My Gratitude Blog, Part 1 of 2

blending hot pinkHave you ever been in a trance? If you’re a parent, you’ve seen your child in one. He can’t hear or see anything–so lost is he, in thinking about something very intensely. I had one of these a few days ago. I’m going to try to describe it.

I was actually blending a Hot Pink Smoothie. (My favorite breakfast. One of my most well-known recipes.) I was watching my Blendtec completely liquefy a 12 oz bag of frozen strawberries, and a giant carrot, and two frozen chunks of a raw beet from my late-summer garden.

I was completely mesmerized by it. Like I’d never seen it before. My trance involved getting lost in imagining myself transported back to 1788; in seeing this amazing gadget, plugged into a constant electrical supply, with bright lighting overhead that does not have to be fueled by whale oil. I’m amazed and overwhelmed. And I don’t have to chew every bit of food up, after growing it myself, risking losing it all because of weather or drought. I get it out of this cold box, and this other freezing box, and I make this amazing, delicious meal in just seconds.

I suddenly Could. Not. Believe. my great good fortune to be staring into this amazing gadget that no one in thousands of years of world history has had–to prepare food SO EASILY–until now! I spend two minutes making it, and 10 delicious minutes drinking it as I drive my car to my son’s school, raising my vibration the whole way with a  fabulous mixture of foods nobody in 1788 would have BELIEVED!

I did finally snap out of my reverie. The real world intervened as Tennyson came into my kitchen and said, “Mom! We gotta hit the road!”

zen mind I tried to retain that sense of newness, and wonder. Amazement. This quote comes to mind:

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.”

–Shunryu Suzuki in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

I think it’s fun to create gratitude, by thinking like a child would, or a person 300 years ago, would. To remember to be amazed, blown away! Giddy! Grateful! We all love adults who retain a sense of childlike wonder.

Wherever you live, you can get in your CAR and automatically drive it, without having to hitch up horses regardless of  in-climate weather, to any one of FIVE grocery stores within just a few minutes–to inexpensively buy any of 100 different nutrient-dense plant foods of all colors, from all over the globe, that you DIDN’T HAVE TO GROW!

WOW! We have the best life ever!

Have you ever seen the little comedy by Louis CK on Conan O’Brien several years ago? It’s called, “Everything is Amazing, and Nobody’s Happy!” Check it out here:

In the longer version you can find on YouTube HERE,

life is amazing2Louis CK calls us the “crappiest generation of spoiled idiots.” The comedy routine isn’t just funny—it’s a great reminder that EVERYTHING IS AMAZING, so don’t take all the good stuff for granted! What if we went throughout an entire day, totally astonished at all the awesome miracles all around us!

I have this Tony Robbins Gratitude CD that Matthew gave me years ago. If I listen to it in my car, or on my iPod while I run—10 minutes later, I’m soaring! In just a few minutes of IMMERSING MYSELF IN GRATITUDE, I realize that I have the BEST LIFE EVER!

(A gratitude meditation is a great exercise when a dark cloud floats in and sets up camp for a few hours, due to circumstances beyond my control.)

Every day should be a day of thanksgiving. Did you know that if you hook someone up to a biofeedback machine, their heart rate goes down 20 points if they are directed to think about things they are deeply grateful for? (And their heart rate goes UP 20 points just thinking about something that makes them angry!) Just today on the radio, I heard a woman who was part of the medical biofeedback experiment that documented this behavior, talking about her numbers. So what do we learn from this?

grateful listI personally want to spend more time thinking about the things I am grateful for. Doing so lets me express gratitude for people who help and love me–and it improves my emotional and physical health in the meantime.

I got to spend three days, a couple of weeks ago, with 40 GreenSmoothieGirl coaches and apprentices. I told them that my theory is that a major differentiator between happy and successful people–and unhappy, unsuccessful people–is what they do with their idle time. Smartass GSG Coach Jeanette yelled out, “What IS that, Robyn?” (Jeanette, like me, works too much!)

I said, “Even you, Jeanette, drive in your car, and take a shower, and go for a run!” (Even the busiest women in the world do the first two of those things, at least!)

That’s when all my best stuff comes to me. That’s where I unravel the solutions to my thorniest problems. With my business, my relationships, and the daily conundrums. I try to spend “idle time” (read: car, shower, workout time that my brain isn’t otherwise occupied) solving problems and brainstorming ideas.

veggie thank youIn the past four months, I sold my house, I built another one, which my children wouldn’t move to, so I now must sell it. So I bought a townhouse and moved into it, a massive downsize. In those same four months, I hired 4 people, had 3 of my children move out, wrote 2 books, and lectured in 18 cities.

It’s been a period of epic change, and digging deep to do hard things. I’m deeply thankful for the many people in my life who help me do what I do. For my beautiful Kid and Baby Boy, Beamer and Libs—my two sons and two daughters.

I’m grateful for the best job in the world. I’m thankful I get to learn from my mistakes, and a few successes mixed in. Thank you for joining me here on this blog all year!

Do you work at a desk? Read this!

desk workMe, too. I work at a computer most of the time, sometimes for 12 hours a day. This is on my mind, because I spent all of August at home. I scheduled a 7-week hiatus from my usual travel schedule, in fact.

I almost went crazy. I actually love to write, don’t get me wrong. But I tasked myself with writing an entire book in a month or so. That’s intense. How to Eat Right In The Real World comes out Jan. 1. And starting in September, I had a lot of travel and other work tasks. So I figured I better buckle down and knock the draft out.

I chained myself to the computer for 7 weeks.

And at the end of July, I broke my pinkie toe. Down in the joint, which takes a long time to heal. Playing a lot of tennis, and taking my ball machine over to the courts to hit, would break up my day. That was the plan to get through August. Till my being unable to wear a SHOE for six weeks derailed that.

I did write 110 pages of my book by Aug. 31, which is great. But sometimes I would feel the compression in my back, from too many hours at a desk. Thankfully, and I’ll tell you why in a minute, I don’t have actual back pain, like I did for many years of my life, particularly in my cervical vertebrae. When I was 5 years old, I was in a car accident with a hit-and-run drunk driver. (I was not wearing a seatbelt. Was anyone, in the 1970’s?)

I want to talk about two major issues, for those of us who work at a computer fulltime, and what has helped a lot for me, that I hope helps you!

eye strainEye strain!

You don’t have to take a nap to get some “shut eye.” Research on eye health, and people who work at monitors, shows that all you have to do, to keep your eyes healthy, is take breaks. Even two minutes of keeping your eyes shut, is really helpful. Ten minutes are even better! While you’re talking on the phone, while you’re at work, get in the habit of SHUTTING YOUR EYES. Do it while you’re in the shower, too. (Maybe don’t do it while you’re driving your car or cooking at the stove.)

Back strain!

Schedule breaks in your day. Just use your meals, workout, errands, meetings, or conference calls as your breaks in computer work so you don’t work more than 60-90 minutes at a time. While I was working 12-hour days writing this book, I didn’t go to the gym first thing in the morning, which would be my normal preference. (That way I get it done early!) Instead, I worked a couple of hours when I got up at 7 am, and then went to the gym as one of my breaks. (Did yoga and wore flip-flops on the Arc Trainer or in a spin class, since running and tennis were out.)  This way I am not working for 4 or more hours at a time. Research shows 4 straight hours of the same task does not yield 4 hours of productivity. Nowhere close, in fact.

ergonomicsI got through college with an “A” GPA by utilizing this principle. My strategy was to start classes at 8 a.m., and because I don’t have the attention span for 6-hour study sessions (does anyone?), I scheduled 90 minutes of study between classes. It kept me on campus, walking from class to a study area re-energizing me. And it forced me to use those 1-2 hour breaks between classes for studying. Some of my college friends scheduled 4 classes in a row, and then they’d go home exhausted. They’d go home and crash, killing hours of productivity. Several of them dropped out or got terrible grades and had to repeat classes.

The research says to position your screen straight ahead, arm’s length away, avoid glare from windows or bright lights, and use good posture when you’re sitting. Use the “visor test” to see if the lighting in your workspace is a problem. Make a “visor” out of your hands, and if your eyes feel better, the lighting should be changed.

Do yoga!

I cannot overemphasize this. I have a completely different body now than I did when I was 20, because now I’m limber thanks to regular yoga. Being limber isn’t just about tantric sex, showing off, or avoiding injuries, which are associations many people make with it.

It actually affects your entire body’s health, and your emotional health too. I have often said that YOGA is how I survived my divorce. It also helps me survive the sometimes epic amount of responsibility and stress in my life. Truly almost more than anything (though my great diet, and essential oils are huge, too).

yogaYoga isn’t just for being bendy. It trains you to breathe appropriately, to be mindful of the connections between emotions, breath, and physical sensation, and overall helps a person become more grounded, relaxed, and present in the moment.

You may say that you don’t have time to drive to a yoga studio and do 60 minutes. Sometimes I don’t either. Especially when I’m on the road. But I do yoga in airports and in my hotel room. In the airport, I try to find a place behind something, where everyone can’t watch. (But mostly, I just don’t even care if they do. Pretty sure this embarrasses the employee or friend I’m traveling with, sometimes.)

Often I get out of my seat on the plane, go to that place in the middle of the plane (or first class, if I am lucky enough to get an upgrade), where the bathrooms and drink-prep station are, and do a bunch of yoga where no one can see, except occasionally a flight attendant. It improves my energy and is always a good use of 5-10 minutes.

Side stretches, one arm over my head, back bends, forward folds, holding one foot behind you with both hands, are pretty unobtrusive and easy to do in a small space.

But maybe most importantly, if you work at a desk:

standing-deskWhen you take a phone call, GET UP OUT OF YOUR CHAIR. This takes some mental training, for a while, to remember to do this. If I take a phone call, I do it STANDING. Because I work at home, if the weather’s nice, I take my phone calls outside. I even go out there if I see I have several text messages to answer. Then I’m getting Vitamin D, AND I’m doing yoga stretches, while I’m doing work I have to do anyway. Multi-tasking at its finest. That’s three things you’re accomplishing with one phone call. And two of those are good for your health!

Probably the pose I spend the most time in, when I’m on the phone, is the forward fold. You’re standing upright (with your feet shoulder width apart, or sometimes I do it in a straddle). Bend forward until your head is upside down and hands are as flat on the floor as possible. Being upside down briefly is really good for blood and lymph flow, and resting and decompressing your spine.

I feel SO much better if I just take a few minutes to bend and stretch, move my muscles, a few times a day. This is one of the ways you avoid using stimulants, falling asleep at your desk, and hating your day.

So remember, to keep your spine limber, your brain sharp, and your eyes rested, anytime you are not doing a task that involves looking at your screen or typing, GET OUT OF YOUR CHAIR.

Stand to take your phone calls. Walk around. Do yoga. And keep your eyes closed for a few minutes.

These are really simple ideas. But they can truly make an enormous difference in your health. And they cost you literally nothing. (chiropractor care, back surgery, and eye surgery aren’t as free.) I hope you will start making them new habits!

Best-kept healing secret in the world: Come with me back to Switzerland!

almost to heaven
Suspended between Earth and Heaven

We’re just back from a place, as one patient at the clinic put it, “suspended between Earth and Heaven.” I couldn’t agree more. Usually at the end of a two-week trip, I’m dying to get home.

Not this time. I went kicking and screaming, back to the Milan airport. Al Ronc feels like a second home.

Come back with me in November, over Thanksgiving!

I’ve been to some lovely places. But none of the clinics I’ve visited, in 2 ½ years of research, are so peaceful and beautiful as Paracelsus al Ronc, a charming clinic several thousand feet up in Castaneda, Switzerland. None offer a better value for the money. None have such personalized care. None have such amazing food, or accommodations, both on-site and part of the price.

Dr. Petra, her husband and son Ulf and Freddy, and GSG Coach Amanda
Dr. Petra, her husband and son Ulf and Freddy, and GSG Coach Amanda

Click HERE to skip the rest of this blog and read about it AND the dates / prices for our November trip, and learn how to come with us. And read what those who came with me in May had to say about it!

This time, we have Americans who have been there, to answer your questions. Write Madeline at coachmadeline@greensmoothiegirl.com.

Al Ronc is the perfect place for a cancer patient to get outstanding holistic inpatient treatment for 3 weeks. But it’s also a great place for absolutely anyone to recharge and restore health, for a 2-week liver cleanse, too. (Or one week, if that’s what you can do.)

Because I’m a little obsessed with when I can go back, we’ve arranged for another trip for GSG readers! With an amazing price for you to come with me. Come for 8 days, or 16—you get one night FREE in each session.

Who wouldn’t want three gourmet, multi-course, detoxifying meals prepared for them? In a sunny dining room with panoramic views of a precipitous drop into the river cutting through the valley, with snow-covered peaks in the background.

room at al Ronc
A room at Paracelsus al Ronc
wildflowers at al Ronc
Wildflowers at al Ronc

You have a beautiful room you can rest in, between treatments. An entire wall of your room is a bank of full-length windows, and a deck with lounge chairs. Every room has the amazing view. You won’t want to miss a daily hike, and discover the ranging goatherds, springs of mineral waters, grottoes and tiny towns, pristine Alpine wilderness.

Dozens of protocols are administered at the clinic by compassionate staff, your schedule made each evening before. The clinic is well organized and non-stressful. Therapies that assist your body’s processes in cleaning up and rebuilding. Tests of the health and strength of your organs, adaptive and regulatory systems, nutritional status, and many other functions.

You’ll take advantage of hyperthermia, acupuncture, thermography, IV chelation or oxygen infusions, cupping, reflexology, colon hydrotherapy, darkfield blood analysis, lymphatic drainage, iridology, liver wrap. And so many more methods.

Dessert bar at Gala Dinner! (no sugar, still delicious!)
Dessert bar at Gala Dinner! (no sugar, still delicious!)

I’ve been to some clinics with very competent care before. Not like here, though, with everything you’d want to find, under one roof. You don’t pay “a la carte.” Everything is included in your stay. A gala dinner every Friday night, in-house concerts on Friday and Sunday.

You don’t have to have cancer to benefit from a 2-week stay here. Or even 1 week. We’ve negotiated a rate, and a schedule of treatments, for 1- or 2-week stays at our next retreat.

I highly recommend doing the Liver Detox protocol, one of the specialties Dr. Wiechel is known for. Everyone can benefit. Your food will be low-carb, low-fat, and low-protein. High-fiber and easy to digest, while your body prepares to eliminate crystalline structures before they can do you any harm.

You’ll be gently guided, with surprisingly delicious vegetable-intensive meals, towards a “liver flush” at the end of your first week. You’ll go home with a significantly rehabilitated liver. And you need that. Because your liver serves you in more than 500 ways!

After the flush, you’ll have an even more delicious diet. All whole foods you’ll want to take photos of to send home!

You could also choose the Heavy Metal Recovery program. Or the Intensive Burnout Recovery week. We can send you the rate for any of those. But the Liver Detox, which I recommend, is 2,490 swiss francs per week. Right now the Swiss franc and dollar are about 1:1.

Sightseeing at Lake Magriorri
Sightseeing at Lake Maggiori

Not only do we have a special price, lower than anywhere I’ve been world-wide, but al Ronc is also offering us an extra night (8 nights for the price of 7), free internet, and they will take us for sightseeing excursions at Lake Maggiori, Lake Lugano, and a huge open-air market (where I got three beautiful Italian leather jackets and several other fabulous items).

Many people spend far more than this, for a vacation, with no benefit to their health besides the R&R. I am so pleased with the value received at Paracelsus al Ronc—a vacation, and health reboot, all in one.

For the dates (Nov. 24 – Dec. 8, come for one week, or two weeks, and get a free additional night added to each week)…..and the prices…..click HERE.

 

10,000 Hours. 10,000 Choices.

Anne-Sophie
Anne-Sophie

I’ve been thinking about that newly famous, often-quoted piece of research that, to be great at something, you must spend 10,000 hours. Breaking it down, that’s 5 years of full-time work. I’m awed by the beautiful, virtuoso violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter. I heard her play, live, when I was in Paris in 1992, when she was 8 months pregnant, and I was utterly devastated by her performance. I did not know sounds like that could come out of a violin.

I could not sit still for the performance that night in the Paris opera house, so I stood in the back through the whole thing. Barely breathing.

You can hear her playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, about that time, with the Berlin Philharmonic, HERE.  Or a shorter performance on Letterman, HERE.

I think about the phenomenal amount of effort that went into earning a talent like Anne-Sophie’s. Maybe 50,000 hours!

Actors like Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis who bring us to tears. They paid the price, in workshops, being painfully evaluated by peers, trying out for parts, delivering lines in the mirror.

Writers like John Irving who astonish you with their prolific stories—he’s been writing for 40+ years!

Anne Lamott quoteOr Annie Lamott who enlivens an everyday event to be something you think about for weeks. Who writes single sentence you read five times because it rolls around in your brain so deliciously, and you write it and pin it on your cork board to save for later. Annie Lamott didn’t get to be my favorite writer because she sprang forth with an exquisite way with words. She put in the 10,000 hours honing her craft. Getting a degree, writing, re-writing, reading copiously, re-writing some more, listening to other professionals, teaching workshops, re-writing and reading some more.

A surgeon who completes 1,000 successful specialized procedures. A Major League Baseball player who fields every grounder, no matter how fast or angled it’s coming at him. (Evan Longoria on 3rd base. Magic.)

I was thinking about this, watching my 12-yo son’s baseball tournament last weekend, thinking about the difference between these boys—competitive players way ahead of the average 12-year old playing city league—and the Tampa Bay Rays athletes we watched play 4 games in 4 days on our recent spring break.

My boy’s a great athlete. But he misses a pop fly and misses grounders and strikes out pretty regularly. I was amazed, watching the Major Leaguers go entire games with almost no infield or outfield errors. The difference? About 10,000 hours!

robyn and family at game
Robyn and Kids at the Ballpark

And I am always sad and amazed at how everyone—LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE ONE—at a baseball field, if they’re eating at all, is eating hot dogs, candy, soda, chips, nachos, and salty pretzels.

And I had this thought:  Being 100 lbs. overweight is the result of 10,000 bad choices.

Cancer and heart attacks are the result of 10,000 bad choices.

Jillian Michaels’ body is the result of 10,000 good choices. Not a little “health kick.” (A friend of mine who lost 80#, then gained it back, made 5,000 good choices, then stopped short—and made another 5,000 bad choices.) Jillian Michael’s megastar reputation and sculpted body are the result of many years, of thousands of instances, of doing the right thing.

I don’t believe it’s 5 or 10 bad choices that have a net result of heart disease. It’s 10,000. The body deals with insult by rallying. If you drink alcohol, your body works very hard to detoxify. If you drink a lot of water before you go to bed, you’ll likely wake up with no hangover. Because you helped your liver do its job.

But drink yourself to sleep every night for 20 years? It’s amazing the body survives it, but sometimes it does. Not without a heavy toll. Cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, or many other disease states are the likely result.

good bad choicesThink on whether you have a great ratio of good choices to bad. A green smoothie won’t be enough, against a highly stressful lifestyle, tons of Diet Coke, an absence of exercise, AND a smoking habit. But you make about 10 or so food decisions a day. If all but one of those are whole plant foods, mostly raw, maybe it’s okay that one choice isn’t great. If you’re eating an 60-80 percent raw, organic diet, maybe it’ll be enough to cover for the glass or two of wine you have with dinner a few times a week.

I’m not legitimizing poor choices. But we’re none of us perfect. Myself included. We live in a flawed world, and I choose to operate in reality rather than sniffing around the ether zone. I like to talk about things I’ve personally achieved and know to be possible.

life result of choices10,000 good choices lead to health and vitality in the “senior years.” Like Coach Jeanette’s dad, Ed, my friend who is a DYNAMO at age 59, buying and selling companies and traveling the world with a mind as sharp as a razor. Most people his age are nursing a bunch of diagnoses, eating a bunch of pills every day, and winding down permanently. I could talk to him for hours. He eats a whole-foods diet and has educated himself about health, healing, wellness and spirituality. And he walks the talk.

My point is, it’s all in the ratio. I’ve quoted my grandmother many times. Even though she said this to me only once when I was in my 20’s, it went to my core and stayed there:

“It’s not what you do once in a while that’ll kill you. It’s what you do every day that’ll save you.”

 

Whole Foods and Depression, Tori’s Story. Part 2 of 2

Robyns Grandma-uncle

“Marilyn Peterson Openshaw, Robyn’s grandmother, in her early 20’s, with her second son Ronald”

This story is worth your time to read.

It made me cry, both when I first read it, and again when I sat down with it to craft it into a blog entry to share with you.

It moved me because, on its own, it’s a gorgeous story. It’s also very close to my heart, because both my paternal grandmother, and my paternal great grandmother, took their own lives at the same age, 33. My grandmother put a bullet in her brain. My great grandmother jumped off a bridge.

Because of this, I never had the chance to know them. I have seen only two photos of my grandmother. I have stared at them for hours. My face looks like hers, and I am built like her. Sharp facial features, thin but curvy. (This was helpful to know, as I’m built like no one else in my family.)

Robyns Dad
“Robert G. Openshaw, Robyn’s dad, as a young boy”

Depression robbed me, and my 15 paternal cousins and siblings, of ever meeting her. More importantly, it left my dad, who was standing in a crosswalk fulfilling his crossing-guard duties at the time Marilyn got the gun out, motherless at the tender age of my son Tennyson. Just 12. I don’t know what my dad was like at that age, but Tennyson still climbs in my lap, every single day.

Please enjoy Tori’s story. Most of it I have quoted in her own words (name changed to protect sensitive details).

mask depressionThree years ago, Tori was at a very low point in her life. She’s a beautiful, young, fit blonde woman who looks like she has life by the tail. She had been struggling with crippling depression, and for 5 years had been on an obscene amount of mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. The meds caused her headaches, grinding teeth, the sensation of her skin crawling, and feeling slow, unemotional, and unable to concentrate.

antidepressant2_090128_mnHer doctor helped her up the dosage, change the dosage, change brands. Tori calls it “an experiment from hell.” But like so many of the rest of us, she says, “I didn’t know what else to do.” She went to therapy. She’d have okay days. Then she’d have weeks or months where she was preoccupied with taking her own life, and she came dangerously close to suicide at least twice. She cut herself constantly.

She said to me, “I HATED ME.”

And Tori is a young mother of two small children.

She carried a photo of them with her, and that is the only thing, she said, that kept her alive: “I didn’t want to die and leave them motherless. But I wanted to give up because I thought nothing was ever going to change and that I would always feel this way. Miserable.”

“I was searching for alternatives when I found your blog. I read it with interest, but wasn’t sure I wanted to blend a salad and drink it. How could that really work? Your blog seemed to tell me it would help, though. Just my luck, I saw that you were coming to the Seattle area in a few months, so I put it on my calendar. I was eager to see you.

spinach stuck in teeth“In between that time, I did make myself a green smoothie in my crappy blender and choked down chunks of it, and my husband swore it was the worst thing ever. I didn’t blame him, as I witnessed spinach leaves attached to his teeth and watched him chew his smoothie. I wasn’t sure this was for me, and it didn’t help that my husband was scoffing at the cost of a Blendtec.”

“I invited some friends to your seminar—and that day, each one canceled. I was very sad and wasn’t sure I wanted to go alone. But I wanted out of the house, and I drove there.

“I was at rock bottom that day. As I was driving the freeway, I saw the embankments and thought to myself, ‘I wonder how fast I would need to go, to fly off that, and be dead rather than injured?’ I did not want to live anymore.

“As you spoke about your own family’s story, with your son, your own health, and your grandmother’s story, I was blown away by the positive effects this way of life could have on someone. I was slightly hopeful, but also overwhelmed at the thought of getting my family off the S.A.D. diet and onto what you were talking about. But I listened—I actually LAUGHED (!!!)—throughout your lecture. You made me smile and enjoy being there learning.

“I thought about buying the 12 Steps to Whole Foods program, but I wasn’t sure, and planned to look at it, at the end of class. You were giving prizes away all night, and a few came very close to my number. Then you came to the grand prize, the Blendtec, and I could see that everyone was smiling and sitting on the edge of their seats. I had very little hope of winning, as that kind of thing just doesn’t happen to me. Yet you slowly read the numbers and……

totalblender-200x300“IT WAS MINE! I WON THE BLENDER!

“I was shocked and speechless, and I think I tried to throw a ‘yippee!’ out there, so you would know how thankful I was, but I’m sure it wasn’t loud enough. I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned.

“By the time I got through the crowd at the end of your talk, your 12 Steps program was sold out. But I ordered it online that night, and it was to arrive soon. I did purchase The Green Smoothies Diet, as well as The Adventures of Junk Food Dude. My kids LOVE that book, and can I tell you how many times they have selected that book to bring in for Show-N-Tell, or write a book report on, or “Bring a Book to School Day?”

“When I got home, I showed my husband what I won, but he thought I’d stopped and bought it at Costco! I told him it was true, I really WON it, and that I was going to make him a REAL smoothie in the morning. It was a simple first effort. But it was smooth, frothy, and delicious! He was so impressed that he asked me to put them in Mason jars so he could take them to work.

“I went off and bought greens I’d never used before and didn’t know what to do with. Kale, swiss chard, and…..what the heck, dandelion greens?!

“In the following months, I was still working with my doctor on meds, and still in therapy. But I also started adding in green smoothies. I love vegetables, but getting ‘in the habit’ with my busy day was a challenge. So I committed to 3 days a week. After the first month, it became 4 days a week, then 5, and now we are up to 6+ days a week drinking the amount of green smoothie you suggest.

“I started educating myself. Went to a naturopath and talked to her about diet and mood. She helped me with a full checkup and some supplement tweaks.

“Slowly I went off my medications. Each time I’d try before, it was a terrible experience. Dizziness, nausea, deepening depression, restlessness. I never wanted to go through that again.

“After a few experiments with natural supplements, I found a combo that worked. And all the while, I was still just drinking green smoothies. Of course my naturopath supported this!

happy chalkboard face“With a healthy breakfast in my belly, I started to WANT to eat a healthy lunch and then a healthy dinner. I lost 15 lbs without trying. I got a dog and walked more. My energy improved. I started to actually sleep, rather than toss and turn for hours. My joints stopped hurting. I felt smarter and could concentrate. I smiled more. I realized I WAS BECOMING HAPPIER!

“About 10 months ago, I completely went off the supplements from my naturopath to see how I’d do. They weren’t bad for me, but I didn’t want to feel tied to them. I’m drug-free to this day. I still have days when I feel down, but it’s never been that dark, dark hole that I was in for a very long time. I have learned how to manage these moods in a more mindful and positive way.

“I know green smoothies aren’t the cure-all to depression. But I really believe it was the kick start. I attribute the green smoothie to better health and well being. I feel BALANCED now!

images-6“I love not only my morning green smoothie, but also your Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie, and lots of things my kids and I create in the Blendtec. I don’t eat completely raw or plant based, but I have made steps, and I will continue to take more. We got rid of cow’s milk, almost all processed foods, and we have 3 nights a week that are meatless. Small steps are getting me there.

“I make soups, salad dressings, hummus, almond butter, ice cream, and of course smoothies in my blender. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your lentil soup recipe, which is a savior for me getting through the dark Seattle fall, winter, and spring. Our meals have never looked so pretty and colorful!

hope“That night in Seattle was a turning point for me, and I believe someone was watching over me that night. Yes, I walked out the door with the blender. But what I later came to realize was that I walked out that evening with the gift of HOPE. The gift of LIFE. The chance to be the wife, mom, friend, daughter, and sister that I deserve to be.

“I truly believe if I didn’t go that evening, I wouldn’t be here anymore. Robyn, you gave me a new way of looking at life. One green smoothie every morning. To start. It was something I began to look forward to. It helped me fight through the day, to make it to that next morning, when I could continue my commitment to my family. At last, I was doing something good for me. I was nourishing my body and pampering my soul.

“Thank you, Robyn, for the gifts you give to so many who attend your seminars!! You really are a blessing to me, and I am so grateful I came to meet you. You have a gift and I appreciate you sharing years of knowledge with us so we can stop this unhealthy way of life and give our children a chance.”

Tori from Seattle tells me a beautiful story, part 1 of 2

sugar into gas tankTori’s is one of the most moving stories I have read from a GreenSmoothieGirl reader. You know I’ve read hundreds, possibly thousands. This one is so very special.

I have thought about it all week. I think what touched me so deeply by her story is knowing how, by not putting sugar water in our gas tank (I’m being figurative), and putting premium fuel in instead, FAR more is affected than just disease states and energy.

Everybody knows you don’t put sugar water in the gas tank. No one has ever done so. Unless they are sabotaging someone ELSE and thereby risking going to jail.

After all, that car cost you $20k! Or $60k. We put in EXACTLY the fuel the manufacturer recommends. I do not even put REGULAR unleaded gas in my Lexus (let alone throw some Diet Coke in there). No way. Premium gas always. And I am vigilant about where I park it, so nobody’s door might mar the pretty, candy-apple red paint.

Frying_Chicken_Article-666x454But look what we do to our bodies. Fry a dead chicken full of steroids and antibiotics in a vat of two-month-old grease, sprinkle it with salt and MSG, and wash it down with a Coke that has no actual food ingredient in it. And while we’re munching on that, we stop at a gas station and put PREMIUM fuel in the gas tank.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Is your body less valuable than a car? Can you buy another one, for any price?

Truly our whole lives are affected by our fuel. Every aspect. From our attitude and mood, to how we care for our home, to the way we are able to treat others and love them, to our ability to advance our professional careers and execute on goals.

Not to mention the more obvious effect on our clear, proven risk for cancer, multiple sclerosis and ALS, heart attacks and strokes, and obesity sidelining us in an armchair.

premium 2A variety of things affect our abilities to LIVE THE LIFE WE DREAM OF. But I believe that the #1 impediment, to living on a very high plane on all those issues, is the fuel we choose. Everything else builds on that foundation. I constantly meet doctors, coaches, fitness professionals, and regular people whose life experience validates that.

My next blog will be Tori’s story. I will tell it the best I can. It is based on a discussion we had in person (she later told me she was very nervous at the time)  and also includes quotes a more detailed email she later sent me.

It’s worth your attention.