TEXAS, PART 5 of 7: Video of WENDY and JANET in AUSTIN

As Kristin says, our Texas trip was “pure abundance.” She and I always talk about relationships that are “all good things,” versus relationships or activities or thoughts that are scarcity-oriented or damaging rather than nurturing. We met lots of Texans who are gravitating towards a lifestyle of abundance, even while the culture around them sinks further into “scarcity places” of obesity, illness, and loss.

(Do we not become obese from a long period of scarcity thinking? For instance, “If I don’t eat this now, I don’t know when I’ll get it again.” Or, “I’m so tired, this is the only pleasure in my day.”)

A group of moms packed into a car for the drive into Austin and enthusiastically told me their stories after class. Two of them, in this video, are busy, with 4 and 6 children, respectively. They pretty and young—but Janet overcame some absolutely debilitating health problems. Both of these moms confess to doing my entire 12 Steps program.

What a rush, to know that 10 children are the beneficiaries of the effort of these two women. I’m so proud of young moms who take the time to become educated, and then opt out of “what everybody else is doing.” Listen to their story here (I somehow heard Wendy’s friends calling her Whitney, so Kristin was tasked with covering that up in this video–sorry I’m a moron, Wendy!):

Nutrition and single moms, part 2 of 2

Even though I am doing the very best I can for my kids’ health, even though I run a health-oriented web site and write books and speak all over the U.S., full time……even though there is no junk food in my house….I cannot control everything my children eat.

“Controlling” what the kids eat is a really great idea when kids are young. It is a word mostly excised from your vocabulary, as the kids get older. I control the food that I purchase and make, still. I don’t buy junk food. But “control” what teenagers eat away from home? No can do.

I certainly will not compete for “Most Favored Parent Status” (ask any divorced parent about that game, which I refuse to play) by turning into Pop-Tart Mom.

These are ways I remain happy despite the fact that I sometimes have to watch my children being fed a meal of Skittles and hamburgers. Despite that fact that I can’t influence their father and his wife to stop feeding them harmful chemicals.

I remind myself that I have done the best I could, and I have educated my kids about what I know. This dramatically increases the likelihood that they’ll have a healthy lifestyle for life despite living in a polarized “food schizophrenia” now. My one child who does not live with me comes home while she’s at athletic camps or tryouts, so I can feed her well, for energy and peak performance. This is initiated by her, not me.

I take some satisfaction in knowing that, while they tell me they often don’t have healthy options when they’re not with me, and I know not all their choices are good ones, on the other hand, they know what’s good and bad and they make better choices than the rest of America. All four of my kids love salad. They all love fruit. They are not afraid of green food.

(That said? Last night a friend brought us his “raw soup.” It was pea pods, red peppers, cucumbers, and avocado blended smooth. I thought it was fine. The kids didn’t like it but the oldest two just ate it. The third gave me some grief.

The fourth? He wailed and sobbed, he gagged, choked, begged, pretended to puke, rolled his eyes back in his head, claimed he was going to die, begged for salt, then cycled through all those tactics again. Ridiculous. I told him to get up and walk away, several times, but he wanted the whole-wheat zucchini bread his sister was making, so he stuck it out. And he curled up in my lap, after, and cried as if he was made to eat a bowl of wiggling termites on Fear Factor.

I tell you this so you’re reminded that I’m a Mom In the Trenches, too. Makes for some good laughs later, though! The drama could win an Oscar. This boy of mine is officially the most emotional human I’ve ever known.)

The point is, the rewards aren’t all being achieved right now.   It pays off over a lifetime, to teach our kids while they’re in our home, what good nutrition is. And then practice it right in front of them, making good choices ourselves.

After all, I had wonderful examples in my parents and my maternal grandparents. And yet I spent the entire decade of my 20’s eating mostly junk.

I have observed that my friends who are the most open minded to what I feed them when they come over (sprouted, living, raw stuff) always tell me how their moms baked homemade whole-wheat everything, and juiced carrots and celery or made green drinks, and shopped at a health food store.

And my friends who won’t try anything and make funny faces because they say “I have a strong gag reflex!” or whatever? They’re universally the ones who were raised on the Standard American Diet.

Some of the benefits of my children having a good example, a lot of childhood education, and far better nutrition than other kids in America transcend the nutrition they get today. They will be adults who aren’t squeamish and avoidant of natural colors (like green!) and textures and new foods.   Flax crackers and baby-turnip stir-fry and edamame for a snack and raw-vegetable soup will seem like home, instead of crazy-people food.

These are ways, mostly self-talk, that I find helps me not hyperventilate about things I cannot do anything about related to my kids’ nutrition. Gone are the days that I can take alternative treats to the pre-school teacher and ask the children’s organization at church not to feed my kids candy. My kids will make their own way and make their own choices. Moving more gracefully, rather than less so, into that space of parenting teens and young adults, helps me let go and allows them to learn from experience.

If you have tips, I’m sure some single moms would appreciate more of them!

Stacy tells us what happens to inflammation and fibromyalgia when you EAT GREEN.

This sweet little 28-year old mom of 4 kids waited a long time to chat with me in Mesa, Arizona and got so emotional telling me her story. Why? Because this is our LIVES we’re talking about–the consequences of the fuel we choose color every aspect of our existence.

It was hard for her to decide to go on film telling you her story—but she decided she wanted y’all to know what powerful medicine food can be!

In this video, she tells me in 3 minutes how dramatically eating raw plant foods affected her pain and inflammation (fibromyalgia symptoms). Eat crap, inflammation up! Eat green, inflammation down. And unlike drugs, no side effects except MORE happy health benefits.

If you’re reading…..so proud of you, Stacy. The rest of you, please enjoy her story here.

Home from AZ

Kristin and I are back from our trip to Arizona, and soon, I’ll share with you a video or two of interviews with a couple of readers. The drive is long and boring. We stopped and toured the spectacular Glen Canyon Dam. We prowled around Orderville, UT, gawking at polygamists and whispering about our little fantasy to kidnap their daughters. We busted up the 11-hour drive with my iPod. I yell, “ARE YOU READY?!” and Kristin yells back, “I’M READY!” and I blast a Poison, Heart, Van Halen, or Aerosmith song from her speakers.

I named my senior thesis, in college, after a line from an Aerosmith song: “Live and Learn from Fools and Sages.” (We learn from the wise people in our lives–but we miss out on learning opportunities if we don’t learn from the people doing stupid things, too.)

A beautiful blonde physical therapist about my age talked to me after the Glendale class. Her eyes brimmed up with tears when she said, “Thank you for giving me my lungs back.” I didn’t give her back her capacity to train and run races without tightness in her lungs, of course. Eating whole foods did. (When I made the shift, my autoimmune problems reversed themselves, too–no more seasonal allergies, eczema, or occasional asthma attacks!)

She told me her problem is her kids: after some initial successes, they’re currently resisting the new healthy menus. I suggested that she not panic, consider that they probably don’t want her to suddenly turn into a Little Caesars mom, regardless of the way kids overstate their opinions. (They aren’t geniuses at communication. And remember, even junk-food moms’ kids complain if they don’t get the food they want.) This mom abandoning her principles would be inconsistent and confusing for the kids. They’re probably fine with her being the health-nut mom, just need to know she can let her hair down, be a little flexible.

Every once in a while I invite all the friends of one of my kids over, for a pizza party. This is so my kids know I can lighten up, even if the rest of the time we are really very consistent. (On those rare instances, I am also very nervous that a GSG reader will see me at Costco buying things I normally never would–any remainder of which will go in the garbage after the party.)

I don’t, however, EVER have junk food in my house for the kids to snack on. (Kristin says people always talk to her after my classes to find out if I’m the “real deal.” She assures them that she spends about 60 hours a week with me, with our work-from-home, and travels, and our “social life,” what there is of it. Feel free to grill her. She says, “I’ve never once seen her have junk food in the house for the kids.”)

My kids know what the snacks are, and I find that if someone is complaining, it’s because I need to pay a little more attention to having things on hand that they like. (When moms talk to me about their “picky” and “resistant” kids, they also always name for me the nutritious foods the child WILL eat.)

To that end, it’s helpful to have a list of the food foods that each child seeks out. Making a list on paper will help you realize there are more things than you think, and it’ll motivate you to discover new ones to add to the list. Put it on the inside of a cupboard.

Paying attention to that may go a long way toward helping them eat right. Add to the list when your child discovers another healthy food she likes–praise her when she does.

This is part of a list I have that helps my kids feel there’s enough to eat, and something to look forward to, at home:

Tennyson, Libby, Emma: fresh blueberries

Libby: raw sweet potatoes, cucumbers, raw chocolate in her green smoothie, nori sheets, prunes

Tennyson: Naked juice, wheat grass juice, sprouted “candied” almonds

Cade: pink apples, Raw Melissa spring rolls, bell peppers eaten like an apple

Emma: carrots dipped in hummus

Cade, Libby, Ten: cases of Costco mangoes

I find any complaining at my house stops, as long as I tune into what the kids want that is good for them and make sure I stock those foods. And as long as on a rare occasion, I “lighten up” for a party.

Sorry if you’ve read this before, but my grandmother told me: “It’s not what you do 5% of the time that’s going to kill you. It’s what you do 95% of the time that’s going to save you.”

KRISTIN ACCIDENTALLY TURNS VEGETARIAN

Kristin is my closest friend and just came on working for GSG full-time on June 1. She was here all the time anyway, putting in nearly FT hours, especially with all the traveling we’ve been doing. She has made my classes SO much more efficient and effective. I love her–she’s the best thing that has happened to GSG.com in a long time. She’s strong in all the places I am weak, and she’s so loyal to me and helpful to a fault. I am so blessed.

On May 26, at a class for almost 250 people in Sandy, Utah, she said to the crowd, “You can’t hang around Robyn and not be affected by this movement.” I’d described how for a long time we’d have staff meetings and I’d have my quart of green smoothie, and she’d have her quart of Diet Coke. Then one day we suddenly BOTH had a green smoothie at staff meeting. (I was secretly–and kind of openly, too–so thrilled!) I am watching Kristin change before my eyes. She said to me recently, “If I drank TWO quarts of green smoothie a day, I basically could never get fat again.” (She’s lost 40 lbs.)

On June 3, she said to me, “I think I’ve accidentally become a vegetarian.”

LAUGHING OUT LOUD! (Keep in mind, this girl is from IDAHO. They don’t eat their potatoes without meat there!) That’s what hanging out at my house all day, working, will do to ya. She said that the only problems with this are:

(1) “I like meat!” I told her, I used to, too. You’re not me, of course, but I literally never miss it now. The only time is if I walk into someone’s house, when I’m really hungry on Sunday night, and they’re cooking a roast. (And the once a year that happens? I have a little! I can only stand a little anyway—and maybe it’s good for Vitamin B12. I’m not actually sure that’s important, since your body stores a 3-year supply, and since there are a handful of plant sources of B12 or an analog. But I digress.)

And, Kristin’s other problem with “accidental vegetarianism”…

(2) “I have all these memories of my family past, and my kids will tell anyone, ‘My mom is the greatest cook!’ And the dishes they tell people about, that I make, are pot roast, homemade rolls, and chicken-n-dumplings.”

But like so many Americans, Kristin now finds herself seriously gluten intolerant. And feeling better and better the further she gets from the S.A.D. Eating white flour once a week does not cause her a problem, but if she eats white bread a few days in a row? She’s practically doubled over with abdominal pain and bloating.

Her semi-final comment today, on that subject, was, “Well, I’ll limit it to once a week. Sunday nights.”

Sounds good to me. I always say:

“Incremental progress is progress.”

When you find something else you love on Sunday nights, you might replace the roast like I did (I made a mean roast on Sunday nights, too, 20 years ago!).   I believe no one shifts these family traditions till they WANT to. So I’m not going to pound on Kristin about that one meal a week. (Or anyone, actually. Pretty proud of all the cool stuff she’s done lately, though!)

And, just another plug for young moms: if you do this NOW, you don’t have to “undo” family memories in order to shift to a healthier, plant-based diet later. Then the family memories that your kids will remember you for in 20 years aren’t worse, they’re just different. That pint of GS always waiting for them in the fridge after school, stuff drying in the dehydrator…..Sunday night lentil tacos, black-bean burgers, hummus quesadillas….or whatever! (The possibilities are endless.)

If it makes anyone feel better, my mom never made a roast, in my childhood, not once. I seem to have survived.   😉