Robyn defends green smoothies (we’ve got a few detractors)

A few prominent nutrition experts have made negative statements about green smoothies. Brian Clement, Caldwell Esselstyn, Colin Campbell, and a lesser name or two.

They may not realize that it’s a practice busy people are embracing en masse, and that it’s helping many people. I tackled that subject in writing recently, HERE.

But because we continue to get tons of email about it, I’ve discussed the subject on video here too!

Keep up your green smoothie habit. But add more good whole-foods habits, too—salads, legume-based main dishes, granola. Food you chew, where the fiber is less broken down. All of these habits will enrich your life. I teach them all, and more, in 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Reversing Crohn’s disease

I saw this post from Melanie yesterday, in response to an old blog of mine. I thought it warranted front-and-center attention. It’s especially on my mind after a convo after my Lehi, UT class last night with a mother of a young (20-ish) Crohn’s patient who eats no fiber.

That’s the problem with Crohn’s patients, is that high-fiber foods are what they desperately need, and also what irritates their inflamed gut tissues. I’ve reconsidered my statement that Crohn’s is difficult to turn around after talking to a few docs in recent months who say with proper treatment, Crohn’s is one of the easier conditions to treat. I am not a practitioner, and I recommend sufferers get competent, EXPERIENCED, holistic help—such as from Dr. Gaetano Morello in Vancouver, who works with people remotely via phone.

Here’s what Melanie had to say, which folks with this and other inflammatory gut diseases may find encouraging:

“I just wanted to comment on your comment about Crohn’s disease being difficult to reverse with diet. I know in some severe cases, it might be, but I wanted to give a story of success and maybe hope for some people. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in July of last year. The doctor wrote me a prescription for a steroid and told me to take it INDEFINITELY! I handed her back the prescription, and said “No, this is not going to be my life. I will not take steroids!”

And after two days of intense research and crying, I threw myself head first into a raw, organic, grain-free vegan diet. If it didn’t fall into that category, it didn’t go into my mouth. I lost about 35 lbs. (which I needed to) and within just 2 weeks I was able to go off of both of the prescription meds I was on for the reactive arthritis caused by the inflammation in my body due to the Crohn’s.

Within about a month, all of my Crohn’s symptoms (intestinal cramping, anal fissures, cracked skin on my hands, too frequent bowel movements, hair falling out) were either much lessened or GONE! When I went back for a check-up in October (I had a bet with my doctor – if I wasn’t better by then, steroids it was!), my small bowel series of xrays indicated that I had NO bowel strictures, no inflammation, no irregular fold patterns, no wall thickening!

The doctor said it looks like I’d never had Crohn’s in the first place and that I was in the clear! I will admit that after the ‘all clear’ I thought I could add some things back into my diet – cheese, some fish, rice – and I started getting pain in my joints again. So, now that I eat about 90-95% raw, I am maintaining my good health, and my husband and I are currently trying for baby #2 – something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to have with Crohn’s!”

Thank you for your story, Melanie. Of course, Jordin Rubens (The Maker’s Diet) is a fantastic example of a man who was nearly dead of Crohn’s at 19, and now 20 years later is extremely healthy simple because he changed his diet. I know soil organisms and probiotics had a HUGE place in his healing. Those topics are covered in Step 8 of my 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

The latest green smoothie debate! part 1 of 3

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

Somebody on the internet says they don’t recommend green smoothies because apparently the fiber is too broken down. And the fruit causes blood sugar to spike. Please prove them wrong so I can keep enjoying them.

—Carly

Answer:   We have gotten this question several times this week, via email, but with at least three different sources saying that. The three sources are Caldwell Esselstyn (one of my heroes), a nutritionist, and a new diet plan.

Every time something becomes wildly popular, like green smoothies have, there is eventually a backlash. This happens with everything, from science to religion to pop culture. Critics spring up and evaluate the original claims of a new product, trend, or habit. And through the free flow of information, the truth emerges, although many people are frustrated and become disillusioned before that occurs.

An example is that this week, Matthew forwarded me a link to a five-page New York Times article, as he often does, regarding the dangers of yoga, the serious injuries that can result.   (My take-away, by the way, is not to push yourself in yoga class for the sake of your ego, or hold poses for long periods of time or do the uber-daring ones that push limits. I personally like to warm my muscles up with a little cardio before yoga, too.)

GSG reader Carly asked me to prove her source wrong saying that green smoothies are bad. I’m more likely to be able to do that than the doubters are, as I’ve not seen any data to support the idea that blending greens is not helpful—or even harmful.

My research with 175 green smoothie drinkers, published in The Green Smoothies Diet, shows 95.4% stating there was a noticeably positive impact on their health or quality of life, simply from drinking green smoothies regularly.

The top three health benefits reported were more energy (85%), improved digestion (79.5%), fewer cravings for sweets and processed foods (65%), more positive/stable mood (54%), weight loss (50%), and improvement in skin tone (50%).

If someone has real data on how fiber is “destroyed” in green smoothies, please point me to it. Matter can be neither created nor destroyed. The fiber didn’t go anywhere. The soluble fiber still turns to gel during digestion and slows digestion and impact on the blood sugar of the fruit (or other sugars you may eat with the meal). That soluble fiber binds to bile and removes it.

Insoluble fiber is blended, and could possibly be less effective at sweeping the GI tract, but it is still there, binding to bile increasing stool bulk.

More on this tomorrow.

the virtues of coconut water

Stacy S., organizer of my San Diego event last week (I will blog about it this week, just waiting for photos), that I should write more about coconut oil. How about the liquid, or water, of the coconut? Thanks for the help on this, Jenny Cook:

It’s an amazing alternative to water – low in calories, zero fat, and lots of naturally occurring nutrition including potassium, magnesium and calcium, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It rehydrates you 3 times faster than water itself.

It’s a natural sports drink that stands apart from the blue-dye, chemical-sweetener-added competition. It is isotonic and contains more potassium than a banana and the perfect balance of electrolytes.

It has the same osmotic pressure as that of blood plasma, which means it can be safely administered as an intravenous fluid. In fact, it was used during WWII in emergency transfusions to replace blood plasma and save the lives of many wounded soldiers in the Pacific. Coconut water has also been used to treat cholera because of its electrolyte properties. Think of it as your own natural blood transfusion.

Secondly, it’s a very clever, wholly natural sports drink that knocks spots off the factory-created competition. It is isotonic and with more potassium than a banana and the perfect balance of electrolytes. Its just a natural and far more healthy alternative to mainstream sports drinks.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Coconut water is a natural diuretic that helps to dissolve kidney stones. It has oodles of potassium, which helps the body to fight water retention, muscle cramps and heart irregularities.

The calcium in coconut water is an important mineral for bones and teeth. It also plays a role as an electrical conductor in nerves and muscles.

Sodium is also needed in the body to maintain life. This vital electrolyte plays a number of roles to support health and wellness. Potassium and sodium interact electrically within the cells and outside the cells in the blood plasma and this is required for cardiac contractions, skeletal muscle movement and nerve impulses.

Coconut water helps dissolve kidney stones. It’s a natural diuretic, with lots of potassium, which helps the body fight water retention, muscle cramps, and heart irregularities.

It’s calcium rich, supporting strong bones and teeth. The highly bioavailable calcium plays an important role as an electrical conductor in nerves and muscles.

Sodium is an important electrolyte supporting wellness. Potassium and sodium interact electrically within and without cells in the blood plasma, aiding cardiac contractions, skeletal muscle movement and nerve impulses.

Coconut water also has fiber, protein, antioxidants and dozens of other nutrients. It takes 9 months to draw the water up from the earth through the trunk, into the nut and develop. We should appreciate the miracle that is the young coconut.

As more is known in the mainstream about coconut water, it will become harder to obtain. I am already having a hard time buying young coconuts–which are sold as a drink all over Asia, the Pacific, and many other places in the world I have been in the past several years.

I recommend buying cases of canned coconut water and keeping it in your long-term storage for emergencies. It’s a power food. And it has the benefit of tasting lovely. Coconut water is in my Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie every morning (Ch. 10 of 12 Steps), which may be part of why I suffer from no chronic health conditions at age 44.

should you cut skin off fruits and vegetables?

My sons Kincade and Tennyson hate peaches because of their fuzzy skin. I tell them they’re crazy, because inside the fuzzy skin is one of the most fabulous foods on this planet, when they’re in season. (My mom soaked sliced fresh peaches in orange juice overnight–it’s wonderful, and even my peach-skin-haters love it.)

I refused to indulge the “cutting the skin off” thing, even when my kids were little, and I highly recommend you young moms avoid starting that habit. Do it just ONCE and your little ones have been trained to refuse to eat the skins of fruit.

I thought about this because I was with my friend Jean this week, and 9-year old Tennyson came to me and asked me what he could eat. I recommended a peach out of the big box I had on the counter. He whined about the skin and Jean offered to peel it for him. I wasn’t about to deny her this sweet gesture, but I thought, “Ohhh, here we go.”

Why does this matter? The skin of fruit has higher concentrations of antioxidants and fiber (with lower sugar) than the rest of the fruit. (I know, pesticides, too, but wash your produce well, and cut out the top and bottom divots in apples, because that’s where pesticides collect.) Remember that all the studies showing massive health benefits from eating fruits and vegetables are done with conventional produce. And remember that animal protein has a much higher concentration of pesticides than even sprayed vegs and fruits do.

The minute you cut the skin off the apple or peach for a child, you have consigned yourself to a lifetime of making the world’s fast foods a great big hassle. You won’t always be there to cut the skins off. Wouldn’t it be better to train them to eat the whole thing, so they can, in future years, come home, wash the apple in the bowl on your counter, and eat the whole, nutritious thing? Remove the peel and the food isn’t quite as “whole”–less fiber is slowing down bloodstream sugar absorption.

I’m hoping to get you thinking, young moms, so you don’t get this started. Don’t cut whole-wheat bread crusts off bread, either. We’re teaching our children to not use their jaws, causing devolution (the opposite of evolution) of their palates and jaws, and they need those strong muscles and wide palates to break down fibrous whole foods.

raw food diet: isn’t steaming good? and, my kids come back sick

Update: Yep.All four of my kids puked their guts up at their dad’s family reunion.Just like always.Poor little guys. (Well, one of them is 6’2″, not that little, huh?)Back to the green smoothie diet!So happy to have my kids back.It’s my job to help them recover.

My daughters come back from an extended period away, wanting to cleanse.I told the girls today to sit down and brainstorm a list of fruits and veggies they want me to buy for them.That way they’re in the driver’s seat, eating things they like, and I get my way, too (high nutrition, mostly raw food diet).Remember that old prayer asking God to grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, and the will to change the things I can?I can’t change what their dad feeds them.   (My girls report that their aunts and uncles all provided a vegetarian option to the menu made for everyone else on the nights they cooked, which was sweet.)But I CAN help them cleanse and drop unwanted pounds when they’re home.Once the girls came home and said, “Mom, we want to eat nothing but fruits and vegetables for three days.Can you help us do that?”(Of course I can.)

Still talking about the raw food diet today.Everybody, including nutritionists, suggest steaming.I’d rather have you eat steamed broccoli than no broccoli!(I personally do not enjoy raw broccoli unless it’s chopped small and in a really yummy salad.NO, NOT THE KIND WITH BACON.)

But that broccoli is still heated to well over 212 degrees, and vitamins and enzymes die over 116 degrees.And mineral salts are lost and deanimated.Cooking, even steaming, destroys indoles in vegetables, which are wonderfully anti-carcinogenic.

Worse, when you cook things, free radicals are created.(Free radicals are unpaired molecules that destroy cells and cause cancer.Antioxidants in raw foods mop them up.)Some amino acids (lysine and glutamine) in proteins are destroyed by cooking.You probably already know what high heats do to fats: alter them to become trans fats that are highly destructive carcinogens.And when fiber in food is cooked, it is slimy and soft and doesn’t have the broom-like power to clean the intestine any more.

I do eat cooked plant food and make no apologies for it.But I make every meal or snack at least 60% raw food, and often it’s 80% or more.Then you’re supplementing the cooked foods with enzymes.Doing this regularly will have a dramatic effect on your youthfulness.

On a related topic, here’s the dehydrator I recommend, by the way, to make crunchy snacks like in Ch. 7 of 12 Steps, preserving enzymes and vitamins:

http://greensmoothiegirl.com/dehydrator.html

you’ve doubled your fiber with GS? double it again with LENTILS!

Some foods are highly hypoallergenic.   In other words, just about no one is allergic to them.   And this is a big deal nowadays where intolerances for wheat and milk proteins are going through the roof.   (That’s gluten and lactose intolerances.)   Highly hypoallergenic foods include avocadoes, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, figs, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.).

 

Lentils have 16 grams of fiber in one cup–wow, right?   That’s six times more than a “serving” of Metamucil, and  slightly more than a quart of green smoothie.   And lentils have tons of iron, folic acid, and protein, too.

 

They’re so cheap, you can’t possibly complain that “whole foods are too expensive!”   All you have to do is rinse them well, then cover 1 part lentils to 2 parts water.   Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 45 minutes.

 

Today’s dinner:

 

I cooked  1.5 dry cups of lentils in  3 cups water.   Then I added two chopped oranges, two chopped red bell peppers, two chopped tomatoes, and some Johnny’s Garlic Spread and Seasoning (from Costco).   Super-easy dinner and yummy.   Even my picky 7-year old liked it.   Didn’t even make a salad–just had a sliced cucumber with it.

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 9 of 9]

Bee pollen

Bee pollen has been a fascination of European researchers for a long time.   The dust from the stamen of blossoming plants collected from bees is fairly well documented to improve a lot of things most of us care about.   First of all, it increases your energy throughout the day and stamina for physical activity–it’s a powerhouse nutritionally, with 35 percent protein.

It has natural weight loss properties that have been mimicked chemically in various weight-loss drug remedies.   Bee pollen not only stimulates metabolism, but also suppresses appetite naturally.   It slows aging and prevents cancerous tumors from developing.

It also contains a gonadotropic sex hormone and contributes to improved sexual performance and reduction of PMS symptoms.   Perhaps most interestingly, it may prevent seasonal allergies, like eating raw honey allegedly does, but in a more direct way and without the blood sugar impact.   If you can buy it collected from multiple sources instead of one source, that’s a better product.   Bee pollen is a fantastic ingredient to add to a green smoothie.   I like to get it from All Star Health on Amazon, because (a) the price is good, (b) it’s very fresh and not dry like other sources, and (c) they collect from around the U.S. so it’s not just one geographic area’s bees, which I feel is best for allergy prevention.

Wheat grass juice (fresh or powdered)

Wheat grass was first famously studied and used extensively by Ann Wigmore, founder of Optimum Health Institute and a pioneer of many therapies still used now, 50 years later, in natural healing.   She wrote The Wheatgrass Book, documenting its megapowerful healing properties.

If I had cancer, the first thing I would do is begin growing, juicing, and drinking wheat grass daily.   Nothing compares to it nutritionally, for oxygenating and healing.   I have juiced wheat grass in a few periods of my life (including an early pregnancy, which may have been part of my current problem with it), and I would continue the habit if it weren’t simply the most awful-tasting thing on this planet.   Not everyone agrees with my assessment, fortunately, so give it a try.

In the event you can’t stomach the fresh juice, more and more companies are dehydrating the juice under 118 degrees and selling it as a powder.   While I find this to be too much in a green smoothie, some people like it.   I prefer to see people add this ingredient to water to alkalize their cells and energize throughout the day, since your green smoothie already provides many of the ingredients concentrated in wheat grass, in other green ingredients.

Generally speaking, wheat grass is juiced and the remaining grass discarded because its fiber is not digestible by the human stomach.   The juicers we used ten years ago are less than efficient at getting the juice from the grass, which is digestible only by a four-chambered stomach such as in a cow.   However, completely liquefied wheat grass such as occurs in a BlendTec Total Blender may render unnecessary the expensive, labor-intensive, and messy process we used to go through with specialized wheat grass juicers.

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 6 of 8]

Raw wheat germ

Raw wheat germ is extremely high in Vitamin E and the B vitamins, so this is a great ingredient for women with PMS or menopausal symptoms, and eating it prevents some birth defects, according to research.   It will help you achieve glossy hair, pretty skin, and strong nails.   It adds a nutty flavor and thickness to the smoothie, so you’ll want to add extra water when using this ingredient.   It’s a great way to add fiber to your diet to promote colonic peristalsis and avoid constipation .

However, raw wheat germ goes rancid very quickly.   Buy it in bulk at your health food store if you trust that the store has good product turnover and buys fresh product oven.   Taste it before using, and if it has an even slightly rancid taste, don’t use it.   Store it in the fridge for no more than a couple of weeks, preferably in an airtight container to slow oxidation.

Avocado

This adds extremely nutritious fats to your smoothie, which aids the body in utilizing the minerals in greens.   I highly recommend adding it to smoothies for babies and children, too, or anyone who might need to gain weight.   (It is not a food that will promote weight gain, but because of its high monounsaturated fat content, it is higher in calories than most green smoothie ingredients.)   Avocado is one of the most perfect first foods for a baby.   It’s extraordinarily high in lutein, a phytonutrient that promotes strong eyesight and retards degenerative conditions of the eye.   Other research shows that even short-term avocado consumption decreases total and LDL cholesterol.

Maca root

Maca is a very trendy product from the ancient Peruvian food, from a root related to turnips and radishes, because it has been linked by research to endocrine health and a healthy libido.   It is also said to improve energy levels throughout the day.   So the aphrodisiac is used in South America to boost performance in a variety of areas.

More Experts on Colon Cleansing . . . part 9 of 9

Sir Arbuthnut Lane was a surgeon for the King of England and specialized in bowel issues. He removed parts of the colon and sewed the rest back together, and in the course of his practice, he noticed that many times, patients after surgery would have goiters or arthritis disappear, etc. Often, seemingly unrelated maladies improved after removing diseased sections of the colon.

He became so aware of how toxic digestive systems are linked to the other organs of the body that he spent the last 25 years of his life teaching people nutrition, rather than performing surgery. He said this:

“All maladies are due to the lack of certain food principles, such as mineral salts or vitamins, to the absence of the normal defenses of the body, such as the natural protective flora. When this occurs, toxic bacteria invade the lower alimentary canal, and the poisons thus generated pollute the bloodstream and gradually deteriorate and destroy every tissue, gland and organ of the body.”

If pictures speak a thousand words, look at the color photos in Bernard Jensen’s book. (You can also find this kind of thing googling on the internet.) They show rubbery material expelled from many colons during colemas (home colonics) and a cleansing program. Often, pieces are several feet long, the precise shape of specific parts of the bowel. It is hard as tire rubber, held up with tongs. Perhaps any modern doctor who insists this doesn’t happen in the human digestive tract has spent too much time prescribing drugs and not enough time actually studying the inside of that organ.

When Dr. Jensen attended National College in Chicago, they performed surgeries on 300 people. Patients’ histories said that 285 claimed they weren’t constipated, and 15 claimed they were. Autopsies showed the exact opposite: 285 were constipated (despite reports that they had up to 5-6 bowel movements a day), and in some of them, “the bowel walls were encrusted with material (in one case peanuts) which had been lodged there for a very long time,” and the bowels were up to 12 inches in diameter. Dr. Jensen concluded that the average patient does not know whether or not he is constipated. At a class I taught this week, one woman said, “I don’t have constipation: I have chronic diarrhea.” She seemed a little shocked when I told her that people with diarrhea are usually constipated, too. It’s not an either/or proposition.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who lived to 91, said that we should completely eliminate the residue of each meal 15 to 18 hours after eating it. He said 90% of modern diseases are due to colon problems. And what is the way to eliminate your risk of colon diseases? A high-fiber GreenSmoothieGirl diet rich in the natural anti-cancer compounds found in raw plant foods, of course. No chemotherapy, surgery, or even vitamin pill will ever be able to do what live compounds in real food can. A number of you during this blog series have wondered how you can cleanse totally, without spending the money. Just keep doing each step of your GreenSmoothieGirl program in a committed way, and you can experience miraculous results over a longer timespan!

And with those few more words from experts, my friends, is the end of this topic. Finally.

 (Edited Sept. 2014)