being a CONSCIOUS plant eater

Yesterday, wow, I sort of mindlessly posted on my Facebook page (find me as Robyn Openshaw-Pay or GreenSmoothieGirl) a group called “No More Blood On My Plate.”

Wow.   The response that followed could only be described as a war.   I didn’t even participate in the discussion. (The whole conversation was just NOT. MY. STYLE.   But let’s just say that between those who did, it was . . . heated.)   This leads me to repeat something I learned in my 20’s, as I started trying to share my nutrition philosophies with some of my in-laws.   The point isn’t that they were my in-laws; the point is that I was sharing information they didn’t ask for.   Unsolicited ADVICE giving is probably how they saw it, regardless of whether I felt my motives were pure and didn’t feel I was telling anyone what to do–just sharing things I’d learned.   Wanted to help people I knew were suffering from modern degenerative diseases.

I learned something important.   NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, is more emotional for us than food.   Our opinions about food are sacred cows.   As deeply held as our religion and politics.   People come to the GreenSmoothieGirl.com program  only when they (a) were already primed for information about whole foods by their life experience, or (b) have come to a difficult or even desperate place, health-wise, and are frustrated by what’s available (read: NOT available) in modern medicine to help them.   As I’ve said in one of my books, when a student is ready, a teacher appears.

Anyway, I was dismayed at the Facebook war.   Fact is, as I am working to teach my 13-y.o. vegetarian daughter, we can’t bludgeon somebody to death about our dietary opinions and win a single convert.   (Some in the discussion were talking about “forcing” your food views on others, etc.)

Be a CONSCIOUS plant eater.   If you’re following 12 Steps to Whole Foods, you’re getting what you need.   If you’re a vegan eating Diet Coke and Twinkies, you’re in trouble.    Being gentle with the earth and avoiding killing animals is great, but let’s take it up a level and also eat what nourishes us best.   That’s what the Word of Wisdom is about.

Green Smoothie Testimonials, part 3

I’m 44 years old. I’ve always had very regular menstrual cycles. For about one year prior to drinking green smoothies, my menstrual cycles had become very irregular. After about two months of green smoothies, I returned to a very regular cycle of 20 – 30 days and my periods are just like they were in my 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve been drinking my quart of green smoothie per day for six months now and my cycles are consistently regular.

 

–Kathy M.

 

I love green smoothies! I drink them every morning, and I was so surprised how great they make me feel! I have lost weight, have lots of energy, feel healthier than ever and feel like my immune system is even stronger than it was.

 

Drinking green smoothies also influenced all of my eating and cooking decisions, and allowed me to lose weight safely. When we travel, I am always carrying my blender with me so I can have green smoothies anywhere I go!

 

My 20 month old daughter also loves them. I am sure that green smoothies are the best way to get babies/toddlers to get their greens. She gets so excited when I get out the blender and she always wants more! Thank you, green smoothies, and thank you to my friend, Tara, for introducing them to me!

 

–Kathryn Rose

 

I drink a quart of an all-vegetable green smoothie every day. I have more energy, sleep better, wake up ready for the day, and generally feel much better. I believe it’s because of the green smoothie and a whole foods diet, mostly raw. I have cut out all processed foods, sugar, and caffeine, and I feel great! Thanks for your website; it’s very informative and inspiring!

 

–Carol J.

 

After a few weeks of drinking green smoothies via wimpy blender, we were hooked and made our best nutritional investment to date–BlendTec. Our green smoothies have become greener and we have been known to eat 3-4 bunches of greens and 1 pound of baby spinach in a week between two adults and two toddlers.

 

I sometimes find myself looking around at all the green plants and wonder, “What would that taste like?”  I was skeptical at first, but my then-barely-two yr. old and three-yr.-old both enjoyed the green smoothies as well. They were converted before my husband!

 

Summer proves to be an easier time to drink them due to the warmer weather.   However, we still maintain regular GS drinking throughout all the seasons. I do not have to force them on my toddlers; rather, they will request them and are especially excited to help put all the ingredients into the blender.

 

GS have helped control my sugar cravings, eliminated Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and boosted my energy. My kids have regular bowel movements that do not have the stench as pre-GS days.

 

It is best to start children early on GS as it will develop their palate towards REAL, nutritionally sound foods.

 

–Laura M. and family

I don’t want green smoothies when it’s cold!

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   I LOVE green smoothies, but lately, since it’s getting cooler outside, I’m wanting something warm . . . got any ideas?

 

Answer:   Yes, what I do is have my green smoothie (never warm, yuck!) PLUS something warm or hot that I really enjoy, like warm sourdough bread or a bowl of soup.   Eat the hot thing last!   (That’s a better idea anyway, as enzymes are already in your stomach when cooked food arrives, signaling to bodily systems not to tax themselves providing manufactured enzymes which take resources away from metabolic functions.   At my house, we always eat the green smoothie or salad FIRST, then our other food.)

green smoothies and calories

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   I am nursing  my three-month old daughter and at the same time trying to lose the rest of my baby weight (I have about 43 pounds to lose…I gained 70 . . . oops!).   I have been trying to incorporate the smoothies into my diet, but it seems that I do not lose in the weeks when I am very consistent with drinking them.   This is what I am typically eating:

 

hot pink breakfast smoothie

1 small homemade pumpkin muffin (with wholegrain flour and agave nectar)

 

1/2 portion of whatever we had for dinner the night before (we are vegans, so usually some kind of veggie soup, stew, etc….always low fat)

1  quart green smoothie

 

vegan dinner…small portion

1 small homemade muffin

 

i also drink 2 cups of decaf chai and mother’s milk teas with stevia and a splash of vanilla almond milk

 

I am 6 feet tall and weigh approx 225 lbs (weighed 185 when I conceived, but would like to get back down to 165 eventually) and work out a few times a week.

 

I love drinking the smoothies, but am worried about the scale not moving down when I am drinking them . . . should I make my lunch only the smoothie and not any leftovers?

 

Answer:   I’m not a fan of strict calorie counting, but it helps to know some essential information.   First, your body can handle 600 to 800 calories at a time.   So, when we eat a huge meal of well over 800 calories, the body has to store some of that food energy as fat.

 

Second, a quart of green smoothie (good job!) is about 400 calories, or 500 if you’re adding a Tbsp. of flax oil.   So just keep an eye on that.   It’s obviously very nutritionally dense and low in calories.   If your leftovers portion is 600 calories, however, you might want to eat a smaller amount.

In general, your menu sounds good.   So, third, if you are eating in accordance with principles of good nutrition, not overeating, and not indulging in processed foods, and you are still not losing weight you need to lose, then my next suggestion for you would be to have your thyroid checked.   Don’t go to your OB/GYN or a standard lab for this.   Find a clinic specializing in women’s hormones, and the practitioner may be a nurse.   Have a full blood panel run, because the T3 measurement your OB/GYN would likely have you test does not tell the whole story.   You will need to have your blood workup analyzed for a fairly complex interplay of a number of factors, including T4 and some other hormones that work with your thyroid.

 

If you are one of the burgeoning number of women suffering from low thyroid (estimates seem to fall about 25% of American women), ask to be prescribed a bioidentical thyroid hormone rather than a synthetic drug (like Cytomel or Synthroid).   The natural bioidenticals are also cheaper than the drugs, since you can’t patent a natural substance.

healthy options eating out

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I know you make a green smoothie and take it to work in a quart jar.   But what about when you get up late, don’t have time, and you’re out in town and STARVING?   What do you eat?

 

Answer:   Here, locally (Utah County), my favorite thing to do is go to New York Burrito at about 1600 N. State, Orem.   Get a vegetarian wrap on a whole-wheat tortilla.   Skip the white rice (they don’t have brown rice, but mention that you hope they start using it).   Instead, get lots of black beans.   (They don’t salt their black beans.)   Then ask for TONS of extra romaine and tomatoes, and have some onions (and guacamole and salsa) for plenty of RAW.   You’re out the door for under $5 and 5 minutes, with a whole-food lunch that tastes great–and New York Burrito doesn’t even cater to the health conscious.

 

You can look around for healthy options like this and know where to head on a day you’re crazy-busy.   If you’re in Springville, anything you get at Ginger’s is really tasty and also raw and really nutritious.  

 

If I’m in a sit-down restaurant with friends, I try to avoid Mexican and Chinese, because they rarely have a lot of raw ingredients.   And I mostly stick to salads.   Ask for special things in it–like, skip the chicken, please, and give me extra spring greens and lentils instead, or whatever.

 

At Pizza Factory, I get pasta and veggies–only the pasta I order is actually the steamed yellow squash noodles (this dish is fantastic with any sauce).   And instead of going to the salad bar where the lettuce is iceberg, I ask them to bring me a plate of romaine and build my salad from there.   (Iceberg lettuce is nutritionally pointless; darker greens are so much better for you.   Every time I do this in a restaurant, everyone else at the table does it, too.)

 

Any tips you have for each other would be appreciated.

spinach and other personal items

I just drove my 11-year old daughter Libby and her teammate Tristan home from their soccer game in another city.   I started this really funny conversation with Tristan in an effort to end my daughter’s rant about how much she hates practicing the piano:

 

Me:   Tristan, do you take piano lessons?

 

Tristan:   Well, I used to.   But it cost $100 a month each, for my sister and me.   So my parents had to fire the teacher, because we didn’t have enough money for . . . um . . . food.   And clothes.   We were wearing all hand-me-downs.

 

Me (trying not to laugh, as Tristan’s mother is a top-ranking administrator at the university I teach at, and her father is a well paid professional):   Really!

 

Tristan:   Yeah.   My mom spends all her money on . . . spinach.   And other personal items.   She makes smoothies.

 

Me:   Really?   GREEN smoothies?

 

Tristan:   Yeah.

 

Me:   Did she learn about green smoothies from me?   (I don’t know Tristan’s mom well, as I deal only with her dad for carpool, nor have I noticed her in my 12 Steps subscriber list or at a nutrition class.   But GSG.com readers turn up in the funniest places.)

 

Tristan (anger in her voice):   Yeah!   And now she’s reading MORE books and learning MORE stuff!   And she never gives us sugar!   Except for, we get root beer on Pizza Night.   Which is only like once a YEAR!

 

Go Tristan’s mom!   I had to clap my hand over my mouth to keep from bursting out laughing!   Spinach a “personal item,” indeed.