Back from Africa: Green Smoothies, Detox, and Dr. Oz

I’m just back after 2 weeks in Africa, perhaps the most amazing trip of my life. I’ll show-n-tell about it this week. Meantime, I’m getting a late start on our detox, but I’m on it! Are you? I’m doing half a gallon of green smoothies daily, and 100% raw, for the rest of January.

 

Someone ran up to me in the airport waving a magazine she’d bought at a newsstand: For Women First. The weight-loss section (wouldn’t be a women’s magazine without that, would it?) has an article on Dr. Oz’s “#1 Fat Cure.”

It says, “Dr. Oz’s humble blend of cucumbers, apples and leafy greens has ignited a trend that’s got women surfing to sites like GreenSmoothieGirl.com in droves.”

Fun stuff. I was glad when Dr. Oz started promoting green smoothies. Specifically he quotes the following benefits.

Blending breaks apart plant-cell walls better than “even the most persistent chewing could, which gives green drinks an intestinal absorption edge that food-form produce can’t match.”

One GS enthusiast in Ohio said she lost 19 lbs. and gained lots of energy in just a few days. But her periods and PMS were less severe too. (Note from Robyn: I have virtually no PMS, though I had terrible cramps and mood swings in my 20’s.)

Chlorophyll, the plant pigment concentrated in greens, binds to mycotoxins, acidic waste products made by fungi and yeast, to block these toxins from entering the bloodstream. That makes green drinks “life changing” for the 70 percent of American women who have an overgrowth of candida albicans yeast. That overgrowth leads to persistent fatigue, chronic sinusitis, allergies, carb cravings, and yeast infections, among other things.

The writer talks about how three-quarters of women are depleted of enzymes by age 35. (Note from Robyn: men too! This is just a magazine for women.) Nutritionist Michelle Schoffro Cook explains that digestive enzymes produced by liver and pancreas are needed to break down food and absorb nutrients. Some of them assist in breaking down and burning fat. But cooked foods can’t supply enzymes. Green and fruits are chock-full of enzymes that reduce the workload on liver and pancreas, “allowing them to focus on their metabolic tasks like fat burning and energy production.”

Magnesium prevents fat storage, and 80 percent of American women don’t get the magnesium they need from their diets, according to Carolyn Dean, M.D: “When magnesium is low, cells don’t recognize insulin and glucose builds up in the blood–and gets stored as fat instead of being burned as fuel.”

“Magnesium in supplements is packaged in particles too large for the body to fully absorb, reducing its bio-availability down to about 4 to 15 percent,” said Dr. Dean. “Green plants take up the mineral from the soil via tiny rootlets, making their magnesium particles much, much smaller.” That means more than 90 percent is delivered in the form of energy to you!

I love that the mainstream is starting to talk about enzymes.

Does eating right cause irregular periods?

I just read a highly controversial, really interesting article on Debbie Took’s raw food blog, about the possibility that when a woman eats a vegan, high-raw (mostly raw) diet, she may have irregular periods, very light and infrequent.   Evidence is given and a number of professionals are quoted, that indigenous women don’t menstruate like modern Western women do, and that Western women who change their diet also change their menstruation.   The question is asked, why are so many who are serious athletes or who eat a superb diet . . . not menstruating?

 

Because this has been my personal experience as well, I am fascinated by the theory.   You have been taught over a lifetime that a period of heavy bleeding once a month is normal and healthy.   So this may shake your testimony of that standard “wisdom.”

 

Although I do always see the obvious, regular signs of ovulation, I rarely have a period; when I do, it’s almost nothing; and the horrific cramps of my 20’s (when I ate a lousy diet) are completely gone.

 

I offer the link here, as well as a few paragraphs from the article following it, to offer alternative viewpoints and get you thinking–not to suggest this is the hard-and-fast truth:

 

http://debbietookrawforlife.blogspot.com/2009/04/periods-they-may-be-normal-but-are-they.html

“Health researchers and writers Leslie and Susanna Kenton found their periods changed after switching to a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables:

‘Women on an all-raw or high-raw diet often report that menstrual problems such as bloating, pre-menstrual tension and fatigue improve greatly after two or three months. For some of them the improvement is so dramatic that they are not aware of their periods until they arrive. This is something we discovered ourselves and at first we thought we were unique. Then we spoke to numerous other women who said they had had a similar experience. Heavy periods become lighter – a period that lasts six or seven days can be reduced to as few as one or two. In some women, particularly those who do not eat meat, dairy products or large quantities of nuts, periods even cease altogether.’

Bellgene Chung, who healed herself of cervical cancer, and believes raw food helped her do that, has researched menstruation and diet:

‘Menstruation (bleeding) is NOT a necessity following ovulation…We have been conditioned to believe that menstruation goes hand in hand with ovulation…Most women, including myself, experience menstruation because they are not truly clean on the inside…Menstruation is the body’s desperate attempt to free itself from toxins, and many females experience PMS in addition to the needless bleeding. Abdominal pain (cramping), headaches, fatigue and irritability do NOT signify an optimal state of health, yet most of us brush these symptoms off as the norm. If you feel such symptoms, this is how your body is communicating that it wants you to change what you are doing; we must listen to Nature’s messages…Presently, on a mainly raw diet, I do not even realize that I am menstruating until I feel moist and decide to take a peek’.”

Mull over whether, like so many other things in our education provided by the medical profession, our education was erroneous that irregular periods are something to fear.

 

 


Green Smoothie testimonials, part 12

After a year of thinking and searching deeply about going vegetarian, I took the leap in September of ’08. What made the transition easy was the discovery of the green smoothie!I first heard of them on Robyn’s informative website, greensmoothiegirl.com.I was intrigued and investigated the origins of green smoothies and started to find whole blogging communities who were drinking these liquid vegetable treats. I viewed many of the YouTube videos Robyn had posted and saw how simple it was to get my veggies the green smoothie way.I started right away, using my simple kitchen blender.My 11 y.o. son and my husband were curious and started drinking them with me almost immediately.We LOVE them!

The chronic eczema around edges of my scalp are clearing up (some are completely gone!), ridges in my fingernails are flattening out and nails have become hard, chronic tiredness has been replaced with vibrant energy, mild arthritic symptoms in fingers vanished, hypothyroid symptoms growing less (although I’m on a low dose of Armour and have been for years, I still experience many of the hypothyroid symptoms – but they are really improving!), insomnia seems to be vanquished, I’ve lost 9 lbs so far, and I don’t know if this could be related but I no longer sunburn!

But what is truly amazing is that I’m growing in streaks of brown hair where it was solid silver before-fabulous!

We are experiencing great health benefits from these marvelous drinks and I think we may be addicted to the vibrancy and high energy kick we get from them.I’ll be getting results from a blood test next week and I can’t wait to see the numbers! I’ve turned several friends and family members into green smoothie drinkers and am actually pursuing a radio show where I will be able to discuss and share my progress with others.Thank you Robyn for GreenSmoothieGirl blogs!Your generosity in sharing your info with the world has inspired so many to move towards health!

–Cher

I love them, I love green smoothies anyway, and I love your recipes the best. It is so good to have mainly greens and a few fruits instead of the other way around as I was previously doing. I love them and my kids do also. They crave them as I do.

–Anon.

Green Smoothie Testimonials, Part 8

Locals only, Sat. night midnight the group buy ends.   Here’s the link to get VitaMineral Green and agave cases, gallon pails of coconut oil, and nuts/seeds in #10 cans:

http:/www.greensmoothiegirl.com/nbulk

More green smoothie testimonials from my research:

 

I have been drinking green smoothies for almost a year now. They are delicious and refreshing. I have had to travel during that time period which caused me to abandon my smoothie for 10 days and I have REALLY felt the effects (fatigue). I will never stop drinking green smoothies!

–Anon.

I have been telling all my friends about the green smoothies and converted several of them to start drink them on a daily basis. My friends are all west coast dancers and energy is important for the 4-5 hours of dancing we do 2-3 nights weekly.

–Anon.

I have had an iron deficiency most of my life and the green smoothies have helped tremendously!I am losing less hair in the shower as a result.My daughters (age 6, 7, and 10) love the green smoothies!They even ask for them now and love watching me make them.It is so good to be able to give them a way to get good veggies in their diet without fighting with them.Thank you for changing our way of life.

–JoAnn Y. in Denver, CO

I have become so converted to green smoothies that I became concerned as to how to continue them in case of disaster or hard economic times when I might be unable to purchase fresh produce. So I started dehydrating the spinach, kale and parsley I grew in my garden this year. I then powdered the dried leaves and now use it during the winter to make my green smoothies.

For the juice base, I use frozen raw apple cider that my husband grinds fresh each fall with his leftover apples (he is a fruit farmer). It is now January and I use the following recipe for my super green smoothies:

I rehydrate in 1 cup hot water the following: 2 tsp. powdered kale + 1/2 tsp. powdered parsley or 2 1/2 tsp. powered spinach. Blend well and let sit for about 10 minutes until cooled. Then add 3 cups apple juice (raw, unpasteurized), 2 frozen bananas, 1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly ground flax seed, and water and ice to the 7-cup mark and thoroughly blend. This is a great option when I cannot get to the grocery store.

–Cindy P. (Alpine, Utah)

Green smoothies are now a daily part of my life! I have much more energy now and GS is a complete meal, more nutritious than eating out! I have been a vegetarian for 30 years and this has definitely improved my health! As a teacher (now retired) and a lifeguard for the Kentucky State Park System for 32 summers, green smoothies help me to stay in great shape!

–Steve House

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 1 of 7]

Many health food nuts like me have a mental list of ingredients they know are nutritional powerhouses, and we want to get them in our diet but often fail to do so, because we don’t know how or don’t fit it into the day’s menu. Green smoothies are the perfect way to do that–just toss some stuff in! Be adventurous. Use those exotic, high-impact nutrition items if you can afford them. If not, please don’t worry about it–you’re getting tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from the simple greens and fruit combinations. Smoothies don’t have to contain expensive, exotic ingredients. But not all of the “other ingredients” discussed in this section are expensive.

Kelp and dulse

If you don’t mind the seaweedy taste of sea vegetables like kelp and dulse, use those high-impact foods in your blender. Just a little bit is enough, and they are more thyroid nourishing than any other food. So if you are hypothyroid (as about 25 percent of women are in America, many of them undiagnosed), consider getting one or both of these foods in your daily diet. Green smoothies are an easy way to do that. Those who suffer with low energy and slow metabolism often have low thyroid problems. (And diagnosing it can be difficult, involving full-panel blood testing done by a hormone clinic, examining the interplay of several different variables.) Taking a thyroid hormone causes disease risk and can burn out the thyroid even more over time, especially the synthetic drugs such as Synthroid and Cytomel. Sea vegetables nourish and support the thyroid rather than sort of jab and poke it to perform.

Flax oil

If you don’t know how to get flax oil in your diet, minerals from greens are absorbed better when eaten with some fats, so putting flax oil in your green smoothie is a great idea. You’ll never even notice it, used in this form. A tablespoon daily is a good dosage for an adult to avoid inflammatory ailments, and protect healthy cell membranes needed to keep toxic elements out but allow nutrients in. Flax oil has wide-ranging benefits uncovered in research in the past decade involving the immune, circulatory, reproductive, cardiovascular, and nervous system. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, including the rather rare omega-6 and omega-9 nutrients that your body cannot manufacture itself and must receive from outside sources.

Using flax oil, you can avoid taking fish oil with all its attendant risks (fish being tainted with mercury and other pollutants). Flax has more lignans by 80 times than the next-highest food, which cut your risk of breast and colon cancers dramatically. Research connects it to reduction of PMS symptoms, improvement in multiple sclerosis treatment, reduction in allergies and arthritis and diabetes, as well as eczema, asthsma, and loss of eyesight. It increases fat burning and allows you to recover from sprains and muscle fatigue more quickly.

You should never heat flax oil, which damages its nutritional properties, and you must purchase it refrigerated and use it very fresh, as it becomes rancid in only a month or two. This is one of the more expensive ingredients you can add to smoothies. If you prefer, you can grind a small amount of flaxseed instead. This is inexpensive, but the whole seed is mucilaginous, thereby making your smoothie thicker and bulkier, so if you add ground flaxseed instead of oil, you may want to add more water to compensate. Use freshly ground flaxseed, as it oxidizes and becomes rancid quickly once ground. You can use your BlendTec Total Blender, or a small $10 electric coffee grinder from any store like Target or Walmart.

If you add interesting things to your GS, let us know! I’ll be posting more of my additions over the next 6 days.

You don’t eat meat? Then where do you get your protein?

I know, I’ve blogged about this more than any other subject.   But I’m going to say a few more things about it today, just in a slightly different way, because of that old statistic that people have to hear something 11 times before they believe it.   And because that’s the question we plant eaters get most often, “But where do you get your PROTEIN?”

 

The World Health Organization says humans need 5 percent of daily calories to be protein.   The USDA says 6.5 percent.   On average, here’s what plant foods contain:

 

Fruits                                                                                                   5 percent

Vegs                                                                                                 20-50 percent

Sprouts, nuts, beans, grains, seeds:             10-25 percent

 

So you get plenty of protein from plants.   When you eat these proteins raw, they’re undamaged by heat and therefore more usable by your body, too.   Greens are highest in protein of the vegetables, so they are ideal for building and repair in the body.   We have a protein excess in the Western diet, not a protein deficiency.

 

Amino acids are protein’s building blocks.   Animal flesh combines those amino acids in a highly structured way–that’s all it means when people talk about “quality” proteins.   On the other hand, vegetable proteins are comprised of free-floating amino acids.   The first 8 amino acids are called “essential” because we have to acquire them from food.   The last 14 are built from the first 8.   Vegetable proteins, in free form, are easier to digest, give you more energy, and contribute to beauty and feeling well!

 

Some say, “But I feel better when I get much more protein.”   Years ago, I felt the same way–I noticed I had more energy eating chicken and fish.   Then I recognized truth when a book I was reading said that many animal protein eaters experience weakness/fatigue when they go off animal protein because of the inevitable cleansing that results.   So they attribute the difference in the way they feel to “needing” meat rather than feeling poorly when they cleanse as an adjustment to ending an addiction.   (These opinions are then further supported by diet-plan promoters who advocate for unnatural amounts of protein, as well as scientifically unsupported “blood type” and “metabolic type” authors.)

 

I put the idea that my “feeling better” was related to cleansing, not need, to the test.   I can honestly say I have more energy now than ever before.   It’s not true what people say, that you’re just going to feel worse in your 40’s than you did in your 20’s!   I feel MUCH better at 41 than I did in my 20’s!   I just had to go off chicken and fish for LONG ENOUGH.   I plan to never go back to eating those foods  full of antibiotics, steroids, foodborne bacteria, and all kinds of pathogens.