Traveling is no excuse to eat crap and get fat

images-41A man behind me on my recent flight to Budapest, Hungary, phoned his wife right before takeoff and whispered, “I’m on a plane with Green Smoothie Girl.” I laughed, and later in Detroit when we changed planes, we chatted. His question was how I eat right when I travel. “I’m on the road a lot,” he said, “and as you can see, I pay the price.” (Actually he looked quite fit.)

“Aren’t you on the road a lot, too?” he asked.

Honestly? Sometimes I can’t even remember what city I’m in. Or country. Last month I was in 7 European countries in 17 days. I had some adventures I’ll write about soon.

I told the man that I have written about this topic on my blog, and to search for it. He said, “I did, and read all that on the plane already.” LOL! My bucket list includes this item:

“Write an e-Book on How to Eat Right While Traveling.”

(Now I’ve made the written commitment, so I’ll do it. Nag me till I do!)

He said he liked my Whole Foods Market tip. That is, in virtually every city we drive to, whoever isn’t the driver programs WFM in the GPS, find the closest one. We get a giant salad bar to last lunch and dinner, plus a few healthy snacks and treats. It’s kind of an adventure, and it’s McDonald’s-like in that you know what you will get, when you go there. Predictable and better than wandering around town hoping to find some reasonably non-toxic grub. At WFM, you always know you’re going to have a fabulous organic salad bar.

Last week a guy in Colorado wrote me, to kinda long-distance ask me out. Between Email #1 and Email #2, he’d bought my book, read part of it, bought a Blendtec, and made his kids green smoothies. (Now THAT is a guy I could marry. If it weren’t for the Colorado part.)

(Once I almost DID marry a guy whose very first email to me was, “I see a photo of you with a Blendtec—I have one too and love it!” Love at first email! We dated for a long time and I fell madly in love with him.)

Anyway, the point is, I probably won’t ever even meet Colorado guy, but meantime he is getting his family healthier with some simple, time-saving tricks.

IMG-20121108-00085After we left the GSG reader’s husband in the Detroit airport, we did a quick five-minute survey of what was available in the airport restaurants.

Check out Shari, traveling with me in Kristin’s stead, with the carrot / celery juice I found, along with a veggie/hummus wrap. Who’da thought such options would exist in a city known for making cars!

I also found a juice bar and had a wheat grass shot in the AMSTERDAM airport, and had another giant glass of made-to-order fresh carrot-celery juice in DOWNTOWN PRAGUE. That’s right, in the Czech Republic! Where a tour guide told us, “Our national vegetable is pork.”

These finds make me happy. They make me feel at home while traveling. Veggie juice is my “comfort food.”

The point is, look around a bit, and you’ll find something plant based, something whole, something that gives life rather than spends it. Anywhere in the world.

I need to gain some weight! Part 3 of 3

I have been studying a massive amount of information in the past few months about over 80,000 toxic chemicals and metals in our environment. Where they come from, what they do to us, how to avoid them, and how to get rid of them. Food (especially meat/dairy and processed foods), cosmetics, clothes, furniture and paint and carpet, water, air, dental and medical procedures, and more.

I’m doing this for a few reasons. First, I just finished an 8-page paper on the effects on your health of far infrared sauna treatment. I’ve been using mine every day, plus taking fulvic acid, to bring metals and chemicals out. I want them gone, and in my hyper-focus on toxicity lately, I find myself undertaking new, good habits to get as clean as possible. I need my energy and health so I can take my mission further, harder. I go 100 miles an hour and I don’t want to slow down!

I keep encountering more information about how chemical toxicity in our cells impedes weight loss. I can’t imagine that it doesn’t cut both ways, impeding your ability to arrive at your optimal weight, whatever direction that needs to go, up or down.

Second, I’m developing a detox program. I joined Tera in hers last year, but I concluded that I wanted a harder-hitting, information-dense, educational cleanse that would educate you while giving you measurable results. (If you’re going to suppress calories, might as well be getting healthier at the same time that you’re getting thinner!)

I’d hoped to kick it off right after New Year’s, but I keep getting more ambitious with it so we won’t be ready. Much like I did with 12 Steps to Whole Foods, I’m synthesizing all the best texts and best practices in detoxification and disease risk minimization. All boiled down into one 21-day program. It’s a food-elimination program to test your food sensitivities / allergies. It’s a kidney cleanse. It’s a colon cleanse. And it’s a liver and gall bladder flush as well. You can do it with us once, or join for life and do it twice a year. We’ll have expert phone calls every night with fabulous content, you’ll be assigned a “detox buddy” to be accountable to, if you don’t bring your own, and you’ll know exactly what to do and eat every day.

The manual holds your hand, answers common questions, educates you in the briefest way about what products you’re using that are toxic and what the alternatives are. It gives you recipes to get through an effective cleanse, using food, either at a newbie’s pace, or a more advanced one for those already “initiated” who eat pretty clean and have detoxed before. There will be a fully medically supported option—I am talking to a few docs who have published in the arena of cleansing, and will pick one to work with. You’ll know exactly why you’re doing each part of the detox.

My point is, purging fat cells (and organs) of the chemicals they’ve been storing for years is something that cannot be neglected in any effort to change your weight–up or down. Did you know that thin people can be fat inside? That’s right—a study I read about three years ago found that many people who are normal weight have organs marbled with fat, which is far more dangerous than fat held in adipose tissue under the skin, the kind we can see. People who work out regularly, who are visibly overweight, have much lower morbidity, that normal-weight people who don’t exercise and are internally “fat.”

So fat can’t necessarily be thin……but thin can be fat!

And no matter how much whole plant foods some people eat, and no matter how many chemicals they eliminate, those who have a damaged gastrointestinal tract can’t fully utilize nutrition. Another element that absolutely must be addressed is healing the gut. Because of many years of a wretched diet, you might have an inflamed digestive system in serious need of some rehab. Many underweight people fall in this category.

That rehab is done by eliminating dairy and gluten for a time and learning to eat probiotic-rich foods to build up an army of healthy microorganisms to protect and defend the lining of the stomach, intestines, and colon.

Can’t wait to share more with you about detoxification, one of my major projects of 2012. I am very excited about it and the potential to help people get better, rise above their health problems.

Gain weight the right way….I hate when a young mom tells me her pediatrician told her to feed her underweight baby lots of candy, ice cream, butter, and fried food. So then you’ll have a baby with more body fat who is ill and damaged in many ways, with tastes set to junk food. How is that useful? Take the time to find ways to get higher-calorie WHOLE PLANT FOODS in your diet if you are truly malnourished. The plant kingdom is VAST. With a little creativity and dedication, it can provide weight loss, weight gain, whatever you need.

I need to gain some weight! Part 1 of 3

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I have a slight dilemma:  we have been working toward a whole foods lifestyle and I have 12 Steps to Whole Foods.  I have a supportive husband who is losing weight like me.  I’m ecstatic, him not so much.  He is 6 ft and 165 lbs and would love to be 175.  He has been open to trying new things and scaling back on meat. He works as a County Attorney and is in court most days, which makes eating enough calories during lunch essential. Do you have any suggestions? How can I get more calories in him, in something that is portable? –Britni

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: “I’m 34 and have always been super-skinny, but not because I want to be. I want to start lifting weights to put on some muscle, and I was wondering: how can I eat healthy and put on weight? – Rachel

Answer: So you know everyone ELSE who reads this blog hates you now, right? (Over 70% of America wants to be thinner.)

Believe it or not, I get this question often. (Most of the inquiries are about weight loss, of course, but it’s still an issue for some.) Rachel and Britni, when your body absorbs minerals appropriately, AND you are eating good nutrition, you tend to find your healthy weight, whether that’s up or down. Getting enough minerals isn’t always the problem—usually gut imbalances and degenerative problems are in the way of utilizing the minerals you DO eat.

I can’t prove it, but my observation from talking to thousands of people–and hundreds of underweight people—is that they are flip sides of the same coin. (I believe Dr. Robert O. Young also writes about this.) The same thing that makes some people too fat, makes other people too skinny.

You know what I’m talking about, because all of us know some thin people who eat tons of junk. “It’s not fair,” their friends say.

Of the 5-10% of Americans who are underweight, some of them aren’t actually underweight. Our weight charts have trended up, up, up in recent decades based on averages. Check out my report about that and Dr. McDougall’s weight charts HERE.

That page is the one that infuriates people on my site. Oh, and also this page—once I got a profanity-laced email from a lady who just flunked my nutrition quiz you can find HERE.

They find the low weights shocking. So I say, when people write in, hey, it’s not my weight chart. I’m not even promoting it. (My own weight is 7 lbs. over the “ideal” for my weight, in his chart, BTW.) It’s based on averages of indigenous peoples who eat only whole foods. There’s ONE purpose the U.S. weight chart serves, and that is to help us feel better about being overweight.

I put it that alternate weight chart up to show another perspective. To show that the weight charts currently being promoted are just based on averages of people who eat a processed diet, so don’t treat it like the Bible and bet the farm on it. They aren’t the averages themselves–they are set by bureaucrats, and INFLUENCED by averages. The original section of Fenway Park I visited last year? Most Americans wouldn’t even fit in the chairs. Back in the 40’s, virtually everyone did.

I wish we could mentally inoculate naturally thin people against this idea that there is something wrong with them. Men especially–they think they have to be bulked up, when some men are naturally lean. (I personally think super-lean men are ATTRACTIVE. Big, muscular guys are, too, but I think skinny is awesome. Do any of the women here want to agree with me?) Extreme thinness is the #1 factor associated with longevity. Skinny people live to be very old.

See what I’m doing here? I wish Britni’s husband would get stoked about being 165 lbs. I’m a huge fan of spending our energy learning to love our body, instead of spending that energy trying to change it. If we have a healthy body and we have healthy habits, that is. (It’s always good to change bad habits, adopt new ones.

Young Vegetarians, share this with your kids, part 2 of 2

I like this YouTube video about another vegetarian athlete, Jake Shields, whose parents never served animals but didn’t talk about why. Now Jake converts other athletes, who are amazed at how endurance increases when they eat only plants:

Have your children look at all these world-class, famous athletes, including rocked-up bodybuilders, who don’t eat other creatures.

In addition to so many athletes, how about these brilliant vegetarians? Socrates, Plato, Pythagorus, Da Vinci, Newton, and Einstein! You know that song Adam Sandler did about all the famous people who are Jewish? Who wants to do one about people who don’t eat our friends?

Looking at that list of genius vegetarians, I hypothesize that freeing energy from digestion allows the mind and spirit to soar and creativity to be untrammelled. Either that, or people who think outside the box are willing to buck social norms to do what’s right and what logic dictates. Probably both.

Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt, Carrie Underwood, Mark Twain, Ann Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Pink, all of the Beatles, Billy Idol, Rosa Parks—all vegetarians.

Dr. Thomas Lodi has been vegan for 46 years. He can’t even eat in the presence of those consuming, as he puts it, “carcasses and animal excretions.” He points out that the human digestive tract is 30 feet long, like all vegetarians, whereas the carnivore GI tract is very short. (I became convinced by the “we aren’t built to be carnivores” logic 20 years ago by John McDougall.)

Therefore meat takes sometimes days to digest, and in your gut it does the same thing it would do on your counter: it putrefies. (Many of the healers I am studying point to the strong evidence that undigested proteins in the blood and gut lead to all the modern diseases.)

This is my paraphrase, with some stuff from me added, of what Dr. Lodi teaches people in their first group session with him at Oasis of Healing:

If we were carnivores, and a chicken walked in the room, we’d salivate. We’d pounce on it and tear it apart, eat its heart and liver out of its warm abdomen. We’d maybe swallow the sinewy eyeballs whole, and crunch on some bones. Everything but the feathers we’d tear apart with our long incisor teeth.

But we’re not carnivores. We don’t have long teeth. Because of our biology, we can’t stand to eat raw flesh. And after an hour, dead flesh goes into rigor mortis, and then we REALLY can’t stand to eat it. So we hang it for several days to “age” it (translation: allow it to rot), we cut the maggots and really disgusting parts out. And we STILL can’t stand to eat it. So we cook it. We might put some tasty cancer-causing nitrates in it, if it’s bologna, bacon, sausage, etc.

f you signed on for this gross-out lesson towards a plant-based diet and you are still reading….you might be more ready to give up eating our animal friends than you think you are!

If you need a final pinkie push, order Mike Anderson’s film called Eating. I’ll be amazed if you can watch the avalanche of data, and images of how animals are raised for eating in America, and not vow to stop contributing to it. Every plant eater should own a copy of it.

The Grody Bloody Eyeball

The 1,200 people ticketed so far, for my Boise, Kennewick, Portland and Seattle classes later this week deserve to be warned that I look like a vampire. And also, I’m hoping a medical professional of some type can explain this to me.

A week ago I got hit, hard, in the eyeball with a tennis ball, in a Saturday league I play in. It was a minor injury considering that we forfeited after being up 4-1, when my partner fell on her wrist and sprained it, couldn’t keep playing. I didn’t think anything of it until I was driving a couple of days ago to soccer practice and looked at my daughter in the rear-view mirror–and gasped out loud. It was a…..Grody Bloody Eyeball!

I said: “Libby! Have you seen this?”

“Yep,” she said.

“Why didn’t you tell me?!” I asked.

“I figured you knew. Don’t you ever look in the mirror?”

I then texted or showed 3 of my 5 BFF’s that day:

“Did you see my Grody Bloody Eyeball?” I got exactly the same response from Matthew, Kristin, and Jamie:

“Yeah.” And then, when I asked why the heck nobody filled me in:

“Sorry. I figured you knew.”

Where is the Love? The Compassion? The Sympathy?

If you ever have a Grody Bloody Eyeball, I will say this to you:

“Awwww, I had that once! Does it hurt? I’m so sorry! It looks painful.” This is good Grody Bloody Eyeball etiquette.

I googled “Grody Bloody Eyeball,” and learned about Subconjunctival Hemmorhage, caused by injury–but also by sneezing or vomiting, or eye rubbing, or high blood pressure! The conjunctiva, or outer layer of the eyeball, is WHITE. Why do no capillaries show in the white part—until one breaks? Is that how the Grody Bloody gets there? It looks like a blood vessel broke and spread out over a square inch.

Is the Grody Bloody the ‘eyeball equivalent’ of a BRUISE? If so, why can’t they just call it Eyeball Bruise?

Every day it morphs, moves. Today it’s touching my iris.

I roll my eyes to the left, hiss and snarl and pull my lips back, and make my fingers into claws, to make my children scream. Except for that, the GBE isn’t all that fun.

Home from AZ

Kristin and I are back from our trip to Arizona, and soon, I’ll share with you a video or two of interviews with a couple of readers. The drive is long and boring. We stopped and toured the spectacular Glen Canyon Dam. We prowled around Orderville, UT, gawking at polygamists and whispering about our little fantasy to kidnap their daughters. We busted up the 11-hour drive with my iPod. I yell, “ARE YOU READY?!” and Kristin yells back, “I’M READY!” and I blast a Poison, Heart, Van Halen, or Aerosmith song from her speakers.

I named my senior thesis, in college, after a line from an Aerosmith song: “Live and Learn from Fools and Sages.” (We learn from the wise people in our lives–but we miss out on learning opportunities if we don’t learn from the people doing stupid things, too.)

A beautiful blonde physical therapist about my age talked to me after the Glendale class. Her eyes brimmed up with tears when she said, “Thank you for giving me my lungs back.” I didn’t give her back her capacity to train and run races without tightness in her lungs, of course. Eating whole foods did. (When I made the shift, my autoimmune problems reversed themselves, too–no more seasonal allergies, eczema, or occasional asthma attacks!)

She told me her problem is her kids: after some initial successes, they’re currently resisting the new healthy menus. I suggested that she not panic, consider that they probably don’t want her to suddenly turn into a Little Caesars mom, regardless of the way kids overstate their opinions. (They aren’t geniuses at communication. And remember, even junk-food moms’ kids complain if they don’t get the food they want.) This mom abandoning her principles would be inconsistent and confusing for the kids. They’re probably fine with her being the health-nut mom, just need to know she can let her hair down, be a little flexible.

Every once in a while I invite all the friends of one of my kids over, for a pizza party. This is so my kids know I can lighten up, even if the rest of the time we are really very consistent. (On those rare instances, I am also very nervous that a GSG reader will see me at Costco buying things I normally never would–any remainder of which will go in the garbage after the party.)

I don’t, however, EVER have junk food in my house for the kids to snack on. (Kristin says people always talk to her after my classes to find out if I’m the “real deal.” She assures them that she spends about 60 hours a week with me, with our work-from-home, and travels, and our “social life,” what there is of it. Feel free to grill her. She says, “I’ve never once seen her have junk food in the house for the kids.”)

My kids know what the snacks are, and I find that if someone is complaining, it’s because I need to pay a little more attention to having things on hand that they like. (When moms talk to me about their “picky” and “resistant” kids, they also always name for me the nutritious foods the child WILL eat.)

To that end, it’s helpful to have a list of the food foods that each child seeks out. Making a list on paper will help you realize there are more things than you think, and it’ll motivate you to discover new ones to add to the list. Put it on the inside of a cupboard.

Paying attention to that may go a long way toward helping them eat right. Add to the list when your child discovers another healthy food she likes–praise her when she does.

This is part of a list I have that helps my kids feel there’s enough to eat, and something to look forward to, at home:

Tennyson, Libby, Emma: fresh blueberries

Libby: raw sweet potatoes, cucumbers, raw chocolate in her green smoothie, nori sheets, prunes

Tennyson: Naked juice, wheat grass juice, sprouted “candied” almonds

Cade: pink apples, Raw Melissa spring rolls, bell peppers eaten like an apple

Emma: carrots dipped in hummus

Cade, Libby, Ten: cases of Costco mangoes

I find any complaining at my house stops, as long as I tune into what the kids want that is good for them and make sure I stock those foods. And as long as on a rare occasion, I “lighten up” for a party.

Sorry if you’ve read this before, but my grandmother told me: “It’s not what you do 5% of the time that’s going to kill you. It’s what you do 95% of the time that’s going to save you.”