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!

Angie starts the Salad Club at work!

Here’s a letter I just got from Angela in California. She’s a renegade and a leader, and I love what she did at her office! I think you will, too.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl,

I wanted to write you and tell you how you have really changed my life and in turn the lives of many others. I read Victoria Boutenko’s “Green for Life” three years ago. I devoured it and soon was ready to begin my smoothie endeavor. I purchased a Vitamix and started making my green smoothies. I eventually fell off and stopped making them, but when I was ready to hop back on I searched the internet for more recipes. I then discovered your website. I became obsessed to put it mildly. I was ready to take on all the challenges and changes you wrote about. Your 12 Steps to Whole Foods course was a Christmas present to me from my husband, and I was off!

I am 27 years old and didn’t have any chronic illnesses or auto-immune diseases, but I wanted to make sure it stayed that way. I became serious about my health and what I put into my body. I stopped drinking diet soda (tough one). I dumped all refined sugar, white flour, white pasta, white rice, bottles of corn syrup (yuck), canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.

In came the whole wheat flour, spelt, coconut sugar, coconut oil and quinoa! I started only cooking vegetarian meals at home, and my husband has been wonderful in accepting all the changes that were happening overnight. (He knows that is how I work!)

I became known as the witch-doctor at work, drinking my weird green drink, carrying around my pink salt, using gritty milk in a mason jar on my granola. Well, you are right! Soon people were asking questions, why is dairy bad? What should I eat when I go out to lunch? What’s kin-o-ah (quinoa)?

Soon others at work were starting to make little changes too. Seeing these changes and that people actually wanted to be healthy (at least part time), I started a salad club. It began with about 15 members (all female plus my husband, who works with me).

People would bring in certain ingredients for the week and all the club members could make salads all week long (see my blog post for more details: http://stylethatfood.com/?p=804)

People started eating 3-5 salads a week instead of going and getting the fast food they usually did. As the weeks went on people would ask what salad club was about and soon would join in. I am proud to say the club now has about 25 members and 5 are men. People who poked fun, joined the fun!

I wanted to share that one person can make a huge difference. From what I learned from you, and a little time and effort I feel I have made a difference in the lives of others. I will continue to spread and share everything I learn about good health and nutrition, and I am willing to teach as long as people want to listen.

Thank you Robyn for being my Health Hero!

PS I have also taken on the sugar bet with a co-worker, we are starting with 1 month. She initiated it too, and I am not one to back down from a challenge.

Angela Merchant

Should I “eat right for my blood type?”

A recent grad from Institute for Integrative Nutrition applied for the GreenSmoothieGirl Health Coaches certification and said this:

“I’ve studied over 100 nutritional plans, and the 12 Steps to Whole Foods program is the most comprehensive, practical, grounded approach I have found.”

(That’s the goal. I think I’ve studied all those nutrition plans, too. Most have a kernel of truth, or lots of truth, along with, usually, some problems. And many of the diet plans appeal to popular tastes – such as Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, etc. — rather than being supported by evidence.)

One of the more frustrating diet plans, to me, is the blood type diet. The idea is that you have a certain blood type because your ancestors were from a certain place, so they adapted to a specific diet. You are then instructed, based on having O, A, B, or AB blood, to eat according to the prescription. Vegetarian, highly carnivorous, a mix of the two, grains or no grains, etc.

The diet has no real science backing it. Only a very dubious theory. The theory collapses when you consider that every indigenous population of the world has all the blood types: A, B, AB, and O. It’s also highly problematic when you consider how much genetic mixing and nomadism we’ve had in recent centuries. Few people have both parents going back to the same origins.

Peter D’Adamo fathered the first blood typing program (based on the theory of his father James, both naturopaths) that gave rise to a set of nutrition principles. But others have leveraged the same concept, with different recommendations. It’s tempting, financially, to author a new diet, since those books sell well. I know this all too well, since I waged an epic war with my publisher over the name of my bestseller, The Green Smoothies Diet. I hate the word diet because “diets” don’t work. I wanted to teach good principles, towards a sustainable lifestyle, but my publisher said,

“But American love diet books. They fly off the shelves.”

I lost the war and, in so doing, probably gained financially, as my book was instantly a bestseller for my publisher. It wasn’t a hill I was going to die on, because if it gets the same message out, I can “sell out” on the fairly minor point of a title. (Mostly, I just wanted, on principle, to name my own book!) And Ulysses Press was right—Americans do, apparently, want to “go on” yet another diet.

The whole idea of blood typing does call legitimate attention to the fact that we are all different, with different needs. This doesn’t obviate the fact that there are certain classes of foods that are nutritious to just about everyone. Just because you feel weak if you try to eat only plants, after a lifetime of eating animals, doesn’t mean that for you, vegetables are bad food.

It could mean you are transitioning and cleansing, and that is uncomfortable in the short- to mid-term. It could mean that because degenerative gut problems are nearly ubiquitous (everyone who has indulged in the S.A.D. suffering from them to one extent or another), many of us have developed sensitivities to specific foods. Some of those sensitivities are to good foods. This doesn’t mean that food X or Y is necessarily “bad” for you personally—it may mean that you have a problem to rectify so your body can accept and utilize nutrition from that food class.

Some people are reading this article and preparing to scream at me that I’m wrong because they went on the blood type diet and feel much better. I believe that! But not because you’re eating “correctly” for your blood type.

You feel better because the author of the nutrition program eliminates gluten from the type O diet. That will make everyone feel better, as grains have been hybridized and are causing many people problems. And he tells all type A’s to eat vegetarian, which is actually a good diet for most, if not all, people.

(As always, I refuse to take a stand on whether a limited amount of animal protein is good or desirable or at least acceptable—but it’s clear that more plants, and less animals, is across the board, more environmentally sustainable and more health-promoting.)

You feel better because regardless of your blood type, you’re told to eliminate processed foods such as white flour.

D’Adamo’s theory gets really silly when he tells Type A’s to meditate, Type O’s to do aerobics, etc. (Does this mean Type O’s shouldn’t meditate, and Type A’s shouldn’t exercise their hearts?) He delves into stereotyping personality and character based on blood type, too. It’s really nonsense but can “look” true because some true principles are involved.

Many other experts have soundly debunked D’Adamo’s reasoning and recommendations. He claims type O is the oldest blood type, but in fact, A is. This decimates the crux of his theory. Also, agriculture developed in different parts of the world independently, and his theory is based on unilateral development worldwide and positive outcomes for that development, neither of which is fact.

Most of his theory rests on lectins, proteins on the surfaces of foods that can cause cells or molecules to stick together. But a number of doctors object to the hypotheses the D’Adamos make, saying that there is no documentation of the health effects they predict if you eat “wrong” for your blood type, which virtually everyone does, of course. Michael Klaper, M.D. said that the effects he describes would be fatal for millions of people, if D’Adamo were correct in his theory.

The diets D’Adamo advocates for are not particularly harmful or out-of-the-ordinary, and all of them eliminate the worst of the bad in the Standard American Diet. (He isn’t telling any of the blood types to eat Twinkies or Cocoa Puffs. He is just making certain recommendations within whole-foods groups and macronutrients. Most Americans, of course, are eating Twinkies and Cocoa Puffs! Any  involves less processed food is likely to result in health improvement.)

As a culture, we need better critical thinking skills. We have a long love affair with personality testing and typing, horoscopes, and other ways to try to categorize and make sense of our world. But blood-typing theory is flawed on so many levels. I believe that individuals have specific dietary needs that may fall slightly – not massively — outside a prescribed set of guidelines.

Looking to blood type does not provide those answers. As logic might suggest to you, only experimentation and intuition do.

Can green smoothies “DEVASTATE” your health?

Sarah the Healthy Home Economist online recently posted an article about how green smoothies can “DEVASTATE” your health.  The content was so unsubstantiated that at first I refused to respond to it. But Amanda said, “She has a big audience and people are freaking out about it.”

Sarah cites the oxalates phenomenon, wherein a natural compound (oxalates) occasionally bind to calcium to cause kidney stones. (She infers, without citing evidence, that other more serious health consequences could also be possible.) Greens have oxalic acid in them. Sarah makes several logic leaps and concludes that no one should be drinking green smoothies.

I’m not going to promote her blog article by pointing to it here. She rates her content for how controversial it is. Controversy generates more readers, I guess. It also has the potential to do harm, if what you’re saying is (a) undocumented, (b) contrary to hundreds of studies about the benefits of greens, and (c) featuring a bizarre and untenable conclusion.

Just because someone posts stuff on the internet does not automatically endow that person with credibility. Her argument locks in on a detail — that greens are high in oxalic acid — and misses the larger picture.

Only one source is listed at the end of her article and none are quoted or referenced. The source is a PhD’s book on oxalates and autism and “chronic disorders,” but she never quotes the author or anyone or anything else, so I’m not sure how many of her claims came from this one guy, or what.

I don’t bet the farm on one book or one source. There are quite a few other sources that show that some of the anti-nutrients in our most nutrition-dense foods, actually work together synergistically for our health, rather than against it. I’ve done quite a few blog series on anti-nutrients such as oxalates, goitrogens, purines, and phytates, concluding that none of the anti-nutrients should generally cause people to avoid foods containing them.

Note that at the end of the article, Sarah says to eat greens, if you like them, but not very much. Always cook them, she says, and eat them with butter.

Wow! Really?

Let me quote Dr. Norman Walker in his book Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body?

“Spinach should never be eaten when cooked unless we are particularly anxious to accumulate oxalic acid crystals in our kidneys with the consequent pain and kidney trouble. When spinach is cooked or canned, the oxalic acid atoms become inorganic as a result of excessive heat and may form oxalic acid crystals in the kidneys.

“When the food is raw, whether whole or in the form of juice, every atom in such food is vital ORGANIC and is replete with enzymes. Therefore, the oxalic acid in our raw vegetables and their juices is organic, and as such is not only beneficial but essential for the physiological functions of the body.

“The oxalic acid in cooked and processed foods, however, is definitely dead, or INORGANIC, and as such is both pernicious and destructive. Oxalic acid readily combines with calcium. If these are both organic, the result is a beneficial constructive combination, as the former helps the digestive assimilation of the latter, at the same time stimulating the peristaltic functions in the body.

“When the oxalic acid has become INORGANIC by cooking or processing the foods that contain it, then this acid forms an interlocking compound with the calcium, even combining with the calcium in other foods eaten during the same meal, destroying the nourishing value of both. This results in such a serious deficiency of calcium that it has been known to cause decomposition of the bones.”

So according to Dr. Walker, what Sarah is telling her readers to do is really terrible advice.

One of my favorite sources is George Mateljan, because his staff, and his book The World’s Healthiest Foods, review and quote a tremendous amount of empirical data before making claims. Each section contains an extensive bibliography, and the conclusions are scientific and objective.

He says that a review of the peer-reviewed research reveals that the ability of oxalates to lower calcium absorption is small and does not outweigh the ability of those foods to contribute significant calcium to the diet, since spinach is rich in calcium.

So, one of the primary recommendations of most the sources I’ve read, to avoid stones forming in the body, is to get plenty of calcium from plant sources.

So, the high calcium content in spinach may actually inhibit the formation of stones, even though spinach is also high in oxalates. This is at least some logic or evidence, then, underpinning my theory that there are far more synergies than we currently know about in whole, raw plant foods leading to their clear, incontrovertible place (based on volumes of published research) as the necessary mainstay in our diet. We know that people the world over who eat mostly whole, raw foods simply don’t get sick. We don’t always know WHY.

So screaming that the sky is falling about one compound—in an entire class of our most nutritious foods—seems not only unwise, but even irresponsible, if you have an audience and give nutrition advice.

The jury is still out on so many of the issues Sarah the Healthy Home Economist takes strong, unilateral stands on. For instance, what really causes oxalic acid buildup. (She quotes ZERO evidence that greens do.) Whether greens are high in oxalates are only ONE issue related to whether they cause kidney stones. What if they also have dozens of other nutrient compounds, and fiber, that PREVENT stones from forming? A relevant example would be Mateljan’s review of the published, peer-reviewed literature on spinach, oxalates, and calcium as mentioned earlier.

After I investigated this issue, I wrote this in Chapter 1 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods:

“The research is not clear that restricting foods such as spinach helps prevent stones in those who have previously had them. Many researchers believe that dietary restriction cannot reduce risk of stone formation. In fact, some foods that were assumed to increase stone formation because of oxalate content (like black tea) have appeared in more recent research to have a preventative effect.

“Further, cooking has a small impact (about 10%) on the oxalate content of foods, with no statistically significant lowering of oxalates following blanching or boiling of greens. It appears that the nutritional advantages of eating raw greens continue to far outweigh any benefit of cooking them.”

And yet, with slim evidence, if any, Sarah says green smoothies can “devastate” your health and advises at the end of the article, “Skip the Green Smoothies!”

She undertakes no discussion of the true baddies that cause kidney stones:

Soft drinks

Sugar

Animal proteins

Salty foods (or any refined salt)

Oxalates in spinach (also strawberries, soy, and many other foods) can be difficult to digest for a tiny percentage of the population who are suffering from a few very rare disorders (absorptive hypercalciuria type II, enteric hyperoxaluria, primary hyperoxaluria). But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water here. If you don’t have these disorders, and 99+% of those reading this don’t, greens are not just good food—they are powerful good medicine!

Leafy greens are the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, and cooking them as Sarah instructs kills 100% of their enzymes, and most of their vitamins and minerals, too.

Sarah the Healthy Home Economist uses hyperbolic words to terrify people that eating nutrient dense foods could kill them, but she cites no research whatsoever. She implies that cases of painful sex are on the rise (where does that data come from? Is there any data?) and that oxalates are a “possible culprit.”

There are no references to check, and the bigger issue to me is, if people develop kidney stones, or crystalline deposits in other parts of the body, are greens the real culprit? How would you isolate that factor? Show me the study that did.

It’s terribly unlikely that greens are why we have lots of kidney stones, since almost nobody in America eats very much green food.

And in addition to thousands of testimonials we’ve received, my own research (175 subjects) shows massive health benefits to the green smoothie habit, as published in my bestselling book, The Green Smoothies Diet. In that research, not one person reported kidney stones as a side effect of starting the daily green-drink habit. And yes, we asked.

Nutritionally, crystalline deposits are likely caused by highly acidic foods, especially salt, and not drinking lots of water.

So let’s minimize or eliminate the baddies, listed above. Let’s eat more of the foods that have been linked by hundreds of studies world-wide, to ideal weight and minimized disease risk.

(Dr. Joel Fuhrman does this best, in Eat to Live, quoting literally hundreds of published studies showing the benefits of eating plant foods. This is highly recommended reading.)

Let’s don’t kill greens with cooking, and slather butter on them.

If you’re worried about oxalates, let’s not “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” because people who don’t metabolize that anti-nutrient well need the nutrition in the leafy greens as much as anyone, if not more. Instead:

Let’s rotate greens, use a wide variety in our green drinks—not just spinach. Amanda says a friend of hers had oxalate issues and one took a calcium-magnesium supplement and the pain went away. Several experts I have read suggest getting more calcium from plant sources.

And, eat some good fats with your green smoothie, like avocado or coconut oil or flax oil, to increase calcium absorption. One of my favorite lunches is a quart of green smoothie, with some homemade guacamole and “corn chips” (organic corn tortillas, quartered with a pizza cutter and broiled on both sides, no oil or salt needed).

Read Sarah’s inspiring story about a year of green smoothies!

Today I share a letter we got recently. As reply to this blog entry, tell me—what happened to you when you (a) started drinking green drinks daily, and/or (b) started following my program to shift to whole foods? (There’s more! Don’t stop with just green smoothies!)

I think it’s important that people hear YOUR story, too, so please reply! I would love even a few lines listing the health changes you saw. I might pull a reply or two out, later, to post on the blog front-n-center.

I’m always so excited to read these testimonials; CONGRATS to Sarah for turning her life around! The photo here is of Sarah with Biggest Loser at-home winner Deni Hill from Season 11—Sarah taught her about green smoothies.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

I’m writing this in hopes that Robyn can read this and know how much I appreciate her and what she does!  My name is Sarah S. and I have been drinking green smoothies for just over a year now.  It has played a HUGE part in helping me manage my depression and my thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s).

I have a bachelors degree in Community Health and have been an avid cyclist for 10 years. But that all changed two years ago after the birth of my son.  My son cried constantly and my health started to decline.  I was sleep deprived, had no energy, and felt hopeless.  I hardly ate, and when I did, it wasn’t healthy.  I was spiraling downward.  I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and nine months after he was born I had a breakdown and had to be admitted to the hospital for a few days. On top of the depression I also was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which played a large part in my depression and my fluctuations in sleep and mood.

Two months after my hospitalization I started nannying for the Jorgensen family, a dentist and GSG reader.  Through her I learned about Robyn and green smoothies.  The first thing I would do with the kids in the morning is help them drink their green smoothies.  They were still getting used to them then.  I decided to give it a try.  I started out with just a spinach, frozen berry and rice milk smoothie.

Just a couple days after trying it I noticed a significant improvement in how I felt.  I bought kale, chard and collard greens to add to it.

Now, a year later I’ve added chia seed, maca powder, kelp powder, wheat germ, flax seed, and now all three of us drink a green smoothie daily.

We rarely get sick, we’re active and happy.  Dosages of my depression and thyroid meds have been cut in half.  I honestly believe that it was green smoothies that helped me get a jumpstart into eating healthy again.  Once I started drinking them regularly I started craving healthier foods again.  Now, most of our meals are vegetarian and always full of fruits and vegetables.

Whenever the opportunity presents itself I encourage people to give it a try.  Or I make one for them and bring it to them.  I tell them if they’re overwhelmed with trying to reform their whole diet, or if they are depressed, or if they are overweight, then try green smoothies!  It was THE KEY to helping me get motivated to eat and crave healthier foods and manage my depression.

I’m also happy to report that after 3 months of green smoothies every morning, I was ready to start competing again.  I signed up for the Bear Lake Brawl Triathlon.  My training went great and in August of 2011 I met my goal!  I even finished in the top 10 in my division.  I owe much of my success in that race to green smoothies.

Since that race I have competed in two other triathlons and am signed up for two more this summer.  I also became spin certified a few months ago and teach a spinning class at a local bike shop twice a week.  I am SO SO grateful for Robyn and what she promotes.  It has changed my life.   I can literally feel all of the systems in my body working properly together.  I have felt a significant improvement in my ability to handle the ups and downs of depression.   I am happier and healthier.  I feel much more confident about life and my ability to live an active and healthy lifestyle in spite of the challenges that will come.  I’m a better mother, wife and friend.  I don’t feel like my depression or thyroid disease controls me, I’m on top of it.

Robyn, may you continue to be blessed for all you are doing to help other people!  You are an answer to prayer in my life.  You are a wonderful person and a fantastic mother!  Thank you thank you for your hard work and example!  Thank you!

–Sarah S.

From Robyn: I hope you’re inspired by Sarah’s story. I am! Now…please tell us YOURS. I read every word.

 

Could you fit in the seat at Fenway Park?

Yesterday, a good friend confided in me that he’s recently had a heart attack and is struggling with asthma, acid reflux, allergies, and blood pressure over 170. He said, “I drink my green smoothie but then junk out the rest of the time.”

This has always been my fear—that 90 percent of folks who read my site and books think that a green drink covers all their sins. It does not work like that for most. Green smoothies are nothing more nor less than a step in the right direction.

My friend said to me, “I have a lot to accomplish in life and I’m tired of being tired.” I’m planning to have a chat with him and say this:

“You’re going to have to choose—between junk food addiction, and quality of life.”

Since I last wrote, my son and his team have won FOUR more games in the state tournament, and last night they won the semi-finals. I almost had a heart attack myself, in several times in close games. It’s stressful to be the mom of the pitcher!

Tuesday he brilliantly threw a 2012 team record 131 pitches in 7 innings, to win a very tough game. Pitchers ideally need 5 days of rest before they pitch again. Cade will get only 2 and pitch today.

It’s been great fun to cheer my voice out with dozens of other moms wearing our son’s white jerseys, and enjoy the company and support of my family, many of whom are making sacrifices to be there for my boy.

My friends are driving my car to Las Vegas this afternoon, where we have Van Halen tickets. I won’t be with them and will try to hop a plane later. A team of wild horses couldn’t drag me from the game today.

This photo is my sister Betsy, my brothers Ben and Spencer who always support Cade’s games, my dad, and even my oldest brother Glen from Boston. He got off a plane on his way home from my grampa’s funeral to be here for Cade. (Yes, I said there was no service, because that’s what my grampa told his children he wanted. But his wife didn’t get the memo, so she held one! I missed it because of Cade’s playoffs.)

Anyway, I hardly ever see Glen, father of six and a partner in a law firm. We were talking about how goofy the hand-flipped scoreboard is, in this beautiful multi-million dollar high school stadium. It’s like they ran out of money at the end. But on the other hand, it reminds us of Fenway Park, a place he loves, where I toured with my kids two years ago.

I was telling Glen that I was amazed, sitting in the seats in the original section of the stadium that Boston has preserved. I felt very claustrophobic in the extremely narrow seats. I am 5’8” and currently weigh 132 lbs. I told Glen, “If I weighed even 30 lbs. more, I would not have fit! MOST American adults would not fit in those seats!”

And baseball is the worst of the bad ways we make ourselves too big to sit in a seat. Every family, every game, is eating nachos, candy, soda, and hot dogs. Including my own sibs, some of whom have had some tough health problems. I don’t say this next thing to be superior, but rather to let you know it is possible:

I have never bought any of those things at any baseball game. Not once.

The key is to plan, to shop, to always take your own food, and to simply be committed.

For eight cold, sometimes rainy hours of baseball the past couple of days, I took green smoothies, pints of vegetable juice, a bag of homemade chips that are just quartered organic corn tortillas, broiled, and a tub of homemade guacamole mixed with chopped tomatoes and black beans, and Just Great Stuff bars. Tennyson and I shared it all.

I did calisthenics during a freezing cold double header to keep warm. The ump turned around and laughed at me and told the catcher (I learned later), “I’m going to retire from baseball now and just watch this girl doing jumping jacks.” Between that and the food, well, I don’t care—yeah, I’m weird. I own it. I don’t want to go home elated at two back-to-back wins, but feeling physically heavy and sick.

If you must dig yourself out of allergies, acid reflux, and ugly numbers like 170+ blood pressure……change and commitment are needed.

As Cade’s longtime baseball coach told him, which my son values in every area of his life,

“DIG DEEP.”

That is where the wellspring of commitment is. It is in the deep places in you. Value your life enough to save it, to make it great instead of just functional.

Start a SERIOUS journey to whole foods with us and give it a month on 12 Steps to Whole Foods recipes only. Then let me know how you feel. You’ll feel very, very different. You can overhaul most of the cells of your body in that time!

Or, soon we will launch our 26-day detox, which Kristin says “has changed me and how I see food.” She says today she feels like she has “swallowed the blue pill and can’t go back.” More about the detox later. We are out-of-our-minds excited about it.