ideas from readers, part 2 of 3

I often hear about people falling off the wagon, after a period of having tremendous results with their 15 servings of raw greens and fruit daily (what you get in the quart of green smoothie daily that I recommend).

It happens. Shall we problem solve, so it happens less often?

Thursday after tennis I ran to Supersonic to get my car washed. While I was waiting, two women rushed up and said, “GREEN SMOOTHIE GIRL!” (They didn’t know my actual name–this happens a lot, and I think it’s funny!)

Turns out they have a really unique and cool arrangement. They are best friends: Karri is single and lives alone, and Bo is married with kids. Karri has more time but less money, and Bo has more money and less time. Karri makes green smoothies for Bo and her husband every day since she doesn’t need the whole blenderful. I think Bo pays for the ingredients. Win-win for everybody.

I like it. If you’re struggling with something–time, money, whatever–there’s always a way. It’s just about getting creative and being dogged about creating a habit. Don’t give up!

Oh, and I am glad to meet new people in the revolution. The whole-foods revolution, kicking the S.A.D. to the curb. Love it when you come up and make friends with me–I’m going up to Strawberry to look at Bo’s cabin and see about getting land to build a cabin for retreats! Wouldn’t that be fun?

anything to make food prep easier

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I was talking to someone today who said he puts whole, uncored apples in smoothies. Is that okay?

Answer: Absolutely. I do it too. However, if your apples are not organic, quickly cut out the divots in the top and bottom of the apple. That’s where the pesticides collect, and it’s hard to wash that part.

Grains and legumes made easy

I think sometimes we don’t make brown rice, split peas, lentils, or other wonderful whole-grain or legume dishes, only because we get home from work and don’t want to wait 45-60 minutes for those items to cook.   A reader wrote me with this tip, which I have used, too, for many years–I hope it helps you do a tiny bit of work in the morning so that the evening meal is both quick and nutritious.

While you’re eating breakfast, wash your brown rice or lentils.   Cover them with twice as much water and bring it to a boil, covered, on the stove.   While that’s going on, preheat your oven.   After the grain/legume comes to a boil, stick the whole pan in the oven and turn the oven off.   When you get home from work, you’ll have lovely brown rice or lentils or split peas ready to eat.

Check out Indian Dahl in Ch. 6 of 12 Steps.   It’s a really easy and highly nutritious main dish, and you’ll feel full and also light and healthy when you eat it!   (I believe I also posted the recipe here on the blog, which has a search feature, and other have posted favorite lentil recipes in another entry a couple months ago.)

Anyone wanting to share a great recipe using a whole grain and/or a legume, please feel free!

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.

So you’re trying to get kids to eat right!

You’re raising kids (or maybe helping with your grandkids)?  You and me both, my friend!  I’m raising four—two boys and two girls. They all have different personalities, interests, and temperaments. Your kids are “picky,” you say? I get that. I’ve got two kids like that.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I have picked up an arsenal of wisdom, not just from my experience, but from sitting at the knee of other parents who are doing a pretty dang good job. My next book I’m writing is about teaching kids to eat right.

I know what it’s like to work and try to fit healthy cooking in around the cracks in my time. And I’m a single mom, too, so honestly, I can relate to your challenges on so many levels.

I did a YouTube video on things that really help if you’re raising small children—see video 6 on this page:

http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/videos/videos-page-1/

A few tips might help you, too:

First, make lists and post them inside your cupboard to consult when you’re making a grocery list or deciding what to have for dinner.  Those lists should include favorite nutritious menu ideas, recipes, and ingredient lists.

And make a list of simple whole foods to have on hand that you observe each of your children enjoying.

Second, don’t be afraid to let them in the kitchen to make their own stuff, with you just providing the ingredients.  And let them experiment—as the family green smoothie chef, for instance.  (You can give them a recipe and ask them to follow it.  Ask them to double it, and they’re exercising the “math brain!”)  Owning a kitchen project gives a child a sense of accomplishment.  She’ll make a bigger mess in the kitchen than you would have, of course, but you’ll be glad you allowed it, when it’s all over.

Third, develop an arsenal of much healthier treats that you make or buy, that your family enjoys.  That’s the worst thing, when we start eating fried and corn-syrup- or sugar-sweetened treats.  Ch. 11 of my 12 Steps to Whole Foods program is all about treats, the kind you don’t have to feel guilty about.  If your relatives (or ex-spouse) are open to it, you can send those treats instead of the ones they serve.

Fourth, praise them for their good choices and give them a lot of positive feedback for their kitchen creations that involve whole foods.  Make sure you point out when they seem to have more energy or a more sunny mood as a result of their good choices.  Keep it POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE!

And here are some additional tips from the site:

http://greensmoothiegirl.com/getkidstoeat.html

May your efforts pay off with children who support you and learn to love good, natural food!

To Your Health,

–Robyn

Thoughts after BYU’s Education Week, and hope for young moms

Part 2 of 5

In a very huge curriculum across all topics, I found next to nothing on nutrition. I should really teach at Education Week. Somebody make that happen and I’m there.

 

On Friday, though, I went to a class called Stocking A Healthy and Convenient Pantry.  Please make careful note of the way that title is phrased, for my later comments. I had low expectations of the class, since the LDS (Mormon) people attending the campus event (at the Mormon university) have adopted all the ways of the larger culture, in terms of the Standard American Diet.  We embrace processed food and a heavily meat- and dairy-dominated diet, despite counsel against that in both ancient and modern scripture. (One of these days, LDS friends, I’m going to start posting loads of public comments from the prophets and apostles over the past 150 years on diet.)

 

My low expectations went even lower when I walked into the class and saw the teacher, an older lady who is about 80-100 lbs. overweight. Please know that I love everyone (I am already bracing for the responses to this blog entry), but I say that only because I prefer classes on health to be taught by people who are healthy.  Just like I expect a class on Old English to be taught by someone who has read Beowulf, and a class on dance to be taught by someone who can cha-cha.

 

Before I go just all-out nuts on what was taught in this class—representative of what’s being taught in America—let me tell you the two interesting and valuable facts I learned from the highly academically qualified source:

 

First, in the 1940’s (before Betty Crocker and prepared foods), guess how much time women spent in food-related activities, and guess how much time they spend now? 

 

1940’s:  6 hours a day

Now:    20 minutes a day

 

Sure, we have more pressures now.  More of us work.  But wow.  We could do better.  We don’t have to spend 6 hours.  But maybe we could commit to spending a bit more than 20 minutes?  Remember that includes shopping and drive-thru time . . . ALL food-related activities!

 

And here’s the other interesting fact.  Google “food neophobe” about children who are very “picky,” a new phenomenon that I’m sure is also a spawn of the Standard American Diet and its addictive chemical “foods.”  Children who won’t try new things need 9 to 10 exposures, according to research, to embrace a new food.

 

So don’t give up if you gave them green smoothies three times and it didn’t go over well! Be patient and persistent.

how do you have the time?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl.com: I’m a working single mom.   I know you are, too.   How do you make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your family?

 

Answer: I don’t spend a lot of time doing things that don’t matter.   I’ve just learned the high-impact things that ARE worth my time.   I also teach my kids how to cook and clean up, and we all pitch in and take turns.

 

Green smoothies are a high-impact item.   Once a week making a gallon of kefir, and a big roasting pan of granola, also high-impact and worth my time.   Making a salad for dinner is another 5-10 minutes that is worth the effort.   Those are the things I do every day.   Sometimes, but not always, I’ll make a quart of salad dressing, something from Ch. 3 of 12 Steps, to last several days.   If I don’t do that, then a splash of raw apple cider vinegar and olive oil dresses the salad, with maybe a sprinkle of Trocomare and/or kelp.   I spin my romaine in a salad spinner so that the salad dressing “sticks” instead of getting diluted with water at the bottom of the bowl.

 

And then, I keep my dishes simple when I do cook, and I often double batches, having some for a second night, and some to freeze.   Before I go to work, I take a pint of pesto sauce or an 8″x8″ pan of wild mushroom rice bake or a Tupperware of vegetarian chili out of the freezer.   Once a week we end up having “leftover night.”

 

Whichever child I need to spend some time with, I’ll often call into the kitchen to help me.   I have a child who loves potatoes, and she likes to come in and scrub some potatoes while I make a salad.   While we do that, we catch up on what happened to her that day at school.  

 

Speaking of that, I have a brand-new YouTube video out about how to get your kids invested in nutrition.   They have to care about it, themselves, if you want them to leave home and do what you’re doing (prepare and eat whole plant foods).   Here it is:

 

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=R-O0voLkxBI

 

(If you subscribe to my videos, then when I release new ones, you’re notified via email.)

defending that my diet’s not all raw

I read the raw foodists all the time (Patenaude, Wolfe, Boutenko, and lots more).   I think their diet is fantastic.   Sometimes I go all raw, for a few days, weeks, or even months.   I wouldn’t criticize anybody for a minute who wants to do it permanently, as some of my friends do–they all enjoy excellent health.

 

So why don’t I eat 100% raw and promote it on my site?   I thought I’d lay out my defense of NOT being all raw.

 

  1. Yes, when man discovered fire and begin to cook his food, he altered it for the worse, killing the life force in the food.  But I think we’ve adapted biologically to thousands of years of eating whole, cooked plant foods, eaten as part of a diet containing lots of raw plant food.   I think 60-80 percent is usually enough to provide outstanding disease prevention and an ideal weight.   EVERY meal and snack should contain raw plant food.   What we’re NOT adapted to is cooked, REFINED foods or a diet heavy in cooked food.    
  2. I think that grains and legumes are good food.   They’ve been used for thousands of years by most of the populations of the world.   They provide good energy in the form of both carbs and protein, and the perfect amount of fat (which is to say, not very much).   Hundreds of studies say they prevent disease.
  3. Most people can’t afford to eat 100% raw.   Boutenko said several years ago that her family of 4 spends $1350 monthly ($45/day).   Because I feed my family highly inexpensive whole foods in the form of legumes and grains, I spend $800/mo. to feed 50% more people than Boutenko does.   In summary, my program is very do-able financially.
  4. It’s very hard to feed kids, especially teenagers, an all-raw diet.   Without grains and legumes to give them higher calories and faster food to prepare, moms can really burn out and teenagers get surly and . . . downright hungry.   I have tried it.   It’s really hard (nigh unto impossible) to feed a house full of competitive athletes and teenagers all raw.  
  5. On the other hand, it’s not very hard to eat 60-80% raw, at least after completing a learning curve (my 12 Steps to Whole Foods program is the learning curve, as I experienced it, flattened out for my readers to skip all the rabbit holes I chased down that were a waste of time).   It is, however, nearly a quantum leap, I’ve found, to go from 80% to 100%.   It’s like the effort differential between getting a B+/A- in college, and getting an A.   That difference is MUCH bigger than the difference in your effort, for instance, between getting a C and a C+.   A 60-80% diet is achievable for anyone, allowing for social events not to become a stress and excellent health to be achieved.

So don’t get me wrong: I love the raw movement.   But Boutenko writes about people going 100% raw and then swinging to almost no raw, back and forth.   I never eat no raw–always, always 60-80 percent, even while traveling.   (You can get salads almost anywhere.)

And I think that’s the most important thing: to be consistent about eating well, and keep your “raw” above 60 percent every day and always as high as you can, so you are providing lots of enzymes and not taxing and aging your organs.   I also recommend having periods of eating as simply and as close to 100% raw as you can–like a “detox week.”

another daily food log from a plant eater

I got a bunch of emails from the “lurkers” who never write on this blog, saying they like food logs, and MORE, PLEASE.   That’ll give me something to say if I ever have a day where I’m running low–but OMG I have so much to write about in the next month or two!!

 

This time of year, I love to go out for a run on a beautiful day–I get other work done in the earlier morning so I can get some sun at 10 or 11 a.m.   Today I ran on the jr. high track by my house, like usual, with the boys’ 7th grade P.E. class doing 4 laps at the end of my hour there.   I was on my 5th mile at that time, and I noticed that even the boys who ran the first two laps were walking, by their third lap.   So in their fourth and last lap, as I passed each group, I’d say, “Hey! You’re not going to let a 9th grader’s MOM beat you.  ARE you?”

 

The boys didn’t think it was that funny, really.   The P.E. teacher did, though.

 

Here’s my fuel today (leaving the kids’ breakfast and lunch out of it, since it’s usually the same):

 

Breakfast: Hot-Pink Smoothie (Jump-Start Basic recipe collection: beets, carrots, strawberries, cashews, coconut water, etc.)

 

Lunch:   (Believe it or not, I really am working on the lunch-ideas recipe collection, due to dozens of requests.   The PRESSURE!)   Put 2 cups of soaked almonds and 3 carrots through the Champion Juicer with the blank plate on.   (Five minutes, though the cleanup will take a little time, too.)   Tossed in some chopped basil, a small yellow squash and small onion, chopped, and 2 tsp. each sea salt and kelp.   Put lots of that Sprouted Almond Pate in a sprouted-wheat tortilla with some cucumber sticks.   (I put a little homemade dressing on it–any kind works–though you wouldn’t have to.)   Planned to have my green smoothie with it but wasn’t hungry after.   Ate the rest of my chocolate coconut-milk “frozen dessert” instead (see  my blog a couple days back).   Put the Almond Pate in the fridge to use for kids’ lunches, or dinner, tomorrow.

 

Dinner:   Made Spinach-Orzo Pasta Salad, one of my family’s favorites (recipe on this blog somewhere, and in Ch. 2).   I had the Tangy Dill Dressing (Ch. 3) in my fridge because I made a double batch a few days ago.   I’d cooked the whole-wheat orzo that morning while I made green smoothies.   I also added a bunch of diced yellow squash to the salad, even though it’s not in the recipe, because I have a TON of it in my fridge.   (I chopped some extra when I made lunch.)   We were finally all together after soccer practices, to eat, at 7:30 p.m.   I had my almost-quart of green smoothie, still, so I had just a bit of the salad with it, while everyone else had a heaping plate plus  corn on the cob.

 

And then I made Vanilla Pudding from Ch. 5 of 12 Steps–to get rid of more yellow squash.   Served it warm, yum!

 

I did spend well over an hour in the kitchen today, more than usual.   But part of that was washing/chopping about 100 pears to store in the freezer, and making Sprouted Curry Almonds for later. (I will post that recipe in an upcoming blog about how I’m letting you all in the raw almond group buy, if you’re in the U.S. or just across the Canadian border.)

 

 

I’m quite pleased that we ate 7 yellow squashes today (in three ways), which helped address the surplus in my fridge and garden.   My “raw” intake was at least 80 percent, and the only animal protein was a bit of Parmesan in the Spinach Orzo Salad.

 

 

 

What did you make, when did you eat it, and where?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl, what do you eat in a day?   Not only what did you eat, but WHERE were you when you ate it (soccer field, etc.), and when did you make it, etc.?

 

Answer:   I logged three weekdays  in a row, just for you.   (I think this question was a nice way of asking, do you spend your whole day in the kitchen, or are you busy like me?   Because if you’re in that kitchen for more than half an hour, I’m not even listening to you!)

 

Tuesday:  

 

Breakfast: the kids made themselves kefir blended with banana smoothie, and bowls of granola with sprouts added, and rice milk.   I made my Hot Pink Smoothie in less than five minutes and drank it out of a quart jar on the way to the gym.   (Always!   So boring, sorry.)

 

Lunch:   In front of the computer, I had a quart of green smoothie with some chips I made with sprouted wheat tortillas (under the broiler, brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled The Zip on them).   I had some guacamole with the chips (that I had in the fridge from yesterday).   The kid in charge of school lunch assembly made whole-wheat PB sandwiches, an apple, carrot sticks.   I stuck the kids’ green smoothies in the fridge for after school.

 

Dinner:   I made a hot dish called Amaranth L’Orange (coming out in Ch. 9) right before eating it, and my teenaged son made a salad, with some chopped squash and cucumbers and tomatoes in it (took each of us about 15 mins.).   I tossed some raw apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil on, to avoid making a “real” dressing.   I ate mine in the car driving to a soccer practice, along with the remainder of my green smoothie from earlier.   Everybody else ate together except me and my son at soccer practice.

 

Wednesday:

 

Breakfast: same as above.

 

Lunch: took a quart of green smoothie to work, with a baggie of Chipotle Sprouted Almonds (Ch. 7).   Drank some of the green smoothie in the car on the way to work (at noon).   Finished teaching at 3:15 and had the rest of the GS and almonds driving home on the way to grab kids for sports practices.   Kid in charge of school lunch assembly made whole-wheat sandwiches and a baggie of cantaloupe slices, a baggie of sugar snap peas, and a Stretch Island fruit leather.

Dinner:   Had Southwest Quinoa Salad that I’d made and refrigerated a  couple of  hours earlier, with extra raw veggies in lieu of making another salad, because we were going in different directions to soccer games and this is an easy meal to take.   I grabbed some plastic cups and spoons to eat out of, at the game.   We also had some Oat-Coconut Cookies I’d made earlier (a mix recipe you’ll get in Ch. 11).

 

Thursday:

 

Breakfast: same as above.

 

Lunch:   had a quart of green smoothie (drank only about 2/3 of it), and leftover quinoa salad from last night, while working at the computer.     Kid in charge of school lunch assembly made bags of popcorn with coconut oil and seasonings (see Ch. 4), a bag of grapes, and a bag of baby carrots.

 

Dinner:   Threw together Cucumber-Tomato-Red Onion salad with garden veggies, with balsamic and olive oil (see Ch. 2), and made Turnip Buckwheat Casserole (coming out in Ch. 9).   Took about 30 mins. in the kitchen.   We all sat down and ate together at the kitchen table, a miracle in soccer season!

 

Anyone else trying to eat a plant-based diet of whole foods want to share what you ate in a day, when you made it, and where you ate it?   (Or anyone else eating the S.A.D., just to make the rest of us feel better? haha)