Giving Thanks

Tomorrow I won’t be blogging, as I’ll be going for a Central Park run, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and working in a soup kitchen in New York City, like last year. I’ll be having fun and counting my blessings. And working on my next book (I’ll tell you later) on the plane.

 

I’m thankful for my beautiful sons and daughters. I wanted them for years before they came to me, and each of them is a gift.

 

I’m thankful for lovely friends who support me when I pull something off, and carry me in the hard times. Kristin, Matthew, Jamie, Jean, Jennie…..you are my lifelines.

 

I’m thankful to have regained my health in the past 20 years. I am a better athlete,   I need far less sleep, I having a more positive outlook on life, I weigh less, I have much more energy, and I’m without chronic conditions. I’m on my knees with gratitude for that, because it makes everything else possible.

 

I’m thankful for the community of friends who read this blog. I know that you want the same things I do: for our loved ones, and us, to reach our potential.

 

I’m thankful for the freedom and opportunity to speak my mind, make mistakes, learn, and grow.

 

Thank you for being part of my world. I love the opportunity to reflect on my many blessings this week, and as often as possible.

 

XOXO,

Robyn

Texas, part 1 of 7: Wide open spaces, big hearts, what a great trip!

Do I sound like a broken record when I come back from a speaking tour and tell you how in love I am with my job? My job where I get to hear people tell about their SUCCESS, achieved through simple but true principles, applied consistently?

And those who haven’t yet achieved a miracle, I get to give them some ideas, some facts, some of my own experience…..which translates into HOPE?

I’ve been “public” for less than 4 years now. Before that I was just in my kitchen, and with my nose in a book, studying and practicing.

Now, though, my conviction is complete—because in addition to my own family’s experience (I personally eliminated 21 chronic health conditions), I now have thousands of others’ experiences to draw on.

Just watch for my awesome video coming up, with SHELLEY in San Antonio, and young-mom 12-Steppers WENDY and JANET in Austin!

Out of my own kitchen, we implement strategies to help people attain better health on a bigger scale every year. Kristin and I have long convos in the car and on airplanes about how clear it’s become that the mission we are on is so much bigger than we are.

After an event for 300 people, Kristin and I sometimes just sit and process and revel in our general awestruck-ness…..at how many phenomenal people we meet and exciting stories we hear. I cannot even begin to tell them all on this blog.

We are trying to bring together the internet, and a very active blog, with real-live events, great recipes and good books, solid tools and instruction, and third parties telling their stories on film, to spread an exciting message of good news:

  1. That turning away from the S.A.D. has all upside, virtually no downside, after a learning curve
  2. That you can eat natural, whole, healing foods, without being deprived or counting calories
  3. That whole foods can be delicious, easy to prepare, and affordable

How much is your health worth?

Yesterday, I rode my bike on my usual path. It’s a 20-mile ride up and down Provo Canyon, turning away from Sundance, to the top of South Fork. The road dead ends there, in front of the Girl Scouts’ Trefoil Ranch.

On the way up, a bull moose in my path took my breath away. I’ve heard moose (Meese? Meesen?) bellowing at each other, but I’ve never seen one up there! I stopped and tried to take a photo, but then he snorted so I figured I’d better get a move on!

On the way down, just past Bridal Veil Falls, there was a bighorn sheep in my path! I have never seen one, outside of the zoo! I had to slam on my brakes to stop short of him. Then he ran down and kinda chased a terrified jogger off the path and into the trees. Then he ran back up into my path and trotted towards me. Scary, because I couldn’t have turned my bike around on the narrow path if I’d wanted to.

I got a picture, but it’s just his tail; you can’t even tell what kind of animal it is.

This made my day and I had a giant grin on my face all the way down. My life is ridiculously awesome because I’m blessed to be so physically active—even though I was fat and ill, 20 years ago. Sometimes when I’m skiing, biking, or just won a tennis tournament, I feel a little guilty. I think of all my peers who couldn’t make it up that 10-mile ascent if they were handed a $15,000 decked-out Trek road bike.

Tons of people my age are coming home from work and going into “energy conservation” mode, plopping into the La-Z Boy every night after work and doing as little as possible until bedtime. They don’t even LIKE television, but it’s all they have the energy for. Some of my peers are sidelined by diagnoses like ALS, migraines, obesity, diabetes.

Somebody said to me recently, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Your work, your hobbies, your relationships, everything is impacted negatively, eroded, as you lose your health. The cool thing is, you can regain it—incrementally, gradually, but you CAN regain it, but only if you’re willing to put in some effort.

I have gone to Zumba the last three nights in a row with Matthew. Last night, the teacher’s music was so LOUD that our ears were ringing and we both left before the end.

Today he sent me an article about how verbal persuasion is the LEAST effective way to motivate people. The MOST effective is personal experience. A study showed that nurses who had suffered a hospital-acquired infection were much more likely to tell others to wash their hands.

But, nurses in the study were just as motivated if a close friend or family member suffered an infection. So, vicarious experience can be just as powerful! This is exciting news—apparently, we DON’T have to learn everything “the hard way!”

Matthew wrote in the same email, “Why were you and I the ONLY people saving our ears and walking out? No one even asked the teacher to turn it down! It’s like people eating stuff that hurts them because everyone else is doing it.”

I like the fact that MY experience can help you avoid the same fate. Matthew also wrote, about the quote from the article that nurses were “turning their hand hygiene into a moral passion:”

“This is totally you, when you teach your class!”

When I teach, I tell my story, of 21 CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS I had at the age of 26, that went bye-bye because of my excellent diet and simple but consistent lifestyle habits. When I teach, I tell about the desperate health crisis of my baby boy, once on constant antibiotics, steroids, and bronchodilators, who is now a 6’3″ drug-free, illness-free college-prep athlete. Learn vicariously from my story, rather than doing it the hard way!

It’s so worth the time I’ve spent educating myself and developing new habits. Drinking Rejuvelac every day, my new habit from Creative Health Institute, makes me happy! I don’t really love the stuff yet, but I don’t hate it, either. And I love the thought, “Wow, I just drank a big glass of enzymes and probiotics!” It’s SO easy to make, and now it’s the base of my green smoothies and no one has even noticed!

I am going to learn something new and awesomely cool everyplace I go in the coming year, and I’m going to teach it to you when I get home!

Creative Health Institute, part 2 of 5

Here’s a video of our teacher, Madeleine, talking about Rejuvelac, and a great idea for green smoothies—and the “banya” by the Coldwater Creek that is my favorite part of the CHI experience.

If ALL you got at CHI was any two of the following things, the experience is well worth the money–and of course, you get all five:

1. The education in the form of classes every morning and afternoon, and the chance to learn from Bobby Morgan. (He was unfortunately not there when I was, as his daughter got married; however, I heard 100% good things about his knowledge base, teaching style, and overall nurturing personality.) I had Madeleine instead, and I’m so crazy about her I’m talking to her about co-teaching a retreat next summer. You’ll learn about everything from affirmations, to genetically modified foods, to how to stimulate peristalsis in the colon. I did a guest lecture and so did our scholar-monk (another guest at CHI), Bhante. You’ll get lots of food demos: how to make Rejuvelac (an enzyme-rich probiotic drink from sprouted wheat or quinoa), seed cheese, almond milk, raw treats, sauerkraut, and more.

2. The wheat grass juice. You get three 2-oz. shots a day, 8 oz. to put in your bath every other night, 8 oz. twice a day as an “implant” (I will explain in a minute), wheat grass face masks, and more. While I was there, our lung-cancer patient was given poultices for his chest. Our eye-infection patient put it in her eye. Someone with a foot fungal infection was offered foot baths. If you’ve ever juiced wheat grass, you know it’s highly time consuming, requiring special equipment. You are getting about 30 oz. a day, which would cost you about $60 if you called in an order to your health food store or Jamba Juice! You’ll be treated to a tour of the wheatgrass greenhouse, and they teach you to grow your own.

Their grass tastes sweeter and far better than what I get here in Utah. In fact, despite a 15-year aversion to the stuff (it’s a long story), I did fine taking three shots a day, putting it on my face, and even in my bath. When I got home I got a 4-oz. shot at my health food store, and I gagged at the taste like I usually do—far more bitter and….I don’t know, yucky!

3. Raw-food meals (and Rejuvelac that you drink 16 oz. of daily) made for you. The first three days are raw red-cabbage sauerkraut, and “Energy Soup” (you add flaxseed and kelp or dulse) only. Energy Soup is like green smoothie, only no fruit, and you eat it with a spoon. On Day 4 forward, they offer you salads, sprouts, fruit, and some gourmet raw dishes and even an occasional treat. The chef, B.J., is very solicitous, and you can make a special request if you want. I didn’t, but I saw Chris got blueberries every morning, and other guests’ requests were honored.

4. The social atmosphere. It was amazing how emotional it was to leave the 15 others participating in the Detox and Rebuild program because we’d bonded so much. My detox symptoms consisted of one zit I got that lasted a day. I got up early in the morning and went for my usual run, though much shorter than I do at home, partly to get back in time for the 30 min. rebounding class. But other guests were experiencing headaches, nausea including vomiting, depression, and loss of energy. They usually lasted a day and the next day the guest’s eyes cleared and he or she felt better. But the shared experience–camaraderie, humor, wide diversity of age, health, race, religion, and goals—made the whole experience enjoyable and even fun as well as physically rewarding.

5. The detox protocols. The most important one, IMO, is enemas followed by a wheat-grass implant, and while you do them yourself morning and night, you’re given the equipment and careful instruction and support. This is invaluable, because it’s a lost art in modern culture, and it’s critically important. Coffee enemas or wheat-grass enemas are widely used by the alt-docs I am studying, including Nick Gonzalez, Hippocrates Institute, and the Gerson Therapy.

But another fun amenity at CHI is the “banya” or Russian sauna that Victoria Boutenko and her family built. It was my favorite part of my experience at CHI, getting in there half-naked with Melinda and Ed-and-Ed and whoever else every night. Then I’d leave, plunge into Coldwater Creek 10 steps away, and go back to the banya for more sweat-lodge therapy. Hot-and-cold practices like this are health practices followed by many around the world. You can get a professional colonic or massage or reflexology session at CHI as well (not included, but affordable). You do skin brushing and use the Chi machine. You do a bentonite-clay-and-wheat-grass mask on your face in the morning. You do yoga and meditation sessions. You participate in a half hour of rebounding, lymphatic massage, and EFT tapping every morning together. You are asked to get in the sun at least 15 minutes, and the grounds are beautiful, on the bank of a creek, so the outdoors will draw you out.

They might laugh, but then they change their tune….part 2 of 2

Second day of his tournament that Ten’s team won yesterday, we had this convo on the way home:

Ten: “That wrap is soooooo good. All the guys on the team ask me if they can have some.”

Me: “Yeah. You know how you always think if you have healthy food people will make fun of you? Sometimes, though……”

Ten: “….they want it!”

We both laugh. It’s so true. (And the next day I buy that veggie wrap for one of the other boys and his coach. I love taking really delicious things that happen to be good for you, to people I like. They are always so surprised when nutritious food is delicious!)

It’s such an easy target, to make fun of the green drink, or the veggie this-or-that. It’s a way to use humor to distance ourselves from the guilt. (If I’m eating a veggie wrap, I’m not trying to make a statement about your potato chips, or be superior, I promise! But people think so, don’t they?)

It’s just mindless, making fun of someone who is eating really healthy when you’re not. So don’t take it personally.

Those same exact people will come out from behind that humor-shield, maybe even tomorrow–or next year when they’re sick of what potato chips have done to them–and ask you for some help, guidance, and encouragement towards better ideas of what to eat.

I know this only because I’ve seen it so many times. Long ago, I had a 40-something co-worker who ate fast food 3 meals a day. The only vegetables she ate were potatoes and corn. She was 200 lbs. overweight and always maxed her sick time and then had to find other, sneaky ways to stay home from work.

I quit and went to another job and saw her after a long period of time, and she was much thinner and healthier. I asked what happened and she said, “I suddenly lost my interest in food. It was like, I’ve been eating this slop for decades and it’s just not that interesting anymore.”

Even the hardcore junk foodies who make all the cracks about what you brought to work? There are days when the beautiful reds, yellows, and greens of your food look kind of magical to them, and they’ll feel tempted.

You just laugh with them when they make their jokes. Then keep eating it. Then show up for your friends when they’re ready.

Are “eating healthy” and “obsessed” synonymous? Part 3 of 3

If you feel you are annoying your family, go ahead and transfer their feelings to me if you want!

If it helps you, you can say,

“Green Smoothie Girl says my ‘obsession’ is normal and that it’s just a phase. She had that phase, too. The only way through it is THROUGH it! Now she’s way past it and doesn’t really even talk about food unless someone asks.”

Even when someone asked, back in my “OBSESSIVE” (read: hyper-learning) phase, I said too much. I overestimated people’s interest routinely. In fact, I remember one member of my former husband’s family asking me questions that I *knew* intuitively were really just bait. They were passive aggression, edged with sarcasm.

But I’d take the questions as legitimate, and I’d answer them at length, from my recently acquired knowledge. (Knowledge no one trusted yet, because just a month before, I ate just like they did!)

In my gut, I knew the “bait” questions were designed to be socially acceptable criticism, statements more than questions. But I purposefully ignored it to further my agenda. I think my agenda was pure: I wanted THEM to acquire the health benefits that were occurring for us. I wanted them to validate and enjoy the exciting things happening in my family. But my methods were suspect:

“Here, this is the path I’m on, so you better get on it, too! Let me ram some information down your throat! You can FEEL my disapproval as I change the rules we’ve always lived by!”

Well, hindsight is 20/20. I look back and feel pretty chagrined. I’ve learned (the hard way!) to answer questions briefly. Then wait for another question rather than deliver a long, unwanted lecture.

I’ve also learned that many folks who are “health nuts” are actually perennially obsessive people, and people who live in a place of fear. (They don’t do us any favors, trying to convert the world to whole foods.)

I know that if you’re living in the fear place, or you’re feeling like thoughts about food and food shopping/preparation have taken over your life, it might be time for a little introspection.

I *started* in the fear place. You may know my story: I thought my 18-month old son might die. I was having panic attacks and not sleeping, consequently.

I am in the OPPOSITE place now. I know that I’ve put building blocks in place that minimize my disease risk….so I do not worry and wring my hands about the health problems others my age are virtually all suffering from.

Am I immune from health problems? No. I’m just much less susceptible to them than everyone else around me, and there’s no need to fear, because I’m doing what I can reasonably do.

The meditations I’m working on will address these fears that, I’m afraid, attract a lot of people to this site and to my program. It’s natural that people suffering from anxiety will attach that anxiety to what goes in their mouth.

But it’s a MUCH nicer place to be to be ENJOYING the journey, doing it out of a positive love place rather than a dark fear place.

This is a good time to check yourself and ask, “Am I in a natural first part of a journey, where it’s natural to get a little out of balance because I’m gobbling up information and it’s blowing my mind? Or am I STUCK in food obsession and fear?”

Big, big difference.

Any thoughts about this, feel free to share!