Plants can’t be franchised! Canada part 2 of 2

A question I’m asked a lot is, “My green smoothies are always different and sometimes I don’t like them. How can I make sure they always ‘turn out?’”

Well, that’s the thing. We’ve standardized our tastes. Ray Kroc did it famously, with the first McDonald’s. The idea was to develop a burger and fries that appealed to the taste buds, then make sure that all the franchises produced exactly the same product. People could count on getting precisely the same thing at any McD’s they went to.

Kale just isn’t like that. It grows in different soils, in different climates, in dozens of different varieties. Different colors of green. Flatter leaves or curlier. Red or white with the green, or just deep evergreen, almost black.

It’s the beauty of the thing, frankly, in a Mickey-D’s world of homogeneity. I like the surprise of my salad or my green smoothie being different every day. I notice it and try to identify and appreciate the variety. Bitter herbs have healing qualities, I remind myself when my greens are less sweet and have more kick.

I try different greens, different superfoods. Arugula or carrot tops or radish tops. Fennel or lavender oil. Bee pollen or maca or aloe vera.

Sometimes our new, vegan, super-healthy GreenSmoothieGirl protein powder if I’ve been eating too much fruit.

In a salad, I toss in fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, vegetables, depending on what I crave, which sometimes tells us what we might be deficient in.

Here’s a photo of Kristin in a Toronto market, holding heirloom tomatoes. I love their crazy shapes and colors and the way you have to get creative with a knife to cut them.

I imagine most Americans wouldn’t even buy an heirloom tomato. They might be scared of what looks like a Frankenstein vegetable, wouldn’t recognize it as a tomato, because hybridized, homogenized, irradiated, gas-ripened, waxed produce of very few varieties are now “normal.” Back before we controlled our crops with chemicals and hybridization, we had interesting, varied, multi-color tomatoes like these. Fortunately, variety is starting to make a comeback!

Thick slices of heirloom tomatoes made another appearance in this amazing salad I ordered at the 360 Degree restaurant, the turning, panoramic-view tippy top of the CN Tower overlooking the city.

Thank you, our friends in Toronto who ventured the drive into what turned out to be a seedy part of town, for welcoming us to your country. First time ever. We hope to visit more of Canada in the next year.

Let’s celebrate and embrace diversity, not just the colors among people, but the colors in our food. I’ve said it before, and here it is again.

Buy local. Buy organic. Grow your own. Use heirloom seeds. Store them. Avoid GMO at all costs. Join the anti-GMO movement. Teach it all to your children.

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers…..part 1 of 5

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: My baby is breastfeeding, and doing great. But I know I have to make the transition. Besides blending cooked vegetables, what else should I do?

Answer: Please share this blog series with anyone with a baby, or anyone thinking about starting a family.

What I’m about to tell you is worth more than money could buy. I wish I’d had this information before I even conceived my oldest son.

I must make this disclaimer first: My comments should not stand in for competent medical advice. Talk to your naturopathic medical doctor or other qualified, holistic practitioner before implementing these or any other strategies.

In my opinion, the information I want to share with you in this blog series is worth more than the four-year degree I got before going to grad school. I’m crushed that I spent a year feeding my son crap (on the advice of a pediatrician!) before I studied hard (many sources), learned the truth, executed on it, and forever changed my entire family’s future, for the better.

What I’m going to write here is a digest of what I learned during years of intensive study, when my first child was very ill with asthma. He was constantly choking on yellow and green mucous coming out of his nose, which meant it was all over in his head, throat, and throughout his body. No babies or children who have yellow and green mucous are healthy.

The mucous made his tiny body the perfect acidic, sluggish, anaerobic environment for getting every little virus that came down the pike. Which led to more asthma. Which led to more drugs. Which led to more mucous production, along with the dairy and sugar and chemical-added “foods” I fed him. You get the idea?

But I didn’t know that, then. I was a deer in headlights. A young mother with little information. Overweight and struggling with my own major health problems.

I’m even more crushed to think that not only did I lose a year to total ignorance, as I began my career as a mother, but there are women everywhere who would do anything for their kids, but they have no clue about the devastating consequences of following their pediatricians’ nutritional recommendations. And they follow bad counsel from doctors who are untrained in nutrition, for years.

(Mine said to pump my little guy full of pus- and bacteria- and steroid- and antibiotic-tainted milk of another animal. Of course he didn’t call it that. That’s me being sarcastic. He said to feed him lots of milk. And if I couldn’t get enough bottles of milk in him, I should just add a few scoops of artificially colored, sugar-sweetened NESTLE QUIK. When my son’s weight fell precipitously, he said to feed him lots of ICE CREAM.

A grad student I met after one of my lectures in Arizona last year told me she’d interned with that same pediatrician. And she told me he’s still giving people the same awful advice. She said he tells his patients, “Vegetables and fruits are just fiber. All babies need is milk, for strong bones. Lots of it.”)

What happens when we follow standard pediatric advice?

I turned my oldest son from a 8 lbs. 9 oz., 23” healthy newborn, to a Failure to Thrive, barely breathing, blue, constantly ill baby so underweight he fell below the 5th percentile. Following his pediatrician’s advice.

And then I stopped doing what the pediatrician said to do. I stopped buying what the pediatrician was feeding his own family. Baby formula made from dairy, then dairy milk and cheese and popsicles and white bread and chicken nuggets, hot dogs. Peanut butter and jelly. Maybe some cooked veggies now and then, a banana and an apple each day, just to feel better about my parenting.

And when I STOPPED doing what my culture’s parenting standards dictated, and started following true principles in nutrition, all the problems disappeared. My boy became strong, robust, healthy, 6’3”.

He went on to lead the state in RBI’s (runs batted in) his senior year of high school and pitch in the final two games of the state playoffs.

If he doesn’t achieve his destiny, it’s damn well not going to be because I failed him.

What I’m going to write in this blog series is worth many books I’ve read, and lets you just dismiss a lot of the OTHER books and web sites I wasted time on.

Most published nutrition advice is heavily influenced by the industries who created the mentality that there’s a dairy product for every nutritional need, and a drug for every medical problem.

What I’m about to write could mean that your family never uses an antibiotic again. (We haven’t, for over 17 years.) That you use M.D.’s only if you break an arm or get in a car accident. Isn’t that the ideal? Where did we get the idea that we have to lean heavily on doctors, because we’re so often sick, and cannot problem-solve our family’s own minor issues?

My next post reviews breastfeeding versus the alternatives. How long to nurse your baby, and what to do if you can’t.

World’s Largest Cucumber Comes Out of My Garden

 

This is Patty with a cucumber that somehow escaped notice in my garden until it became The Vegetable That Ate Chicago.

It wouldn’t work in a salad. But I refused to throw it in the compost.

It made three pints of juice! It wasn’t really yummy, not gonna lie. Kinda bitter.

But, we made it when I was recovering from major oral surgery. It was a perfect way to bring the inflammation down and let those angry, insulted tissues heal.

I need to gain some weight! Part 1 of 3

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I have a slight dilemma:  we have been working toward a whole foods lifestyle and I have 12 Steps to Whole Foods.  I have a supportive husband who is losing weight like me.  I’m ecstatic, him not so much.  He is 6 ft and 165 lbs and would love to be 175.  He has been open to trying new things and scaling back on meat. He works as a County Attorney and is in court most days, which makes eating enough calories during lunch essential. Do you have any suggestions? How can I get more calories in him, in something that is portable? –Britni

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: “I’m 34 and have always been super-skinny, but not because I want to be. I want to start lifting weights to put on some muscle, and I was wondering: how can I eat healthy and put on weight? – Rachel

Answer: So you know everyone ELSE who reads this blog hates you now, right? (Over 70% of America wants to be thinner.)

Believe it or not, I get this question often. (Most of the inquiries are about weight loss, of course, but it’s still an issue for some.) Rachel and Britni, when your body absorbs minerals appropriately, AND you are eating good nutrition, you tend to find your healthy weight, whether that’s up or down. Getting enough minerals isn’t always the problem—usually gut imbalances and degenerative problems are in the way of utilizing the minerals you DO eat.

I can’t prove it, but my observation from talking to thousands of people–and hundreds of underweight people—is that they are flip sides of the same coin. (I believe Dr. Robert O. Young also writes about this.) The same thing that makes some people too fat, makes other people too skinny.

You know what I’m talking about, because all of us know some thin people who eat tons of junk. “It’s not fair,” their friends say.

Of the 5-10% of Americans who are underweight, some of them aren’t actually underweight. Our weight charts have trended up, up, up in recent decades based on averages. Check out my report about that and Dr. McDougall’s weight charts HERE.

That page is the one that infuriates people on my site. Oh, and also this page—once I got a profanity-laced email from a lady who just flunked my nutrition quiz you can find HERE.

They find the low weights shocking. So I say, when people write in, hey, it’s not my weight chart. I’m not even promoting it. (My own weight is 7 lbs. over the “ideal” for my weight, in his chart, BTW.) It’s based on averages of indigenous peoples who eat only whole foods. There’s ONE purpose the U.S. weight chart serves, and that is to help us feel better about being overweight.

I put it that alternate weight chart up to show another perspective. To show that the weight charts currently being promoted are just based on averages of people who eat a processed diet, so don’t treat it like the Bible and bet the farm on it. They aren’t the averages themselves–they are set by bureaucrats, and INFLUENCED by averages. The original section of Fenway Park I visited last year? Most Americans wouldn’t even fit in the chairs. Back in the 40’s, virtually everyone did.

I wish we could mentally inoculate naturally thin people against this idea that there is something wrong with them. Men especially–they think they have to be bulked up, when some men are naturally lean. (I personally think super-lean men are ATTRACTIVE. Big, muscular guys are, too, but I think skinny is awesome. Do any of the women here want to agree with me?) Extreme thinness is the #1 factor associated with longevity. Skinny people live to be very old.

See what I’m doing here? I wish Britni’s husband would get stoked about being 165 lbs. I’m a huge fan of spending our energy learning to love our body, instead of spending that energy trying to change it. If we have a healthy body and we have healthy habits, that is. (It’s always good to change bad habits, adopt new ones.

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.