life? For you women who are having a hard time convincing your husband to get on board with your conversion to whole foods, this essay might be just the ticket.

Food affects your sex drive profoundly. And I can prove it. I now have over 175 respondents in my green smoothie questionnaire now, polling people who’ve undertaken a green smoothie habit for at least 30 days:

So far, 17 percent of my respondents have reported an increased sex drive as a result of drinking green smoothies. And keep in mind that not all respondents are sexually active, and some already had a very high libido so they ignored that question. Therefore, 17 percent is likely a lower number than what you can expect, those of you considering joining us in the Gospel of Green..

Guys, your wife isn’t as into it as you are? There’s no drug better than a quart of green smoothie a day (and kicking Hostess to the curb). Give it a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you want even more sexual energy, toss some maca or bee pollen in the blender.

In my experience working with people on their nutrition, I have found that being even 10 or 15 lbs. overweight can dramatically affect your sexuality in a negative way. So, green smoothies are an aphrodisiac–and donuts and Doritos are very literally the opposite: a sex-life stomper.

How?

First of all, you don’t like how you look 10 lbs. overweight. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror with your clothes off, you aren’t likely to be sexually willing, confident, playful, adventurous, and energetic. And what is the best way to lose ten pounds? Dieting? No way!

Just start eating the right foods like you learn to do in 12 Steps to Whole Foods. No calorie counting or carb-gram-obsessing necessary. Eat whole plant foods (and stop eating processed foods) and you’ll naturally be satisfied with whatever you eat in the right quantities.

That’s because you don’t have endocrine disruptors, hormone inhibitors, and addictive chemicals in the form of refined sugar, MSG, food dyes, refined salt, and much more destroying your sex drive and your sexual performance.

Second, when your energy is depleted, as it always will be on the Standard American Diet diet, you lose the sexual interest and stamina you once had. Sexual dysfunction happens the same way all degenerative disease does: it is linked to lifestyle choices. Your reproductive system, after all, is affected by the same things your cardiac, circulatory, and endocrine systems are–they are are inextricably linked, as they are all part of one complex organism.

When you eat lots of raw plant food, and go easy on (or eliminate) meat, dairy, and processed stuff, your body has its energy reserves available for all the fun and rewarding things in life.

For an experiment, eat at Tucano’s or Rodizio’s (or a Brazilian restaurant where they bring around meat dishes and offer you some until you can’t eat anymore). How amorous do you feel that night? I’ll answer for you: you don’t want anything except SLEEP. And the sleep you do get is troubled, and you feel sick all night.

Now try eating 100% raw plant food for a day, or longer than that. Watch what happens to your libido. And a great sex life leads to a great relationship, from which all good things flow.

I hope you give this a try. I hope my bravest readers will let us know what your observations are after your experiment on these words. Blog anonymously if that’s what it takes!

HAVE FUN! (And I mean that in the wildest, most passionate way possible.) Have you forgotten what that means? Then start drinking a DOUBLE SHOT of green smoothies!

–Robyn

Green Smoothie Testimonials, part 7

I have endometriosis and ovarian cysts and have suffered with cramping, heavy menstruation, and low back pain for 20+ years. I have had numerous surgeries to help correct and alleviate the problem with no success. I finally reached the point that my doctors determined a hysterectomy would be my next surgery. I am in my early thirties and was not ready for that so I spent a lot of time researching nutritional options. I discovered green smoothies and they have helped tremendously (I have been drinking them for a year now).

My cycles have improved dramatically and the majority of the time I feel like a normal person.That has never been the case because of this constant pain that was always with me. Thanks for all of the info on your site. As I have changed my eating habits I have also discovered trigger foods that cause ovarian pain, spotting, and bleeding. I am grieving the loss of chocolate but the smoothies have almost taken any cravings for sweets away. Once again thanks so much for helping to change the quality of my life.

–Becky Flannery (Sandy, UT)

I started drinking green smoothies two months ago.I use a large amount of organic leafy produce and I use kombucha as the liquid, with a small amount of fruit or fruit juice. Then I follow it up with a handful of spirulina and chlorella tablets.This combination rocks.

–Anon.

Green smoothies have saved my life! I had been in a state of depression for the past 4 years. I was put depression medicine but it never helped. I discovered green smoothies in December of 2008 and decided to give it a try in January 2009. It has been two months since I started making a green smoothie everyday and I feel AMAZING, WONDERFUL, and FULL OF LIFE. I have not felt this good in a long time. I have had tons of energy, I can fall asleep faster at night and feel rested when I wake up, I don’t feel the need to take daily naps, I have had less cravings for sweets and processed foods, my motivation is back, and I have lost 8 pounds in 2 months. Green smoothies are here to stay!

–AB from IL

 

I love the green smoothies; they have made a world of difference in my life. I know I am a happier healthier person because of them. I am so thankful for them; I love them so very much.They have given me so much drive. It is easier to drink your greens.I have been eating healthy greens for years. I like the kale in a smoothie rather than eating it daily as I have done. It is much easier to get down in a drinkable form. Thank you!

–Lisa

Research results: Green Smoothies Change Lives [part 1 of 2]

The results of my poll of 175 green smoothie drinkers yielded some interesting results that suggest quite definitively that it’s a 10-minute habit worth adopting!

The vast majority, or 97 percent, said green smoothies noticeably improved their health or quality of life.

Only 18.5 percent had uncomfortable, short-term cleansing reactions.   The following symptoms were reported:

 

Headaches

Skin breakouts

Diarrhea

Nausea

Bloating

Intestinal gas

Cramps

Constipation

Vertigo

Dizziness

Fainting

Lethargy or weakness

Runny nose

Mucous in the back of the throat

Liver pain

Mood swings

Depression

Emotional crisis

 

Very exciting to me is the fact that 84 percent of those drinking green smoothies are so enthusiastic about the positive health benefits that they’ve  taught others about  the habit!

These are the positive health effects people experience, listed in order of their frequency among the research respondents:

85.4 percent experience more energy.

79.2 percent experience improved digestion (more regular and/or complete bowel movements, no straining, soft/formed stool, etc.).

 

65 percent experience fewer cravings for sweets and processed foods.

 

52.3 percent experience a more positive, stable mood.

 

51 percent experience an improvement in skin tone, or fewer blemishes.

 

50 percent experience weight loss.   The average reported pounds lost is 17.3 lbs.!

(Keep in mind when considering this very impressive statistic that some of the respondents had been drinking green smoothies only 30 days, and some of them did not have any weight to lose.)

 

48.5 percent experience an increased desire to exercise.

 

44.6 percent experience improved sleep (need less of it, decreased insomnia, more alert in the mornings, etc.).

 

41.5 percent feel less stressed out.

 

40 percent experience blood sugar stabilization.

 

39 percent experience people telling them they look better.

 

35 percent say their fingernails are stronger or grow faster.

 

26 percent say their hair is shinier or their dandruff gone.

 

18.5 percent experience a decrease in PMS symptoms.   (Consider that some of the respondents in the survey are not females of menstruating age.)

 

17 percent report an improved sex drive.

More data tomorrow.

Green Smoothie Testimonials, part 3

I’m 44 years old. I’ve always had very regular menstrual cycles. For about one year prior to drinking green smoothies, my menstrual cycles had become very irregular. After about two months of green smoothies, I returned to a very regular cycle of 20 – 30 days and my periods are just like they were in my 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve been drinking my quart of green smoothie per day for six months now and my cycles are consistently regular.

 

–Kathy M.

 

I love green smoothies! I drink them every morning, and I was so surprised how great they make me feel! I have lost weight, have lots of energy, feel healthier than ever and feel like my immune system is even stronger than it was.

 

Drinking green smoothies also influenced all of my eating and cooking decisions, and allowed me to lose weight safely. When we travel, I am always carrying my blender with me so I can have green smoothies anywhere I go!

 

My 20 month old daughter also loves them. I am sure that green smoothies are the best way to get babies/toddlers to get their greens. She gets so excited when I get out the blender and she always wants more! Thank you, green smoothies, and thank you to my friend, Tara, for introducing them to me!

 

–Kathryn Rose

 

I drink a quart of an all-vegetable green smoothie every day. I have more energy, sleep better, wake up ready for the day, and generally feel much better. I believe it’s because of the green smoothie and a whole foods diet, mostly raw. I have cut out all processed foods, sugar, and caffeine, and I feel great! Thanks for your website; it’s very informative and inspiring!

 

–Carol J.

 

After a few weeks of drinking green smoothies via wimpy blender, we were hooked and made our best nutritional investment to date–BlendTec. Our green smoothies have become greener and we have been known to eat 3-4 bunches of greens and 1 pound of baby spinach in a week between two adults and two toddlers.

 

I sometimes find myself looking around at all the green plants and wonder, “What would that taste like?”  I was skeptical at first, but my then-barely-two yr. old and three-yr.-old both enjoyed the green smoothies as well. They were converted before my husband!

 

Summer proves to be an easier time to drink them due to the warmer weather.   However, we still maintain regular GS drinking throughout all the seasons. I do not have to force them on my toddlers; rather, they will request them and are especially excited to help put all the ingredients into the blender.

 

GS have helped control my sugar cravings, eliminated Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and boosted my energy. My kids have regular bowel movements that do not have the stench as pre-GS days.

 

It is best to start children early on GS as it will develop their palate towards REAL, nutritionally sound foods.

 

–Laura M. and family

What my research says about how green smoothies change lives!

I once blogged 20 different astonishing ways my health improved when I began drinking green smoothies and eating a whole-foods diet.   Here it is: What Changed, When We Switched To Whole Foods, Part 2

But I wanted to get more scientific when I wrote The Green Smoothies Diet and find out precisely what a newbie can expect!

The results of my poll of 175 regular green smoothie drinkers yielded some interesting results that suggest quite definitively that it’s a 10-minute habit worth adopting!   To participate in the questionnaire, one had to be drinking green smoothies for at least 30 days, a pint a day for 4 days a week.   Many were drinking more, up to my recommended 1 quart daily.

The vast majority, or 97 percent, said green smoothies noticeably improved their health or quality of life.   Wow!

Very exciting to me is the fact that 84 percent of those drinking green smoothies are so enthusiastic about the positive health benefits that they’ve told others about or taught them the habit!

These are the positive health effects people experience, listed in order of their frequency among the research respondents:

85.4 percent experience more energy.

79.2 percent experience improved digestion (more regular and/or complete bowel movements, no straining, soft/formed stool, etc.).

65 percent experience fewer cravings for sweets and processed foods.

52.3 percent experience a more positive, stable mood.

51 percent experience an improvement in skin tone, or fewer blemishes

50 percent experience weight loss.   The average reported pounds lost is 17.3 lbs.!

(Keep in mind when considering this very impressive statistic that some of the respondents had been drinking green smoothies only 30 days, and some of them did not have any weight to lose!

48.5 percent experience an increased desire to exercise.

44.6 percent experience improved sleep (need less of it, decreased insomnia, more alert in the mornings, etc.).

41.5 percent feel less stressed out.

40 percent experience blood sugar stabilization.

39 percent experience people telling them they look better.

35 percent say their fingernails are stronger or grow faster.

26 percent say their hair is shinier or their dandruff gone.

18.5 percent experience a decrease in PMS symptoms.   (Consider that some of the respondents in the survey are not females of menstruating age.)

17 percent report an improved sex drive.

Other positive health benefits reported by survey respondents include these:

7 people said: Arthritis symptoms/pain gone or reduced

3 people said: Hyperthyroid condition improved (reduced or gone off meds)

2 people said: Seasonal allergies gone or decreased

2 people said: Reduced asthma symptoms

2 people said: Migraines gone or reduced by 80 percent

2 people said: Acne improved or gone

2 people said: Eczema or dry skin cleared

2 people said: Gray hair returned to original color

Decreased blood pressure

No more hypertension

Was able to go off cholesterol meds

Was able to go off Prilosec

Haven’t gotten sick in a year like I always do

Moles disappeared

Deep facial wrinkles “barely noticeable”

Less nasal congestion

Lump on leg getting smaller

Liver spots fading

Tendonitis gone

Muscle soreness gone

Hypoglycemia improved

No more bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation

Avoided a hysterectomy, lifelong menstrual problems returned to normal

Easier to breastfeed

Don’t sunburn any more

Gallstones gone

Depression symptoms gone

Lifelong bad breath gone in two weeks

Ended coffee addiction

Just feel better

The risks of a new green smoothie habit are limited to an 18.5 percent chance of a short-term, uncomfortable cleansing reaction that include the following symptoms:

headaches, skin breakouts, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, intestinal gas, cramps, constipation, vertigo, dizziness, fainting, lethargy or weakness, runny nose, mucous in the back of the throat, liver pain, mood swings, depression, emotional crisis

The top six benefits that people experience when starting a green smoothie habit are, in order, more energy, improved digestion, fewer cravings for sweets and processed food, a more positive/stable mood, improved skin, and weight loss.

It’s hard to look at this data without being compelled to give green smoothies a try!

Jump in with us and let us know here what your experience is after 30 days:

 

To Your Health,

–Robyn Openshaw

p.s.   Join us in 12 Steps to Whole Foods to get on the path to achieve all these health benefits. Step 1 is all about the why and how of green smoothies!

Your weight chart is crazy!

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   OK Wow……I just read Myth #12 and I’m really, really depressed!   I thought I was average weight….I’m 5’3″ and weigh 140 lbs….and your chart says I should be around 105!  That means I need to lose at LEAST 30 lbs or so (if I give myself some leeway).   I’ve NEVER been that low in my adult life, and don’t consider myself overweight.   Is this truly realistic?   I’ve always been told that I’m ‘solid’, medium bone build, strong, muscular legs, and just a little in the middle–had twins, gained 60 lbs. with that pregnancy…skin stretched a tad, lost all the weight and some extra.   I can’t even imagine myself at 105, or 110, or 120 for that matter.

 

Answer:   First of all, it’s not my chart.   It’s Dr. McDougall’s chart that I submit to my readers as something to think about.   Let’s just let it expand our mind and give us something to think about.   Let’s not get married to it.

 

The point is that when you use averages from people who eat an exclusively whole-foods diets, like the indigenous peoples who live on plant foods, around the globe, you get dramatically different–even shockingly different–averages.   That chart is based on weights of healthy indigenous people.  (And you may be aware that extremely thin people have the longest life expectancy, around the globe.)

 

Right . . . you’re going to say that you and I aren’t living in the Sahara with access to only a handful of foods.   We have the constant temptation of living in the modern world where processed foods are some of our gods.   I understand that.

 

The point is simply to let go of those lame standardized charts your doctor shows you.   They give us a false sense of security about what is truly healthy.   I’m not trying to create hopeless ideals–please let go of beating yourself up about your weight–I’m trying to ask provocative questions about how we’ve been educated about health and nutrition.

 

If going to the weight in that chart would be unhealthy for you, then don’t do it.   And looking at an end goal like that can be daunting.   (Note: I am 5 lbs. over the ideal in the McDougall charts, too!   However, unlike this email I got and several others, I think I’d look just fine, quite healthy in fact, at the ideal weight for my height in the chart.   The further you are from that number, the more outraged you’re going to be by the number.)

 

Don’t hold up huge, unrealistic goals for yourself.   (It goes without saying that starving or bingeing/purging are bad ways to get to your ideal weight.)   Don’t view the McDougall chart as the new gold standard for 100% of people.   (We vary in bone size, etc.)   Just also don’t be surprised if, when you reach your “target weight” based on the American norms, you realize that you want to–and can, without massive effort!–get even leaner.   I’ve seen this happen with many people eating all raw or “high raw” on plant foods.

BINGE EATING

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   I definitely have a binge eating disorder. This has been going on since I’m 13; I’m now 50! My husband, also 50 is very overweight and my daughter, 20 and in college is very overweight. I’m very interested in getting my family on track. What can you tell me about binge eating?

 

Answer:   Two things are usually at work when it comes to eating disorders.   One is emotional and one is physical/chemical.   Of course, you can’t entirely separate the two.   But let me talk about one for a minute and then the other.

 

First of all, we often “reward” ourselves with food because we feel low, or we are bored, we feel insecure or unloved, or maybe life just feels empty and food is the only thing we have to look forward to.   It’s helpful to know when we begin to eat something damaging to our health what it is, exactly, we’re hoping the junk food can do for us.   Is it going to ease the boredom?   If so, it may help to talk to yourself about that: “For five minutes while I eat these Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, I’ll enjoy them, but then I’ll have a blood sugar crash and be unable to do my work.   And I’ll hate myself because I was going to eat healthy today and then ate a box of donuts after lunch, instead.   Then my self-esteem will be lower, not higher.”

 

I find self-talk isn’t usually enough, though.   I also have to find something else to do to make myself NOT BORED.   (That’s my emotional trigger–boredom.)   Some people eat when they’re feeling criticized or ignored by someone they care about.   Some eat to cover up their sexuality because of intimacy issues.   There are so many reasons to overeat or indulge in processed foods that cause weight gain and health problems.

 

Second, when processed foods are in our daily menu, they screw up our tastes for other foods.   They change our ability to detect where the “off” switch should be in eating, because MSG, NutraSweet, sugar or corn syrup, and salt cause a chemical chain reaction of symptoms that lead us to not understand or tune into being satisfied by a small to moderate amount of food.

 

Those who eat to assuage their emotions AND have chemical addictions to processed food are doomed to overweight if they don’t tap into both sides of that equation.   I wrote 12 Steps to Whole Foods to address the chemical issues.   And Ch. 11 on healthy treats helps in the transition away from eating junk treats all the time.   Starting there–with nutrition–also helps on the emotion side, because even if unaddressed, you have much better options when you DO soothe yourself with food.

Merry Christmas!

Dear friends, thank you for your support of the GreenSmoothieGirl mission in the first full year of this web site’s operation.   I am trying to post photos but it won’t work today, so I’ll try to troubleshoot later.   I hope you have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2009!   Here for you is my favorite quote by one of this world’s greatest Christians and authors, C.S. Lewis.   I find it so profound that I carry it around with me and read it over and over to help me remember who each person I meet really is:

The Weight of Glory

By C.S. Lewis

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour.

The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.   It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.

It is in light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.

There are no ordinary people.   You have never talked to a mere mortal.   Nations, cultures, arts, civilization–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.   But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.   This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn.   We must play.

But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.   And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner–no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.   Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.   If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat–the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

tribute to my “grama”

I am in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Spokane, Washington for the Thanksgiving weekend.   The three of us here are 40, 60, and 80 year old women–me running my five miles each morning, my aunt walking, and my grama lying on the couch recovering from knee replacement.   It’s her third joint replacement, with a fourth scheduled (hips and knees done, shoulder coming up).   Is this an inevitable part of aging?   Is this what I have to look forward to?   As you know, I’m doing what I can to stave aging off.   We staged an intervention this morning to talk about  grama’s unwillingness to use the cane/walker, to consider that driving isn’t such a good idea, and to suggest she stop running for the phone and leaping up off the couch.   She’s already fallen once while we’ve been here, and we’re worried.   It’s hard to see someone you love suffering with arthritis, memory loss,  and many other degenerative conditions.   And this holiday weekend has been a reflective time to think about generations, love, loss, aging, family.

My aunt and grama are  both a little worried that I’m denying my kids the protein they need (my daughters being vegetarian and all of us eating very little animal food).   And they express concern about calcium, since  we don’t get dairy products.   I told them  not to worry because  I’ve never drunk milk and have the bone density of a 20-year old.   They look at me, a little puzzled, confused, and concerned.   From what I see in milk drinkers, both in the literature and in my life (anecdotally), well, let’s just say I’m going to keep going down this path I’m on.

My grama is technically not.   (My  actual grama, I mean.)   She’s my grampa’s fifth wife–my own grandmother died at her own hand at the age of 33.   My aunt I traveled here with was five years old at the time and, in all the chaos with police officers and ambulance EMT’s milling about not paying attention to her, she tragically  walked into the bedroom to see the scene after my grandmother put a bullet in her head.

“Grama” has been in my life since shortly after I was born, so she’s the only grama I’ve ever known.   She’s an amazing lady who is the best caretaker for my grampa I could ever hope for.   He completely lost his memory years ago and is now in a rest home.   I went to see him tonight, where he was preoccupied with touching my hair, and kept telling me it is pretty and gold.   I told him he could touch it all he wanted.   I miss the real him, but his sense of humor is still there even if he asks the same question a dozen times.   And my grama is as patient and loving the 12th time as the 1st.   Her first marriage did not work out–and amazingly, last night, we went to have dinner at the home of the woman who next married her first husband!   That is the kind of woman my grama is.   She’s forgiving and patient.   I want to be like her when I grow up.   (All except for her liberal use of the words “sh*t” and “d*mn,” haha.)

Aging is inevitable.   But I am here watching what hell it is at the end.   And I’m entirely unconvinced that it has to happen as early as it does for most of us.