update on the Sugar Bet

Do you ever stop and think about the ways karma just flows and flows?

When I was over six months into my year-long Sugar Bet, last February, I confessed that I’d screwed up, when I was in Hawaii.

I came clean immediately when I got home. Not just here on the blog, but I went to Matthew, handed him $1,000 cash, and asked him to let me finish the year. He, on the other hand, was legitimately released from his obligation.

He thought about my request for a WEEK, while I agonized. Then he accepted. He tried to give me the $1,000 back and I said no.

He said he was changing the rules. I got to have three weekend vacations where I could have sugar, for the rest of the year, while I finished it out through Sept. 18. (That’s the full year, plus a week as penalty.)

I did take advantage of that recently—on our trip to Portland, I ate sugar and Kristin was amazed. She said to her brother, “I don’t know who she is! She is usually in constant motion!” She was referring to how I’d lost my energy. I’d fall asleep in the car. I’d say I didn’t want to go out till late.

Sugar does that. It wrecks me. I hadn’t eaten it in a long time, and now I remember why it’s the devil. It trashes my adrenal glands and makes me a lesser version of myself.

I said, “On the rare occasion I eat like other people do, even for a few days, I feel like other people feel. Like, bleh. I don’t like it! I can’t wait to go back home, to juicing and green smoothies and salads and NO SUGAR.”

Anyway, I’m finishing out my year on the Sugar Bet—just one more month. (Actually, I’ve already found another friend to bet $10,000 for another year, more on that later.)

But some people on the blog and facebook took me to task. They said I took advantage of my relationship with Matthew, and that I should have paid him $10,000.

Well here’s the funny thing. Early in the year, I told him to look for a rental property for me. I told him what I wanted and that I was willing to wait.

Shortly before the Sugar Bet ended, Matthew’s realtor partner Drew took me to see a property, and I bought it.

Guess what the realtor’s commission is that I’m paying Matthew?

It’s $10,000.

That feels good, doesn’t it? I have learned to trust karma. I will have a big smile on my face writing that check to Armstrong Flinders and Associates at the closing.

I think we reap what we sow.  I have this card on my corkboard in my office that says, “ MAKE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL OF YOUR LIFE.” It’s a statement of my belief that this is within my grasp—the ability to take hold of my existence on the planet and make meaning of it.

Ecclesiastes 11:1 says something like, cast your bread upon the waters and after many days it will come back to you.

What’s coming back to you? Good stuff?

As Abraham Lincoln said, folks are about as happy as they have a mind to be. We don’t get everything, but we tend to get out of life what we want most.

We look like what we eat, and what we spend our time doing. If someone bikes 100 miles a week and drinks carrot juice and eats a salad every day for lunch, you can tell. If we drink beer from Thursday to Sunday and eat T-bones and fries and chocolate cake, we look like it.

We have positive relationships if we’re generous, kind, and forgiving. If we laugh a lot, other people laugh when they’re in the room with us.

Examples of karma.

Occasionally bad things happen to good people. The bad guys get away with stuff sometimes. But I believe it evens out in the end. It’s a beautiful phenomenon. The universe’s need for homeostasis creates it.

The frustration of making changes

This week my undefeated team goes to Districts. I play singles this weekend even though I’m primarily a doubles player. I’ve won my last 9 matches in a row, and have been logging hours on the court with my ball machine, correcting weaknesses, evaluating my play.

Last year at this time, I went to Dictricts after a nearly undefeated tennis season. I’d won 13 of 15 matches, in league play and tournaments. My one league loss was in a tiebreaker, and the other was in the finals of a tournament.

And then my partner and I got clobbered in the final match of a tournament, 6-3, 6-2. The women we played were slumming it—they really played at a higher level than we do.

But I found myself suddenly humbled and motivated.

I went to my coach, and I said, “I know you’ve taught me a great serve before. But I haven’t learned those habits. I didn’t want to, because my serve was accurate, and it worked. But now I want a GREAT serve, whatever the cost.”

She taught me 5 aspects of mechanics that my serve needed, and that day I COMMITTED to them.

I wrote all the parts down. I practiced them over and over. The next day I had a league match, and I didn’t use my “old” serve at all. (In fact, I’d so committed to the new “right” way of doing it, I found that I couldn’t even access my old serve.)

Consequently, my serve looked pretty.  (My coach had filmed it and showed me.) But the power was GONE. I was frustrated.

So it is with a commitment to a new dietary lifestyle.

I remember being so frustrated—frightened, even!—when I threw out all the processed food and committed 100% to the change to a 60-80% raw, mostly plant-based diet, 17 years ago. I had no good habits in place.

My serve got better within a week. I learned to jump and twist in the air, use my quads, to bring the power back to my new “good-technique” serve.

So, too, my uncomfortable, initially time-consuming efforts to eat right became habits I now LOVE. They now cost me minimal time in the kitchen, and I’d never do without sprouting, kefir, green smoothies, my early-morning green water, or daily salads, for instance.

Stay the course! If you’re new, it’s hard or frustrating because it’s NEW–not because it’s hard or bad. Have a little faith and keep on, with the step you’re on. You’ll be so glad you did.

Tomorrow I tell you about the Menu Planner tool we’ve developed.

We love the SOUTH! Part 2 of 3

One GSG reader said this to me, the very first thing when she sat down to chat with me after our Raleigh class:

“I want you to know that I was there, right behind you, in your divorce in 2008. I was praying for you.

My eyes are welling up, right now, thinking about this. Women who had never met me had my back—I’m so amazed and grateful.

That was the darkest year of my life. Although I put my head down, and worked and blogged and created all the way through it, I didn’t teach, not once, for a whole year.

I told her: “I went off to lick my wounds for a while. I just couldn’t be in front of an audience.” Sometimes the single moms come to me after my classes and we hug and bond…..we’ve been through the war. We emerge more polished, with some valuable wisdom. And we try not to be cynical.

Debbie Smith told me she left a vacation early to be in my class. She left her family at the beach, but won the Blendtec blender. Right after telling me before class that her health has been rapidly deteriorating and she was there on my front row, hoping for help and answers. She burst into tears when her ticket number was called.

And our volunteers, oh my. Kristin would tell you that we are routinely astonished and we always say to each other, “Our volunteers are the salt of the earth. Quality.” They show up in ANY city we go to, and they work with us, smart and helpful and tireless.

Some of them, very frankly, are on their knees, in a health crisis. They are on a journey. A lovely woman named Rebecca in Raleigh helped us, with her cute trained doggie in tow, who helps her when she has panic attacks related to PTSD.

I didn’t get to tell her that I am a PTSD survivor, too, due to severely traumatic events in my childhood. Not to make everything about nutrition, but this is a true fact: as long as I keep sugar (especially corn syrup) out of my diet, I am now fine and have been medication-free for 15 years.

But the minute corn syrup makes an appearance, my anxiety rears its ugly head.

So of course it’s a biochemistry problem. MD’s say that to justify a drugs-only approach. But if I keep my adrenals reasonably nurtured, I’m fine. If I stress them out with unmitigated chaos, or, more likely, toxic sugars, I’m NOT fine.

Kristin said, of Heather Hunnicutt in Atlanta, “That woman is us. She fits how we are. Best volunteer we have ever had.” And, come to find out, Heather is about to deliver her fifth child and is in the crisis of her life.

Somehow I did not get to talk to her, at that busy event, but Kristin couldn’t say enough good about Heather being smart, competent, kind, and patient with those at our class. Thank you Rebecca and Heather and all our volunteers.

I pray for you all. You wait in my line and I hear about your struggles and I think about you and pray for you.

Life has a way of dishing out some doozies. I’m always amazed at the things people live through, and then have a triumphant story, as zigzaggy as it gets. Tomorrow I share with you a love letter I got from Annette, to her parents, for teaching her in the 1970’s what it is to be healthy in a toxic world where even the smart people have mostly terrible habits.

My friend Nancy drops 100+ lbs.

My longtime friend Nancy is a radio personality. I’ve done a couple of shows with her, most recently to talk about the release of The Adventures of Junk Food Dude. Nancy’s youngest child, Anna, refuses to drink soda and loves green smoothies, after they did an experiment and measured the amount of sugar that was in their daily diet, which shocked the kids. (Alex isn’t quite as eager, but Nancy’s working on it. He eats apples and fruit leather now instead of candy bars.)

Nancy emailed me last week asking about dehydrators. Like all of us, she keeps taking baby steps towards the healthiest lifestyle possible. She told me since I saw her last, she has lost ANOTHER 40 lbs., so I demanded photos. Holy cow, this hot mama looks better than she has in the 17 years I’ve known her, and as you can see in these before and after photos, she’s lost over 100 lbs. total.

I wanted to know HOW. She eats tons of veggies and fruits. She sticks to the outside of the store and stays away from processed foods in the middle. Occasionally she eats a little Chex cereal or a multi-grain cracker, but, she says, “for the most part, I am all about things looking like they came in nature when I eat them.”

[This reminds me of what my grandmother said to me once, when I was talking to her about how she cured herself of Stage III cancer with strict adherence to the Gerson diet, and then just ate a very healthy diet for the rest of her life. She said: “It’s not what you do once in a while that’s going to kill you. It’s what you do every day that’s going to save you.”]

Nancy paid attention to what foods bothered her, and she eliminated gluten and other sensitivities she identified, like dairy products.

She told me she eats corn products but worried about the fact that most of it is genetically modified. I told her I eat only ORGANIC corn products. Did you know that if it’s organic, it’s also NOT genetically modified? I just told Nancy that.

Nancy is one of the founders of www.themompodcast.com.  They are doing four shows this summer that you will find interesting:

  1. While losing 100 lbs., Nancy also lost her identity
  2. A mom’s body effects changes in her child’s body image
  3. Maintaining the changes to your body long term (guest: a woman four years past a 110 lb. weight loss)
  4. Re-establishing your identity after any major change (weight loss, divorce, job change, family loss, etc)

I hope you enjoy Nancy’s before-and-after photos. They show how external and powerful the difference is when we eat whole foods, and listen to our body’s needs and respond to them.

Could you fit in the seat at Fenway Park?

Yesterday, a good friend confided in me that he’s recently had a heart attack and is struggling with asthma, acid reflux, allergies, and blood pressure over 170. He said, “I drink my green smoothie but then junk out the rest of the time.”

This has always been my fear—that 90 percent of folks who read my site and books think that a green drink covers all their sins. It does not work like that for most. Green smoothies are nothing more nor less than a step in the right direction.

My friend said to me, “I have a lot to accomplish in life and I’m tired of being tired.” I’m planning to have a chat with him and say this:

“You’re going to have to choose—between junk food addiction, and quality of life.”

Since I last wrote, my son and his team have won FOUR more games in the state tournament, and last night they won the semi-finals. I almost had a heart attack myself, in several times in close games. It’s stressful to be the mom of the pitcher!

Tuesday he brilliantly threw a 2012 team record 131 pitches in 7 innings, to win a very tough game. Pitchers ideally need 5 days of rest before they pitch again. Cade will get only 2 and pitch today.

It’s been great fun to cheer my voice out with dozens of other moms wearing our son’s white jerseys, and enjoy the company and support of my family, many of whom are making sacrifices to be there for my boy.

My friends are driving my car to Las Vegas this afternoon, where we have Van Halen tickets. I won’t be with them and will try to hop a plane later. A team of wild horses couldn’t drag me from the game today.

This photo is my sister Betsy, my brothers Ben and Spencer who always support Cade’s games, my dad, and even my oldest brother Glen from Boston. He got off a plane on his way home from my grampa’s funeral to be here for Cade. (Yes, I said there was no service, because that’s what my grampa told his children he wanted. But his wife didn’t get the memo, so she held one! I missed it because of Cade’s playoffs.)

Anyway, I hardly ever see Glen, father of six and a partner in a law firm. We were talking about how goofy the hand-flipped scoreboard is, in this beautiful multi-million dollar high school stadium. It’s like they ran out of money at the end. But on the other hand, it reminds us of Fenway Park, a place he loves, where I toured with my kids two years ago.

I was telling Glen that I was amazed, sitting in the seats in the original section of the stadium that Boston has preserved. I felt very claustrophobic in the extremely narrow seats. I am 5’8” and currently weigh 132 lbs. I told Glen, “If I weighed even 30 lbs. more, I would not have fit! MOST American adults would not fit in those seats!”

And baseball is the worst of the bad ways we make ourselves too big to sit in a seat. Every family, every game, is eating nachos, candy, soda, and hot dogs. Including my own sibs, some of whom have had some tough health problems. I don’t say this next thing to be superior, but rather to let you know it is possible:

I have never bought any of those things at any baseball game. Not once.

The key is to plan, to shop, to always take your own food, and to simply be committed.

For eight cold, sometimes rainy hours of baseball the past couple of days, I took green smoothies, pints of vegetable juice, a bag of homemade chips that are just quartered organic corn tortillas, broiled, and a tub of homemade guacamole mixed with chopped tomatoes and black beans, and Just Great Stuff bars. Tennyson and I shared it all.

I did calisthenics during a freezing cold double header to keep warm. The ump turned around and laughed at me and told the catcher (I learned later), “I’m going to retire from baseball now and just watch this girl doing jumping jacks.” Between that and the food, well, I don’t care—yeah, I’m weird. I own it. I don’t want to go home elated at two back-to-back wins, but feeling physically heavy and sick.

If you must dig yourself out of allergies, acid reflux, and ugly numbers like 170+ blood pressure……change and commitment are needed.

As Cade’s longtime baseball coach told him, which my son values in every area of his life,


That is where the wellspring of commitment is. It is in the deep places in you. Value your life enough to save it, to make it great instead of just functional.

Start a SERIOUS journey to whole foods with us and give it a month on 12 Steps to Whole Foods recipes only. Then let me know how you feel. You’ll feel very, very different. You can overhaul most of the cells of your body in that time!

Or, soon we will launch our 26-day detox, which Kristin says “has changed me and how I see food.” She says today she feels like she has “swallowed the blue pill and can’t go back.” More about the detox later. We are out-of-our-minds excited about it.


Intention is Everything

This is a photo of my son picking a sophomore named Tate off the ground to celebrate what happened last night at Utah’s legendary Gates Field where state high school playoffs are held.

Tate told Cade, “Last night I dreamed you hit a grand slam!” He reminded Cade over and over that day, telling him, “It’s gonna happen!”

And, with his team down in the 4th inning, two outs, and the bases loaded, Cade hit his first pitch way, way over the deepest part of the center field fence. His teammates heard the infielders swearing as they jogged past them rounding the bases.

Grand Slam in Game Three of the state finals, taking his team to a 13-10 win. Also shown here are two reporters interviewing him. One for the Deseret news, wrote THIS ARTICLE.  He asked, what was the pitch like that you hit? Cade quoted his favorite movie, The Sandlot: “Low and outside, just how I like it!”

So I’ve been thinking. About the highs and lows of my son’s high school baseball career. Just weeks ago, I was sick and unable to sleep because my son was emotionally destroyed over a loss, and a small slump he was in. How I couldn’t rescue him from the hard things he has to go through in this life. Would I, if I could? It’s a really good thing I couldn’t, because those lows, and having to climb out of them, are what make him strong and charactered.

It’s scary to see your boy become a man and wonder if you’ve done everything you need to, if he has the right tools.

And I’ve been thinking, in my euphoria, how intention is everything. That cute sophomore, Tate, created an intention in my son that materialized into a Game Changer and possibly the most spectacular moment in my son’s life, given how high-stakes that game was.

I am going to create more positive intention in my life. Live from that spot. The low-lows will still come. I’ll stay there a shorter time. Tap the positives that come from expecting greatness, with more consistency.

For now, I’m grabbing my son’s white jersey to wear at Game Four at 11 a.m. today, where my boy is the starting pitcher. The moms decorate the bus and send the boys off with a bag of junk food. Last night I inoculated my boy against that, and for what faces him today, with a green smoothie AND a big glass of celery-beet-carrot juice. He knows the value of it and downed it willingly.

Thanks for indulging me in sharing this personal baseball story with you. We’ll be back to a cool video and All-Nutrition-All-The-Time around here tomorrow!