How things change, from age 8 to age 18

Sometimes in my lectures, I encourage the moms of young children to make the change NOW while they’re still “in control” of so many things in the home, including diet. Making the change later is harder. NOT IMPOSSIBLE. Just harder. When your son is 8, you can educate him. When he’s 18, he no longer thinks you’re a goddess. It’s harder to convince him.

My 18 yo son, when his dad abandoned the habits Cade had been raised with, kind of gravitated to that. To the appeal of the Standard American Diet that they eat over there. He was never a “picky” kid, pretty compliant….but late in high school, he definitely has had that tendency to do whatever is mainstream.

Unlike his sister, who invited the vegetarian kids from her high school over, this week, to make Vegetarian Kids t-shirts and give her friends a tour of my fridges-full-of-weirdness.

They spray-painted “Meat Sucks” on their shirts. It’s not a slogan I would have chosen. It’s a bit vulgar and not likely to convert anyone. (Emma’s father “freaked out” when she joined PETA Juniors and called that organization “terrorists.” His objection, of course, made her join it with that much more enthusiasm.) But “Meat Sucks” also seems to malign the poor animal who was already rather put-upon, caged in a tiny stall, injected with who-knows-what-all, and slaughtered. No one asked my opinion, though.

Cade finally got his driver’s license and my rule is, when you’re at your dad’s house, you drive his car, and at my house you drive mine. Problem is, his dad isn’t really cooperating with that. He’s not yielding his spare to Cade.

So of course Cade has been calling, asking for mine, while at his dad’s.

My brilliant idea has been, “You can have the car if you come drink a giant glass of carrot/celery/beet juice before you go.”

He’s more than willing. Small price to pay. The second night in a row, when that happened, he texted, “Okay, but a smaller glass this time!” And I wrote back, “No, haha, just for that, a BIGGER one!”

Though he went for it, the juice-drinking event was not without drama. A small gang of high-school senior friends watched him do it, and declined to help him drink it. He texted me later,

“That was so healthy it actually made me nauseous.”

 I told you I put vinyl lettering in the back window my kids’ car that says, “If you hate my driving, text my mom,” with my phone number?

Emma still has a learner’s permit. The first day I was out driving with her, after putting that in the window, I got this text from a stranger:

“Your daughter’s driving is horrible. She’s hot, though, and that’s all that counts.”

Nutrition is usually a gradual process of changes and improvement!

I think it’s important you know how gradual my health changes were. Because I don’t want you to be discouraged if you like how you feel eating whole foods, but your problems didn’t disappear overnight.

I’ve written about 21 health problems I had in my 20’s that have all gone the way of the Dodo.

Aren’t people supposed to develop more and more health problems the older they get? We’ve come to think of this as normal and inevitable. I have a tennis teammate, Gloria, who will NOT divulge her age. She has a beautiful little body that any 30-year old would love to have, she eats right, and she’s never been overweight in her life. But her daughter plays with us and is 52! That puts Gloria well into her 70’s, and I’m telling you, she is an excellent tennis player, runs as fast as we do, and doesn’t have joint problems!

So, you might start drinking green smoothies and even though you’ve read the crazy-awesome testimonials people send to me on this site, you aren’t at your ideal weight with all health conditions gone.

Me neither. I started making serious changes at 28 years old, but they were gradual and hit-or-miss for quite a while. Two steps forward, one step back. I was 100% about it for my little boy, whose health crisis was desperate, but I was still addicted to some processed foods and didn’t quite give up animal products. I gradually read more, implemented more, conquered my addictions more—but not overnight. My behavior lagged behind my education. I was frustrated by that, mad at myself, sometimes.

I was diagnosed with 20/20 vision when I was 40—that was the last degenerative condition to completely resolve. That and insomnia, which resolved when I started taking amazing fulvic acid (now in the form of GreenSmoothieGirl Ultimate Minerals)—love the minerals, the chelating ability, the detoxifying ability, the power in that product. My eyesight was completely restored after 12 years of an increasingly whole-foods, plant-based diet.

All the other problems disappeared much faster than that—some were virtually overnight. Quick to disappear were all my hypoglycemia and eczema. (Seasonal allergies took quite a few years and happened when I started eating raw local honey.)

The migraines ended when I completely gave up artificial sweetener and caffeine.   Circulation problems (cold hands and feet) went away when I started to get medium-chain fatty acids in the form of coconut oil in my diet and on my skin. The weight problem went away when I quit eating sugar every day.

I quit getting sick when I stopped eating sugar every day and started eating probiotic (cultured) foods. My energy returned, more and more—what I ended up with is something I wouldn’t have had the vision to hope for. I have tons of energy, every day, from early till late.

But let me say this, and it’s important: green smoothies alone would not have been enough for me. I would have been still overweight—but just less so, and healthier.

More commitment is needed, more than just green smoothies. Take more steps!

Giving Thanks

Tomorrow I won’t be blogging, as I’ll be going for a Central Park run, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and working in a soup kitchen in New York City, like last year. I’ll be having fun and counting my blessings. And working on my next book (I’ll tell you later) on the plane.

 

I’m thankful for my beautiful sons and daughters. I wanted them for years before they came to me, and each of them is a gift.

 

I’m thankful for lovely friends who support me when I pull something off, and carry me in the hard times. Kristin, Matthew, Jamie, Jean, Jennie…..you are my lifelines.

 

I’m thankful to have regained my health in the past 20 years. I am a better athlete,   I need far less sleep, I having a more positive outlook on life, I weigh less, I have much more energy, and I’m without chronic conditions. I’m on my knees with gratitude for that, because it makes everything else possible.

 

I’m thankful for the community of friends who read this blog. I know that you want the same things I do: for our loved ones, and us, to reach our potential.

 

I’m thankful for the freedom and opportunity to speak my mind, make mistakes, learn, and grow.

 

Thank you for being part of my world. I love the opportunity to reflect on my many blessings this week, and as often as possible.

 

XOXO,

Robyn

Parenting and Nutrition: I hate being the bad guy, Part 2

So I observe that even very overweight, ill people who overindulge, still pass up lots of junk food! You could have a year or two of depression where you ate everything in sight, and then, because it takes shockingly few calories to sustain fat cells, bam, you’re seriously overweight. And you could be more vigilant about your diet for years afterward, and remain obese. Losing weight is MUCH more difficult than maintaining a healthy weight is.

So it comes down to, are you willing to say no to MORE of it? 99% instead of 95%. That 4% is deadly. You know where that line is, between eating too much junk and eating just a reasonably sized treat now and then. You’ve been living in your body for a good while now so you know where that “fine line” is. (Lots of people haven’t discovered how much MORE food you can eat when you eat whole-food treats only!)

So what does this have to do with kids? Everything. THEY WILL GET THIS, the idea that their fuel impacts their life in absolutely every way. They need to understand it. We need to have lots of conversations with them about it. Taking different angles, not defaulting into mindless mantras.

Notice I said conversations. Not lectures. The difference being, we might ask a question, and then listen patiently, in between saying anything instructive. (In a minute, I’ll explain how you have to put 5 positives in the bank for every 1 instructional comment.)

What does your child think about things? One of my daughters gave me a huge compliment recently, saying (in so many words) that the reason she comes to me, rather than other people close to her, with a difficult or controversial subject, is that I listen and don’t judge her thinking and her developmental stage.

It’s not a problem to have high standards, or to talk to kids about choices, or to say NO to them. By not stocking the house with junk, by drawing a line at a party. (Even better, by modeling what WE do every day, which is pass up the vast majority of bad food in our path.)

Instead, it may be a matter of WHEN we talk about it.

Let me explain. When I was training to be a marriage therapist, I studied how one of the most well documented research findings is that stable marriages have 5 positives for every 1 negative. In other words, if you’re going to give your spouse (or child) some “tough love,” you darn well better have some currency in the bank. Your last five interactions should have been rife with love, praise, and tolerance. If you’ve done your time, you have credibility and influence.

I used to walk in my house and immediately take stock of the messes, the uncompleted chores, the people breaking well-documented rules. And I’d start verbally setting the place straight:

“Emma, why are these wet towels STILL on the kitchen floor? Pretty sure this is the fourth time I’ve asked you to take care of them! Kincade, did you pick the apples out of the tree? I don’t see them. Tennyson, turn the TV off and get out of the living room with the bowl of food, you know better!”

Sometimes just for good measure, I’d tie it all together and make myself seriously popular with a martyr trip. Something like, “When I leave, this place just goes to heck! Can’t you guys take a little pride in your own rabbit hole?”

A period of tension would follow. Usually the wet towels would still be on the floor and my oldest would be in his room instead of outside picking the apples. And we’d all be grumpy and avoiding each other.

Then I made a goal for myself: to not say ONE word of negative to anyone unless I’ve come in and first ENJOYED my children for five minutes. I’d ask them about their day, give them a hug, and listen to whatever they had to say. (I’m super lucky that way: all four of my kids talk to me a lot. But if your kid ISN’T a talker, all that much more important to not walk in barking orders, I’m thinking?)

An amazing thing happened. When I DID point out the wet towels or the bowl and spoon in the TV room, even just five minutes later, the kids were happy to get the job done or apologetic about breaking a rule.

So, it’s important to you to have your kids drink a glass of green juice every day. You are happy to make it if he’ll just drink it. After one of my Texas classes, a mom of adults told me she takes a green smoothie to her son when she wakes him up in the morning. He’s trapped there in bed, she said, and he’s happy he didn’t have to make it! LOL!

What if you were super careful about WHEN you talk to your child about good food choices? Do it only after giving him tons of love and attention about some things he’s doing well? Do it when you have lots of capital in his emotional bank account.

Don’t leave it at that. If your child’s nutrition isn’t what it should be, think what point you want to discuss next. But don’t just blurt it out, any old time.

Time it for a period you’ve got five positives on the balance sheet. And as I always say, make it relevant to your child’s interests. Will what you want her to do make her a better student, a better athlete? I’m not above pointing out how raw green food makes hair and skin prettier.

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!):

TEXAS, part 4 of 7, Amy’s Story

Amy was our key volunteer organizing our Austin, Texas event. I felt terrible that somehow I did not get to talk with her, as I arrived only 10 mins. before the event. (My GPS said the flagship Whole Foods Market, that I really wanted to see in the few hours we were in town, was only 7 minutes away. I didn’t know to account for traffic, and it took 25 mins. each way!) After the event, Amy didn’t have time to wait in line and I never actually met her. I wrote her an email to thank her for all her efforts and tell her we are sending a present, and this is what she wrote back:

Almost four years ago my husband ran into a health issue that “regular” doctors couldn’t help him with.

It started with only a small part of his lips and spread to both his lips and the area around them over the next couple of years, while we tried everything that we could think of and everything the doctors said to do.   It got to be so that he couldn’t laugh or smile, and he was so embarrassed to be in public.

He is a youth pastor, so having to speak in front of people often is a part of his job.   We went to 13 specialists.   They kept sending us on to other people.   They got angry or annoyed with me when I told them everything we had tried, asked questions, and tried to understand.

I kept asking, “But what’s the problem?!   How can we keep this from coming back?   Isn’t this just masking the symptoms?” I got so tired of just another prescription for some steroid that I knew could be causing other problems.   The final straw was on a second visit to a doctor who was apparently pleased with my husband’s “progress”, and we were horrified.   He was the farthest from well he had ever been.   The doctor was writing him another steroid prescription refill, and we said no thank you.   I told him we already tried that and the solution was only as lasting as the end of the prescription.

We didn’t know what else to do, but we knew that any other answer was better than another prescription.   I became obsessed with reading any kind of nutrition information I could get my hands on, became best friends with health food store workers, and my husband was willing to try anything!   I couldn’t believe the amount of information available.

I called my grandmother who has been making me crazy morning drinks when I visited her my whole life and the people I knew from my church that didn’t wear regular deodorant and told me one time they would give me a kefir starter before I knew what that was!   Luckily, they were so excited to share everything they knew.

We went to a homeopathic doctor they recommended.   The doctor was not frustrated by my questions, and when I asked for suggestions on what to study the doctor gave me greensmoothiegirl.com!

I was so encouraged by what a regular person you are.   I thought, “maybe I don’t have to be a social outcast!”   I am so thankful for you.   I would never have the courage to try things, but following your blog and watching all your videos makes me think I can do anything!   I had so much information whirling around in my brain but no idea what to do with it or where to begin.   You gave me things to DO!

I have also taken your advice, and I spread the good news with everyone I can.   I share my green smoothies even with my students (I teach art at a small elementary school).   One time I told a 4th grader that the MSG in his Cheetos were a neurotoxin.   I explained to him what it was, and the next day he told me he asked his mom if he could throw their Cheetos away.   He wanted to taste my green smoothie!

I have 6 siblings and my mom, and all but 2 of my brothers drink green smoothies regularly now.   My mom has struggled with weight loss all of my life.   She has lost about 40 pounds and is still losing!   She felt inspired by your class [in Austin] to do a green smoothie cleanse for a week!

When we first started making all our dietary changes I tried to lay low because I didn’t want people to think I was weird, but you helped me to see that that was doing them a terrible injustice.   I love what good nutrition has done for my life and the people I love most!   I want everyone to know that they can be healthy and strong.

My husband’s lips are well.   Our homeopathic doctor treated him for a mineral deficiency, using lots of greens mix, and a change in diet and nutrition.   We saw results within 2 weeks, he was completely well in 2 months.   I couldn’t believe it, after four years of battling!   Despite the pain and misery for my husband, we are so thankful for his illness.   It made us take responsibility for our own health, and forced us to educate ourselves and learn to listen to our bodies in a way that we may not have otherwise.

I recently started taking correspondence courses at a natural school of medicine to get my CNC (certified nutritional counseling).   Thank you so much for the work that you do and for sharing your life with so many people!   You have helped to make my family’s life so much better!