PLASTICS: which ones to avoid, and why!

You’re likely aware that plastics are harmful to your health. They have phenomenally long half-lives, and don’t break down in the body, causing ongoing damage.

Look on the bottom of your bottle, and see the number in the little triangle. Look carefully at this graphic, because the  numbers aren’t consecutive. The worst grades of plastic are 6, 3, and 7.

A 7 is the worst grade of plastic, and most labeled 7 contain the most infamous chemical in plastics: Bisphenol A (BPA).

Water and other liquids leach BPA. This endocrine-disruptor chemical can do crazy things to your hormones. The U.S. finally banned the chemical in baby bottles, after the European Union and Canada did. Wiki says a study found BPA in 96% of pregnant women. It’s been linked to obesity, breast and prostate cancer, and ADHD.

Please don’t use old baby bottles or any other plastic that isn’t BPA free that comes into contact with your food or water. More and more companies are making their plastics without BPA, including Blendtec’s blender jars. But our FDA continues to support the use of BPA in cans, including drinks, and infant formula!

Another chemical to avoid is PVC (polyvinyl chloride), known as vinyl, which contains phthalates, known to cause birth defects in baby boys, testicular cancer, infertility, and asthma. PVC plastics are labeled with the 3 triangle.

So, anything you use that’s plastic, make sure it’s labeled 1, 2, 4, or 5.

Our GreenSmoothieGirl bottles, of course, are BPA free, vinyl free, and phthalate free.

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers….part 3 of 5

Today’s topic: WHAT DO I WEAN MY BABY ONTO?

So, you can’t feed your baby nothing but breast milk, and then goat milk (or yogurt/kefir) forever. Now you know why I highly encourage you to breastfeed as exclusively as you can, for 18 months.

But when you do begin to wean your baby, avoid all the boxed ‘cereals’ and the jars of baby food. I never fed my last three any of those things, not even once. Not one of them drank any ‘formula.’

Babies sensitive to dairy formulas are often given soy formulas, which is deeply troubling to me. Soy is estrogenic, and it is a very well-known endocrine disruptor. It is very possibly my least-favorite option to feed an infant. Plus, over 85% of America’s soy crops are genetically modified. Some evidence links it to degenerative gut conditions. Obviously we don’t want to start your baby down that path, shortly after birth!

I started weaning my babies onto raw, primarily non-sweet plant foods. More greens and vegetables than fruits.

If you start there, when your baby is hungry (beginning to outgrow the milk-only diet, and getting interested in table foods, wanting what you eat), you’re setting her tastes, which truly last a lifetime.

What you feed her NOW will be things she always gravitates towards. Programming at this very young age is very powerful. (Even the things you ate while your baby was developing in the womb, are often foods the baby later craves.)

So you have the opportunity to craft your child’s tastes. Make it easy on yourself, instead of choosing years of tantrums if you don’t feed her Skittles at every meal. That’s what you’re choosing for yourself, if you start feeding your little one sugar! A guaranteed future of refined-foods addiction.

Mash avocado. Make a simple green smoothie with only two ingredients. Chard and a small amount of banana, with water. Spinach, and an apple, and water. Blend it in your turbo blender. (Blendtec is the best one, Vitamix is the second-best one.)

MAKE IT ORGANIC. Your body doesn’t do well metabolizing pesticides. Your baby’s body is even more sensitive—plus, his body is just tiny. It should be developing, not struggling against organophosphates, or heavy metals.

Don’t cook the veggies to puree them in the blender. Blend RAW carrots and just enough water to blend. Cooking makes it soft, yes, but also kills vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Remember your baby isn’t producing digestive enzymes yet anyway. So give them to her in the form of raw plant food!

Don’t feed your baby raw honey until after 12 months, to be sure that her body is equipped to deal with the very mild pathogens occasionally found in that food.

Don’t sweeten the green smoothies with any concentrated sweetener. The only reason YOU think they have to be sweet is that you weren’t lucky enough to have a mother systematically weaning you onto wonderful living, whole, raw plant foods. Your baby has no addiction to sugar. Yet. Your baby has no emotional attachment to eating. Yet. Add nothing to sweeten but a bit of banana, or dates.

Add only one food a day, or each few days, to carefully observe any reactions in your baby, any potential food sensitivities. If you noticed when you were nursing, that your baby reacted to your breast milk when you ate certain foods, there is a higher likelihood that your baby is going to be sensitive to some foods when you feed them to her directly.

A mashed banana is a wonderful food for a baby. I think a banana and an avocado mashed for a baby is a FABULOUS baby or toddler meal. Perfect fats for brain health. Great potassium and many other vitamin and minerals, full of enzymes to make it easy to digest.

When you see the eyeteeth come in, at about 18 months, your baby is better able to digest foods, because that developmental milestone also generally means the body is in full digestive enzyme production as well. That is when I introduced cooked foods. But every meal or snack, then and now in my home, has been 60-80 percent raw. That way we are providing most or all of the enzymes our bodies need, rather than forcing the pancreas to release its limited stores.

Good cooked foods for toddlers would include toasted sprouted English muffins, “buttered” with coconut oil, or manna bread, or homemade, wholegrain sourdough bread. You can make lots of soups that feature legumes and vegetables, and many ideas are found in 12 Steps to Whole Foods, recipes I’ve raised my own family on and continue to make. Sometimes we eat whole-grain pastas, which is an excuse to make a sauce full of raw tomatoes and vegetables, and toss in steamed veggies. We make lots of different things with sprouted-wheat tortillas, and vegetarian refried beans that we make our buy, and veggies.

We eat a lot of salad. All of my babies were big salad eaters well before they were 2 years old. This helps them build a strong jaw capable of breaking down whole, raw plant foods.

You have perfect control of what fuel you give your child to make the most of his natural gifts, his natural intelligence, his naturally perfect mental health. Avoiding giving your baby sweet foods in his first two years of life also helps him have a better chance of excellent dental health, for many years to come. You can easily avoid white flour and sugar, food dyes and chemicals, hormone- and steroid-fed animal products. You might have to talk to church and daycare workers and ask them not to feed your child the standard snacks. (I told them my child was “allergic.” Aren’t we all?)

It’s worth it to swim upstream against the culture, to protect our children’s right to grow up healthy and strong. It’s worth a little money to buy organic for our babies. It’s worth a little time to plant a garden to control more of our food, decrease our carbon footprint, and set an example to our kids.

Tomorrow, nutrition during pregnancy.

Use nutrition to stoke your sex drive! Why young moms aren’t “into it.”

You think I’m going to start talking about chocolate syrup and strawberries in the bedroom as props. I’m not. I have WAY better advice than that.

Moms of young children are very often less interested in sex than their partners. Husbands are frustrated and wonder what happened to the energetic woman they married. (Have a little patience, guys. It very well may be temporary. Kind of a LONG temporary, I know, but still—it’s a season.)

Historically, at least when Masters and Johnson were doing their landmark work on North Americans and sexual practices and attitudes, women hit their “sexual prime” at 40, but these days, researchers see less of that. More and more, some women don’t even HAVE a sexual prime. They’re perennially exhausted, and with reserves running low, sex is the first thing to go.

Another growing phenomenon is low testosterone in men—so men have less interest in sex now, many of them, than they did 50 years ago. (Not all of them, of course. But a surprising number.)

If you’re GreenSmoothieGirl, many people know you’re single, some people know you’re a former sex therapist, and everybody knows you know a lot about nutrition…..my point is, people tell me stuff. Turns out, lots of women, and some men, too, are suffering with sexual dysfunction, or just a lack of interest in it.

Child hugging mother's legI have some thoughts. First of all, if you’re married to a mommy who seems disinterested in taking her clothes off for you at 10 pm, keep in mind how women get their sexual needs met. It’s primarily through touch. Think about how much TOUCH a young mom is getting. Sometimes you literally have multiple small, cuddly, cute people hanging around your neck. By the end of the day, you’ve had more touch than you can take. Or, at least—you’ve had that need met.

This is not, however, how a man gets his sexual needs met. So he’s frustrated. The 30’s, while couples are raising small children, is typically the lowest marital-satisfaction period of time in the span of a marriage. And this phenomenon we’re discussing today is the most often-cited reason.

One thing everyone needs to do, to clear all the negative energies from your endocrine system, male or female, is get away from endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Don’t drink out of plastic containers or microwave stuff in plastic (or heaven forbid, Styrofoam).

Don’t drink tap water–avoid fluoride and chlorine. Get a carbon filter on the whole water system in your home. Get a reverse osmosis filtration system, at a minimum. Best of all is if you have R.O. water, and a water ionizer.

Say No to SoyDon’t eat soy! Most of it in the U.S. is genetically modified, but also, there is soy protein isolate and soy lecithin and a dozen other processed soy fractions in everything boxed, everything canned, everything manufactured by humans these days, including almost all BREAD products. Soy mimics estrogen in the body and disrupts normal hormone function. Don’t use soy milk or any other products—occasionally, organic only, small amounts of miso, edamame, tofu, nama shoyu or Bragg’s, are okay.

Quit using chemical skin-care products. Putting it on your skin is the same as eating it. Your skin is a living, breathing organ, and it takes what you put on it into the bloodstream. Make a shift to the things you put on your skin being only natural. My moisturizer is organic coconut oil. And essential oils, especially lavender, for the sun damage.

Get on my diet. It’s called 12 Steps to Whole Foods. When greens are what you eat most of, then vegetables, fruits, legumes…..guess what, those are the most nutrient-dense classes of foods…..weight loss is nearly invariable. Green smoothies are just a good first step.

Even being 10 pounds over your normal weight can very noticeably affect libido. You think depressed libido is because you don’t feel sexy or uninhibited when you’ve got love handles or thigh flab. That’s only part of it.

(An important part! Feeling sexy and energetic DOES lead to you being your best self—in all ways. On the flip side, having to turn the lights off, avoid certain body parts being visible, or worrying about insecurities, leads to nothing good in the bedroom.)

The other part is how even just an extra 10 lbs. truly depresses circulation and endocrine functions. You really need those functions, for good lovin.’

If the nutritional suggestions I’m about to give you don’t do the trick, consider visiting a bioidentical hormone specialist. A little natural testosterone cream can be a libido lifesaver, but only if blood or urine tests show you’re low in that department. (Women over 40, did you know there’s a female testosterone?) Most women are estrogen-dominant, as well, no thanks to the above-mentioned endocrine disruptors. (The list would be as long as my arm of all the chemicals in our food supply and cosmetics that can play a role in that.) So often a progesterone cream is needed, which balances estrogens in the female body.

Please get these ONLY from a bioidentical practitioner. The drugs, from the other guys? The substances are not identical to what your body makes. They are harmful and may have some symptom-abatement results in the short term, but they are also associated with negative side effects and disease risk. Dr. Bryan Turner, M.D., is a bioidentical practitioner sponsoring my lecture in Provo this Friday  night.

Add these things to your green smoothie. Call the recipe Good Green Love. Or Sexy Smoothie 2.0. Half for you, half for your partner. Here they are:

Maca1. Maca. Easy to get online or at the health food store, prized by the Incas for its effect on sexual performance and libido, as well as all types of energy.

2. Bee pollen. The queen bee uses it for reproductive health. Humans respond well to it, too.

 

Celery3. Celery. Yes, the vegetable I affectionately like to say comes from the cardboard family. Put it in your smoothie where you won’t notice it, since it contains androsterone, a precursor to pheromones that positively affect the sexual behavior of your partner.

Get more foods containing ZINC, which blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. Soak raw pumpkin seeds and put them in your oatmeal or granola. Watermelon relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow and lubrication. You can get a supplement of L-arginine, which is an amino acid which can dilate the right blood vessels to improve arousal.

AsparagusAsparagus is rich in folate, which regulates histamine (released during orgasm). Bananas have several compounds that lead to testosterone production and blood flow, and therefore great sex: potassium, B vitamins, and the enzyme bromelain.

So try those ideas, and get in the bedroom and see what happens.

Enjoy! (Also, have a little moment of grieving silence, will you, for your SINGLE friend GreenSmoothieGirl?)

Regardless of whether this is all academic for me personally at the moment, I want y’all happy in every area of your life, including and especially the part that happens behind closed doors.

XOXO,

Robyn

 

Thyroid—you might have a problem and not know it

All estimates I’ve read are that 25 to 50 percent or more of American women have significant thyroid issues. Possibly over half of women over 40. Most of these women are undiagnosed. If you have low thyroid, which is the most common thyroid problem, symptoms may be low energy, slow metabolism / weight gain, dry skin, bags under your eyes, fatigue, hair loss, depression, poor circulation, low immune function, and insomnia.

My best friend since childhood, on the other hand, has the “auto-immune” condition of hyperthyroidism, which is just as miserable. Her thyroid is always revved and overproducing. She goes the drug route. The symptoms are a racing heartbeat, weight loss, increase or decrease in appetite, insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, mental disturbance, infertility, thinning hair, itching and hives, heat intolerance, and tremors / shakiness.

All the endocrine disruptors in the environment and food supply affect thyroid function. Don’t eat soy! Don’t expose yourself to pesticides, or plastics, or heavy metals. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and unchecked stress.

Doctors will likely put you on synthetic hormone. Remember that the drug thyroid is not bioidentical to the thyroid produced in your body. It’s been molecularly altered, each drug different from each other, to earn a patent.

If you find a clinic that specializes in bioidentical hormone, the cost is far less, and your body can assimilate and utilize the hormone effectively, like the hormone your own thyroid produces.

I spent four years on a synthetic thyroid drug, many years ago, before I knew any better. It helped me drop the 40 lbs. I’d gained in a year since I became hypothyroid. But it increased my risk for cancer. I happily transitioned to bioidentical and have been on it ever since. Recently I went completely off thyroid to test whether perhaps my good diet compensated, and maybe I could produce hormone effectively by myself.

The good news is, my baseline was much better than it was 10 years ago when I first was tested. The bad news is, I got ugly bags under my eyes. I made some videos last summer in Denver when I was completely off thyroid, and I can’t even look at them. Ugly. My body makes about 60% of the thyroid I need. I take a few drops of nascent iodine each day, now, and my bioidentical thyroid keeps me happy and balanced.

You can read whole books on the thyroid phenomenon by Mary Shomon, a bestselling author. Too many women are hypothyroid and going without treatment. Remember to google “bioidentical hormone” rather than starting with the standard M.D.’s practice of automatic drug-oriented HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

And remember, having an M.D. check you for T3 will not give you the whole answer. When I gained 40 lbs. because I was very hypothyroid in my mid-30’s, I was tested for that and the doc told me it was “normal.” I knew I was NOT feeling normal, but what was I to do?

You must get the full blood panel and have a highly specialized bioidentical practitioner look at the interplay of T3, T4, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and a variety of co-factors. When I did that, my life changed dramatically because they could treat my whole body, rather than just drug one element, throwing other critical elements into imbalance.

If you’re feeling healthy but want to make sure you’re getting enough iodine, using refined salt with chemical, synthetic iodine enrichment, is harmful. If you want ways to get more natural, bioavailable iodine in your diet, to enhance your body’s ability to make and utilize thyroid hormone?

Talk to your holistic practitioner about whether you should take nascent iodine (available online, google it) or Lugol’s solution (prescription). My practitioner had me paint a 1”x1” patch of my inner forearm with drugstore iodine, and if it disappeared in an hour, she said that was a sign my body needs iodine. (However, I believe others dispute this test as valid.)

Food-based sources are kelp (which you can take in tablets, or it’s a wonderful salt replacement seasoning), or dulse, or nori sheets (seaweed). Those are high-iodine sea vegetables. If you take too much, you would notice being jittery, anxious, shaky, so if so, you could back off those foods. But generally, you’d have to eat an awful lot of sea vegetables to create an imbalance.

Anti-Nutrients….are you letting them scare you off whole foods? part 1 of 3

One of the more infuriating aspects of nutrition education is the highly confusing anti-nutrients debate.

For example, hot issues include but are not limited to….

Grains have PHYTATES.

Spinach has OXALATES.

Apple seeds have CYANIDE.

Legumes have PURINES.

Broccoli and cabbage have GOITROGENS.

Dr. Mercola propagates a bunch of needless fear, attacking all grains and some vegetables because they contain an anti-nutrient. He creates fear about lots of whole foods people have eaten for centuries. And then he moves on to leverage that to sell whey protein (an over-popular, highly refined food).

Keep in mind that I feel some of Mercola’s stuff is brilliant, important, and well researched. Some of it is salesy, with shoddy thinking/research. Sometimes I wonder if he doesn’t watch over his staff writers very well…..

No one addresses this issue more logically, than my friend Jim Simmons, whose book Original Fast Foods is a great addition to your library. Because it’s excellent, well researched, and comprehensive, with good recipes. It’s the closest thing out there to the diet I teach. There are lots of raw-food recipe books, but people burn out from how labor-intensive they can be. Eating cooked legumes and whole organic grains is a way to eat a whole-foods diet without burnout, and with the high-fiber, high-nutrition, low-effort gains of, for instance, split peas, lentils, and black beans. I am suspect of any eating plans that ban such foods. I advocate for 60-80% raw plant foods—but I feel that some cooked vegetables, legumes, and grains are a wonderfully healthy part of a good disease-preventative diet, as evidenced by long history.

Here’s what Jim said to me via email, when I posted on the goitrogens issue last July:

“Research now supports the idea that anti-nutrients are nature’s way of helping us to be more intuitive in our eating patterns. For instance, some spinach is really good for you, but as you consume too much, the level of oxalates will build up in your bloodstream to a point that a signal will be sent to your brain and then a signal is sent from the brain to your endocrine system. The long and the short is, you will lose your appetite for spinach until the level of oxalates drop sufficient that your taste for spinach is turned back on….don’t get too complicated in your eating habits.”

I agree with Jim. Anti-nutrients are in most, if not all, whole foods. This does not mean they are bad, scary, or to be avoided. God put them in the food for a reason.

Tomorrow I’ll write about each of those anti-nutrients.

Jennie: “I want to go back to that raw restaurant”

My friend Jennie was a total junk food addict. Although she’s smart, well read, and has an advanced degree, she was also shockingly ignorant about nutrition (once I wrote about how she thought Jell-O was a food group).

At 29, she had horrific endocrine problems, including unbearable menstruation pain and endometriosis and infertility.

I begged her for a long time to consider the effect that her diet was having on her health. Finally she agreed to go see Dr. Hugo Rodier in Draper, Utah.

She took on his cleanse program and did it religiously. She was in tears a number of times because her education in nutrition was at such a low place, and she just didn’t know what to eat.

She completed the cleanse recently and her mind-blowing pain has not returned so far. She feels and looks much better. She drinks a green smoothie every day and missed it desperately when she went to a 3-day family reunion last weekend. She brought me some gluten-free, whole-foods banana cookies last week and was so proud of herself.

Last November she was with me at Sarma’s raw restaurant, Pure Food and Wine, in New York City. I treated her and my friend Jamie (who also has horrible pain and endocrine and fertility problems) to a 10-course meal. Neither of them would eat much of anything until the dessert. They left HUNGRY after 10 courses because they turned their nose up at virtually everything that was served–all of which was FABULOUS.

(I also got Jamie a meal at Go Raw Café the month before, in Las Vegas, which she wouldn’t eat and left hungry! Jamie’s highly influenced by years as a fitness competitor, a world of preoccupation with eating massive amounts of animal protein.)

Jennie, though, says her tastes have changed radically after shifting to her new whole-foods lifestyle.

She wrote me a text yesterday saying this: “I love raw plant food now! I wish I could go back to the raw restaurant in New York City! It would all taste good to me now!”

Tastes really do change. Get off sugar for 4 days and watch a miracle take place. Of course, the miracle ends the minute you eat sugar, because your addiction come roaring back with a vengeance.

I love to see positive changes like Jennie’s. I see so much more hope and light in her aura, her energy, her outlook. I’m taking her to Omar’s (our only upscale raw restaurant here on the Wasatch Front) for her birthday April 9 when I’m back from San Diego.