Texas, part 2 of 7: our volunteers amaze us and we love them!

In Dallas, we had folks who drove 4 hours from Oklahoma City, and a whole family who had driven from 6 hours to the south.

We had amazing volunteers. Like Jennifer and Ian in San Antonio, and Kim Mitchell who is thriving with good nutrition.

Britni Brown, Elizabeth, Michelle, and Rhonda–plus Amy Bailey and her mom, in Austin, whose story you’ll read this week.

Vic and Kathryn in Dallas. (Kathryn recovering from a jetski accident the same time as my ATV accident this summer—we bonded over that!) Dana and Charlene, and my old friend Pamalee from the first time I went to Dallas. And this darling young couple, Amy and Ray, who own Fitness Together in Allen–raw vegan personal trainers! (Too many trainers are eating too many animals.) Love them, love the gallons of green smoothies they made for my Dallas friends.

April and her posse of friends in Houston–I don’t know many people who have so much influence with their friends as April does. I think they want to be her! Angela, Amanda, thank you!

We had fabulous sponsors like Dr. Edgerton, M.D. and Dr. Ritamarie Lozcalzo in Austin. Georgia’s Farm to Market in Houston, who served a meal of my 12 Steps dishes, and made the biggest vat of green smoothie maybe in history? Certainly the biggest I have ever seen. (I would have taken a photo but I saw it after it was emptied!)

Andie Hamilton Photography in Dallas, who didn’t even want us to promote her already bursting-at-the-seams business—she just sponsored us because she wanted us to come so she could bring her friends, ’cause she’s cool like that.

All of you who sponsor, make smoothies for the crowd, lend me your BlendTec, work with us before/after/during….you all get to work with my event planner, Amanda. I love it when I can hire people who are not only incredible at what they do (not everybody is a detail person, but this amazing mom of three planned our first Boise event and I said HOLY COW, YOU’RE HIRED!), but they’re also evangelists for the super kick-butt message we are trying to fling all over North America. THANK YOU AMANDA!

I could not be more blessed. Thank you, 1,000 of my friends in Texas, for taking time out of your busy life, to listen to my message. I feel your spirit and your collective life experience buoys me up!

Stay the course. Hold fast to your healthy habits because your health underpins every darn thing you do.

420 lbs., scared, stressed, humiliated. Help!

Just received this letter from Mark. Mark, lots of people will be praying for you to make lifestyle changes like K’Lynne’s, with spectacular results! Such a great idea to just start eating whole foods instead—I have known so many people who can no longer absorb nutrition after those surgeries that hack and rearrange your digestive system, as you put it. Put lots of green stuff in your blender–the stuff that isn’t green has lots of sugar in it. The green foods slow down sugars to your blood stream. Maximize them, challenge yourself, and starting eating giant salads too! You can do it! I bet some of my readers will have some wise words for you. Much love, and stay in touch!

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

I just ordered your 12 step program!

My wife and I are slowly adding green to our now multiple daily smoothies.

We want to learn more, so we are taking the first step by buying the program.

The main reason I am writing is to say thanks! Thank you for your dedication to this cause. Thank you for opening my eyes.

I work in an extremely stressful environment. I am a network escalations manager, which means I help customers when their network is down, costing them sometime thousands of dollars an hour, and we have hit roadblocks in the process of getting the data flowing again.

About a month ago, I was on my way to work and thought I was having a heart attack. I was scared, and felt awful. I stopped at a urgent care center and my BP was 140/100. I got a trip in an ambulance to the hospital.

My left arm had gone numb and my left hand was cold and blue. I spent the weekend in the hospital undergoing many tests. I weighed 420 lbs. and was too heavy to have the normal test.  The nurse looked at me with disgust and said, “I’m not going to risk breaking my equipment. He’s too heavy to do this.” My wife was really upset and we both just wanted to cry.

The great news is I didn’t have a heart attack! I checked out of the hospital, and spent the next few days thinking and visited my family doctor. She had previously recommended stomach surgery. It seemed the only way to save my life.

I had tried diets and hate the taste of most vegetables. I am a southern redneck kind of guy. I love my fried foods, especially fried chicken, lots of meat, lots of fried food. “If it ain’t fried, I ain’t eatin it” was my mindset. But I felt I had no choice. I signed up for the initial consultation to learn about the various forms of the surgery. The Lap band, the Y thing, the sleeve…. so many choices, so many risks…what do I do?

I learned about Gerson online, but it was too radical for me. But the principles made sense. I was browsing the web and somehow stumbled into your site. I watched a couple videos, loved the way you tell things like they are. You’re a real person! You mention Costco, and how to save a few dollars here and there. You think like a real person, because you are one. Thanks!

So I have been drinking smoothies, not always green smoothies, but we are working our way well into them. I’ve learned so much from your videos. I’ve learned a lot in the past month. I’m still over 400 pounds, but just barely. I can almost weigh myself on the scales at the center we just joined. We are taking yoga classes. We are trying to get over and swim or exercise a few times a week. I have at this point gone vegetarian. Heading more and more towards whole food vegan.

So far in the past couple weeks my energy has gotten a major boost! I am feeling better every day.

Thanks to you, and a few other people who believe in a whole food lifestyle I have decided to not get the weight surgery and tough it out. Do it the healthier way. Besides, had I decided to get the surgery, I would have to go on a liquid diet for a few weeks anyway, and I would have had my stomach stapled and part of it removed with the sleeve, or my digestive tract hacked up and rearranged. I had no interest in the lap band. I just don’t like the idea of some foreign object strapped around my stomach.

So again, thank you so very much. I will keep you posted of my progress if you would like. I hope, that as people are able to see the progress I am making that more people will ask how I did it. The first place I will send them is greensmoothiegirl.com. My wife and I have already sent a few people your way already. Watch for folks from Charlotte, NC!

–Mark and Rosa Allen

K’Lynne loses 100 POUNDS eating whole foods!

K’Lynne Wagner has lost 100 POUNDS doing my 12 Steps to Whole Foods program for over a year. Check out her amazing photos! She came onto my radar when she had so many people flocking to her, wanting to know what she’d done, that she negotiated a dealer discount on 12 Steps kits with us, and started having GSG meetings at her home every month.

She stood up and told her story in Portland, and the audience gasped at the number 100! They demanded info, so I interviewed her:

 

 

GSG:   Did you count calories?

K’Lynne: No.

GSG:   Did you feel deprived?

K’Lynne: No.

GSG:   Did you eat yummy food?

K’Lynne: Yes.

On her blog, she calls herself “a woman of few words except if it’s about something I’m passionate about.” In answer to audience questions, she told us that she had lost weight with diets before, but this time she obtained health in addition to weight loss, as well as a way of life that makes sense—and the weight came off, and stayed off, as a byproduct of learning healthy habits.

Though she is shy and quiet (see her blog about gathering the courage to talk to me in Portland), she had a carload of friends with her who left at 5:45 a.m. for the 4.5-hour drive from Ashland. The whole audience was absolutely inspired. Until she got their shocked and delighted reaction, she told me later, “It had not really occurred to me what losing 100 lbs. meant. I just knew how wonderful it was to look in the mirror and see ‘me’ and know that I was on the right path that would allow me to stay this way forever.” K’Lynne told me she does ALL of the 12 Steps. Her blog says, “I grind my own flour with all kinds of grains I never knew existed…I love it, I can’t get enough of it, it is so exciting to me and I feel very empowered with all this knowledge.” Her husband Chuck is getting into good nutrition, too.

She emailed me later that she takes salads and dressings for lunch to work, and her whole office now brings salads. At church, people say to her, “I’m getting my blender this week!” A good friend who had breast cancer called K’Lynne one day because she was frustrated that her doctors said, “Just watch for changes,” rather than giving her meaningful prevention strategy. K’Lynne’s friend said, “Whatever you’re doing, I want to know more.” This friend is now healthy, following 12 Steps, and ecstatically sharing it with others, too.

K’Lynne said to me, “I love sharing because I am so passionate about eating healthy and it all just makes so much sense. I feel like I’ve been asleep and now I am awake, full of life, and look forward to a long, happy, healthy life!”

I’m thankful to her for sharing her story, her photos, and her spirit with us. She is a beautiful woman inside and out who doesn’t keep her growth and knowledge to herself! Check out her blog HERE. She’ll give you a great deal on the 12 Steps course she won in the raffle, and if you’re in Ashland, you can join her 12 Steppers’ group!

 

 

Fermenting foods: it’s freaking me out!

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I really like the idea of adding the Rejuvelac as my green smoothie base, but I’m honestly totally freaked out to leave something perishable on my countertop in an unsealed container for several days. What are the chances that “bad bacteria” get in there and make me sick? I really appreciate any feedback you have. It sounds like a great opportunity to make green smoothies do even more for me, but I can’t get over the initial concept. –Grace

Answer: Grace, I think it might help if I explain the concept a bit more. Fermented foods are part of your diet already, if you eat yogurt or sauerkraut, or even beer. The manufacturer had to let it sit at room temperature for a time, to grow the cultures.

Also, before refrigeration, human beings had a stronger inner terrain and microbes rarely harmed them. Of course, now we have antibiotics that have seriously damaged most people’s balance of beneficial microorganisms colonizing the digestive tract. We also have refined foods weakening us, and few, if any, cultured foods strengthening us. We now seem to believe that killing a couple million of the billions of microscopic critters around us will somehow do the trick.

It’s a weird modern concept that everything we eat has to be sterilized—ancient peoples lived amongst billions of organisms very peacefully for thousands of years. So maybe our food is sterilized, fumigated, pasteurized, irradiated…..but there are billions of organisms everywhere ELSE (which makes the antibiotic wipes a pointless waste of money).

So, it feels unnatural to you but only because of our strange modern traditions, and the fact that we’ve gotten away from eating foods that nurture our gut’s need for healthy colonization. Just ONE course of antibiotics can change the gut’s internal terrain forever.

Every culture of the world eats cultured foods. Some chew up a food and spit it, with their saliva, into an earthen pot, and drink it a week later. (I won’t be teaching you those methods, don’t worry.) There are literally hundreds of types of cultured foods, in traditional / indigenous peoples, and in people who have not completely adopted processed diets.

The most complete and well known work on this concept is Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, which has some good info but advocates for lots of meat and dairy and a very rich diet. My 12 Steps to Whole Foods program deals with it in a condensed way in Ch. 8 and uses what I feel are a do-able, moderate amount of probiotic foods that do not require us to purchase $10/lb. animal parts. My work focuses on culturing vegetables, optionally some raw, antibiotic- and hormone-free milk, or coconut liquid. (I now culture my coconut liquid before using it in Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie).

My blog on 9/15 talks about learning vicariously through others—the examples I gave were learning from others’ health disasters. But you can learn from my health victories, too. Does it help you to know that I have had a quart or a half gallon of raw kefir, or yogurt, or coconut kefir, or sprouts, or Rejuvelac, or sauerkraut, on my counter, pretty much every day of my life for the past 17 years? We have had zero instances of problems, illness, food poisoning.

It also helps if you understand the process of how food has historically been preserved. You can preserve foods a few ways. One, drying it to dramatically slow oxidation, which often involves lots of salt. Two, can it by killing all its lifeforce (enzymes and vitamins) so that there’s very little to oxidize, and then sealing it against air and bacteria. Third, utilizing lactobacillus and other beneficial organisms and lactic acid to break down the proteins and preserve the food (fermenting).

The way I make sauerkraut (see Ch. 8 of 12 Steps) is that the unrefined salt preserves it for a few days while the (slower) lactic acid begins to take over. I have two-year old raw sauerkraut (that I preserved with whey from my yogurt/kefir) that has been unsealed (but covered tightly with a lid) that we are still eating. It’s too soft, and it’s better, texture-wise, at six months old. But it’s preserved, and the healthy bacteria help my family stay healthy.

It might help to address the semantics. The word “fermented” has a negative connotation. (Although beer drinkers who wouldn’t be caught dead eating fermented vegetables drink PLENTY of fermentation.) When you think of fermented, do you think of ROTTEN? We aren’t eating any rotten foods at my house. We could mentally replace that word with a much nicer one: cultured!

So, don’t eat fermented foods. Eat cultured ones!

If “bad” bacteria gets into your cultured foods and makes them “go bad,” you will know. They will taste bad and/or mold. I have almost never had this happen. Once it happened with a bottle of sauerkraut. Never with kefir or Rejuvelac.

My Rejuvelac ferments in a day. At CHI, they told me 3-5 days, but mine tastes plenty tart 24 hours after I blend the sprouts and water, and put it on the counter to grow (aka ferment, aka culture).

Here’s my new video showing this easy, inexpensive habit that has the potential to see you through the winter without viruses or infections!

Panic! Are cruciferous vegs killing my thyroid? I’m taking a stand on this issue.

A reader, Shawna, wrote us an email with tons of capitalized sentences and exclamation points, saying, “Hey! I’ve been doing green smoothies for a few years now! And I’m hypothyroid! Help–am I killing my thyroid?”

My customer support wrote me that people constantly write us “freaking out” about a widely circulated article on the internet saying that cruciferous vegetables essentially damage your thyroid gland. Crucifers include broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower.

People are susceptible to fear and paranoia–which are antithetical to empowerment and faith. I’ve written about this in Ch. 1 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods, but I need to take a stronger stand, since it’s Top Five (questions I am asked, via email and everytime I speak in public).

As with food-combining theories (D’Adamo, etc.), or the idea that too many of one green food is “toxic” (Boutenko), or the idea that oxalates in greens harm us (another dubious internet-circulated claim)…..my reaction is like that line from Jerry Maguire, “Show me the money!”

My variation on that quote is, “Show me the data!”

Evidence that cruciferous vegetables are phenomenally powerful anti-cancer foods is voluminous. They also reduce bad estrogens; this is desperately needed by Americans, as we’re daily bombarded with endocrine disruptors (“bad estrogens”). David Wolfe, in fact, says his favorite supplement of 2011 is Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), which is an extract of the crucifers. I’ve been taking it myself.

The evidence that one compound in crucifers may have deleterious effects? It’s limited and sketchy at best.

If we can isolate one compound (of dozens, maybe 100 or more) in green foods, and say that Compound X has Effect Y on Gland Z, how do we know that Compounds A, B, and C don’t have mitigating effects on Effect Y? How do we know that the profoundly healing properties of Compounds D, E, and F in that same food don’t work together synergistically with Compound X? The mountain of evidence that vegetables prevent disease suggests that foods are far more than the sum of their parts. Science still has little understanding of why plant foods are powerful, although in general, scientific communities like to break things down into parts and explain phenomena inductively. Let’s back up and use some deductive reasoning.

The “articles” on the internet (read: people saying stuff–let’s not give them undue credit by calling them articles) claim that LARGE AMOUNTS can damage the thyroid and increase the need for iodine. The entire American diet does both of those things–first, damage the thyroid, and second, increase the need for iodine (for instance, we eat salt stripped of iodine in virtually all our foods– or that refined salt has chemical isolates of a toxic form of iodine put back in). So I’m highly skeptical of how any researcher isolated the “goitrogen” factor. Somebody please show me where that’s been done.

Pick on the REAL bad guys here. Are we really going to flog cabbage and broccoli, when 95% of Americans are eating nuggets boiled in grease made of dozens of disease-infested chicken “parts” that if you looked at them each separately, you would wrinkle your nose and throw it in the garbage? And the same 95% are drinking tubs full of brown chemical liquids infused with carbon dioxide that contain absolutely no food?

About Shawna’s question. Me, too–I’ve been hypothyroid AND I drink green smoothies daily. But in my case, it’s been 17 years, not 3. My thyroid was all but destroyed because of nuclear fallout at the Nevada test site in the late 60’s when I was a baby, drinking highly radioactive milk from cows who ate the radioactive fallout on the grass even hundreds of miles away.

Read the rest of my answer on the topic of goitrogens and thyroid (too long for the blog). Or just come back every day, and I’ll post the rest in installments…..the next two days I have cool 3-min. videos for you!

 

I love Idaho Falls . . . part 3 of 3

I’ve been emailed by 12 Steps to Whole Foods support groups all over the U.S., who meet monthly and make the recipes and share ideas and love and encouragement.

But in Idaho Falls, I went to have lunch with one such group, led by the indomitable Michele, who is amazing and so honest and genuine….and makes the most incredible “cheesecake.” The “advanced” group members, Mandy and Danna, each came with a LIST of questions, hehe. Bring it on. I love overachievers and list-makers.

The theme of their 12 Steps group this month seems to be Chapter 8, especially featuring KEFIR. That step is so important, and when we started doing homemade yogurt 14 years ago, everyone in my family stopped getting sick. Maybe a little thing here and there that lasts a day, but never anything requiring an antibiotic, or going deep into the lungs, or causing stagnant yellow or green mucous.

I always make my kids whole-milk kefir, and I make myself coconut-liquid kefir (which I now use in Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie, Ch. 11)….SO easy to ferment foods, just a habit you learn and adopt for life to keep your digestive system in perfect form.

Michelle’s cheesecake recipe:

Almond Flour Crust

¼ cup agave

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp almond extract

¾ tsp sea salt

4 ½ cups almond flour (almonds blended in the blender)

Mix first 5 ingredients in a bowl then stir in Almond Flour and press into a pie plate. Chill! Makes 2 pie crusts.

Cheesecake Filling

½ cup hot water

1 cups non-instant dry powdered milk (2 cups if you’re using instant powdered milk)

1 cup powdered raw coconut sugar (blended to powder in your blender)

8 oz yogurt cheese

¼ c lemon juice

1 t vanilla

Combine hot water, dry milk and stevia in a blender and blend until smooth. Add yogurt cheese, lemon juice and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Pour into prepared Almond Flour Crust. Decorate with strawberry slices, optional.

How to make yogurt cheese:

Pour yogurt into cheesecloth or coffee filter over a bowl or quart jar (allowing the yogurt to drip freely into the bowl or jar as the whey is squeezed out).   Cover and place a weight on top (either a bag of water or piece of fruit).   Allow whey to drain for 4-8 hours depending on whether you would like Greek yogurt (less thick) or yogurt cheese (like the consistency of a soft cream cheese). I place mine in cheesecloth, in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Here is how I learned to make my yogurt cheese.