From 7 Years Ago, Starting This Blog……to Now

4 kids color
Emma (18), Tennyson (13), Libby (16), Kincade (20), May 2014

Seven years ago, as I started this blog, I ruminated a lot on my family’s menus, the “in the trenches” work I was doing daily, raising kids from 6 to 13 years old.

Time has flown.

Now I find myself still parenting, but in a far more limited way. One teen lives with me, the other lives with Dad. The two oldest are adults, mostly on their own. I find myself mostly looking back and wondering, “Was it enough?”

I used to imagine myself, as a very young mother, raising up these immaculately pure vessels. Paragons of ideal health. When my first child was a year old, due to his illnesses and my own, I began to educate myself.

Suddenly I discovered I’d been asleep at the wheel! There were toxins everywhere, the food I’d been serving him was worthless and even harmful. I’d faithfully let his doctor shoot him up with whatever the current pediatrics schedules dictated. I was obedient, and fully in the mainstream of doing whatever everyone else does.

That’s where we all are. Until we aren’t. Information caught up with me and slapped me in the back of the head.

I imagined myself raising perfectly healthy kids. Taking the road less traveled. Protecting them from drinking water out of plastic. My kids would have their stainless steel. Or glass jars, when they were older. I’d make sure they never drank from the tap. Green smoothies for lunch at school, baggies of veggies! They’d be grossed out by the Cheetohs their friends ate. I’d have told them what that orange color really is. This would move them.

perfect parent 1I’d buy nutrition books for them, give them summer reading rewards to complete them, tell the family about them.

I imagined myself running healthy treats to their schools, their teachers in church, the babysitting co-op.

Patiently talking to church leaders, teachers, school administration, sports league coordinators who want every kid to be fed a donut and a corn-syrup drink after every athletic event.

I pictured myself taking an alternative “treat” (like boxes of dried fruit, and fruit leather, and carob almonds in Baggies) around to the neighbors before my Trick-or-Treaters hit the streets in their costumes.

Pointing out the Why in everything that I did. So my kids’ education ran deep. Their habits and “comfort foods” as they reached adulthood would include knowing how to make quinoa in 10 minutes and do a variety of things with it, lickety split.

I imagined them as teens and young adults, whipping up a green smoothie before taking off for work. Always choosing a whole-grain option, and opting out of eating grains, where possible, if they aren’t sprouted and yeast-free and non-hybridized.

I imagined them tall and strong, acne free, without cavities or orthodontia, quietly eating a different diet than everyone else. Fiercely committed to it because they’d been educated so well.

Do you moms relate to this? Sure pure intent, such ambition. Had things gone the way I’d imagined, I’d be a “success” by my early definition. I’d probably also be insufferably self-righteous, not particularly compassionate to all the other moms out there mucking around just trying to get everybody fed. Trying to do better, with mixed results.

let go2Where I am now, 20 years later, is a rather different place. Even writing all of that, I confess to feeling no small measure of pain. For all the ways I’ve “let go” of the need to be perfect, of the need to build a fence at the top of every cliff, I still notice, every day, my “failures.” I’m more at peace with them than I was before.

The main thing I rely on, to get me through the disappointments in parenting, is this thought:

“I’ve done what I can do.”

I tried really, really hard. I pretty much did every single thing I wrote, above! And more. It’s tempting to catalog every way I’ve failed in that essentially unachievable imaginary parenting Utopia. (The original plan failed to understand the power of choice—my kids, lacking maturity, with the pull of the world around them, make their own choices, and many, if not most, of them aren’t great, now.)

But then, I’d be depressed, and I’d lower everyone’s vibration. It’s easy to dwell on the fact that I was too “controlling” and less “sunshiny and education-oriented” many times. And beat myself up that I learned too late, how to mother most effectively.

It’s easy to focus on the can of corn-syrup drink, or the wadded-up McDonald’s bag, that I see in my son’s car. It has happened. I know what happens to people who eat genetically modified foods, and fast foods. I talk to these folks all the time: I read their emails, I meet them at my lectures. They’re figuring out how their diet has impacted them and contributed to so many disease states.

Not my boy! Please, not my boy–not after the price I’ve paid to be different. To get him out of his hellish health problems early in life, before his immune system was fully formed. You can imagine these are thoughts running through my head.

What if, right now, I think on a few very good things that have made it all worth it–despite the failings.

First, my kids don’t have “positive associations” with “Happy Meals” and drive-thrus and candy and soda and bags of salty snacks. Hopefully this matters a lot.

Second, their brains are grooved to know what almond bars, and green smoothies, and huge plates of salad and kefir, and fruits for snacking are. They have a thousand memories of homemade whole foods. Childhood programming is powerful.  Regardless of what they do now, they have a place to come back to. If declining health starts to teach them a lesson. I talk to people in their 60’s all the time who have never practiced any of these good habits. Maybe, despite the sketchy choices I see my kids making now, when they’re away from home, this alone makes it all worthwhile?

Third, following the Pottenger cat study, maybe having outstanding nutrition while they were growing up, is why none of my kids needed braces. All have lovely teeth. Both of their parents required orthodontia! (The Pottenger cat study showed how you can rehabilitate genetics with a strong diet.)

No-Way-To-Be-a-Perfect-MotherFourth, all of them are tall and strong. Baby Boy asks me every day to stand back-to-back with me to see if he’s taller than me, yet. It will happen this summer, as he turns 14.

Fifth, I catch them talking their friends into drinking a green smoothie, asking for one of my books for someone they know who wants to improve their diet, or speaking favorably about the health-nut home they were raised in.

Sixth, aforesaid boy with junk-food wrappers in his car? He texted me, recently, “Mom, I’m dying.” I drove to his apartment, shoveled all 6’4” of him into my car on a Friday morning, and took him by to my house. For 2.5 days, I took him to my massage therapist, and I had him spraying ACS in his mouth every hour. I took him home Sunday night, all better, and ready to go to work Monday morning.

I’m not sure I would even get a passing grade, if the fantasy parenting-Utopia list that began this blog were the requirements of a college class. I’m holding a space for it to all turn out okay anyway. I have done all I can do.

Is it a myth that wheat (gluten) is bad?

What’s the difference between GMO and hybridized grains?

wheat cautionOne of the most important ways I educate, in blogging, authoring books, and public speaking, is to point out how billion-dollar industries have falsely educated us, to make a profit. About nutrition, medicine, and health.

If you want the quick abstract of this article, scroll to the bottom! If you want a bit more detail, let’s talk about the gluten-free industry—read on! And whether wheat is actually bad for you. And what to do about it!

In the past, I’ve talked about the billion-dollar fish oil industry, which has done NOTHING to improve cardiovascular health. I’ve talked about the billion-dollar protein industry, which feeds us endocrine disruptors and toxic animal products. I’ve talked about the mega-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry, whose agenda is to get people to eat chemicals for every health problem, to our toxic detriment, solving no health problems.

The low-fat food cult gave rise to a billion dollars in sales for the processed food industry, who fabricated all kinds of fake foods in the name of us getting skinny and healthy. Currently, the reigning cult, low-carb, has us spending billions in processed food that artificially increases protein and decreases carbohydrates. (Another topic, for another day: carbohydrates aren’t bad!)

We also now have thousands of companies selling us “gluten free” foods. One of my issues with the vast majority of these foods is that, while they’ve eliminated hybridized gluten grains, they are still processed foods with many other negative effects on health.

I’m not going to argue that you should eat gluten as much as you want. The problem isn’t with gluten in its original form. It’s with hybridized grains. A few generations ago, industry began hybridizing our wheat in order to increase protein content and make “better” bread. Many experts are calling what now masquerades as food “FrankenWheat.” Dwarf wheat, the genetic result, bears little resemblance to what your great-grandmother baked in her bread. Your great-grandmother’s wheat had 14 chromosomes. Yours now has 28, causing the body to produce antibodies to fight inflammation, and causing celiac disease and gluten intolerance. New research shows that 55 different conditions, including cancers and irritable bowel, depression, and many auto-immune conditions, can be the result. (You can search in PubMed and read for hours, as I did.)

Long story short, the gluten, or protein, in wheat, is now so altered that it causes all kinds of auto-immune problems in human beings. Many are even being diagnosed with celiac disease, a severe gluten intolerance, where the sufferer is often ill for years before finally being diagnosed and being forced to take up a vigilant nutritional lifestyle, reading labels and eating foods that are manufactured in facilities where there is no gluten.

(There are several other problems with wheat, now. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., our hybridized wheat, even “whole grain,” not only contains a “super gluten” that causes gut inflammation, it also contains a starch that causes you to gain weight and a chemical drug to make you crave more.)

The gluten-free label is now on a million different products all over North America. Ill-educated Americans often believe that “gluten free” means “good for me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Gluten-free products are usually full of corn syrup, sugar, chemicals, hydrogenated fats, and not much of nutritional value.

I do think it’s wise to avoid all hybridized wheat products. Even “whole grain” wheat products. And all refined wheat products, especially, which are gluey and slow down digestive function, in addition to spiking blood sugar. Products with white flour include the description “wheat flour” on ingredient labels. “Wheat flour” means white flour–the grain has been stripped of its bran and germ (the fiber and nutrition).

Only “whole wheat flour” means that the bran and germ have not been removed. When even whole wheat is ground very finely, however, for cookies or pastries, for instance, the impact on blood sugar is quicker, with more deleterious effects. Coarse-ground, and even better, soaked/sprouted, grains are much better. When you soak a grain, you neutralize the enzyme inhibitors, making micro-nutrients more bio-available, and the grain easier to digest.

If grains aren’t organic (non-hybridized, pesticide-free), we really shouldn’t eat them at all. I do not feed my family white flour products. I minimize even whole-wheat, using only organic grains. If it is certified organic, it has not been hybridized, nor has it been genetically modified, nor has it been treated with most chemicals.

By the way, people often tell me that wheat is genetically modified, and I have to correct them. Most corn and soy, in the U.S., has been genetically modified. This process involves inserting or deleting genes in gene-splicing technology.

Hybridization, on the other hand, involves crossing different strains, to generate new characteristics. Some breeders even use chemical and x-ray mutagenesis to mutate the wheat. BASF’s Clearfield Wheat, for instance, was created using the toxic industrial chemical, sodium azide. When the seeds and embryos mutate, their offspring continues the mutation.

(Side note: this highlights how as we eat a toxic diet, and mutate our own genetics in deleterious ways, we pass down degenerated DNA to our children! Another reason to eat a very healthy, organic plant-based diet.)

In wheat hybrids, the breeders’ goal is to increase the amount of protein to make bread with more appealing texture. With genetic modification (corn and soy), Monsanto and other companies are looking for more pest resistance and higher yields.

Bizarrely, the wheat industry claims that its product is safe since it isn’t genetically modified. (They’ve tried! If they could gene-splice wheat, they would! And they are working on it.) The wheat industry is under fire as researchers and educators, such as Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, point out that your consumption of hybridized wheat likely is part of why you have flab on your belly–not to mention many auto-immune conditions. Just because wheat isn’t genetically modified doesn’t mean it’s “good for you.”

Sure, wheat is referred to as the “staff of life” in the Bible. But 2,000 years ago, mankind had not yet started to alter Mother Nature.

Wheat is probably a perfectly legitimate food, if we eat non-hybridized versions. After all, many cultures ate it for 100,000 years! It’s inexpensive to grow and to prepare, and people enjoy it. Spelt and Kamut and Einkorn are ancient grains that have not been hybridized, and becoming newly re-popularized. They are lower in gluten naturally than typical semolina wheat.

I believe that the longer we ignore the risks and indulge in white-flour products, and even in hybridized whole-grain flour products, the more severe our individual gluten sensitivities will become. My own personal response to burgeoning information about wheat, is to choose only organic (non-hybridized AND free of pesticide), and usually sprouted, wheat options. The Good Earth stores, where I live, have sprouted, organic English muffins, breads, and tortillas. Even those, I don’t eat very often—not every day, and sometimes not for weeks at a time.

I believe if we allow our inflammatory conditions to progress, most or all of us will eventually be in the position of having to become a diet vigilante and avoid anything even produced in a facility with a gluten product! So, better to become careful label readers and avoid flour products NOW. That way, if you’re like me, a little piece of bread now and then doesn’t cause a reaction.

I also think that eating 60-80 percent raw plant foods, every day, every meal, as I have been doing for 20 years, is a great preventative for gluten intolerance and the inflammation that comes with eating a diet containing occasional hybridized gluten.

On another note: wheat products also often contain yeast. Modern yeast does not die in the gut. It is bred to be “fast acting” and “quick rising” in this age of impatience, where food has to be prepared quickly or no one will do it! This is not what people did, for thousands of years. In ancient times, people baked bread from natural yeast spores in the air, with slow-growing sourdough starters where the less-virulent yeast died in longer baking periods.

One of the worst diagnoses I know of, is candida albicans yeast overgrowth. It is very difficult to get rid of, and takes a long, sustained effort of starving the body of ALL sugars to be successful, even fruit. It’s a very tough diet to follow.

I have known many people who suffer with chronic low energy, depression, and much suffering before finally being diagnosed with candida. This may be related to diets high in yeast, white flour, and processed sugars, as well as use of antibiotics (which leave the body vulnerable to yeast growth). So, wheat is very problematic for all the reasons we’ve discussed, but eating wheat in combination with yeast is truly begging for health problems.

I’m a big fan of Dr. Jeffrey Smith, a pioneer in the anti-GMO movement. He did a recent study showing that getting people off GMO’s ended gluten sensitivity. This makes no sense, if you believe that gluten sensitivity is the real problem. But what he found was that people were sensitive to genetically modified ingredients, and the processed ingredients, in the packaged foods they ate. It’s something to consider. What if we religiously avoided all corn and soy, all foods not labeled “NON-GMO PROJECT” or “ORGANIC” and ate mostly greens, fruits, vegetables, legumes, non-hybridized whole grains, nuts and seeds?

IN SUMMARY: I agree with the gluten-free proponents, that we must stay away from hybridized grains, even “whole grains” that are hybridized. You know they aren’t hybridized if they are certified organic. White flour products become “glue” in the intestines, and grain products also often contain fast-rising yeast, which leads to yeast imbalance in the body—two additional reasons to avoid most bread products.

Where I wave a white flag, though, is that unless your gut is severely compromised (celiac disease and other very significant gluten intolerance, where staying away from all gluten for a very long time is necessary), the rest of us should still be able to eat limited amounts of organic, ancient wheat and other grains. Sprouted, organic, yeast-free grain products are my favorite. Science has not yet genetically modified wheat. Hybridization involves crossing different breeds to eliminate or promote certain characteristics, and genetic modification involves gene splicing.

Are nutritionists and dieticians sleeping with the enemy?

AND_Corporate_Sponsorship_ReportI often talk about how our health care system, and our food system (Big Pharma and Big Food), are Enemies #1 and #2 we have to ward against, if we want to protect our health. Once I wrote about attending a women’s retreat where a nutritionist taught a class and told mothers that their #1 nutrition goal should be to get their kids to drink as much milk as possible–if kids balk, just add Nestle Quik, she counseled.

Here, Kiera Butler went to the national convention of dietitians and nutritionists, and what she experienced there will shock you.

It sounds like the entire event was paid for and the content controlled by Big Food—McDonald’s, Hershey, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dominos, SaraLee, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Corn Refiners’ Association, and more. Some of the classes Kiera attended pitched to nutritionists that there’s nothing wrong with hybridized grains’ gluten (“gluten-free” is just a fad!), that GMO foods are wonderful and sustainable, and that there’s nothing worse about corn syrup than other sweeteners. Kiera’s conclusion:

circling the drain“Our national nutrition experts are in bed with Big Food. And we wonder why we’re fat.”

If we allow these industries to provide our food, making unthinking choices and telling ourselves that tomorrow we’ll do better, we’ll find ourselves in the grips of the other industry (Big Pharma). And pretty soon, we’re circling the drain.

Some of the ways we opt out of these industries? Supporting whole, unprocessed foods by buying them and learning how to use them and making them staples of our diet; staying out of the drive-thru; gardening and keeping heirloom seeds; educating our children and others by teaching classes and doing demos in our homes, churches, and communities; sharing green smoothies; learning to make cultured raw whole foods; thinking of a big salad as a main dish; eating more plants daily and choosing the green foods wherever you’re eating.

 

What do you give a GSG for her birthday?

Robyns Birthday Basket
Robyn’s Birthday Basket

My 20-year old son is moving back in. He signed a year-long contract with his friends, and now, after 6 months, has that contract up for sale. He said, “I’m not sorry I did it. I needed to know I could live on my own. Now I know I can. Can I come back now?”

Kid misses his baby brother and mama. He visited us nearly daily anyway. Plus he misses the FREE RENT. He says he does NOT miss green smoothies. But that’s okay—drinking them is a requirement for living here. I forgo a lot of other battles in order to pick that one. I buy the food and rent is free—if you eat three healthy things a day that I make, and help out when I ask.

This photo is the goodie basket he brought me for my birthday Feb. 12. I love it! I think if you made this for your health-nut friend, she’d love it, too!

I confess, as weird as it sounds, that Cade isn’t the only one who bought me cucumbers that day. It’s only weird unless you have been with a person who peels the plastic off an English cucumber and eats it plain. Something I do rather regularly when traveling.

People always say to me, “I don’t know what to get GSG for a present!” (A former boyfriend once confessed he agonized over where to take me to dinner, at first.) Oh, gosh, it’s easy. You get someone what she loves, that tells her, “I care about you.” It’s really simple.

My ex-husband once had a surprise party for me where he told everyone to bring me NOTHING except dried apricots. I had whined to him, after Christmas, two months before:

“So you know my mom put dried apricots in my Christmas stocking every year. I loved it. It was a total treat! How come you never do that?”

He decided he’d show me! I had a year’s supply, after that party.

I love my friends for NOT bringing me cake and ice cream and my old demons—Junior Mints, anything Hershey, and Skittles. I used to think that Skittles were healthy, because they were “low fat.” Or that was the story I told myself. Anyway, the good news is, they don’t interest me at all anymore.

no junk food junkieAs Kristin said regularly, when people from her old, junk-food life would give her things, or if she’d walk past the candy aisle:

“I don’t eat that shit anymore.”

I laugh out loud, every time I think of it. Kristin pushing a cart past the spot in the store where muscle memory would normally steer her towards Peanut M&Ms—and literally saying that out loud. (It’s a lot funnier when you realize we live in Utah County. If you know anything about the demographics of this place.)

I love my life without corn syrup and MSG and soda and hamburgers. At first I missed it. You really don’t miss it forever, though.

As a 29-year old former university student of mine texted me today, after finishing the 26-day GSG Detox, and then transitioning to 12 Steps to Whole Foods in near-record time (he pretty much did the WHOLE COURSE all at once, especially when I told him Coach Sarah did the whole year-long course in 3 weeks):

real food tastes good“After eating clean for nearly 2 months, I want junk food less and less. If I get cravings for junk, I make a substitute from whole foods!”

You got it, Lyle, that’s just it! You don’t give up pleasure in eating. You retrain your tastes, you discover simple pleasures and tune back into how amazing an avocado is, or plate of steamed asparagus. Or a sweet potato, or a ripe peach. We had parties all weekend before my birthday, and the actual day was a boring Wednesday. My good friend Melinda took me to a movie that night, and when I got home, late, because I hadn’t eaten dinner, I cut one of the grapefruits Cade put in that basket, and ate it with a grapefruit spoon. So simple.

SO PERFECT.

Hot dogs are too dangerous for human consumption

processed meatIf you’ve been a GSG reader for long, you know I’ve said a million times that “all things in moderation” does NOT mean we should eat poison—in any amount, moderate or otherwise. And I often point out that while my diet isn’t perfect, there are some things I never, ever eat, and absolutely stand up to my children ever eating them. Trans fats (like shortening), pork, and soda are among them. But, today’s topic:

I NEVER eat, or allow my kids, to eat processed meat. Just like I don’t let them stick their hand in a fan, or ride down the freeway on top of my car, or jump into a swimming pool with 2 feet of water.

It’s too dangerous. It’s actually crazy.

And why? Check out THIS REVIEW of a World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) meta-study reviewing 7,000 clinical studies. The reviewer concludes that processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption—ever.

No nitratesRead the study’s list of what processed meats are. Jerky, bacon, sausage, lunch meat, and hot dogs, you probably knew that. But did you know that sodium nitrate, a deadly carcinogen, is also found in frozen pizza meat, canned soup meat, frozen meals, ravioli, kids’ meals, and virtually all red meat sold in public schools, restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and theme parks?

Not mentioned in the review is a 2001 study that children with cancer were highly likely, far more than children in general, to eat a lot of hot dogs. In fact, high consumption of processed meat was the ONLY thing children with cancer had in common.

This article does mention that if you eat processed meat, your risk of pancreatic cancer increases 67 percent. Have you ever known anyone who died of pancreatic cancer? A friend of mine , just a few years older, died of this disease this year, leaving six children, some of them underage.

That is one ugly, brutal way to leave us behind. Please don’t.

And every 50 grams daily of processed meat that you eat increases your risk of colo-rectal cancer by 21 percent.

Warning: Do not feed this to your children or yourselves.
Warning: Do not feed this to your children or yourselves.

These are by no means the only statistics in the review of 7,000 studies. It’s now very clear that nitrites and nitrates on the ingredient label are just begging to give you cancer.

This article reminds us why bacon, and nitrites added to food, are not banned by law. (In the 1970’s, in all fairness, the USDA did try to ban sodium nitrate.) The reason is, because powerful food industries virtually control the USDA and FDA.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, will you please not feed processed meat to your children, no matter how cheap it is? Hot dogs are called “cancer sticks” for good reason. And please don’t eat them, supporting that industry, and please share real hard data with friends who don’t know better. (Friends don’t let friends eat salami!)

Would you gain weight if you ate an entire car full of spinach?

person veggieMy oldest son, Cade, 20 years old, came over to chat for a while and tell me about his luck with the ladies, a few days ago. We were shooting the breeze and had this completely pointless conversation, related to whether or not he has gained weight, since moving out into his first apartment away from home:

Me:  I’m not saying you’re fat! I’m saying you’ve filled out a little.

Cade:  I weigh the same as I did when I lived here. In fact, I think all the vegetables and green stuff you made me eat probably made me fatter.

Me:  Not possible. Raw veggies CAN’T make you fatter.

Cade: Of course they can!

Me: No, they can’t. Seriously. If you ate greens from the minute you woke up till the minute you went to bed, you would LOSE weight.

Cade: Give me a break, Mom. That isn’t true. If you ate lots of big bowls full, you would get fat.

Huge bowl of spinachMe: No. If you ate your entire CAR full of spinach, every day, you would actually lose weight. It has basically no calories, and no fat, but greens have tons of vitamins and minerals and stuff.

spinach factsCade: [laughing like I am totally ridiculous]

Me: Here, let’s Google it.

I Googled “how many calories does spinach have?” On the screen, what popped up was this:

A serving is a cereal bowl full of spinach, and it has–wait for it—SEVEN CALORIES.

Me: Yeah. See? How many servings do you think you could eat in a day? If you ate all day long.

Cade: Oh, like a hundred?

popeye spinachMe: Ooh, burn! That’s 700 calories. You would lose a ton of weight!

He laughed and let me win. (I have let him win many times. Especially when the subject is sports!)

That’s nutrient density. The only foods you can eat in unlimited quantities, with ZERO fear of one single bad thing happening to you—the nutrient dense foods. Low calorie, high micronutrients. Guess what else they’ve got? Tons of fiber, high vibrational frequency, and quite a bit of protein!

Greens and vegetables and sprouts top the list of nutrient-dense foods. Put them on your plate with RECKLESS ABANDON!