Automate one meal

images-23Here’s a success secret of people who have lost 30 lbs., on average, and kept it off, according to  a study published in the medical journal Obesity:

They find healthy foods they like and stick to them. They “automate” one meal daily so that it’s not a struggle.

That’s what the green smoothie habit does for you. Every day, you KNOW what one meal will be: a quart of green smoothie (and any other healthy foods, if you need more calories, as I do, playing sports).

images-25Then you know you’ve covered a lot of nutritional bases and eaten LOTS of the lowest calorie, highest micro-nutrient foods available to you.

You’ve ramped your supply of enzymes, allowing your body’s resources to go to energy production and detox. You’ve given your body fiber to sweep the bloodstream of debris and toxins. You’ve amped your nutrition in hundreds of ways. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.

what’s the best humanitarian cause EVER?

Congrats to these GreenSmoothieGirls who won three free products from PrimalPitPaste.com! They jumped right on it when we posted the last giveaway blog about non-toxic deodorant.

DeAndra Jarboe, Watauga, TX

Ashley Hardy of Springfield MO

Elizabeth Fiorentino of Durham, NC

Do you know a great charitable cause? Something that helps people help themselves? Something innovative, and preferably related to health? Something that doesn’t have bloated administrative overhead? U.S. based?

When we launch the Detox (January? I hope hope hope! But maybe February)….I’m going to give $1 for EVERY pound everyone loses, to the best causes I can find. And $5 to those causes, for every testimonial you write us, about your experience with the Detox.

That way we’re ALL “releasing” not just weight, but TOXINS—bye-bye forever! And funding things that change the world, at the same time.

We’ve had about 35 beta testers of the GSG Detox program now. It’s a 26-days program, and everything is detailed for you: daily diet and habits, recipes, shopping lists, lots of info if you want to know WHY you’re doing all this.

Two levels to participate at, one for beginners, and one for the hard-core.

Everyone has lost between 7 and 20 lbs. My daughter and I were the only ones who lost only 7 lbs. More importantly, my beta testers reported their joints are free of inflammation, their head is clear, they need less sleep, their mood is positive, and they universally report feeling AMAZING.

Well. Matthew did report a few days of feeling homicidal, because he wanted to eat peanut butter. Or I don’t even know why he said that. I just tried to stay out of his way. You know how skinny people are. They’re not used to being deprived of anything.

Anyway, the point is we are VERY EXCITED ABOUT IT! Stay tuned around here and we’ll make a BIG DEAL about it when it’s ready. Every day you get a video or conference call with a detox-expert doctor on a different related topic. You get my coaches’ help (they helped test it!). You get a forum to talk with others participating. You get an email from me every day. You get a complete manual with all the recipes, information, shopping lists, and supporting information and science.

So back to the charities. I love Food Democracy Now, an organization that educates and fights against Monsanto, and fights for labeling laws so that we know what’s in our food, so we can eventually overturn the power that Monsanto has. My dream is that we stop genetically modifying our foods. At a minimum, tell consumers what’s in their food so we can OPT OUT!

That’s something I’m passionate about, where some of our dollars should go.

Tell me, WHERE ELSE? I intend to give thousands of dollars to some great places, starting in 2013! GreenSmoothieGirl staff will check out any U.S.-based humanitarian cause you send us to.

Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 3 of 3

 

More strategies, if you’re serious about addressing what causes your depression and/or anxiety:

5.      High-fructose corn syrup has to go. I noticed that any HFCS, such as found in candy, drinks, and cheap processed food, caused me anxiety for several days after I ate it. In a few times in my life, when life circumstances were taxing my coping abilities, bad nutrition even contributed to brief, dark depressions.

No treat is worth that. I have studiously avoided HFCS for years. Refined sugar is terrible for anyone with a tendency towards mood disorders, but HFCS is the very worst. Most packaged drinks and candy have HFCS as a main ingredient. It’s in many breads, condiments, soups, and cereals, too. Not only does it create a heavy drain on your pancreas and liver, causing your insulin to go haywire and your triglycerides to skyrocket, but it is virtually always genetically modified, too. You will also pay the price, over time, in your gut health, if you eat products containing HFCS.

6.      Are you getting enough essential fatty acids? 80 percent of Americans are deficient in Omega 3. Many studies link deficiency to depression, since you must have Omega-3 to break down and transmit serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine.

And it’s not just the quantity of Omega 3 that is the problem. It’s the excesses of Omega 6, probably largely because of consumption of refined oils (anyone eating fried foods, chips, etc.), which are high in 6.

To get control of this balance, eliminating toxic refined oil in your diet has to be part of the solution.

The other part is to get 2-3 Tbsp. of chia, flax, and / or hemp seed in your diet. The sprouted varieties of these seeds are more bioavailable than the plain seed or seed oils.

Use 1 Tbsp. chia seed soaked in 3 Tbsp. of water as an egg replacer in a baking recipe. Or make chia pudding.

You can drink 1 Tbsp. chia in a glass of water as an appetite suppressant, if eating later at night is a problem for you. Then, you’re covering your Omega 3 need at the same time. Chia has a phenomenal nutritional profile, in addition to the Omegas—lots of calcium, iron, Vitamin C, and protein.

7.       Is your weight in the “ideal” range? Even ten pounds of extra weight, studies show, can dramatically affect not only feelings of self-worth, but also lightness of mood. Chronically heavy mood is not a natural state, to be accepted over time as simply a part of your personality. It is a problem as biological in nature as multiple sclerosis or asthma are.

Extra weight heavily taxes the endocrine system (hormones), and imbalances of hormones cause depressed feelings—which make it hard to problem-solve life circumstances. And those things contribute to more weight gain—so it’s a vicious cycle! Of course the last 10 lbs. are the most stubborn, but the clear path to getting rid of them is to eliminate white flour and sugar.

You will not miss them like you think you will. I immediately signed on for a second year of my $10,000 no-sugar bet, because when $10k is at stake, I don’t fret over whether to eat the brownie or not. I think about other, more interesting things, like enjoying my friends at the party.

8.      If you are taking SSRI’s or other drugs, consult your doctor before adding any natural, adjunct therapies, because adverse reactions can occur when using both Prozac (for instance) and herbal treatments. The following are the most well-known and well-studied herbs for depression and anxiety.

St. Johns Wort is helpful for depression, with at least 10 active constituents involved in that intervention, especially hypericin and pseudohypericin. It apparently works in part by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Drugs do not operate by utilizing metabolic pathways.

Kava is the most-studied as being efficacious for anxiety and insomnia. Kava affects a GABA-receptor-binding capacity and blocks norepinephrine uptake. One study in Germany found it to have effects equal to benzodiazepines, but without side effects.

Other supplements shown to be effective against depression include L-tryptophan, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTP).

Their function is to increase beta-endorphins, your “feel-good” hormones. A typical dose of 5-HTP is 200 mg per day, and this supplement can be found online or in health food stores.

Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 2 of 3

1.      Are you getting enough greens? They contain the most bioavailable minerals of all foods. Bioavailable refers how much of the nutrient is actually utilized by your body, as opposed to how much of that nutrient is in the food. (For instance, dairy milk is high in calcium. But human beings use very little of it, and the milk from cows causes other problems, for instance, it causes the human body to produce mucous. For baby cows, the calcium in their mothers’ milk is VERY bioavailable.)

Living green foods have to be plentiful in the human diet. Our digestive tracts, the way they’re built, demand lots of plant food. And all the nutrients in greens are highly bioavailable to humans. Cows, too, it turns out. Jordan Rubin is raising “green cows,” who not only eat only organic plant food, but eat GREENS rather than grains and other weird additives to increase weight that the big farms are now feeding dairy and slaughter cattle. Greens are what cows in nature eat, and the quality of the cows’ milk changes radically when they’re fed something else. Even organic dairy ranchers aren’t going to the length that Rubin is, to create a food supply that our grandparents took for granted, before we morphed our food supply chain into a Frankenstein-ish disaster.

In my research published in The Green Smoothies Diet, half of my 175 respondents said green smoothies alone improved the stability of their mood.

2.      Are you eating 60-80% raw or better? I am not convinced that 100% raw is necessary or even ideal, but a diet high in unprocessed, raw foods gives you enzymes that take little away from your higher functions so that you can achieve truly transcendent states, like peace, happiness, harmony in relationships, and self-actualization.

Patty, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 7 years ago at age 40, has been living with us for a month and making our food, according to the way we have always eaten. We eat cooked soups made with vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. In addition to lots of raw in the form of green smoothies, vegetable juice, salads, and just snacking on carrots, bell peppers, etc. Patty is used to the obsession, on the other side, with RAW, RAW, RAW.

I love raw food and EVERY meal or snack around here is 60-80% raw. Count it in the bulk of the food, or count it in calories, I don’t care—but eat a primarily raw, plant-based diet. But humans have rarely eaten “all raw,” and legumes and whole grains are good food and very difficult to eat much of, unless they’re cooked. It’s a natural human tendency to want their food hot, now and then.

Patty said to me, “I feel amazing, eating your diet!” It’s not 100% raw, but it is 100% whole foods, and well over half of what we eat is raw.

I’m not absolutely convinced that eating organic, wild-caught, or free-range meat is all bad, as a smaller part of the diet. I don’t personally want those things, or prepare and serve them in my home.

And when the economy falls out—which it will, since it’s mathematically unsustainable that we continue forever the way we’re going—and you have to pay $40/lb. for your meat, what will you eat? Best to just learn to eat like that anyway. The U.S. government massively props up meat and dairy. It doesn’t prop up vegetable, fruit, and legume crops. Obviously we’re paying less than we should for beef, if it takes 20 lbs. of plant food to yield 1 lb. of beef.

3.      If you ARE eating meat, please ensure it is wild-caught fish from clean waters (not farmed, and not caught in dirty places like, no offense my Michiganian friends, the Great Lakes). Or range-free, organic chicken or turkey. Or grass-fed, organic beef. NEVER processed meat or dairy. It’s full of hormones. It surely has the potential to affect mood disorders.

4.      Are you staying out of the drive-thru? Virtually everything sold there puts you at high risk for depression. Even the toxic dressings on the low-nutrition salads. Not only because of low nutrition, high calorie foods, with their cascading effects.

But also the fact that they are denatured and your body has to work excessively to digest them. This takes away from higher functions, like neurological function. This results in a far higher likelihood that your brain and spirit are brought low, too, even as their host, the physical tabernacle, is forced to struggle and toil. Possibly the worst thing coming out of the drive-thru are toxic, heavy fats, which are difficult to metabolize, in some cases impossible to metabolize, and cause cell damage.

And the fried foods you buy in the grocery store have got to go, too. Chips. Gone. Please.

The last five items in this Nutrition Strategies for Depression and Anxiety list, tomorrow!

Birthday season is over, but the CAKE was divine

Aug. 22 ended birthday season around here, when Emma turned 17.

ABC’s Wife Swap, filmed in 2007, when you agree to do the show, waltzes in and figures out what they can string you up for. (I knew they would. I considered it a game.) For me, it was the green smoothies, and the fact that I tell my kids, “The bus leaves at 7:22,” and then I leave them to walk to school, if they’re not ready.

None of that bothered me. What I didn’t see coming was that they would make a federal case about the two times I rented out a skating rink, or the municipal pool, for back-to-back parties for my kids. Each had their own party, their own cake, their own friends and presents. It wasn’t cheap to rent out the pool, and my kids decided that was what they wanted.

We did it just twice, the last time 6 years ago. The kids had a ball at their party.

Wife Swap made out that I am “obsessed with efficiency” and “won’t let them have their own party.” They purposefully failed to mention that all four of my kids are born within 3 weeks of each other. They made it seem as if my four children born at different times of the year are forced against their will to have a joint party because I don’t care about them.

I recently brought Patty out from Creative Health Institute. She works for us fulltime now, and we love her!  She became a long-term volunteer there for 18 months. I will tell you Patty’s story later, on a video, with her making Choca-Maca-Laca that I learned at CHI last year from Madeline Wilson.

The recipe is named that for the superfood ingredients Maca and Lacuma. But I LOVE this yummy recipe, and Patty lost tons of weight eating the Ann Wigmore diet plus two whole quarts, daily, of Choca-Maca-Laca! Wow. I guess “a calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie,” because that’s a lot of calories. Remember Colin Campbell discovered in the Oxford-Cornell China Project that those eating a plant-based diet stay lean eating 200 calories a day MORE than animal-flesh eaters, who were not lean, ate!)

I also posted Patty’s raw peach cobbler on the blog a year ago.

Patty is a Level III raw chef, and she made this delicious cheesecake, with the ingredients in my kitchen, for Emma’s 17th birthday on the 22nd. All the kids loved it. She blends tangerines and peaches from my tree, into Rejuvelac, and tells the kids it’s Powerade. Even though she’s not a mother, she has the instincts: she tells them it gives them energy for school and sports. (It’s true, of Rejuvelac.) She puts a half gallon of it in the fridge, like at CHI, with a masking-tape label saying “Don’t drink this after 6 pm!” That’s because it’ll keep you awake.

The photo is of Patty with Cade (19), Emma (17), Libby (15) and Tennyson (12).

Sunday I’ll post the recipe!

K’Lynne comes to my house…with K-Mart pants

Last year in Portland, I barely got to spend any time with someone I think is pretty special. In fact, she and her “before and after” photos, and her story, are in the latest 12 Steps to Whole Foods manual.

She lives in a tiny, one-stoplight town. No health food store. But she took 12 Steps to heart, changed her diet radically, and lost 100 POUNDS in less than a year. She’s a school lunch lady and a mom to four children, including two college students. She’s my age exactly.

She wrote on her blog about how, as a shy, very soft-spoken person, she drove 4.5 hours with her friends to hear me speak in Portland last year and then very nearly didn’t come up to talk to me. She did, though, and I asked her questions in front of 150 people. Details on that from last year, HERE.

She wrote me after that, “I just have to tell you the response to me being on your blog has been amazing, this last week has been mind blowing. All kinds of people emailing me who are exactly how I was and want advice. I tell them what I did and am doing….which is following your program and eating health and exercising.”

There’s really no other way, is there?

We had to tear out of Portland like bats out of Hades to make it to our gig in Seattle later that day. I finally got my chance to talk with K’Lynne at more length this week, sitting on my porch.

It’s all on camera and we’ll release that later.

Turns out, the day we filmed her, July 17, was her 25th wedding anniversary with her delightful, supportive husband, Chuck.

I asked him on camera to tell me how he felt about K’Lynne. He got emotional.  He said he was so proud of her. So thankful to her. Her choices impacted his life for the better.

I’ve been waiting for the visit from K’Lynne Wagner of Phoenix, Oregon, to tell me more about what it’s like to shed 100 pounds.

Because there are lots of ways to lose weight. And ditch her meds and get her health back.

But there’s just one way to get healthy, and it absolutely has to include a whole-foods diet.

I don’t want to get into whether that should include organic, grass-fed meat…..if you can afford that, that’s between you and your relationship with animals, it’s not my axe to grind. Or what percentage of carbs/fats/proteins you eat, in your whole-foods diet. Or whether or not a little “cheating” with processed food is allowed……you can experiment and discover your own “truth.”

All I care about it that you shift to whole foods, mostly plants!

That’s my core value. It DOES work for everybody. (With variations like the examples and debates above, and lots of individual variety.) And that core foundation is all I’m interested in teaching.

K’Lynne says that green smoothies were a huge part of her shift. She said, “I tried Step 1 in the program, I liked it, so I went on to Step 2, and pretty soon I was doing it all. I would read the manual out loud to Chuck. I was always taking it places, and always reading it.”

Chuck has dropped 20 lbs. by ditching the bacon-and-eggs breakfast in favor of unsweetened oatmeal, fruit, and green smoothie. His wife makes him a salad for lunch, and for dinner he eats lots of healthy stuff K’Lynne makes.

Don’t we all love compliant husbands? We’re happy to do what makes THEM happy—-just indulge us and eat what we feed you!

K’Lynne is off her blood pressure meds and has perfectly healthy cardiovascular biomarkers now. Both she and Chuck are at a healthy weight. How exciting—that we can make change at any age. They are both loving the energy they say changes EVERYTHING in life.

K’Lynne’s counsel to those who have 100 lbs. to lose? Just stay in today. Think positively and make good choices TODAY. Because you really CAN do it. One day at a time.

I gave her the latest, greatest 12 Steps to Whole Foods manual, and I had fun looking through her old copy at the recipes she’d marked as her favorites. We both love Pink Hummus Quesadillas and others.

She talked about how she sees dishes in restaurants that she used to love, and she momentarily feels the pull of addiction…..but then she realizes she actually doesn’t really want those foods any more. Kristin has said the same thing to me. I agree. I love chocolate and dessert. But honestly? The vast majority of it, most of the time, just isn’t interesting any more.

K’Lynne told me about going to Cheesecake Factory this week while on vacation, and ordering the most fabulous vegetarian burger made from faro (an Egyptian grain) and beets. It was so good that Chuck wished he had it, instead of his shrimp tacos.

I’d emailed K’Lynne asking if she wanted to bring any clothes she used to wear. She came with a pair of jeans in her old size, with a  K-Mart tag attached. She said:

“I threw those pants away. Because I’m never going back there.” After she left my house, she and Chuck headed to visit family in St. George and Vegas. They stopped at K-Mart and returned the pants.

Are you inspired? I am!