what I do every day, in my family

In a couple of interviews I’ve done for people lately, I’ve been asked, “What do you do in your family to ensure a healthy diet with lots of enzymes and nutrition?”

I find myself thinking, “Really, you want that in a 30-second sound byte?” I mean, everything I do is about that. I’ve written whole books about it.

But it’s a good exercise to have to boil it down. Like you, I have times when I’m better, and times when I get a little lazy or at least busy. But these are quick-n-dirty habits that “stuck” with my family, that I do every single day without fail. They involve a snack, breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

  1. Always the green smoothie. Make it in the morning, put a pint for each kid in the fridge, follow up to make sure he/she drinks it after school. Automatic 7 servings of greens/fruit for each kid.
  2. Homemade kefir for breakfast. Sometimes I just blend a banana in. I add pea protein powder for my 17-y.o. Occasionally I add frozen strawberries. This ensures a healthy microbial population in the gut, against all the nasty critters we’re exposed to throughout the winter.
  3. A raw vegetable and a raw fruit in the brown-bag school lunch. My mom always did it. I always do it.
  4. Big green salad of some kind for dinner. Most often it’s romaine and spring greens, with whatever veggies are in the fridge. Bell peppers, cukes, and tomatoes are staples. On our busiest nights, dressing might be as quick as pouring a little EVO and raw ACV on the salad and tossing it. Automatic guarantee that dinner will have enzymes supplied, for whatever other main dish I might serve.

Those ideas are detailed in Steps 1, 2, and 10 in 12 Steps to Whole Foods. But they’re the things we never slide off the wagon on. They go a long way, even if we are not perfect on vacation or in someone else’s home. I sometimes feel awkward about people who seeing me as GSG instead of just . . . me. (Regular girl next door. Single mom. Doing my best but with good days and bad days.) I feel like I need to say, occasionally, hey, I’m not perfect either. I always mean to have a fermented vegetable on every dinner plate, but sometimes I forget. I know my kids eat crap at school and their dad’s house sometimes, and if I told you I’d never eaten a brownie with ice cream, I’d be lying. Remember how I always quote my Grama, who was my original inspiration:

“It’s not what you do occasionally that will kill you. It’s what you do 95% of the time that will save you.”

Those four things I’ve just listed, I can tell you with confidence, we ALWAYS do them. With those four things in place, 60-80% raw is almost assured. With those four things, we’re far, far ahead of our culture’s low standards.

drink your GS before you get in a freeway pileup

My son Tennyson was in a five-car pileup on I-15, and the car he was in (his baseball coach’s) was totaled.

A few interesting points. One reason no one was seriously injured is that when the coach slammed on the brakes and barely missed the car in front of him, he then put the hand brake on. Smart! The car that then slammed into the back of them broke out all the windows, front and back. (This is salient because of what happens I will tell you about at the end of this post.)

I have torn my hair out for many years trying to get  Ten  to wear a seatbelt. Until a few months ago, I had to tell him to put it on Every. Single. Time. we got in the car. Sometimes over and over. In total frustration, I promised my son a $3 prize if he would wear his seatbelt, without being told, 30 days in a row.

(Someone close to me made fun of me for that. Said I was cheap to offer such a lame reward.)

Why did I do this? Because supposedly, a habit is formed in 21 days. I made it 30 days, just to be safe. Not only did Tennyson earn the $3 prize, he has never had to be told to put his seatbelt on again.

Ironclad habit.

Kinda came in handy! I wasn’t even there to nag, and his coach didn’t tell him either. He wore the seatbelt on his own. Consequently he didn’t acquire a serious neck injury.

Let’s extrapolate. Put greens and fruit in your blender every morning when you first wake up, take it to work with you, 30 days in a row, and maybe you’ll never stop getting 15 servings of raw plant food again. Maybe, too, you’ll lose 18 lbs. like the average person in my study who lost weight did.

The coach, Jeff, whose car was totalled, recently read The Green Smoothies Diet and started feeding his family GS. His son Dallin, my son’s teammate, had just finished his green smoothie on the way to the game. At the time of the accident, he was eating his scrambled eggs.

My son tells me that scrambled eggs were found in both the car in front in the pileup, and the car behind!

I’m not sure what the moral of the story is. A variation on Green Eggs and Ham? Green Smoothies and Scrambled Eggs, on a boat, with a goat, in a freeway pileup? Could’ve been worse. Imagine the scene if he’d been drinking the green smoothie  on impact.

More pages for The Adventures of Junk Food Dude

Here’s the latest installment of illustrated pages (by Lori Sume) for The Adventures of Junk Food Dude. Thanks for the emails through the site, from those who are reading each installment to your kids. I loved it when Holly brought her 10-year old son over at my daughter’s soccer game–she’d read the pages to him. All feedback is helpful. Those of you who thought the first pages were too “achievement” oriented, I am going to address that. But I wonder if you feel somewhat differently as the story goes along . . . PLMK!

The Adventures of Junk Food Dude, illustrated

I’m just back from a 24-mi. Saturday bike ride in the beautiful Heber Valley, with GSGs Nicole and Angie. Nicole taught me about a “farmer blow.” (You don’t want to know. It’s for when you’re biking in the cold and don’t have a tissue. Don’t ride downwind of her, is all I’m sayin. Just teasing, Nicole–riding in your draft is awesome!) A flock of cranes, a flock of hot air balloons, the most beautiful red-and-orange scenery, made me whoop out loud.

I wanted to show off that my children’s nutrition book is well on its way to being illustrated. I’m so excited! Through the use of a narrative, children learn about not just principles of good basic nutrition, but they also learn their choices have power and impact in their own and others’ lives.

Lori Sume illustrated big posters announcing my four children’s births, that are framed and have been hanging on their bedroom walls their whole lives. She’s so gifted with art for this age group, 3 to 10.

So I just had to share some of the first pages with you. What do you think? Pre-order here for autographed copies when it comes out.

more tips and thoughts about feeding kids

So I was just hanging out with my friend Karl, a single dad to a 6-year old adopted son. He said his son has a very strong personality and he can’t “make” him eat anything. So Karl carefully observes what raw fruits and vegetables his sons likes, and leaves them around for him. As if he doesn’t care whether Jayden eats them or not. A bowl of carrot and celery sticks, left on the table–gone! A big bowl of cantaloupe–gone! It’s a great tip from an intuitive dad who watches for ways to help his son be healthy.

On Saturday, I had dinner with my friend Jennie before deciding last-minute to go to the BYU-U of Wash game where I paid a ridiculous sum for scalped tickets, for me and my sons.

I tease Jennie that for a really educated person with an advanced degree, she is surprisingly ignorant about nutrition. (But then, I have this reaction often, probably because I was blessed with a mother and grandmother who taught me well and were good models. Thus the genesis of this site and my books, to help fill that knowledge gap.)

As an example, my son came back from the salad bar and I told him I meant to suggest he get some FRESH pineapple, not CANNED. Jennie asked,

“Why, is the canned not as good for you?”

And so we were talking about her upbringing and how the reason she doesn’t know anything is that she simply does what her mother did. For instance, she asked, “Is Jell-O good for you?” (She really did ask me that.)   I told her it’s just sugar and a little gelatin and chemical food coloring, and she said, “When I make dinner for company, my friends ask why I always include Jell-O, and I have no reason except that my Mom always did. When I think dinner, I think Jell-O.”

This is pretty profound, if you take a minute to consider it. This should get us through those moments of discouragement when our kids complain, because habit and modeling are so powerful well into adulthood.

As for me, I simply can’t serve a dinner that doesn’t have a raw green salad. Even though I didn’t get along with my mom as I was growing up, she absolutely always served a huge green salad. So that is what I know and understand and copied.

Once again, I have this message for you: stay the course, teach them correct principles.

deep down, are we all WEIRD?

At the gym the other morning, I walked into the locker room and there was a lady swimming in the pool wearing a tiara on her head. I’m not even kidding.

Sadly, none of my three friends I work out with were there to see the festivities. You can bet I texted them, though:

“We now have a three-way tie for Gold’s Gym’s Craziest:

“Tiara Swimmer Girl is neck and neck with Tone Deaf Loud Singer.

“Followed closely by Heart Attack Dude and Treadmill Dancer.”

TDLS is a lady who brings sheet music (hymn arrangements and Christmas music, year-round) and loudly sings off-pitch over the Van Halen and Black Eyed Peas coming out of the gym’s stereo system. While exercising on the elliptical trainer.

HAD is a guy who is actually quite fit, but gets on the Stairmaster and gasps and wheezes and heavy-breathes to the point where people either (a) ask him if he’s okay, or (b) complain to the management.

TD literally dances on the treadmill, and if you know dance, you can even tell what ballroom steps she is doing, and she does all the hips and arms too.

My BFF Laura has told me for many years that she thinks everyone–really, EVERYONE—is weird. You just have to get to know them well enough, to learn what their specific brand of weird is. And after she and I both got married, her theory evolved to encompass how married couples develop some serious enmeshed weirdness TOGETHER.

The one nice thing about my “weird” is that it’s no secret. With the advent of this site, and publishing my books, everyone knows!

I was driving my 17 y.o. to do some school shopping last week, and I pulled out a cooler of green smoothies. Got one out, handed it to him with a straw.  Had this convo:

Robyn: Here, drink this and I’ll drop you off at this store and I’ll come over in a few–I’m going in Sunflower Market for a minute.

Cade: Of course you are. Always with the vegetables, all the time. I’m sick of the healthy eating-thing.

Robyn: Well, that’s who I am. Better get used to it! It’s what I do. We eat healthy at our house. [I could say this in my sleep.]

Cade: I’m not asking you to start going through the In-N-Out drive-thru, Mom. I’m just saying. Most people are HERE. [He puts his hand, palm-down, on his leg.] And you are HERE. [He puts his hand, palm down, on the roof of the car.] How about a happy medium?

Robyn: [silent for a minute, thinking] Well, I don’t think I’m up there. I am just trying to make sure you get what you need to be healthy. I know people far more hard-core than I am.

Cade: No, nobody is.

So I chewed on that, all the next morning, on my bike ride up the canyon. I’m thinking I shouldn’t overreact, because we HAVE been eating an awful lot of zucchini lately. All our lunch and dinner meals in August, every year, tend to be 80% vegetables.

And I’m thinking, I know why I do it. Because when the kids come back from their dad’s house, there are smears of chocolate across my youngest son’s face, from his stepmom’s Crazy Cake, and her chocolate chip cookies, and whatever.   So I probably feel at some level that the 85% of the time they’re with me, I have to keep them on the straight and narrow.

I know what our health was like before. And I Never. Ever. want to go there again.

But what can I do so I don’t feel I caved to the teenager pressure, the stepmom-feeds-us-candy-and-cookies pressure, the pop-culture pressure? AND so my son is happier? Can I have both?

The answer I came up with is to continue–but try to focus more often on the healthy meals he LIKES. Even if some zucchini goes to waste. Even if there’s more fruit in the green smoothie than I like to use.

(FYI, just to show him how versatile I am, I came out of Sunflower Market with fruit only, no veggies.)

And to offset experiences like I’ve just described, there will be little rewards along the way. A few days later, my youngest son called me from home, even though he was supposed to be at his dad’s. This was the second time he had done this in recent memory.

He said, “Please can I just eat dinner here? I’ll make it myself, and I know, I know–I’ll eat veggies and fruits first.” He had his food laid out on the counter, told me what he was making. He said, “I don’t want to eat dinner at Dad’s–he makes disgusting stuff.” Like what, I asked. Like boxed mac-n-cheeze, he said.

It’s working. They’re getting it. You can’t take a little tantrum here and there to represent their whole experience with your consistent, whole-foods lifestyle.