Coach Amanda Teaches How to Get Off Processed Food


Coach Amanda
Coach Amanda

Recently, Amanda told us about the content of a class she teaches called How to Get Off Processed Food.

She advises her classes, “Your body’s not a trash can,” and to not make your kids eat junk food. Like a Happy Meal, for instance. It may have a free toy, but you can buy a cheap toy at the dollar store.

She tells her class to “be a food snob,” and she has them practice throwing some packaged processed food away. And of course she advocates for those who attend to begin my 12 Steps to Whole Foods program.

body trash canThis reminded me of writing in my new book, How to Eat Right In the Real World, that a key to achieving ideal weight and wellness, for me, was to become very aware of, and then challenge, this subconscious thought:

“It’s free, so I’d better eat it!”

I wonder how many pounds of white flour and white sugar, processed meat, and other junk I put into my body just because it was free. Just because of my poverty mentality.

It is a triumph, and an important part of my progress, to no longer feel any angst on airplanes when they ask what soft drink I want, and whether I want Bischoff cookies or pretzels (now you know what airline I fly). I just say “no, thanks” and just get water.

It’s a triumph that now I go to a party and see a dessert I always loved, and just pass it up.

I still have to occasionally challenge this thought:

“I don’t know when I will ever have a chance to eat lemon bars again!”

I remind myself, “I can have lemon bars or any other treat anytime I want. I just choose not to, today.”

This helps me avoid that scarcity mentality I grew up with. (With 8 children, and limited groceries, as we lived on my father’s military income and the BX was a long drive away, most food was rationed. If we got a nectarine, the bowl they ripened in announced, with a hand-lettered sign, that there was just one per person. If we got juice, you had to measure your small cup 2/3 full, and if you took more, you were in trouble. (There were plenty of tattlers around for enforcement.)

scarcity mentality
Scarcity mentality

I have noticed that scarcity mentality, which can lead to weight gain and poor health, has little to do with one’s income. It is a mindset far more about our past experience, and how we view the world.

Because of my own background of scarcity, for a long time I had to constantly remind myself, “I can afford to buy pretzels anytime I want without it being a problem in my budget–and I don’t. So there’s no reason to eat these airline pretzels just because they’re free. That’s not a good reason to eat something.”

I used to marvel at friends, when I was young, who turned down cookies and candy and cake. I never turned anything down! I figured I’d better eat it because I might be hungry later. This attitude prevailed for far longer than it served (if it ever did, which is questionable).

Many years ago, a friend of mine briefly got me to go to a summer program at an elementary school several miles away. The federal government paid the school a certain amount of money, per head, for each child who ate free lunch several days a week during the summer. My friend was ecstatic to take her 7 kids there every day for pizza or chicken nuggets, milk, chips, and a brownie. There was a token nod to nutrition in the form of a few carrot and celery sticks, or a small iceberg lettuce salad, which few children ate.

throw away junkI went only a few times before I realized that not having to prepare one meal and clean up the kitchen after lunch, and saving a few dollars on a nutritious lunch for my children, were not benefits that overcame the negative impact on our health of eating these foods.

And my friend who so enthusiastically recruited friends to save time and money by going to the free lunch program? Her husband made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

It’s hard to throw things away, when you worked hard to earn the dollars that bought that junk food! But junk food does nothing but harm to you and your family. I highly recommend the practice of throwing it away. Ceremoniously throwing processed food in the garbage will make you think twice when you’re in the store and considering buying processed food again!

K’Lynne still going strong!

Pheonix sign 2You may remember K’Lynne, from tiny Phoenix, Oregon. She did the 12 Steps to Whole Foods course and lost 100 pounds.

K’Lynne’s before picture

I saw her in Minneapolis in June, where she brought her mother to my lecture. She’s shy and quiet, but she’ll answer questions in front of a big audience. I said, regarding how she cashed in the Size 22 jeans, pictured below, for her current Size 8:

Did you eat yucky food? (No.)

Can kids do this? (Yes. They’re trickier.)

What about your husband? (Yes. He lost weight and got off heart disease medications.)

K’Lynne says, “I look and feel better than I have in my entire life.”

K'Lynn 2
K’Lynne and Robyn with the “old” jeans, size 22.

That’s not the end of the story. So 1,500 GSG readers–and I, and some of the coaches–just finished the 26-day GSG Detox. We’re doing it again starting January 5, stand by for more information. I’ve read a couple hundred Questionnaires filled out by detoxers. I have LOTS of them to share, but I’ll share just a few in the my next blog. I really just want to share what I read from K’Lynne–so much healthier, but now post-detox, an even better version of herself!

K’Lynne feeling and looking great today.

“I have never done a detox before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was amazing. I loved it. I loved knowing I was helping my body to perform better, and I loved the empowering feeling I had throughout this whole experience. I was able to lose 12 lbs! I had been stuck at the same weight for a while not being able to get past it. I loved the full support, having a forum where you could get your questions answered. Being able to hear from others was great! I also loved the required buddy, which made all the difference, knowing I couldn’t let my buddy down. The live Q&A sessions with Robyn and the other coaches were also fabulous.

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into this detox program. It is amazing and I am becoming a Lifetime Member, looking forward to doing it again with you!”

K’Lynne W. in Phoenix, Oregon

Sugar is worse than just “empty calories” and tooth decay

sugar danger

An interesting study you’re not likely to ever hear about came out of my own alma mater, the University of Utah, and THIS article was published in the Tribune:

James Ruff and professor Wayne Potts stand inside a semi natural mouse enclosure at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City
James Ruff and professor Wayne Potts stand inside a semi natural mouse enclosure at the University of Utah

Many mothers let their children eat loads of sugary food, thinking that it’s okay because their kid is thin, and they’ll make him brush his teeth twice a day. It turns out that sugar is harmful in so many more ways than dental decay and “empty calories.” The researchers at the University of Utah found that, with the amount of added sugar many Americans eat, female mice died at twice the rate, and male mice exhibit abnormal behavior and don’t reproduce.

The senior author of the study says that the mortality rate of eating the S.A.D. is the equivalent of having your parents be first cousins.

Elementary School Teachers and the GREEN SMOOTHIE SCIENCE FAIR!

Coach Beckie shows the kids how to make a green smoothie

I hope my readers send a link to Beckie’s story, to teachers they know, to give them ideas. Teachers WANT to motivate and educate their students towards good nutrition choices, and they want good Christmas gift ideas too! Thank you for sharing, and for being a great teacher, Beckie!

Dear Robyn:

This is the story about how Green Smoothie Girl has impacted Kazoo School, with its progressive philosophy of education. This means that students get to have a say in what they want to study. I decided November would be a great time to introduce them to healthy eating, with the holiday season coming.

BeckyW8One morning I read them The Adventures of Junk Food Dude and did a simple green smoothie demonstration. They loved it! They even requested I read the book to them again the very next day. This mini lesson sparked their interest and we had many discussions about healthy food choices.

For Christmas, I gave all my students their very own Ball jar to make smoothies at home!

When everyone returned from the Winter break, I heard many stories of green smoothies made and I even had parents coming to me asking for tips. It was exciting to learn that the information was reaching home, and that is when I realized how big of an impact I could have on their food education. So my co-teacher Whitney suggested we make our Science Month a “Healthy Bodies” theme. She knows how passionate I am, and she basically said, “Whatever you have in mind, go for it!”

Music to my ears! I started by taking information I had learned from the 12 Steps to Whole Foods Manual and and adapted it into activities appropriate for 1st and 2nd graders.

During the month they:

1)     Had to find two food labels. The first one had to contain, only, ingredients that they recognized and could pronounce. The second was a label with ingredients they could not pronounce or know what they were. We then proceeded to pick one ingredient they could not pronounce and research what it was. We made a bulletin board display of our findings.

BeckieW12)     They kept a food log for two weeks. Each student rated how they felt, what they ate and how much exercise they got each day. At the end of the two weeks they charted the healthy food choices they made vs. the “not-so-heathy” choices.

We also did two experiments. We recreated the McDonald’s experiment you wrote about HERE. We also did one that showed how our bodies use and absorb sugar.

BeckieW2The culmination was our Science Fair night where we presented all of our findings to the whole school, friends and family. I did a green smoothie demo at the fair, and it was a huge hit! I could tell that the parents were really starting to take notice of all the information their children had accumulated over the year.

It was great to see the response from the whole school (I have become the Green Smoothie Girl of Kazoo school), but there were two moments where I really knew my students had retained what they learned.

In our after-school program, we offer a snack to each child. The bin is full of the usual choices: granola bars, crackers, fruit snacks etc. But one day I noticed one of my students taking their time choosing and I inquired as to why. His response blew me away.

BeckyW7He said, “I am checking the food labels to find the healthiest choice.” I almost fell over!  The second moment happened after a parent brought in cupcakes at 9:30 a.m. for a birthday treat. Around 11:30 everyone was grumpy and tired.

I took that moment to point out that this is what we call a “sugar crash”. The very next day there was another birthday and this child’s parents chose donuts. One student raised his hand and asked, “I don’t want to crash, can I not have the birthday treat?” Even if only a handful remember what they learned this year about healthy eating and continue to make better, more informed choices, I feel accomplished!

I have attached some pictures from the year. Thank you so much for providing the tools for me to educate my students!

Let’s develop a GreenSmoothieGirl curriculum for teachers!

Beckie Waalkes


“I could never eat like you do!”

veggies_gettyNic, my son Tennyson’s buddy, was watching me load up my Nike duffel bag with snacks for my 24 hours of flights to Milan, Italy, to stay at Paracelsus al Ronc.

He shook his head as he watched, and we had this conversation.

Nic:  Robyn, I could never eat like you do. I don’t like that stuff.

Me:  I didn’t either, when I was your age, Nicky. But then I got fat. And really sick. I had, like, 20 diseases.

bite size trainingNic:  Whoa!

Me:  Yeah. And so, when I ate stuff like this, I felt better. And then foods like these tasted good to me, too, after a while. It takes eating something for a little while to get used to it.

Tell your kids a story that’s on their level. About why you make the choices you do. Tomorrow, tell them another one. It’s the “drip method” of parenting. No lectures. Just bite-sized information they need.

You may not have won the war yet. But most kids, most of the time, follow their parents’ habits, for life. Good or bad.

Sugar as dangerous as alcohol and cigarettes

sugar alchohol ciggarettesA study out of University of California at SF says that sugar should be regulated like alcohol and cigarettes, because it’s every bit as dangerous and deleterious.

Click here to view the News Video on Sugar Study

It changes your metabolism, raises your blood pressure, and destroys your liver, they say.

They state that it contributes to 35 million deaths, compared to 6 million deaths from smoking each year. Sadly, you and I both know that sugar is an American darling, a sacred cow that no one is going to touch. GreenSmoothieGirl can dream, though.

american sugar(Actually, I don’t dream about government regulation. That would never work as a solution. We should get it out of the schools, hospitals, and vending machines though, and implement education programs.)

“Empty calories” as the descriptor for sugar is language that isn’t nearly strong enough – because sugar is filled with bad stuff, not just nothingness.

eat more sugarThe Sugar Association, of course, is screaming bloody murder and claiming those calling attention to the study are  “irresponsible.”

As if the SUGAR industry is a paragon of responsible virtues with the right to get in a self-righteous snit. That would be entertaining, if it weren’t so infuriating.

What would it be like to have a job working for the sugar industry where you do NO good for anyone, only HARM? Once the High-Fructose Corn Syrup people posted here on my blog, spinning their product as some kind of health food. INCREDIBLE.