Diet vs. Exercise

Diet versus Exercise for weight lossDear GreenSmoothieGirl: I know that a great diet coupled with lots of exercise is the healthiest approach for all of us. Having said this, I just listened to a guy on the radio say he is a gym rat and is in excellent physical shape for his age (approaching 50,) but he’s a junk food king. Which is worse: Great diet, little or no exercise, OR so-so diet, but great cardio and muscle workouts. Happy Mother’s Day! –Patti

Answer:  It’s a funny question, and the answer may not even be helpful to anyone, but it will entertain me to answer it! Obviously it’s a terrible idea to have a bad diet OR live a sedentary lifestyle. But your guess about what I’m going to say is right: I think diet is even more important.

80-20-ruleWe do it all day long, eat food. It is so foundational. It’s the gas in the gas tank. When it’s hybridized, genetically modified, stripped of fiber and nutrition, or even made of nothing but chemicals (i.e. soda), your body doesn’t even have good fuel to work with, in a cardio or weight workout. Fuel is what builds every cell. With your weight, food is 80% and exercise is 20%. While I think both are critically important, nutrient density in your diet is probably the #1 most important issue for your health, and your emotional well-being. Stress management / attitude / ability to metabolize and move forward after negative events is the #2 most important factor affecting your overall health. Exercise is likely #3!



An unexpected benefit of the green smoothie habit!

Green Earth Ecology wAl tangledwingI met Blaine on the airplane home from Expo West in early 2013. We are both Delta frequent fliers so we got first class upgrades back to Salt Lake. He’s the CEO of a health products company, and it turned out we live a mile apart. Now we are friends and we hang out now and then, and talk about being single parents and CEO’s living half our lives in hotel rooms with zero time for a “social life.” He just wrote me this email with a great thought, about one of the many cool benefits of changing a lot of your calories to be blended greens and other plants:

So, I’ve been doing smoothies for years.  But I just started doing “greener” smoothies when I met you.  I kept up the berries, soy milk, sweeteners and all that–but just added greenery.  Then towards the end of last year, I decided to get healthier.  I cut way down on the berries, cut out the soy milk, the sweeteners etc., and just started using some of your basic recipes where the sweetness comes from an apple or a banana.

overflowing garbage cansI didn’t think too much of it, except that I was feeling healthier, but then recently I noticed something strange. I don’t have any trash. There is no packaging if you’re throwing fruit and veggies into a blender and eating them. I’ve gone over three weeks without needing to put my garbage can out.  Between the recycling can and my trash can, I think I could make it a month without needing to put either one out.

compost 2I was telling this story to my CFO and he said he has a neighbor who puts out 8 trash cans weekly. I’ve got several neighbors who put out 3, and they’re constantly overflowing.

Green smoothies have more “green” impact than I’d thought about. The environmental impact is impressive, since consumption is rapidly filling up landfills.

Great thoughts by my friend Blaine. I, too, fail to take my garbage out except 1-2 times per month. (Partly, Blaine and I both travel a lot. But also, almost everything left over from what my son and I eat can be just tossed back in the dirt.)

Thanks for the positive green thoughts, Blaine, if you’re reading this.

A beautiful story about Melissa in the Bay Area you’ll be so glad you read!

change-wordle[1]Sometimes we get profound stories of people changing their lives, and I love to share some of them here. This one has an amazing twist in it that might give you chills, if you’re like me.

Melissa is a new green smoothie convert and shares with everyone around her. In fact, the day before she wrote me this story, a mom at her son’s baseball game came running up to her waving a big jar of green, saying, “Aren’t you proud of me? I’ve got my green smoothie today, too!

In 2012, Melissa was exercising and thought she was “eating right” when her cardiologist told her she needed to be on prescription drugs for her high blood pressure. Melissa was devastated because she had watched her mother being subject to more and more drugs, with their cascading negative effects.

After starting the drugs, Melissa began to have frightening additional tachycardia that caused her heart to beat as high as 244 beats per minute–requiring another IV drug to “shock” her heart and stop it momentarily to return it to a normal rhythm. She underwent an ablation surgery, and because she was not completely anesthetized, she suffered severe trauma during the procedure and vowed to never again find herself in this situation.

Mellissa's blood pressure after applying a whole foods diet and using essential oils.
Mellissa’s blood pressure after applying a whole foods diet and using essential oils.

Melissa began to pray and search, and she saw her childhood friend, Emily, writing on facebook about GreenSmoothieGirl coaches’ classes.  She also came to my lecture in September last year, and won the 12 Steps to Whole Foods course!

As Melissa listened to my green smoothie lecture last fall, she said she “felt this may well be the answer I was looking for.” She prayed and miraculously won the 12 Steps to Whole Foods course. She says,

“Suddenly weight that I had always dismissed as ‘genetics’ melted off me. […]This new way of eating….my blood pressure is better today OFF meds than it was a year ago ON meds!”

Melissa sent me her bp reading to prove it!

People started asking Melissa what she was doing differently. She’d fill them in on her changes: using plants as medicine, and plants as food. In fact, she filled them in even if they DIDN’T ask! If someone said, “My back is really sore today,” she’d share! In January, she started hosting classes of her own.

She invited a friend, who hates veggies and calls herself a “supertaster.” This friend ended up loving Coach Mariza’s famous Orange Julius Green Smoothie and instantly decked herself out with essential oils and a turbo blender.

Melissa had tickets to my lecture in San Rafael earlier this month with her daughter. She announced to her daughter, as well as her husband, who laughed at her, “I’m coming home with the Blendtec.

Here’s where the story gets really interesting. Melissa says:

“While I was at the lecture, I again was praying for a sign. ‘If this is really what I need to pursue I will win that Blendtec, right, God?’ The moment of truth arrived, and a red ticket was pulled. We had white tickets, so my daughter and I both sighed. The woman right in front of us won the Blendtec. How exciting for her! We were bummed, but it must not have been meant to be.

miracles“As the lecture ended, the woman who won the Blendtec turned to my daughter and asked her if she drinks green smoothies. My daughter told her yes. I let her know that she takes them to school and kids give her a hard time, but she couldn’t care less. She then asked me if I had a Blendtec. I told her no, just a smaller and less effective blender. She told us that she has a Blendtec.

“She went on to say that she knew she was going to win, and had decided in advance she wanted to bless us with it! My daughter and I couldn’t believe it. We were in shock!

A note from Robyn here: Because there are people in my audience who come specifically to win the Blendtec, and need it desperately to turn their life around, and can’t afford it, I’ve been doing something at the end of class lately. I tell the audience that if they already have a turbo blender, please don’t tell the audience when they come up to claim the Blendtec. (I want the audience to meet them. I want to ask what they’re gonna do with their blender.)

I make a joke about how we’d like them to actually make it to their car with it, and we don’t have bodyguards. (I’ve already talked about how I use my Blendtec 5 times a day, and how it’s critical for use in any whole-foods lifestyle.) So, don’t tell.

But, if they already own one, their task between their chair and coming up to claim their grand prize, is to decide:

Who in your life would be blessed by your USED one?

Everyone usually laughs, since I just gave them permission to keep their prize and pass off the old one.

But I’m deeply moved by this Good Samaritan, who didn’t stick around–I don’t know who she was—-who already knew she was going to give this brand-new, $450 whole-foods machine to a perfect stranger.

I love that some people do selfless things quietly, just because it’s the right thing to do. Melissa wrote:

“I asked her if she was sure, several times. She assured me it was ours. I held back my tears and gave her a big hug! I am glad we didn’t win it because to me this was an even clearer sign that this is what I need to and want to do. I want to share Robyn’s message with others. I want to help others heal themselves, by taking control of what they eat back into their own hands. I want to continue to share my own story to inspire, support, and nurture others into finding the health and peace in their lives, that Robyn’s story helped me find for myself.”

Robyn with Melissa and daughter and new Blendtech
Robyn with Melissa and daughter holding her new Blendtec.

I want to thank Blendtec for donating one of their amazing machines for me to giveaway at all my classes. That’s 90 cities in 2014! An average 4-5 city lecture tour costs, not including my time, about $8,000 in airfare, employee time, hotels, rental cars, gas, hotels, volunteer gifts, etc. We do not always come out ahead.

So, Blendtec’s sponsorship helps make it possible for me to share a message I love, that changed my family’s life, and continues to change others’ lives.

THANK YOU BLENDTEC!! And thank you, Melissa, for sharing this beautiful story. I’m so excited that you are sharing what you’re learning with everyone around you.

And most of all, Melissa, her family, and I thank the Good Samaritan who did this good deed. Not for the first time, editing this story for publication on my blog has brought tears to my eyes.

I am inspired and will be a better person because of you, friend.

Subject: Nancy solves the problem of her son’s green smoothie making him weird!

Nancy's sonDear GreenSmoothieGirl: I spoke with you in Houston after your delightful class last month. I shared with you the story of my young son, who asked me not to make him green smoothies any more because the kids were making fun of him. You asked me to write up the story for you and include a picture, so here it is!

My six-year old came home from school and announced that I could no longer put green smoothies in his lunch. He said that the kids were saying his drink looked “gross.”

Nancy's daughterI said, “We’ll take care of that!” I sent an email to to his teacher the following day. Since parents are asked to take turns bringing in the snack for school, I asked her if I could demonstrate making green smoothies in the classroom when it was my turn to provide the snack. The teacher was supportive of the idea.

Our green smoothie demonstration was a big hit! The kids loved watching what I put in the blender and showing that they were “daring” enough to drink spinach and other fruits and vegetables. To their pleasant surprise, they loved it! When I asked my son the following day what the kids said about his smoothie, he responded, “It’s cool.”

try oneChandler in Salisbury, Maryland (now in The Woodlands, Texas)

And this is my little green smoothie girl, London (age 4)



Your child had a green smoothie in class today!

adventures-junk-food-dude-720x720This is a letter our reader Christy Li, copied us on, when she sent it out to her daughter’s whole classroom. One of my favorite things EVER is when GSG readers reach down to the kids, to educate them about healthy food choices!

Hi Parents,

I am Alexandra’s mom, Christy Li. I wanted to share with you what we did in the classroom today, so that you know what your child is talking about if/when they come home and say, “I want to be like Green Smoothie Guy.” (This means they want more fruits and vegetables in a smoothie!)

I read a book to them today and then demonstrated how to make a yummy smoothie. They were all invited to have a sample. I got lots of this request: “Can I have some more?” My brain is thinking, “Yay, they want more spinach and beets!”

My children and I have been drinking green smoothies for years. So of course, I got super excited about sharing this book I recently purchased, “The Adventures of Junk Food Dude” by Robyn Openshaw. As a mom and as a personal trainer, I love Robyn’s (Green Smoothie Girl’s) website and this children’s book because it provides the education about why and how we can eat & drink healthy food for fuel throughout the day.

strawberry morning smoothieMorning Strawberry Smoothie:

  • 1 scoop chia seeds
  • 1/4 red beet
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1/2 small cucumber
  • 1 large banana
  • 12 frozen strawberries
  • 1 squirt raw, organic agave nectar
  • 2 cups organic coconut milk
  • 10 ice cubes

avecado ice creamBlend in a quality blender until smooth.

Please let me know if you have any questions and/or if you would like me to come again to have the children sample another smoothie or our ice cream filled with avocado and chard. My kids love their “Peppermint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream” that is really healthy!

Christy Li



Jenna D.’s Favorite Recipes

Healthy recipesGreat recipes are HALF THE BATTLE! Not every recipe we try is a keeper, but once you have 10 main dishes your family loves, you’re done! That’s what the average American family makes—10 main dishes. These are some fun ideas Jenna hopes your family loves like hers does!

Seed Crackers

1/2 cup chia seeds

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 cup sesame seeds

1 3/4 cups water

2 large garlic cloves (or 2 tsp minced)

3/4 tsp onion

1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Our favorite combos are kelp granules with the sea salt, or 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast for “cheesy” flavor with sun-dried tomatoes, or rosemary with the sea salt.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the water and stir until it gets thick. Spread less than 1/4 inch thick so it is almost transparent, but not quite (patch “holes” as needed with more of the mixture).

Can be baked at 325 degrees (on parchment paper) for 30 min one side, then flipped & 25-30 min on the other until golden brown, allowing to cool completely on the pan.

OR (more nutritious, takes longer):

Dehydrated for 10-15 hours at 100-115 degrees.

Yield: 2 dehydrator trays or 2 baking sheets (about 44 fairly large-sized crackers)

Jenna Keifer Cheese Kefir Cream Cheese

We use this as a spread for wraps, seed crackers (above), rice cakes, and as a substitute for cream cheese in recipes! Learn to make kefir (easy and inexpensive) in Ch. 8 of Robyn’s 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Use whatever amount of kefir you typically have from your grains. I start with a quart of milk with my grains & will get about 3 cups of kefir.

Put kefir in doubled cheesecloth or 100% cotton dishcloth. Tie and hang from something (cupboard doors in my case) over a glass bowl. I recently purchased a stand-alone jelly strainer for $6 that is awesome, because then I don’t have to worry about opening my cupboard doors that are attached to the kefir.

Let drip 12-24 hours covered (so bugs can’t get to either the cheese or the whey). The longer you let it drip, the stronger the flavor, so for sweeter recipes, let it drip for less time.

The liquid in the bowl is whey that can be used to ferment other things (like milk or veggies), so do not throw it away!

The kefir is now in a soft cheese form (about 1 cup), ready to be spread as-is. Or you can add whatever spices/herbs you choose! We love chives or rosemary or even just a little bit of Original Himalayan Crystal Salt. I’ve also added a bit of maple syrup and mixed in some berries for a quick dessert. So delicious!

Lacto-Fermented Salsa 

Jenna Fermented SalsaIngredients and Supplies:

2.5 – 3 lbs of tomatoes of choice

1-2 onions (or a large bunch of green onions

4-6 cloves of minced garlic

Fresh cilantro to taste (I use about a cup)

1 lemon, juiced

1 lime, juiced (optional)

1 Tbsp sea salt

Spices to taste (oregano, pepper, cumin, chili, cayenne)

2-3 Peppers (sweet or spicy)

1/2 cup whey (from your kefir, see Kefir Cream Cheese recipe)


Chop tomatoes, peppers, onion by hand or with a food processor. Chop cilantro by hand and mince garlic.

Toss all ingredients into large bowl.

Add the juice of the lemon and lime.

Add salt and spices to taste.

Add whey and stir well to incorporate.

Pour into quart or half-gallon size mason jars leaving a couple of inches head space, and cap tightly.

Leave on the counter for approximately 2-3 days (it should look bubbly).

Transfer to fridge or cold storage.

Can last months if kept cold and flavor will intensify slightly over time.

Jenna puddingBasic Raw Maple Almond Cookie

3 cups almonds, blend to a flour and transfer to a mixing bowl (or buy almond meal)


3/8 C maple syrup

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla

Mix well. Fill a Tablespoon with packed dough and tap it into your hand, until it comes out.

Turn it with the round side up, and press a 1/2 tsp. spoon into the middle of the cookie, cupping your hand around it to have a smooth indent.

Dehydrate 4-5 hours. When they are dehydrated, squirt on some chocolate sauce..

Raw Chocolate Sauce

3/4 C raw cacao powder

1 C pure maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp. sea salt

2 T coconut oil, warmed to liquefy.

I like to run a glass under hot water, then stir the coconut oil in it, to melt it.

Mix in a blender for best results. Then pour into an old squirt bottle, so you can drizzle anything you like.|

Raw Teriyaki Vegetable Salad

JennaRaw TerryiakiVegetables:

1 med. yellow squash, spiralized

2 med. zucchini, spiralized


1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

1-2 C broccoli, chopped small

1/2 C carrots, shredded

1/2 C sugar snap peas

Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 C nama shoyu

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1/4 C honey

1 sm. clove garlic, pressed

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 C walnuts (for thickening)

Blend until smooth. Pulse in: 1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds

Take a portion of the salad and drizzle on as much sauce as you want. Enjoy!

I added a skewer of pineapple dipped in the sauce and dehydrated about 20 minutes. Mmmm!

The cookies & raw vegetable salad are from a friend’s blog:

 Jenna groatsOat Groat Cereal

Soak 2-3 cups of raw oat groats overnight (they almost double in size after soaking)

Add approx 2 cups almond milk (or water) depending on if you like a thick or thin consistency

1 tsp vanilla

1-2 bananas (depending on how sweet you like it & how big the batch is)

a pinch of sea salt (optional)

Blend until it’s an oatmeal-type consistency

We like to top it with cinnamon, almonds, and goji berries!


Jenna D. shares her “Raising Healthy Eaters” tips! Part 1 of 2

Jenna has fun raising healthy eaters on a happy healthy diet.

This is from Jenna D. in Grabill, Indiana, a runner up in our contest looking for great ideas to share about raising veggie-loving kids!

I’m really excited about this topic because I’m always looking for more ways to encourage my 4 kiddos to eat right. Here are some things I’ve found to really help:

The WHY: Teaching the why behind eating right has helped my older boys (twin 11-year-olds) to understand why we’re “different” (as they say) than other folks. They have enjoyed coming home to tell me all about their health teacher who is teaching the “wrong” things about the food pyramid, etc. It helps them feel empowered and knowledgeable. Kids certainly like that feeling—who doesn’t?

In addition, I try to point out how little they get sick, and when there are other health struggles with their friends/family members, we again point out the why: trying really hard not to be judgmental but more “detective-minded,” we often try to deduce the reasons behind those struggles and how it might have been prevented.

In addition, I try to sneak in as many “health lessons” as possible that aren’t during dinner prep or table eating (they expect it then, and are more ready to fight me on it). I was the Cub Master when my boys were in Cub Scouts, so you better believe I taught about health whenever I got the chance (sugar, HFCS, Artificial colorings/flavorings and hydrogenation being my main targets).

Jenna son maple
One of Jenna’s twin boys learning about healthy foods.

They take it better when their friends are in on it–they don’t feel so personally attacked. When their friends think it’s “cool” (to be healthy) or “gross” (the number of teaspoons of sugar in a soda) they’re more likely to think twice about Mom’s freakishly healthy habits.

Or, when I know they’re coming home from school, I might have a cool article/news report I want to share with them from the internet or whatever. I start re-reading it when they walk in and they’re bound to ask me about it. In addition, I’ve YouTube’d many a gross thing to show them (the making of white bread, hot dogs, effects of aspartame, what happens when you pour soda on pork, etc.).

Also, the older they get, the more I’ve tried to instill a “how-does-it-make-you-feel” awareness in them (brainwashing at its finest). I’ve been surprised on more than one occasion when a child has said no to something because it was making them feel gross. Lastly, I try to push it in deep. I do all of this, why? Because I LOVE them and care too much to let them ruin their health!

Jenna baby girl
Jenna’s baby girl, starting her love of healthy eating early.

The WHEN: The sooner whole/raw/fermented, etc. foods are introduced, the easier it is down the road. That “aha moment” came for me when I was a young 20 yr old in Taiwan watching a toddler eat mini raw fish–eyeballs, bones and all–like it was candy. I thought to myself, “If that kid can eat eyeballs, mine can surely eat Brussels sprouts.” It’s all about the way that they’re presented, and how consistently I do it. The kids (and hubby) have heard me say several times that it takes the average taste bud 7-10 times to know if it really likes something. After that, I’m more open to listening to your strong dislikes. (No “hating” of the healthy goods around this place is allowed, too strong of a word!)

[Note from Robyn: we were not allowed to use the word “hate” at the dinner table, either, in the home I grew up in. I implemented this rule for my children, too, as I don’t want my children using such harsh and negative language in other places outside my home where the person responsible for offering their love, via food, might be hurt or offended. My brothers used to use a faux British accent to make their opinions known, in the language my mother recommended to replace that too-strong sentiment: “I don’t care for this dish!” It got a lot of laughs.]


Ann in Ohio shares some great ideas to raise healthy eaters!

runner upThis reader, Ann in Ohio, gave us a great entry in our recent contest sharing ideas about How to Raise Healthy Kids. It qualifies as a “runner up,” and we’re going to give her a prize, too. I have adapted her recipes, using my 6 baking tips to make a recipe healthier:

  1. Replace sugar with raw coconut sugar, and you’ll never know the difference.
  2. Replace vegetable oil with extra-virgin coconut oil.
  3. Use sea salt (or Original Crystal Himalayan Salt, best of all!) instead of refined salt.
  4. Use a Tbsp of chia soaked in 3 Tbsp of water, instead of an egg.
  5. Use aluminum-free baking powder found in health food stores.
  6. Use whole-grain, organic pastry flour instead of white flour.

Enjoy these ideas and recipes from Ann W. in Canton, Ohio:

Thank you for this opportunity to shine a little bit of light on what has helped grow my two little beauties into healthy, vibrant, and smart young ladies. From the get-go, our family focus has always been the whole body. When my girls were babies, I tried to provide for them wholeness in mind, body and spirit.

Fast forward to today: I have two beautiful daughters, age 9 and 11, who are both in gifted programs academically, and they are healthy eaters physically, as well as spiritually grounded.

In helping them grow nutritionally, I have incorporated a varied “green” diet with minimal processed products or meat. Most of our focus is on fruits and vegetables and whole grains. One way I have helped our girls widen their palates is by offering the “two bite” concept.

two bitWhen I bring a new food to the table, my girls have learned to refrain from the sometimes irresistible urge to say, “Ewwww!” at the food presented to them. Instead, they know to take a bite to taste, and another to make sure.

This has always worked in our house to make meals more adventurous. It is also a contagious concept to some of their food-finicky friends. Moms are always questioning: “My daughter ate WHAT at your house? Are you sure? How’d you get her to taste that?!”

Somehow saying a child will only have to try the new food may reduce the pressure of cleaning a plate of unpalatable food for kids. So yes, that means that the ball, for the most part, is in their court. If they truly hate the taste of a food, I will never force them to eat it, but always have plenty of healthy alternative sides to choose from.

[Note from Robyn: I agree that in general, it’s not a great idea not to “force” kids to do much of anything. That said, since it takes 10 or more exposures to get a child to embrace a food, having them eat some is a good idea, in my opinion. In the home I grew up in, my mother didn’t want to be a short-order cook to 8 picky kids. Who can blame her? So each of us was allowed ONE food we didn’t have to eat. I still, to this day, remember the foods each of my brothers chose! Mine was spinach soufflé, a bizarre and yucky entrée my mother purchased at the military commissary. We felt like we had some choice, to get to say no once in a while! I don’t endorse allowing a child’s uninformed choices to let him or her out of eating entire classes of the most nutritious foods, though. For instance, while I wouldn’t make my son eat Brussels sprouts, I also wouldn’t let him refuse to eat all vegetables, or all greens. That seems very unwise to me, since it’s counter to his best interests.]

Three recipes have allowed me the peace of mind to know that my girls have gotten good nutrition each day. I love these recipes because of how healthy they are, but also how for how versatile they are.  These are great recipes that are easy enough for the kids to help out with.

For example, my girls love collecting things from the garden, like kale, and watching as it transforms to the “Green Drink” in the blender. Both the Hermits and the Granola are fun for kids to help with, and nothing can compare to the yummy smell while they’re baking! The Hermits and Granola are hard to keep around because they get gobbled up so quickly, but they are great for school lunches if you make a big enough batch.

hommade granolaGranola

This recipe is a tweaked combination of a few I have tried over the years [adapted by Robyn].

30 servings

1 cup wheat germ

1 1/2 cups oat bran

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup milled flax seed

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup chopped walnuts

8 cups rolled oats

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup raw coconut sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup raw honey

hommade granola bowl
A delicious and nutritious meal!

1 cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups dried fruit


  1. Line two large baking sheets with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, seeds, and nuts in a large bowl. Stir together salt, sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat.
  4. Spread the mixture out evenly on two baking sheets.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Stir once halfway through baking. Cool granola and stir in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

Hermits [adapted by Robyn]

Makes about 32 bars

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (extra, if needed)

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Great addition to school lunches.
Great addition to school lunches.

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter, at room temperature

1/2  cup packed raw coconut sugar

1 Tbsp chia seed soaked in 3 Tbsp water for 20 minutes (or 1 organic egg)

4-5 tablespoons unsulphured molasses

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (walnut, almond, peanut, etc)

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup milled flax seed

1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, etc.)


  1. Use two 11 x 17, or larger cookie sheets. Lightly oil each pan or cut a piece of parchment paper to fit each sheet.  Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Sift two cups of flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to soften the butter. Slowly add the sugar to the butter, beating at medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add the chia/water (egg replacer) and beat for another minute. Add the molasses and the vanilla, beating for 1 minute longer, until the batter is smooth.
  3. Stir 1 cup of the dry mixture into the creamed ingredients. Stir in the nuts and the dried fruit. Slowly add the remaining cup of the dry mixture, stirring after each addition. The dough will be dense and hard to stir. If it seems a little soft, mix in another 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour. Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and divide it into 4 equal pieces.
  4.  flour hands and surface to roll the first ball into a log about 12 inches long. Roll the log onto one of the pieces of parchment.
  5. Place the log (with the paper) lengthwise onto the cookie sheet, leaving room for a second one beside it. Slightly flatten the log into a rectangle about 3/4 inches thick and 1 1/4 inches wide
  6. Repeat with the second log.
  7. Bake the bars on the center oven rack for 11 to 12 minutes. Prepare the second baking sheet or thoroughly cool the pan if only using one.  Do not overcook the bars! They will have flattened and will continue to cook and get firmer as they cool.
  8. Allow the bars to cool for 10 minutes, and then place them onto a large cutting board.
  9. While the bars are still warm, cut them into 1 1/2-inch-wide sections. Cool the bars thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.

Watson Green DrinkWatson Green Drink (GSG Inspired!) [Slightly adapted by Robyn]

3 handfuls greens (combinations of kale, spinach, collard greens, etc.)

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup frozen mango

1 frozen banana

2 Tbsp. chia seeds, soaked in 6 Tbsp. water

1/2 cup flax

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, adding more liquid if needed. Enjoy!

Subject: Dr. Jorgenson shares her tips on raising kids to be healthy eaters, Part 2 of 2

These are recipes Dr. Jorgenson shared, from the last blog post. Enjoy! Thank you, Michelle!

Peanut Miso Sauce

peanut miso sauce2/3 C water

2/3 C peanut butter

3T miso

1/4 C lime juice

2 T nama shoyu or Bragg’s

2 T olive oil

1 T garlic, minced

1 T ginger, grated


Blend all together and serve as a sauce

asian nut sauceAsian Nut Sauce

1 C almonds (soaked if you have the time) – or- 3/4 C almond butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 C olive oil

1/2 C tamari or regular soy sauce

1/3 – 1/2 C agave

1 T chili garlic sauce (optional if want some spice)

Blend everything together until smooth in a high power blender.  Serve with spring rolls, over top rice, as a dip for veggies, etc.  Will store for 1 week in the fridge.


I developed this recipe that may not be perfect from a health standpoint because you are using cans, but from a busy-working-mom standpoint, it couldn’t get more perfect!  You can use leftovers the next day as a topping for baked potatoes.

1 quart canned tomatoes or two cans diced tomatoes

1 can (15 oz) chili beans

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained

1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained

1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies

1 Tb chili powder

Combine all ingredients in crock pot, cook for several hours. Serve with tortilla chips, lettuce, tomatoes and olives on top.

Lentil Soup

1 onion, chopped

1/4 C olive oil

lentils 22 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t oregano

1 bay leaf

1 t basil

1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes

2 C dry lentils

8 C water

1/2 C spinach

2 T vinegar

Unrefined salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oil in large pot and saute all veggies until tender.  Adds spices.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in lentils, water and tomatoes.  Bring to boil and reduce heat and simmer for about an hour (or can put in a crock pot on low and cook 6-8 hours.)  When ready to serve add spinach, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 6.

vegetarian taco soupTaco Soup

2 cups total diced onions, carrots, celery (or whatever you have)

1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained

1 can (15 oz.) corn, drained

1 can (15 oz.) Mexican style stewed tomatoes

1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

1 can (4 oz.) black olives, sliced

3 cups of vegetable broth (sometimes I add more if I want it to be more “soupy” than “stewy” )

1 T chili powder

1 t cumin

1 t salt

1 t garlic powder

Add all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for 1 hour in a pot on the stove.  Serve with corn chips, cilantro, dressing, etc.

Dr. Jorgenson shares her tips on raising kids to be healthy eaters, part 1 of 2

Michelle Jorganson
Dr. Michelle Jorgenson and family.

Dr. Michelle Jorgenson, a dentist in Highland, Utah, is one of our three winners of the “How to Teach Kids to Eat Right” contest. Her comments here, and the recipes in my next blog, will be featured in my upcoming book, How to Eat Right In the Real World.

I’ll share the inspirational story later, of how Michelle adopted her sickly son Luke at 2 ½ years old and shifted him from chicken nuggets to her whole-foods, plant-based diet, where he is now thriving at 7 years old and loves greens and vegetables and most everything she serves! Here are Michelle’s thoughts on how you raise healthy eaters, enjoy!

First question I always ask parents and kids is, “Do you think there are any kids in China that don’t like Chinese food?”  The answer is no!  Kids eat what you feed them. Maybe not the first time, but if that’s all they get, they will eat almost anything. [Note from Robyn: Research says it takes 10 exposures to a new healthy food, for a child to embrace it.]

I think there is an order to things:

1. You decide why you want to change what your family eats.  Make sure you really believe it, because they will ask, and test, and push you, and you will cave to the pressure, if you’re not strong and committed!

small=big2. You decide where you want to start.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t change your family’s diet in a day either. Decide what will make the biggest splash with the smallest change. Maybe it’s getting rid of white sugar, maybe it’s putting a big bowl of fruit on the counter all the time, maybe it’s a green smoothie in the morning! Do a step at a time.

3. Don’t make the change a democratic process. This is how you are doing it now. No debate, no confusion. Remove all of the thing you are changing. I know it hurts to give away or throw away food, but if it’s there, you are showing that you really aren’t that committed after all. Your family will sense this weakness, and pounce!

4. Give a reward for making the change.  I know this sounds awful, but they don’t understand the health reward they will get. You do, as an adult who has a well developed sense of “delay of gratification,” but the kids aren’t the ones wanting to make the change. Give them something they can see or feel or hope for. A fun outing as a family, dinner at a favorite restaurant, a small reward (toy, etc.).  Set a time limit and make it conditional: you eat this for 30 days without complaining and we get to go to the movies, you choose the movie.

real food tasts good5. Expect setbacks. You will have times that are tough and you will want to give up.  Plan for it, and plan how you are going to handle it when it hits. Give yourself a break now and then and you will be stronger for it.

6. Make things that taste good. I’ve made “healthy” things that taste terrible. I don’t even want to eat them, so why should they? But healthy doesn’t have to taste bad, and I think that is a myth a lot of people believe. Make good food. Make it with real food, not things in boxes. It tastes better, is much less expensive, and your family will actually ask for it again!

Some of our favorite, easy meals:

•           Fried rice. Use leftover brown rice and any veggies you have.  Add a couple of eggs and season with nama shoyu or Bragg’s. Serve with a side of cucumbers or a green salad and you have a meal. 30 minutes start to finish.

•           Mexican roll-ups. You can use a tortilla or lettuce or cabbage for the wrap.  Again, use rice and any veggies on hand, add salsa, corn and black beans. Fruit salad could finish out the meal.

•           Hawaiian haystacks. Put brown rice on the bottom, and any veggies or crunchy things you have on hand, to put on top. Coconut and pineapple are yummy. Scramble an egg or add some beans for protein. Make a peanut miso sauce to serve over top. [This and other recipes Dr. Jorgenson references are at the end of her explanation. She notes that she uses short-grain brown rice for Mexican or American food, and long-grain jasmine rice for Asian and Indian cooking. She uses a rice cooker, but you can also wash brown rice well, and cook 1 part rice to 2 parts water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.]

•           Miso soup. Make a simple kombu broth, then add whatever you want. Veggies, tofu, rice noodles, wakame (seaweed). When all cooked, whisk in miso to taste, but don’t boil, just warm. Eat with a side of edamame and this can be a meal. [Usually rice noodles, found in the gluten free section or in Asian markets, are made from refined white rice. But you can find brown rice noodles at health food stores.]

noodles and veggies•           Spring rolls. Use a spiralizer and cut up a bunch of veggies: zucchini, beets, carrots, jicama, turnip, etc.  Roll up the veggies along with some rice noodles, lettuce, herbs (mint or basil), whatever you have. Eat with Asian Nut Sauce made by blending almonds (or almond butter), tamari and agave, maybe a little ginger. Add fruit for a meal.

•           One dish pasta. Sautee veggies (onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, tomato, etc) in a large wok-style pan. Boil rice noodles in another pan. When noodles are about 2 minutes from being done, add them to the veggies, along with enough of the cooking water so they are saucy. Continue cooking together until noodles are done. Top with spicy pumpkin seeds or a little parmesan. Great with flax crackers and a green salad.

Family-Nutrition-button•           Crockpot soups. Make a veggie and bean soup the night before or the morning before you want the meal.  It cooks all day while you are gone. Some easy ones: taco soup with black beans and corn and tomatoes, lentil soup with carrots and tomatoes and lentils, easy chili with three different cans of beans, green chilis, tomatoes and chili powder. Serve with tortilla chips and fruit.

7. Involve your family in planning, shopping for and making the food!  If your daughter makes the salad, she’s much more likely to actually eat it.  Your goal is to make Healthy Adults, not Healthy Kids. What?! It doesn’t do any good if they stop eating the way you’ve taught when they leave your home. You need to be teaching skills that will serve them well while they are in your home, and especially after they have left your home. They need to know how to throw a quick dinner together, how to shop, and how to plan inexpensive, healthy meals on their own. Otherwise, vending machine and McDs, here they come.

My next blog entry will share all the recipes Dr. Jorgenson refers to in her comments!