Indianapolis and the Green Smoothie Virgin!

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Wendy the Virgin Green Smoothie Maker and Kids

How can there be a green smoothie ingredient I don’t know?!

I’m just back from a speaking tour in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Chicago. In Indy, the cutest young blonde girl named Wendy wrote Coach Madeline volunteering to make the green smoothies for the lecture. She thought she was volunteering to make *a* green smoothie. Like, a glassful. She’d never made one before–a true green-smoothie virgin!

But did that slow her down? Nope. She borrowed someone’s Blendtec or Vitamix or something, and headed to the farmer’s market.

She made 4 gallons of green smoothie, as requested, for a couple hundred people. Kristin and I took the unused gallon on the road. We drank the entire thing in 48 hours, as we drove across a time zone, into Wisconsin and Illinois.

Wendy told me that at the farmer’s market, she was introduced to SORREL. Of course I came home and looked it up online. Check out the photos here.

Sorrel greens storesorrel leafWendy was told it was LEMONY–and it really did make a lovely green smoothie. Then GSG’s webmaster, Jason (we love him, and our other Milwaukee geek, Jamison!) who lives near Milwaukee, told me the same story. About lemony sorrel at farmer’s markets, growing everywhere.

I’m so embarrassed I don’t know this green! I’m jealous, since I’ve NEVER seen it here in Utah. It’s apparently very seasonal, so those of you in the Midwest, have you used this green? Lucky you.

Remember, the key to long-time green smoothie success, is VARIETY! Do chimpanzees eat a tree down to the nub? Nope, they GRAZE all day long, eating a variety of green foods. The only animal I know who eats very little variety is the zebra. I learned this when I went on safari in Africa. Zebras eat only about 7 grasses. Still, we’re complex creatures, so…….SPINACH ONLY?

So many greens to choose from!
So many greens to choose from!

That ain’t good enough. I talk to too many people who make green smoothies regularly, but spinach is all they use. Remember that all greens have different nutritional profiles. No one green covers all the bases. If you eat the same one, it’s possible that the anti-nutrient(s) in that specific green may build up in your tissues, a bit, and make you a little nauseous when you go to make and drink your greens.

Branch out!

Try SORREL if you’re lucky enough to have access to it. Beet greens, arugula, the leaves of any squash plant, grape leaves, kale (several varieties), collard greens, chard, the tops of strawberries, carrots and turnip greens are great choices. You can also use weeds like dandelion, lambsquarter, purslane  and or herbs like chamomile and lemon thyme. Try some sprout greens like pea or sunflower shoots, celery and sprouts like alfalfa, radish, fenugreek.

You don’t have to use ALL of them, all the time. But have several greens every week, at least. Use what’s IN SEASON and use what you can get organically. Grow a garden. Learn your wild edibles.

And, thank you WENDY!

Green Smoothie Collateral Damage, and Emma graduates high school

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Emma’s Collage

Emma graduation collage Congratulations to my daughter, Emma Pay, who just graduated high school. This 4′ photo collage, that will hang in our house, and a giant party were her graduation presents. At last-minute, Emma opted out of a soccer scholarship in Iowa and instead chose an academic scholarship at SUU just three hours south of here. I am so proud of her!

That night I threw an epic party for the entire Senior class at my friend Drew’s house. His basement is a dance club and I hired a deejay. Fire pit in the backyard, big screen dance video games going upstairs: Matthew made hundreds of smoothies all night (not the green kind) and the kids danced till late with glow stick necklaces and bracelets and celebrated their heads off.

IMG_3936Before the party, Drew texted me this photo and said his $5,000 beautiful new Corian had broken in his kitchen. All because he took a bag of frozen fruit out of his freezer, and banged it on the counter to make a green smoothie.

I texted back,

“Stupid green smoothies! They wreck everything! Just eat Doritos!”

Learn the easy way instead of the hard way like Drew: don’t bang frozen fruit on your counter! You can freeze chunks of fruit individually on cookie trays, then put them into baggies. That way they don’t freeze in giant clumps.

(And, congrats Maeser Prep grads!)

Split Pea Soup! part 4 of 4

split pea soupSplit pea soup got a bad rap in some classic horror flick I can’t remember, but just wait a little minute, here, because it deserves another look.

It’s yummy, it’s cheap, it’s filling, and it digests by the time you go to bed. And that lets you rest, rebuild, and repair all night. Which tends to make you fully rested in 6 hours. (Why do they say you need 8 hours of sleep? Because that’s the national average. When you eat whole plant foods for dinner, you may find yourself waking up 1-2 hours early, fully rested, and feeling amazingly energetic all day. That’s because your body was truly resting, when you were asleep–instead of working in overtime all night to digest pork roast, or a hamburger.)

Here’s my split pea soup recipe. It’s cheap to make, you can keep it in the fridge for a week, and it’s better the 2nd and 3rd days as flavors come together. It’s a great new recipe in your arsenal of strategies to eat more plants and increase your nutrition for better energy and ideal weight.

SPLIT PEA SOUP

1 ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 ½ cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dried split peas, rinsed well

½ cup brown rice, rinsed well

7 cups water

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 ½ potatoes, diced

2 Tbsp. dried (or 4 Tbsp. fresh) parsley

1 ½ tsp. dried basil

1 ½ tsp. dried thyme

1/3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. sea salt

soups onIn a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the peas, rice, bay leaves, salt, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 min., stirring occasionally.

Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, parsley, basil, thyme, and pepper. Simmer for 30 min. until the vegetables are tender. Serves 6.

Top 10 legumes, part 3 of 4

legume wordHere’s a primer on using some of my favorite whole foods with a weird name, pronounced “lay-gooms.” Eating a lot of these, along with lots of greens, vegetables, and fruits leads to finding your ideal weight. Everything about them is perfect for weight loss! They are bulky, high in fiber, low in calories, and high in micro-nutrients. Legumes in general are high in fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and calcium.

lentilsLentils. My lentil soup with cooked carrots and celery and onion, in Ch. 6 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods is the best thing ever. Lentils are truly a super food. And you can buy the red, green, or brown varieties, all of which have a slightly different nutritional profile and texture. Brown lentils are the most common and least expensive. You don’t need to soak lentils, like beans. They’re high in fiber, protein, Vitamins B1, B5, B6, niacin, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese.

split peasSplit Peas. They’re so easy to use in soup–and please leave the bacon out! In my next post, I’ll share my split pea recipe. They take about an hour to cook and are called ‘split peas’ because when they’re harvested and dried, they naturally split in half. They are high in protein, fiber, Vitamin B1 and B5, potassium, and phosphorus.

Black Beans. Everyone’s favorite legume. I love to add it to guacamole and salsa as a dip, or mash for a burrito. High in protein, Vitamin B1, iron, folate, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese.

black eyed peasBlack-Eyed Peas. Most people in the Northern states don’t know this delightful little legume, but they cook in an hour or less. I grew up with a bowlful, plus a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar, being dinner! They’re high in fiber, protein, four B vitamins, copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese.

pinto 2Pinto Beans. These might be the cheapest legume you can buy, and easy to store. I grew up with this food as a staple that raised 8 children to adulthood on one military salary. Big pots of vegetarian chili are one of my main memories of growing up. Pinto beans are high in fiber, protein, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, B1, and molybdenum.

Kidney Beans. These are my favorite for adding to a salad, as they taste very starchy, which is a nice complement and balance to crunchy greens and vegetables. Plus they’re pretty and dark red. A mix of these and pinto beans are great in vegetarian chili. They are high in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins B1, B3, B5, and calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron.

chick peasChickpeas (Garbanzo Beans). Everybody loves hummus, and there are so many things you can put in mashed chickpeas with a little lemon juice, sea salt, and tahini (sesame paste): sundried tomatoes or any kind of olives, for instance. I also love them in salads. They’re low in calories and high in protein, fiber, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, and iron.

soy beansSoybeans. Soybeans are heavily genetically modified in North America, so buy ONLY organic to make sure you’re getting the good available from this food, and not the bad. Soybeans are extremely high in protein, so for many years, vegetarians made use of soy-based “meat replacement” products. I suggest avoiding all processed soy products and eating only whole, organic, occasional soybean foods such as edamame, tofu, or tempeh, or organic miso or nama shoyu as seasonings. Soybeans are well known to be high in isoflavones, a class of antioxidants known to be anti-cancer that ease hormonal symptoms in women and increase bone density. They’re also high in fiber, calcium, Vitamin B2, manganese, molybdenum, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and omega-3 fats.

lima beansLima Beans. Called “butter beans,” these large Peruvian beans make a nice soup with onions and root vegetables (potatoes, turnips, carrots, etc.), or they’re great mashed in a burrito or with sweet potatoes. They’re high in protein and fiber, as well as folate, molybdenum, tryptophan, manganese, potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin B1.

mung beansMung Beans.  Ayurvedic doctors feed this to sick people because they’re such a power food. It’s easy to sprout these tiny beans; just soak them overnight, drain in the morning, and rinse and rotate them twice a day until you see “tails” about ¼” long. In two days, you’ve got a superfood for your salads and sandwiches. They’re chock full of protein, fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, iron, and phosphorus.

Everything you need to know about legumes, part 2 of 4

square legsMatthew wrote me and said instead of telling people to eat legumes, I need to tell people what legumes are, and what the best 10 are.

That last part, the best 10, is somewhat subjective. I will tell you, nonetheless, 10 great legumes, because this whole class of food is HIGHLY UNDERRATED. That’s my next blog post. For now, I’m going to tell you some reasons to commit to eating this food group regularly.

heart legumesThey’re cheap, they’re high in fiber, they’re high in micro-nutrients, they’re filling, they’re low in calories, and they’re easy to obtain, worldwide. They store well and have a long shelf life, especially split peas and many beans.

They’re great for your heart. They have nutrients and fiber that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help you lose weight.

Eat a cup a day of cooked legumes, or more!

You can eat them in soups and stews, add cooked or sprouted ones to salads, or grind dry ones for bread or baked goods to substitute for part of the grains. I have LOTS of recipes in Ch. 6 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods with fabulous main dishes that deliciously leverage legumes.

They generally take an hour to cook, some even longer. But I highly recommend cooking your own, rather than buying them canned. Not only will you save money, but you’ll avoid sodium and any weird phthalates and other stuff leaching from the inside of the can.

Cook a big giant batch, to save time, and save 1 cup servings in Ziploc baggies in the freezer.

blacksalsguacI like to add black beans and salsa to guacamole, so that I can eat lots of it on homemade organic corn chips. Then I’m guilt-free about the high calories and fat in guacamole. (I usually eat a whole avocado in one sitting. It’s very nearly a perfect food!)

I like to add chick peas (garbanzo beans) to salads. I love all varieties of lentils in soups. Find a few ways that you love to eat legumes!

Rinse legumes very well before putting fresh water on them to cook. They are amazingly dirty when they come out of the bag. Beans need to soak overnight (legumes lentils and split peas don’t). Or, bring clean beans to a boil, turn it off, and let them soak two hours, to speed up the process. If they have been in your storage for years, I recommend soaking them, draining the water, and soaking them a second time, for up to a whole day. This makes flatulence less likely, which is a significant risk of eating really old beans.

beans soakFlatulence comes from the oligo saccharides sugars in the beans not converting well a form of sugars your body can use easily. Soaking the beans before cooking makes them easier to digest.

To cook them, drain the soak water, and add at least 3 cups of water for every 1 cup you originally had of dry beans. Cook as much as you want, but remember that 1 cup of dry beans will become about 2.5 cups of cooked beans! Put clean, soaked beans in a heavy saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, keep covered, and cook until beans are tender.

For lentils or split peas, this will be about 45 minutes. For beans, it will be 2-3 hours, or for very old beans, it could be 4 hours.

Don’t add acidic things to your beans until they are fully cooked. Add tomatoes, vinegar, salt, or lemon juice later; otherwise it inhibits the beans cooking.

Edit: Corrected a typo above about soaking legumes.

Why I’m in love with legumes, part 1 of 4

love legumeMatthew texted me after a recent newsletter I sent out:

Matthew:  I just read your article on protein. I had to look up what a legume is. Dumb it down a little! Is there a lot of protein in peas?

Me:  Yes, in split peas, there is.

split peasMatthew:  Is that different from regular peas?

Me:  Yeah, split peas are HARD and you cook them. Haven’t you had split pea soup? Your mom was a health nut! Regular peas are squishier. They are green vegetables in a pod.

Matthew:  I love split pea soup! I don’t know what split peas are. You have to write to Americans who can identify everything on McDonald’s Dollar Menu but they could not say what a legume is.

This is a consistent theme of Matthew’s, reminding me to dumb it down a level. This is why I don’t like to teach you how to make, for example, tinctures of medicinal mushrooms, a major topic of my friend David Wolfe at his Longevity Conference.

(Oh, and also I don’t like to because I don’t have a clue HOW, and learning how is not on my bucket list.)

This is why I don’t like to get sucked down rabbit holes of controversies like whether vegetarianism is for everyone. (Lots of plants IS for everyone. Whether you eat clean, organic meat is a personal preference, and your dental health may be served by that.)

local grcMost people don’t want to read those fringey debates. They want practical help getting out of the trap. The S.A.D. trap.

I mostly like to talk about how regular people can make shifts to eating more whole, unadulterated foods. Plants in their natural state that make us feel great, maintain ideal weight, and minimize disease risk. That’s the zone I like to stay in.

To that end, Matthew says to write an article about TEN TYPES OF LEGUMES. I’m on it. Look for that in my next post. And while we’re talking about, I’ll share my split pea soup recipe, which is an example of the cheap and easy ways to raise a family on whole foods.

Supply Side Expo: my reactions to ingredients in “health food” products

Supplyside2012_west_exhibitorI went to Supply Side West in Vegas in November. It was the same night that my family, the Romney clan, was SUPPOSED to be having a Mitt Romney victory party at the Venetian. That’s where I was staying and where the trade show was being held. As you know, the party didn’t exactly work out. My parents and siblings were in town volunteering on the campaign last-minute.

I was attending the show to learn more about suppliers of natural-product ingredients. Specifically the things that GreenSmoothieGirl is now making:

Our own line of protein powders. My favorite minerals product I call Ultimate Minerals. Sprouted superfoods to add to your smoothies. Our drink mixes.

I left educated about, and dismayed by, what goes into 99 percent of products being sold to consumers. Even stuff flying under the banners of “healthy” or “natural.” What’s done to a natural “food” to get it into a pourable, packageable form.

dance bananaThere are complex processes to mill a food, deodorize it, purify it, “mask” tastes (like any bitterness), enhance “mouth feel,” prevent caking, improve pourability and viscosity, change the color, make it sparkle, twirl, and sing an aria.

All of these require chemicals, processes, heat, altered states.

The more standardized our tastes become, the more processed our food supply becomes. And vice versa. It’s the classic “vicious cycle.”

I wanted to talk to less than 1 percent of the companies there. Companies bragging about their “pharmaceutical-grade purity.” The fact that it has “pharmaceutical” in the title just makes me wonder if a drug company owns it. Did you know that drug companies own more than 70 percent of the vitamins on the market? So it’s sterile and standardized (pharmaceutical grade). But is it good for me?

cornyrxI want my food to be…..FOOD. Out of the dirt. Where tiny organisms live that give us Vitamin B12. Food with fiber. Food that fed my ancestors.

Seeing what processed food looks like from a manufacturer’s view, made me that much more committed to eating real, whole foods.

Down the hall from the Supply Side convention, the Burger King convention was sponsored by Pepsi and Del Monte. An incestuous relationship of fast food and processed food industries.

A guy on the elevator with me in the Venetian struck up a conversation and told me he was a BK franchise owner. I confessed I’d never eaten at BK in my life. He said, “WHAT?” Just to make it simple, I said, “Well, I’m a vegetarian, not my thing.” He invited me to come on in for their veggie burger.

It’s a start, Burger King offering a vegetarian sandwich. Too bad I don’t even have to try one to know that everything ELSE about it will be bad. Don’t fall for the idea that “vegetarian” means “good for you. Here’s what I predict: lots of preservatives, white-flour hybridized wheat bun, bad fats in the goo they put on it, lots of refined salt, maybe even some GMO soy product as the “meat” replacement.

Maybe someone reading this will chime in telling me if I nailed that guess? I have other research I want to do, more than finding something edible on the Burger King menu.

grow_your_own_article_A1More than ever, after spending a day looking at food manufacturing…..I want to grow and make my own food! And never have anything on this site that is less than outstanding.

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.

I buy drinks at convenience stores!

 

 

2I’ve not been to Tennessee in well over 20 years, so it was a treat to visit Memphis and Nashville to speak, recently. I didn’t get close to the Tennessee Valley, which I drove through those many years ago with my new husband. We were totally awed by how lush and green it was—truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been on the planet, rivaling the coast of Italy.

Memphis and Nashville were a different part of Tennessee, and new for me.

We drive past a town called Bragadoccio! And we stop for gas at a place that sells DEEP FRIED PEANUTS. I text a photo of this to Coach Abby, a Nashville native with a drawl, and she writes back, “Welcome to the South!”

Believe it or not, there IS one thing I will buy at convenience stores, occasionally. It’s no green smoothie, okay? But it’ll do in a pinch.

2It’s Vitamin Water Zero. The stevia-sweetened kind. It has a bunch of vitamins in it, most certainly synthetic. But the lemonaid flavor is sweetened with stevia, and it makes me feel like I can buy something to drink with everyone else.

Enjoy! Let it never be said that GSG is a radical fringey weirdo who can’t let her hair down.

Lookie there. I bought a drink at a convenience store in the South.

Throw a starfish back in the water

 

Check out this USA Today article.

images-39In the U.S., we’re living longer but we’re sicker. We’re prolonging desperate, miserable lives.

Remember, “A man with his health has many dreams. A man without it has only one.”

In America now 10% of us have diabetes, 28% of us are obese, 31% of us have high blood pressure, 26% percent have done no exercise whatsoever in the last 30 days.

Reed Tuckson of the United Health Foundation points out how unsustainable this is:

“There’s no way that this country can possibly afford the medical care costs and consequences of these preventable chronic illnesses. We have two freight trains headed directly into each other unless we take action now.”

That’s my whole mission, trying to turn the freight train around.

images-38I feel like the proverbial guy on the beach, picking up stranded starfish and tossing them back in the water. Someone points out that his mission is futile and doesn’t matter: “There are too many starfish!”

You and I can’t save all the starfish of the world, but it matters for each one we pick up and toss back into the ocean. Everywhere I go, someone says, “It’s funny, my friend Maddy [for instance] reads your website and tells everyone to go there.”

I feel like I have a small army of friends I’ve mostly never met, silently, one at a time, helping save a starfish.

That’s the way I know of, to throw more starfish back in the water and give them a chance: send them to the site I’ve built for 5 years. Although it’s been a gradual process, I know there’s a ton of free info there, since I’ve had 8 engineers working on overhauling it, since March! That, plus live teaching events, are how we reach out.

images-40The average American is eating 100 times more sugar than their pancreas can process. Estimates are that in 10 years, the 10% diabetic statistic will be double or triple of our current rate! Many diabetics are undiagnosed. We cannot go on this way.

I am forever changed by my research at dozens of cancer clinics all over the world, the past 18 months. I’ve met hundreds of people who are fighting for their life and trying to change their lifestyle before it’s too late. I’ve been brought to tears by many of them.

When we model an example of change, and give people other options, a way out, we’re giving a starfish another shot.