Raw Pecan Brownies and Tomato Soup at the Coaches’ Retreat!

13 coaches lineup
Robyn and coaches in Park City, Utah

Somehow I failed to post the best recipes from the GreenSmoothieGirl Coaches’ retreat, last month in Park City!

 

My very dear friend Melinda Slater made the food for the Park City retreat. Of course we had lots of 12 Steps to Whole Foods favorites. The ever-popular Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie featuring raw beets and carrots, to start one day, and some other yummy stuff.

Here are a few recipes I hope you’ll enjoy, today and in my next blog. The Raw Pecan Brownies are so decadent you would call anybody a liar who told you it’s made with whole foods! And the tomato soup is fabulous if you have any left from your garden. I’ll have more of our Coach Retreat recipes for you in my next post!

tomato soupTomato Soup (or Sauce, wonderful over spaghetti squash or pasta)

 

3 1/2 lbs tomatoes

1 small onion, grated

2 cloves garlic, cut in half

1 tsp. Original Crystal Himalayan salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 tsp. dried thyme

8 leaves fresh basil

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Optional: sautéed, chopped portobello mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, onions

 

Place first 3 ingredients in 9×13 inch pan (or bigger if you have one). Broil at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and put all in blender; blend until smooth. Add salt, pepper, thyme and basil and blend. Pour into bowl for serving, and optionally add sautéed vegetables. Serve as a soup, or as a sauce over cooked spaghetti squash or whole-grain pasta.

 

pecan fudge dessert Melinda madeRaw Pecan Brownies

 

Brownie layer

1 c almonds

1 c walnuts

1 c soaked dates (overnight)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c cacao powder

 

pecansPecan pie layer

1 c soaked dates (overnight, then rinse)

1 c pecans

1 large banana

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

 

Chocolate layer

4 ripe avocados

1/4 tsp Original Crystal Himalayan salt

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 c maple syrup

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1/2 c cacao powder

enjoy spoonsHazelnut stevia sweetener (optional)

Pecans for topping

Process layer ingredients in food processor until crumbly. Press into the bottom of oiled pan. Blend pecan pie layer ingredients until smooth, and spread the layer on top of brownie layer. Blend all chocolate topping ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Spread on top of pecan layer. Cover with chopped roasted pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Cut into squares and store in freezer.

 

WHAT DOES GSG THINK ABOUT THE PALEO DIET? part 1 of 2

paleo dietDear GreenSmoothieGirl: Will you blog on what is wrong with the Paleo diet? We have Crossfit fanatics all around us and they are pushing it. It would be nice to have something I could print off and refer to it. I know it’s bad, but I can’t explain why. The Crossfit teachers say they have empirical data to back up this style of eating for health.  –Marianne

Answer: I’d love to answer this!

paleo cave manThe Paleo Diet is a fad. It’s also known as the “caveman diet,” and it is an iteration of what the D’Adamos made a fortune on, the Eat Right for Your Blood Type Diet. Both are grounded in the idea that you should eat what your ancestors ate. That’s the “empirical evidence” they refer to. However, you can find some clear evidence that debunks the false or tenuous links to Paleo being a solid nutritional program.

Let’s cover some main points.

Nutrition

Nutritionally speaking, if I’m trying to say something fair and balanced here, Paleo is better than the Atkins Diet, which may be the worst massively popular diet in history. (Unlimited bacon and eggs—enough said!) In theory at least, Paleo is a little better than the low-carb Atkins Me-Too diets, like South Beach and Zone. Those guys saw Atkins making millions, so they jumped in the stream, before the low-carb decade burned out. As all fads do.

Paleo is better than the decade of suffering through the “low-fat” insanity many of us grew up with, too, which radically changed the food supply for the worse and introduced many more manipulated, unnatural foods still being manufactured and sold to an unsuspecting public. Paleo is about the same, health-wise, as the totally ridiculous and easily discredited Eat Right for Your Blood Type, Dr. Mercola’s typing diet, and many others.

paleo what to eatThe Good and The Bad

Good things about the Paleo diet: very low salt, high vegetable consumption, and elimination of processed foods, hybridized grains, refined oils, fatty meats, and dairy products.

Hang on, though. Bad things include too-low consumption of high energy (carbohydrate) foods, eliminating even good grains and legumes. Another issue is the heavy load on the body of eating so many animal products. This causes higher cancer risk, kidney stones and osteoporosis, and draining the body of calcium to buffer pH due to such high acidity.

Trying to eat “Paleo” is extremely expensive. Worse, it may not even be duplicatable in the modern age (given the way meat products are manipulated in our marketplace) without massive off-the-grid effort.

Negative Evidence

The most clear empirical evidence AGAINST Paleo may be this:

In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked 20 diets based on health, weight loss, and how easy the diet is to follow. The Paleo diet ranked dead last, by the panel of 22 experts. The following year, 2012, 25 diets were ranked and Paleo tied for last place. Why? The experts “took issue with the diet on every measure.”

paleo meat pileTheir Evidence

Those who advocate for this diet say that indigenous peoples who follow this diet have no disease. The diet is a lot of lean, simply prepared meats, and wild vegetables. A LOT of meat. No grains. Low carbohydrate.

That’s the “empirical evidence” they’re referring to, that Paleolithic man had no cancer, heart disease, or auto-immune disease. While it’s true that Paleolithic man had no cancer or heart disease, dig a little deeper with your thinking, and remember:  CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION.

The problem is, other scientists have explained, that there are OTHER factors from the Paleolithic era that may explain much better why there was no degenerative disease.

A Modern View

caveman foodFor instance, low caloric intake, no processed foods, no chemicals in environment or water or dental materials, short average lifespans, and many other factors surely have some impact. Some of the experts who have reviewed the diet point to the disease risks of following this diet attempting to use foods available to us in the modern age, as well as flawed logic related to evolutionary theory.

The experts who review and criticize the Paleo diet say that the five studies on health implications of Paleo are too short, with a sample size too small, to be conclusive.

It may be true that the Paleo diet will lead to more muscle mass and less fat. (Almost any diet will that improves on the Standard American Diet – which isn’t hard to do.) But the diet that many Americans are doing under the “Paleo” banner isn’t at all the same as what cavemen ate. To the extent you can come even close to approximating what cavemen ate, which is difficult, nigh unto impossible, the diet is almost obscenely expensive, to the point that is simply unsustainable by most people.

So Paleo followers, therefore, default to a diet they THINK is clean and simple, but which actually may have quite a few deadly meat-processing chemicals like nitrites and nitrates, plus toxic sodium chloride and more. You have to be very serious about your diet, and very educated, to avoid those things, within the food groups Paleo tells you to eat.

My biggest general issue beyond the health implications, with the Paleo Diet, is that it’s utterly unsustainable, eating incredibly high on the food chain and taking more than your fair share of the Earth’s resources. One pound of beef costs 1,000 gallons of water and 20 lbs. of plant food, to produce! And no one could afford it, without government supports.

Because to do Paleo, you have to buy lots of organic, free range poultry, beef, fish and other animal carcasses.

(My event manager who travels with me is always saying to stop using provocative language. What I meant is, Paleo wants you eating a lot of dead animal bodies.)

Seriously now. (I’m not even a vegetarian. I just like to talk like one. And be one 95%+ of the time.)

paleo environment 1Politics

My real point is, if government price supports were removed for meat and dairy, NO gallon of milk would cost less than $10, and NO chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or fish that is clean enough to eat would cost less than $20/lb.

Very frankly, it is a matter of time before those government supports collapse under their own weight! There are any number of economic “bubbles” very ripe for bursting, whose consequences will include the collapse of government price supports.

Most recently, at the beginning of 2013, we were within 24 hours of going off the “fiscal cliff,” before Congress pumped more air into our national fiscal flat tire. One of the common predictions for consequences of that event was that meat and dairy prices would skyrocket. It’s a temporary fix, for Congress to “save” us from the fiscal cliff. We have been headed towards disaster for a very long time, and our burgeoning debt and price supports cannot last forever.

A Modern Solution

You might as well learn NOW, before we’re economically forced to, to eat lower on the food chain. To eat foods that are inexpensive even without price supports. Greens, vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

My next post will finish the Paleo topic talking about its ban on grain, its heavy limitation on fruit, and why we are not biologically adapted to eat as much meat as Paleo demands.

Raw honey and more awesome stuff—GIVEAWAY!

Our friend Nature Nate’s is a family-owned business, and they sponsored my lecture in Austin. Be one of the first three to write us at support123@greensmoothiegirl.com and get this awesome giveaway package pictured here!

GSG Basket (2)The three winners are getting a 32-oz raw honey, a 12-oz raw honey, a Nature Nate’s apron, a BPA-free shaker bottle, a 4-oz bottle of Madagascar Vanilla, and an orange spatula. Lucky you! They sent me their product as a Christmas gift, and we love it at my house! We mix it into raw almond butter for sandwiches.

I disappeared my family’s seasonal allergies the year that we began using raw, unfiltered honey. It’s a perfect example of how food can be medicine. The pollen content in honey, untreated by heat, can act much like a homeopathic. I used to be miserable in the spring and fall when pollens were in the air, and thanks to eating just small amounts of raw honey on a regular basis, I solved that problem long ago. Raw honey is also high in minerals, unlike refined sugar, as well as the energy- and sex-drive-stoking royal jelly that keep that queen bee happy.

Check out Nature Nate’s STORE LOCATOR because there are very few companies who are committed to providing truly raw honey, so please support them as a friend of GreenSmoothieGirl, raw food nutrition commitment, and good business ethics.

Honest Abe, Cholera, and Fruits and Veggies

team of rivalsI am reading Team of Rivals right now, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Abraham Lincoln by the eminent historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The book tells the story of the four rivals for the presidency Lincoln brought in after he was elected the 16th President of the United States. Part of Lincoln’s singular genius was that  instead of allowing them to be his enemies, he opened his heart and life to them, gave them opportunities, and allowed them to lead.

I know everyone loves Honest Abe, but I always felt like he was “my” president, as I share his birthday. I’m one of his adoring fans and am fascinated by everything about him. When I was a little girl, I read so many biographies and stories about him that I once got in an argument with another kid about whether I had actually literally KNOWN him, as I was insisting.

It’s painful to read the details of how he lost his mother when he was only 9, of “milk sickness,” and his heart broke. She was the reason for his brilliance and goodness, as his father has been described by historians as common, unambitious, and itinerant. Then, Abe’s only sister died when he was 19. And finally, his first love died while she was in college, in a viral epidemic.

In this epic 900-page biography, the lives of the four rivals emerge. All of them suffered devastating personal losses. One lost three wives, and a few daughters, and then just refused to marry again.

Edward Bates
Edward Bates

Of the four rivals, only Edward Bates seems to have sailed through the 19th century with strong health and little loss. Bates was an attorney and a political leader who both owned slaves and was a champion of the anti-slavery movement.

He lived to be an old man. His wife lived to be old. They had 17 children, and from what I can gather, all of them lived! For that time period, this is nearly unheard of.

As I was reading about epidemics of cholera and smallpox and many other tragedies, I’d just formed the question in my head, “Why did the Bates family remain unscathed?” In 1849, a great fire in the town they lived in reduced the commercial section of the city to rubble, and cholera epidemic killed more than 100 per day, with hearses rolling through the muddy streets all day and night.

No one in the Bates family became ill. Just after I was puzzling over this, I read that Edward Bates’ journal reports that his family pulled through “in perfect health” because they rejected the prevailing opinion of the day, to avoid fruits and vegetables. He agonized in his lengthy journal about medical ignorance and the way doctors perpetually changed their opinions and had no consensus on treatment.

How much has changed now? Well, we have consensus, at least. For the most part, medicine has swung the other direction: codified insurance codes dictate everything a doctor can (and can’t) do. Of course, there are the gray areas, where because nothing in medicine works, there’s scattershot approaches, such as the 28 different chemotherapy cocktails for breast cancer (since none work).

Since Bates’ time, doctors have abandoned blood-letting and other bad techniques and advice, based on bad theories. Now we have a slavish love of chemicals to replace leeches.

presc.vegI love that while doctors didn’t advise it then, eating raw plant foods was common sense 275 years ago. Long before Dr. Joel Fuhrman reviewed hundreds of studies and said that there is more empirical evidence that eating plants prevent disease, than there is evidence that smoking causes lung cancer.

(In 1849, nobody was clear on that fact, either, obviously.)

People like Bates who lived on farms, with ample access to fresh vegetables and fruits, had low disease risk. Now people who live on farms have among the highest cancer risk, due to chemicals we spray on our food as it grows.

How many people spend an entire lifetime following bad counsel? My mother believed that infant formula was better than breast milk. That’s what the pediatrician told her. So that’s what I was fed, followed by meat dinners.

Isn’t it a tragedy that 275 years ago, people were dying because they were being told not to eat greens, vegetables, and fruits?

Food is common sense. It’s simple, historical, and easy to understand.

You miss cheese? Try this!

images-81Pam Opdyke is a GreenSmoothieGirl reader who brought 20 people with her, from 2 hours away, to my Sacramento lecture in April. She passionately blogs about health and nutrition topics for friends and family. She shared this “cheeze” recipe that she said is wonderful  on steamed veggies, baked potatoes, in veggie lasagna, on sandwiches, or a dip with veggies or chips / crackers / pita triangles.

Favorite Easy Cheeze

1/3  C cashews *
1/3 C sunflower seeds *
1/4  red onion
2-3 Tbsp red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic  (adjust to taste)
1 scant Tbsp Bragg’s Amino Acids or Nama Shoyu
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 C or less water – How you’re using it will determine how much water to use.  Use less to make a thick cheeze.

Blend all ingredients in a  blender or food processor till as smooth as you want it.  Scrape sides a few times between blending.    Keeps in fridge about a week, if it lasts that long!  Enjoy your new favorite, healthy cheeze!

*May use all cashews, or all sunflower seeds if desired. I like them mixed.

Automate one meal

images-23Here’s a success secret of people who have lost 30 lbs., on average, and kept it off, according to  a study published in the medical journal Obesity:

They find healthy foods they like and stick to them. They “automate” one meal daily so that it’s not a struggle.

That’s what the green smoothie habit does for you. Every day, you KNOW what one meal will be: a quart of green smoothie (and any other healthy foods, if you need more calories, as I do, playing sports).

images-25Then you know you’ve covered a lot of nutritional bases and eaten LOTS of the lowest calorie, highest micro-nutrient foods available to you.

You’ve ramped your supply of enzymes, allowing your body’s resources to go to energy production and detox. You’ve given your body fiber to sweep the bloodstream of debris and toxins. You’ve amped your nutrition in hundreds of ways. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.