8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But They Aren’t!

I did a new video last week on 8 foods you may think are “healthy” but the evidence shows they AREN’T. Check it out. 

How many of these do YOU eat on a regular basis? If your answer is ZERO, you get 100 GreenSmoothieGirl points! 100 more if you drink your quart of green smoothie every day!

Have a wonderfully healthy week!

Six Reasons I Hate Calorie Counting and Don’t Do It

shutterstock_81459505 (Small)When I changed my diet to eating whole, plant-based foods, I said goodbye to calorie counting forever. By eating 60-80% raw, 95% whole, plant-based foods, I don’t need to count calories. I don’t think it’s a complete waste, my years of obsession with calories when I was young. Because it’s helpful to know what the foods are, that are very high in food energy but low in nutrition.

In all fairness, I’ll say that to get obesity under control, you could do WORSE than counting and restricting calories, for a period of time. It’s certainly better than doing nothing.

However, counting calories as a long-term approach to health doesn’t work. Here’s why:

  1. It’s unsustainable. Nobody does it long-term. Because it’s boring, tedious, and restrictive. It also leads to an unhealthy way of looking at food, creating fear through measurement.
  1. It has a tendency to cause you to eat packaged foods, which are almost always processed. Those are the foods that have calories marked on them. It’s a head game, though. They’re packaging small portions, or using fake foods to lower calories or fat. In fact, this can be self-defeating. Because the lowest calorie, highest-nutrition foods don’t come in packages at all.
  1. You can’t nail down how many calories you actually need, and software predictions of how many you need are inaccurate. Some days it’s many hundreds of calories higher than other days, depending on how many hours you were awake, or how much physical activity you did. I believe assigning a rigid number to any given day leads calorie-counters to feel shame, which affects their natural enjoyment for food and some their decision-making freedom.

What if your calorie-counting software says you can have only 1600 calories, so you TRY for that number. But unbeknownst to your software, you actually had a high caloric-needs day and THAT’S why you were so hungry and thus you “screwed up” and ate “too much?”

  1. Calorie counts on charts are inaccurate. A variety of factors affect how many calories are in any given piece of food, and there’s much you don’t know about the supply chain and the ingredients. You don’t know how much your chicken breast weighs. And if you’re actually WEIGHING it, well, my Reason #1 applies, above.

(Sometimes we have to ask ourselves if the insanities of the modern age just breed more insanities. Can you imagine cavemen counting calories? The whole outrage is simply an outgrowth of the processed food diet. If we eliminate processed food, we don’t have to invent silly counting programs.)

  1. “A calorie is a calorie is a calorie” is a lie! The Oxford-Cornell China Project is the biggest nutrition study in history. Studying 6,500 people in 65 counties of China, the researchers learned that plant eaters can eat 200 calories a day more than meat eaters, and stay thin!

high fiber foodsIt turns out, the body doesn’t even absorb all of the calories in foods high in fiber. That’s your greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. (The ones I’ve been teaching you to eat more of!) If your friend ate 500 calories less than you, but it was Skittles and a white-bread ham sandwich, but you actually ate more calories in that meal, but it was whole, raw, plant foods, you’re still the winner. Not only in your overall health, aging, and energy—but very possibly in weight maintenance as well!

  1. Counting calories creates a bunny trail, potentially keeping you ironically further from good health. People do programs like Weight Watchers, where junk food is totally endorsed, and all food is equal, but is just assigned points. I’d rather have you focus on eliminating or minimizing refined sugars, and not eating foods containing neurotoxins, and absolutely minimizing refined salt in the diet. All of these have a dramatic, documented effect on weight.

My conclusion? Profit industries won’t support this way of thinking:

But I’d rather maximize nutrient dense foods. Greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I’d rather avoiding processed and animal foods. This matters far more than counting calories.

WHAT DOES GSG THINK ABOUT THE PALEO DIET? part 2 of 2

The GreenSmoothieGirl View

Correlationcausation2I do agree with Paleo theory that hybridized grains are a bad idea. Ditto processed foods. Any diet that gets us OFF PROCESSED FOODS will make you feel better. People get very emotional defending Eat Right for Your Blood Type–because people who followed it felt better. Sure they did! Every single one of the blood types are told to not eat refined flour or sugar!

leafy greens 2
A leafy green has 30 times the megahertz of energy that a chicken breast does.

Again, correlation does not prove causation. Just because you feel better not eating junk food doesn’t mean there’s any validity to being pigeonholed by your blood type. After all, ALL cultures of the world have ALL the blood types represented! So how much sense does it make to tell A-positive folks that their blood type means they came from Europe and therefore they must eat grain and no meat like their ancestors did, who were all A blood type? Whereas Type O folks need to eat a lot of meat and do a lot of yoga rather than cardio. Or whatever it is. I read it once. I studied its scientific assumptions, which are head-scratchers, and moved on.)

But not all grains are bad. Fruit is good food. Many vibrantly healthy people don’t eat cooked animal flesh, which has very low energy, which you can measure. A leafy green has 30 times the megahertz of energy that a chicken breast does.

bowelsMeat Concerns

Humans have a GI tract that is 35 feet long, unlike carnivores that have short digestive tracts. This means that animal flesh putrefies before it leaves the body. Meat ages us quickly. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the faces of long-time bodybuilders and fitness competitors. Eating so much protein draws heavily on our limited digestive enzyme stores. The China Study is the biggest piece of nutrition research in history, and its clear conclusion is that a 20%+ animal protein diet puts us at high risk for all degenerative disease, especially cancer.

If we do eat animal protein, it should be clean, and it must be a minor part of a meal that is mostly high-fiber, raw plant food. Like a small portion of fish or poultry with a huge salad or big green smoothie.

Dangerous Diet

Atkins went away when so many people got sick from it, and the data about this began to be well-known. Atkins followers had bad breath, constipation, and plenty of heart disease and cancer. Its overweight founder died of heart disease.

I hope Paleo dies soon, too. I agree with Paleo followers about eating whole foods. They make no distinction between cooked and raw vegetables, and that’s a critically important difference, since raw foods require far fewer resources for the body to digest, leaving more energy for higher brain function, creativity, athletics, and just generally doing great things.

The Golden Nugget

My agreement with Paleo principles ends with eliminating refined foods and advocating for whole ones. I am sure I will get some backlash from Paleo followers. That makes sense, because they’re spending a lot of time and dough following that “diet.” Sometimes we over-commit to things we’ve spent a lot of time and energy and money on. Plus, as you mentioned, Marianne, this diet is taught by Crossfit instructors.

earth eatThe Truth Will Set You Free

But, I’m not going to endorse a fad just because it’s popular. I’m going to tell the truth as I see it. Feel free to reject it if you want. Just remember: you may feel better and be leaner on Paleo. But anyone will, who gets off refined carbs. There are better, easier ways to get ripped and get healthy, that don’t harm your health, break the bank, and bankrupt the environment.

 

Texas Part 3 of 7: Houston’s Stephanie–a Green Smoothie Transformation

Stephanie was smack on the front row in Houston, a gorgeous tiny little mom who has lost 50 lbs. doing green smoothies. (Check out her before-and-after photos!)

Her husband was with her, and Stephanie said he’s gone from “couch potato to marathon runner.” Stephanie told me that despite the oohs and aaahs about how she looks, “What happened is more on the inside than on the outside!” I believe she would endorse my statement that a change in fuel impacts your emotional and psychological health as much as your physical health.

Here’s her story:

Since Green Smoothie Girl was so pivotal in my own transformation, it is poetic that I now get to share my story here with Robyn and her readers.

Just a few short years ago, I was overworked, overstressed, and overweight. I was living in a daze and life was not joyful. I was headed in the wrong direction and I was bringing my family with me.   I had to hit rock bottom before I decided to make any changes. I was a junk food junkie, not spending much time in the kitchen and never shopping in the produce section.

I had already tried diet pills, the no-carb diet, boxed food delivered in the mail, and counting points. I knew that I did not need a temporary diet, I needed a permanent change. I learned about a Raw Foods lifestyle and my interest was piqued. However, there was one major problem. I really did not like eating vegetables.

I soon discovered that I could drink them instead. I am a visual learner, so I hit YouTube to learn more. And voilà – I discovered Green Smoothie Girl. I soon bought some fruits and veggies and pulled out my 15 year old blender and went to town. I LOVED them! Before long I purchased a Vitamix and decided that I would replace 2 meals a day with green smoothies and incorporate more whole foods into my diet.

Magical things happened! As my diet cleaned up, my head cleared. The weight was coming off (50 lbs total) and I was feeling really good.   The fog had lifted. I decided that I was not going to return to my legal career.   I had a new passion for everything associated with health and wellness. I researched more, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to share with others.

This led me to enroll at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I am now working as a Health Coach and a Raw Food Chef and have a new zest for life!   I became “The Nutrition Mom” and my message is “Simple-Healthy-Solutions.” Eating does not have to be so complicated.   Let’s bring it back to basics.

I coach others to take one step at a time. I feel so blessed to not only teach people about proper nutrition, but to go on the journey with them.   I meet them where they are and give them the support that they need along the way. It’s a beautiful journey.

Thank you Robyn, for sharing your message.   You have set me, and so many others, on a new path and I am forever grateful.

Stephanie Merchant, Health Coach

TheNutritionMom.net

My quirky weight-loss strategies, part 2 of 3

I yo-yo like everybody else. (Women can gain and lose 4 lbs. in a week, simply from hormone changes within a cycle and accompanying water retention.) But I yo-yo within a 5-lb. variation. A year ago I dropped 7 lbs., and quickly, because of some stresses in my life. That is highly unusual, though.

I will tell you the things that work for me. Not that I think they’re the ONLY things, nor even that they’ll work for YOU. But they might help some people.

Have you read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point? Sometimes, I really believe, a very small shift in thinking, or a small shift in behavior, can put you over the tipping point. Perhaps a new little way of doing something could make a difference for you in managing your weight. Dropping whatever extra pounds you’re carrying, and staying there for life. That makes sense, since drinking one can of soda a day means a 15-lb. annual weight gain, or obesity within 2 years. On both the negative and positive ends, SMALL THINGS ARE BIG THINGS!

I’m going to record a free online event where I interview 30 Famous Skinny People and get their Healthy Weight Loss Tips. It will take a us a while to produce. If you know someone I should interview with a big name on the internet or anywhere else, who has great control over her weight and is rather verbal and articulate, write KRISTIN@GREENSMOOTHIEGIRL.COM.

My mom is my original inspiration when it comes to a woman who respects and values her body and limits weight fluctuations to a reasonable five pounds. (I know super-neurotic women who obsess, fret, tell everyone they know when they’re 2 lbs. over their “ideal” weight. This is, to me, not living a balanced life. Plus nobody likes you when you do that. Since almost everyone else is way more than 2 lbs. over their “ideal.”)

My mother isn’t a supermodel and has her flaws, was kind of your standard Mormon mom, except for one thing:   she was never overweight. As she was raising 8 kids, she did the basics: broke a sweat every day, and ate whole foods and very little processed food.  She did have her closet foods. With 8 kids, any “treat” food you buy is gonna be GONE.  She used to hide yogurt-covered almonds in her closet. (She wasn’t one of those super-human, uber-disciplined people none of us can relate to. Neither am I…I love chocolate!)

But, two really cool things. One, she never talked about not liking her body. Two, she didn’t change clothes endlessly and agonize over how she looked and denigrate herself with “I’m fat” comments.

Consequently, that stuff didn’t rub off on me. Until I was a teenager, I didn’t learn that part of what it means to be a girl, in this culture, is to put myself down and swing wildly from thin-to-fat, bingeing and dieting. (There was plenty of that to observe from my peers, in high school, college, and beyond.)

However, if my mom ate too much all day Sunday, on a fun family day, she ate strictly minimally and healthy the next day. If she ate too much for two days, she ate really well for 2 or more days until her weight was back to normal.

My mom didn’t “diet” and neither do I. So, here’s my first tip:

1. Get control before you’ve gained more than 5 lbs. If you keep thinking , “I’ll worry about this next spring,” or “I’ll go on a diet next month,” you are choosing to create a crisis rather than a mild, rather painless correction.

Five more tips, tomorrow.

obesity conference

This is an email I got from a GSG reader. Dr. Larsen is a dentist who studies nutrition to help his patients and practices what he preaches. His observations at the obesity conference he recently attended parallel my own, as documented sometimes on this blog. What do you think?

Robyn,

I attended a seminar in Salt Lake a couple of weeks ago titled, “Obesity: A Scientific Update.” It was presented by Beverly White, PhD, RD and it was very interesting, thought you might be interested in what was said.

I will attach my notes, some of which may not make any sense, but the following are my overall impressions after the seminar.

First of all, the room was mostly full of nurses and dieticians, and I would say at least half of the group were either over weight or obese. These are the dieticians who are teaching Americans how to eat and be healthy.

The success rates for Americans who attempt fad diets is about 5-10% after 1 year. The success rates of the prescription medications is less, and ALL of them have serious side effects, and some physicians are leaving patients on them indefinitely because they know if they take them off, the weight will return, although none of the drugs have been approved for long term use. Bariatric surgeries are super expensive, and have complications and side effects as well, and not a great success rate. Dieticians working with clients may have a slightly higher success rate than the 5-10%, but when they stop seeing the nutritionist, the bad habits return and the weight comes back on. I got a very weird feeling about the whole obesity epidemic, kind of like there is nothing we can really do about it, even though we are the ones trained to help people eat healthy. Beverly cautioned the dieticians to not try to make too radical of a change to anyone’s diet, or they will rebel and not follow through.

I asked Beverly one-on-one between one of the breaks if she had read Colin Campbell, Joel Furhman, Mike Anderson, or had studied anything about plant-based diets in her PhD program. She was not familiar with any of the people I mentioned, had never heard of the China Study, for example, and they did not study plant-based diets.

At one point in the program, she asked how many eat 3-5 servings of fruits or vegetables/day (could be from a can, frozen, etc.) and about 30% of the group raised their hand. She asked if anyone eats 6-9 servings/day and I raised my hand along with I think one other person. After the class, one of the RD’s came running up to me and asked me how in the world I eat that many servings a day. I said it’s easy. I told her about green smoothies, she had never heard of them. I told her about plant-based diets, she had never heard of them.

They have done research that shows that children who are taught good nutrition at a young age can follow that for many years to come, and may be more likely to eat healthy than adults. Too bad what we’re teaching children isn’t always the best information, when it comes from government food pyramid.

Anyways, thought this might be interesting to you. It was kind of an eye-opener to me. I really feel like the MD’s and the RD’s and the nurses who are in our health care system don’t really believe in nutrition themselves.

Sincerely,

Garon Larsen