Nick and Kristin win #1 GreenSmoothieGirl evangelists!

Schoolteacher and computer programmer Kristin and Nick, after we made this video about attending my class in 5 cities, drove to MESA, AZ from their home in Cali. Every one of the six classes they’ve attended, they bring friends and family from that city.

They’ve driven up to 8 hours to attend my class, and they own every book I’ve written and give them away as gifts. They always stand in line after class and have me sign all their books. Finally, in San Jose, I said, “Hey you guys, what is your story?” They had never told me. We got it all on video here—be inspired!

These two are impressive—full of light and energy and excited to share the good news of what happened to them when they started eating much less crap and starting eating raw plant food! Go Nick and Kristin, XOXO!

Parenting and Nutrition: I hate being the bad guy, part 3 of 3

Oprah always says, “When you know better, you do better.” I believe that. There’s a lag that frustrates many of us, between our behavior versus our knowledge.

(You’ve educated yourself about the effects of dairy and sugar. And still you eat it. You’re mad at yourself. You sometimes feel you’re the only one. You’re not!)

But the MORE knowledge you have, the more LIKELY your behavior is to change….even if your behavior and choices lag behind your knowledge.

Our kids are no different. Let’s don’t neglect educating them about this terribly important topic—nutrition—just to perceive ourselves as more popular, or to avoid a little teenage eye-rolling. In a minute or two, they’ll be grown and gone. The biggest opportunities to influence them are NOW.

Kristin said, “The reason you won’t touch a hot dog is that you know what’s in it.” True, and from the minute my best friend Laura TOLD me what was in it, they were certainly less appealing.

(When we graduated college, she went to work for Bain and one of her clients was a meat-packing company. She said to me one day after a visit to the plant, “Please promise me that you and any children you will ever have will never eat hot dogs!”)

But guess what. It was actually several years later, with a couple of small children, when I decided to never eat hot dogs again.

Our behavior seems to lag behind our knowledge sometimes, doesn’t it? I always feel guilty being around people who learn how animals are treated cruelly and never eat another animal product from that day forward. Guilty that it took me years. That seems so smart and heroic to me. Some people are fast learners.

Most of us aren’t, though. (I say that with affection—note that I include myself in that lot!)

But if it takes 5 positives to earn yourself the right to impose 1 negative, in your intimate relationships (with your children, for instance), then what if we extrapolate a Rule of Fives?

What if we make a game with our kids that we always eat FIVE HEALTHY THINGS in a day?

My aforementioned friend of 30 years, Laura, has her kids make a “rainbow smoothie” and they are tasked with putting in something of every beautiful plant color.

Fives. I like it.

Parenting and Nutrition: I hate being the bad guy, Part 2

So I observe that even very overweight, ill people who overindulge, still pass up lots of junk food! You could have a year or two of depression where you ate everything in sight, and then, because it takes shockingly few calories to sustain fat cells, bam, you’re seriously overweight. And you could be more vigilant about your diet for years afterward, and remain obese. Losing weight is MUCH more difficult than maintaining a healthy weight is.

So it comes down to, are you willing to say no to MORE of it? 99% instead of 95%. That 4% is deadly. You know where that line is, between eating too much junk and eating just a reasonably sized treat now and then. You’ve been living in your body for a good while now so you know where that “fine line” is. (Lots of people haven’t discovered how much MORE food you can eat when you eat whole-food treats only!)

So what does this have to do with kids? Everything. THEY WILL GET THIS, the idea that their fuel impacts their life in absolutely every way. They need to understand it. We need to have lots of conversations with them about it. Taking different angles, not defaulting into mindless mantras.

Notice I said conversations. Not lectures. The difference being, we might ask a question, and then listen patiently, in between saying anything instructive. (In a minute, I’ll explain how you have to put 5 positives in the bank for every 1 instructional comment.)

What does your child think about things? One of my daughters gave me a huge compliment recently, saying (in so many words) that the reason she comes to me, rather than other people close to her, with a difficult or controversial subject, is that I listen and don’t judge her thinking and her developmental stage.

It’s not a problem to have high standards, or to talk to kids about choices, or to say NO to them. By not stocking the house with junk, by drawing a line at a party. (Even better, by modeling what WE do every day, which is pass up the vast majority of bad food in our path.)

Instead, it may be a matter of WHEN we talk about it.

Let me explain. When I was training to be a marriage therapist, I studied how one of the most well documented research findings is that stable marriages have 5 positives for every 1 negative. In other words, if you’re going to give your spouse (or child) some “tough love,” you darn well better have some currency in the bank. Your last five interactions should have been rife with love, praise, and tolerance. If you’ve done your time, you have credibility and influence.

I used to walk in my house and immediately take stock of the messes, the uncompleted chores, the people breaking well-documented rules. And I’d start verbally setting the place straight:

“Emma, why are these wet towels STILL on the kitchen floor? Pretty sure this is the fourth time I’ve asked you to take care of them! Kincade, did you pick the apples out of the tree? I don’t see them. Tennyson, turn the TV off and get out of the living room with the bowl of food, you know better!”

Sometimes just for good measure, I’d tie it all together and make myself seriously popular with a martyr trip. Something like, “When I leave, this place just goes to heck! Can’t you guys take a little pride in your own rabbit hole?”

A period of tension would follow. Usually the wet towels would still be on the floor and my oldest would be in his room instead of outside picking the apples. And we’d all be grumpy and avoiding each other.

Then I made a goal for myself: to not say ONE word of negative to anyone unless I’ve come in and first ENJOYED my children for five minutes. I’d ask them about their day, give them a hug, and listen to whatever they had to say. (I’m super lucky that way: all four of my kids talk to me a lot. But if your kid ISN’T a talker, all that much more important to not walk in barking orders, I’m thinking?)

An amazing thing happened. When I DID point out the wet towels or the bowl and spoon in the TV room, even just five minutes later, the kids were happy to get the job done or apologetic about breaking a rule.

So, it’s important to you to have your kids drink a glass of green juice every day. You are happy to make it if he’ll just drink it. After one of my Texas classes, a mom of adults told me she takes a green smoothie to her son when she wakes him up in the morning. He’s trapped there in bed, she said, and he’s happy he didn’t have to make it! LOL!

What if you were super careful about WHEN you talk to your child about good food choices? Do it only after giving him tons of love and attention about some things he’s doing well? Do it when you have lots of capital in his emotional bank account.

Don’t leave it at that. If your child’s nutrition isn’t what it should be, think what point you want to discuss next. But don’t just blurt it out, any old time.

Time it for a period you’ve got five positives on the balance sheet. And as I always say, make it relevant to your child’s interests. Will what you want her to do make her a better student, a better athlete? I’m not above pointing out how raw green food makes hair and skin prettier.

Parenting and Nutrition: I hate being the bad guy! Part 1 of 3

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I get so sick of cajoling my kids to eat right. It’s exhausting! So a lot of the time, I just cave to the pressure and let them eat crap. What do I do?

Answer: This is a big topic. I write on it a LOT, you know if you’ve been here for a while. But I’ll share some new thoughts today.

I was doing some research recently and read an interview Kevin Gianni did with Mike Adams where Mike said something like, “I get so sick of hearing people tell me that this or that good food doesn’t taste good. I wish people would just get over the idea that EVERYTHING has to taste good.”

I laughed out loud reading it. Amen, my brotha.

Sometimes I’ll tell someone griping to me about that, “Yeah? Well guess what. Don’t be shocked, but I don’t even really like green smoothies.”

It’s true. I don’t much like drinking stuff, except water. I have never bought a Jamba Juice smoothie, even before I was mega-healthy. It’s just not that appealing to me. I prefer things you eat with spoons or forks.

That’s not why I drink green smoothies. I drink them because they’re fast, easy, portable and super powerful in my energy-maximizing nutritional strategy.

I think the 80/20 rule applies. I eat about 80 percent foods that are outrageously good for me, whether I like them or not, and 20 percent foods I really love. (Like guacamole or raw olives. Anything made with coconut, or chocolate. Or sprouted-grain English muffins with butter.) Note that most of the foods I love are a 6 to 8 on a 1-10 scale (1 being pork rinds, 10 being the juiced collards and carrots I made with my new Norwalk Juicer this week). None are a 1 – 4 on the scale. But my favorites are higher calorie and not superfoods like a green smoothie is.

Caveat: if your “foods I love” list is pure Cheetos and Snickers and Diet Pepsi, 20 percent is waaaaay too much. You’ve not yet learned to replace that list with things that are both yummy and pretty darn good for you.

Helping your kids find a list of things they like, that also happen to be nutritious, is IMO one of the best things you can do for them as a parent!

I don’t have a standard that everything I put in my mouth has to taste good. Matter of fact, I often get MORE pleasure out of the sense of accomplishment (“I am so proud of myself for drinking that glass of collard juice and handful of sprouted almonds!”) than I get from the taste and texture of ice cream in my mouth.

Think about that, because human beings are in hot pursuit of pleasure. I value accomplishment, and building healthy cells and tissues, more than I value instant gratification. (Mostly. I do occasionally screw up a little.)

Do you? Your kids are noticing. I promise.

Also, they actually WANT you to talk to them, and set the example—regardless of the mixed messages (with the eye rolling and the “ya ya, I know Mom” stuff).

If you don’t talk to them and show them?

Well, you know all that talk about heredity being the primary factor in health, in obesity, and in cancer risk? People believe that. But it isn’t really true. More and more studies are showing, when researchers bother to isolate factors, that it’s not your genes that lead to three generations in a row getting cancer, as once thought—it’s the fact that, for the most part, we eat what our parents ate.

Some things we do simply because they’re good for us. I was telling this to Kristin in an airport last week. I said, “How many things did you just walk past on the way to our gate, that you LIKE eating, but you didn’t stop and buy?”

She said, “Hundreds.”

So, I continued, “Everyone says yes to a few things, and no to MANY things. Everyone. Even the folks we all look at and think, ‘Wow, you’ve really let it go, pal.’ If you say no to 99% of the bad-for-you foods in your path, you could be super healthy and fit. If you say no to only 95%, you could be obese, miserable, nearly immobilized.”

I’ll explain where I’m going with this tomorrow……



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

Green smoothies for kindergartners and pretty girls

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

I have been a special education teacher for 17 years and switched to teaching kindergarten this school year!  I am so excited to spend my days with 37 energetic little people.

To start the year off, we talk about how to treat each other and filling each other’s invisible bucket each day with kindness.  We want to be bucket fillers, not bucket dippers.

We now have a jar in our class, and whenever I catch someone being kind we get a warm fuzzy (a pom-pom).   When our bucket is full, we get a class party.  Well…I have been a green smoothie drinker for over a year.   My students see me drinking one every morning.   When I asked them what kind of party they wanted to have, when our bucket is full, can you guess what they wanted?

Not ice cream, not candy, but a green smoothie party!   I am so proud of them, and this Friday we will be earning our first green smoothie party!  Way to go kindergarteners! Thank you Robyn for inspiring me and generations to come!

~Jenn Jettner, Spring Lake, Michigan


Robyn’s note:

If it weren’t for the internet, how would I ever “meet” Jenn, who loves teaching and children so much that she teaches kids to fill kindness buckets every day AND she teaches them to drink green juice! (See the photo attached I asked her to take–she said the party was a brilliant success!) Sometimes I can’t believe I get to read awesome stuff like this every day! I love it!

Kids just want a party! It just has to be special and fun. It doesn’t have to feature junk food! In fact, we do them a disservice by modeling the attitude that parties have to be toxic. If we stop and check ourselves, we might realize that WE, not the kids, have some kind of mental rule that it’s not a party if there’s no sugar?

Jenn (unintentionally, perhaps) did exactly what I did with my 18-month old when I started making and drinking green smoothies. I originally acted like it was very special, and I kept it all to myself at first and just let him watch me drinking it.

He wanted some and I was a little miserly in my sharing it at first—I purposefully created a bit of scarcity and demand! He asked what it was, and I said, “Green ice cream!”

FYI, the whole thing eventually lost its cachet. That 18-month old is now an 18-year old. Last month he won the popular vote for Homecoming King in a landslide.

(Unfortunately, no teacher nominated him–you can make the obvious inferences about my kid, both good and bad, LOL! I used to wring my hands about his attitude towards grades and school, when he was little, but I’ve “grown up” a lot in my parenting. Now I just enforce the lower limits–nothing less than a C- is acceptable! And I laugh about and enjoy how different he is from me, and hope that rather impressive charisma gives him what his GPA lacks, because it’s his life to live, not mine!)

But despite his rolling his eyes at my healthy habits, sometimes he comes over from his dad’s hot-dogs-and-Top-Ramen house to get a healthy meal or snack here. A really pretty girl at school recently baked him something. He knows her to be really interested in health and taking care of her body. She told him he could pay her back by making her a green smoothie! Suddenly he is interested in not only drinking them, but also MAKING them.

Green smoothies are making a popularity comeback in his life I haven’t seen for….oh, a decade and a half?