When I came to your class I had just been diagnosed with rectal cancer

green smoothiestraw berries (1)Our customer support rep Kami forwarded this to me and said, “This brought tears to my eyes.” Me, too.

“I was in so much pain I couldn’t sit. So I kept squirming. I felt that I was distracting those who wanted so much to learn from you. I kept starting to leave…but I selfishly wanted to learn too.

I want to tell you I have now been doing green smoothies for almost two years and am constantly getting other people started. Years of compulsively overeating carbs,sweets, and fats gave me the giant belly you saw that literally hangs to my knees.

What you would never have imagined is that my health was already greatly improved by your green smoothies. I truly believe the cancer was already being driven out by the greens. I believe that if I beat this, it will be because of you. If I had found you sooner I would never have had to go through all this.

hands hearts (1)Thank you for all the good information you made available to me. I am done with radiation and my first round of chemo . I am barely able to eat again. I am starting back on my green smoothies. I wish you could guide me through this but I could never afford you. I wonder how many lives you have saved and they don’t even know it.

Never become discouraged. The world needs you. Be well, dear sister, and never stop.”

Science compared every diet. The winner? Real food!

shutterstock_194081942Dr. David Katz and Dr. Stephanie Meller, at Yale University, completed a survey of the published research on diet over the past decade. The primary finding, surveying thousands of studies?

“A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”

Score one for my mission. This is what we teach. Eat plants, unprocessed ones!

The study compared low carb, low-fat, low glycemic, Mediterranean, mixed/balanced (DASH), Paleolithic, vegan, and many other diets.

Fewer cancers and less heart disease are documented in thousands of published studies. The most effective diets included not just fruits and vegetables, but whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Some other interesting findings:

Katz and Meller found “no decisive evidence” that low-fat diets are better than diets high in healthful fats, like the Mediterranean! Those fats include a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids than the typical American diet.

shutterstock_212666641Finally, about the very popular fad, the “Paleo Diet”, Katz and Meller wrote:

“If Paleolithic eating is loosely interpreted to mean a diet based mostly on meat, no meaningful interpretation of health effects is possible.” They note that the composition of most meat in today’s food supply is not similar to that of mammoth meat, and that most plants available during the Stone Age are today extinct. [In other words, GSG interpretation, it’s not even possible to “follow” the diet Paleolithic man ate!]

Dr. Katz says, of the “dieting” landscape in the popular media:

shutterstock_136284278“It’s not just linguistic…I really at times feel like crying, when I think about that we’re paying for ignorance with human lives. At times, I hate the people with alphabet soup after their names who are promising the moon and the stars with certainty. I hate knowing that the next person is already rubbing his or her hands together with the next fad to make it on the bestseller list.”

Another GSG teaching confirmed by the Yale study:

Exaggerated emphasis on a single nutrient or food is inadvisable. The result, Katz and Meller write, is constant confusion and doubt. My conclusion, instead, is to just eat a wide variety of whole, colorful, unprocessed plant foods. Greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Kathy Pugh loses 50 lbs eating whole foods!

Kathy with Robyn (Before)
Kathy with Robyn (Before)

I love when people send me their test results, or their before-and-after photos, when they’ve changed their life.

Kathy is a GSG Detox two-time graduate…..and the winner of a Blendtec Total Blender at my lecture.

We met in October, 2013, in Northern Virginia. She came to my next lecture, 9 months later, near Baltimore. Here you see the photos, with me, of Kathy before and after implementing a whole-foods diet.

Last Fall, she was just shy of 200 pounds, with cholesterol of 198, diagnosed pre-diabetic. She told me, “I didn’t like the way I felt. I had to wiggle into my chair at work. My thighs embraced each other as I walked, and my belly would sometimes cause the grocery store self-checkout machine to yell at me: ‘Please remove items from scanner scale!’”

Kathy realized she needed to do something. The day before Christmas, she started the GreenSmoothieGirl 26-day Detox. By the end, she’d lost 10 pounds. More importantly, she’d realized that she COULD make the switch, from the Standard American Diet, to a healthy, whole-foods lifestyle.

Each weekend, following GSG advice, she tried something new, adding one new habit. Her cholesterol dropped over 50 points in two months. Her doctor told her that her fasting blood sugar was back to normal range–out of danger for diabetes.

Kathy and Robyn (After)
Kathy and Robyn (After)

Kathy has lost nearly 50 pounds in the last 7 months! She’s done the Detox TWICE. She says,

“I feel better about myself and I couldn’t have done it without the tools and information you provide on your website and books.  I am grateful for the work you have done in sharing your knowledge about foods and the food industry.”

Kathy, thank you for sharing your story!


Diet vs. Exercise

Diet versus Exercise for weight lossDear GreenSmoothieGirl: I know that a great diet coupled with lots of exercise is the healthiest approach for all of us. Having said this, I just listened to a guy on the radio say he is a gym rat and is in excellent physical shape for his age (approaching 50,) but he’s a junk food king. Which is worse: Great diet, little or no exercise, OR so-so diet, but great cardio and muscle workouts. Happy Mother’s Day! –Patti

Answer:  It’s a funny question, and the answer may not even be helpful to anyone, but it will entertain me to answer it! Obviously it’s a terrible idea to have a bad diet OR live a sedentary lifestyle. But your guess about what I’m going to say is right: I think diet is even more important.

80-20-ruleWe do it all day long, eat food. It is so foundational. It’s the gas in the gas tank. When it’s hybridized, genetically modified, stripped of fiber and nutrition, or even made of nothing but chemicals (i.e. soda), your body doesn’t even have good fuel to work with, in a cardio or weight workout. Fuel is what builds every cell. With your weight, food is 80% and exercise is 20%. While I think both are critically important, nutrient density in your diet is probably the #1 most important issue for your health, and your emotional well-being. Stress management / attitude / ability to metabolize and move forward after negative events is the #2 most important factor affecting your overall health. Exercise is likely #3!



15 Ways I Optimize Health and Energy Every Day—Besides Good Food! (part 1 of 4)

Optimize your healthAt our Paracelsus retreat in Switzerland (I miss those lovely people who came, already!), we had a few evening seminars where I and Dr. Jared Nielsen (from Utah) spoke on a variety of topics. I asked those who attended to write down their questions. One was, “Besides good nutrition, what do you do to stay healthy?”

What a great question! I’m going to answer it in my next few blogs. I am nearing 47 years old, and I have strong energy from early, until late, virtually 100% of the time, with no symptoms or diagnoses except some mild anxiety sometimes, and some dental issues resulting from my poor habits early in life.

I do not believe that this situation is due to luck, nor is it explained by good heredity. Twenty years ago, I was in terrible health, with two dozen diagnoses, when I made radically different daily choices. I had a number of strikes against me, starting with a childhood where I was not breastfed, and then was on frequent antibiotics.

And my heredity isn’t particularly great either—cancer on one side, Alzheimer’s disease on the other. Nor is is just short-term luck, as my excellent health has been a fact for many years, since I began safeguarding it. Even through some very stressful life events.

Eat a healthy plant based diet most of the time.
Eat a healthy plant based diet most of the time.

Of course what we talk about most, on this blog, is the critical role a consistent, three-meals-a-day healthy diet is. Whole, plant-based, clean food is the bulk (90-95%) of what I eat. Yes, I eat “play foods,” too. I make sure they’re kept to 5 percent of the diet—maybe 10 percent on vacations. My core value, when it comes to food, is to be disciplined, without being obsessive.

And I truly believe that diet is one of two foundations. (The other is good emotional health and maturity.) It is inescapable that one is highly unlikely to be truly healthy, long-term, without focusing on it: learning and practicing principles of eating clean, high-vibration foods.

game-changerBut there is much more that I do, besides eat good food. I think that the things I’m about to explain are common practices, too, from my observations of people late in life who are in optimal health—compared to most of their peers whose main focus in life is surviving their many disease states.

The things on this list don’t even take much time, most of them, and many of them can be done while doing the dishes or driving in the car. Many of them are more about emotional than physical health—but is there any differentiating them, really?

Both my academic training, and my life experience, tells me that these 15 things are game-changers. Every single one is important. My next three posts will reveal all of them.


Why I’m in love with legumes, part 1 of 4

love legumeMatthew texted me after a recent newsletter I sent out:

Matthew:  I just read your article on protein. I had to look up what a legume is. Dumb it down a little! Is there a lot of protein in peas?

Me:  Yes, in split peas, there is.

split peasMatthew:  Is that different from regular peas?

Me:  Yeah, split peas are HARD and you cook them. Haven’t you had split pea soup? Your mom was a health nut! Regular peas are squishier. They are green vegetables in a pod.

Matthew:  I love split pea soup! I don’t know what split peas are. You have to write to Americans who can identify everything on McDonald’s Dollar Menu but they could not say what a legume is.

This is a consistent theme of Matthew’s, reminding me to dumb it down a level. This is why I don’t like to teach you how to make, for example, tinctures of medicinal mushrooms, a major topic of my friend David Wolfe at his Longevity Conference.

(Oh, and also I don’t like to because I don’t have a clue HOW, and learning how is not on my bucket list.)

This is why I don’t like to get sucked down rabbit holes of controversies like whether vegetarianism is for everyone. (Lots of plants IS for everyone. Whether you eat clean, organic meat is a personal preference, and your dental health may be served by that.)

local grcMost people don’t want to read those fringey debates. They want practical help getting out of the trap. The S.A.D. trap.

I mostly like to talk about how regular people can make shifts to eating more whole, unadulterated foods. Plants in their natural state that make us feel great, maintain ideal weight, and minimize disease risk. That’s the zone I like to stay in.

To that end, Matthew says to write an article about TEN TYPES OF LEGUMES. I’m on it. Look for that in my next post. And while we’re talking about, I’ll share my split pea soup recipe, which is an example of the cheap and easy ways to raise a family on whole foods.