Goodbye to speaking tours!

I’ve loved traveling to 450 cities on speaking tours in the past 6 years. And I’m not “burned out.” But for the rest of the year, maybe permanently (haven’t decided yet), I’ve decided to stay home and focus on some neglected projects that I plan to bring value to your life.

I’ve learned so much meeting GreenSmoothieGirl readers nationwide, sharing my story with you and hearing yours. I have thousands of faces and hundreds of stories in my head and heart.
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I have one more tour ahead of me in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Northern Virginia. I just came back from Idaho Falls, which is an interesting town because it’s rather drab and nondescript, except for the beautified section of the Snake River along the hotel and shopping district where I run into little surprises like this art in a little pond and this spectacular roundabout in a “downtown” with no multi-story buildings. I have spoken there for 7 years in a row, since I started traveling and speaking.

IMG_0720I’ll miss stuff like this—running in new places and discovering your city’s treasures, teaching things that matter for your health and your life.

I’m not saying goodbye. I am just getting back to research as well as revitalizing the whole GSG site that will relaunch by end of July to be far more encompassing than just about nutrition and eating whole foods. Much of my research and life experience in the past 5 years goes far beyond food. My site will be blog-centric and the blog and newsletter will get more of my focus.

Thank you, Boise and Idaho Falls, for the fun memories. And thank you to so many who have come to hear and taste how amazing whole foods are and how your health can transform when following basic principles. I’ve loved every minute of it. Maybe sometime, I’ll do it again. For now, Baby Boy gets his mama at all baseball games, and GreenSmoothieGirl.com gets some TLC and a facelift!

When Female Hormones Go Wacko!

Infographic by Sanford Harvey
Infographic by Sanford Harvey

GreenSmoothieGirl reader, Sanford Harvey, developed this really simple and helpful infographic on female hormones and shared it with us.

Have you always wondered why you are already experiencing signs and symptoms similar to menopause regardless of age? Have you felt like you could go head-to-head in a mood swing competition with your menopausal mother? Although female hormone imbalance is most common in aging women, it can be experienced by women regardless of age.

Female hormone imbalance is not exclusive to aging and menopausal women. Even women in their younger years can experience an overproduction or underproduction of one or more hormones. A whopping 80 percent of women worldwide suffer from different kinds of female hormone imbalance. Moreover, an estimate of 2.2 billion women over age 50 are presumed to suffer from female hormone imbalance by the year 2025.

Fortunately, female hormone imbalance does not have to be a ‘normal’ part of every woman’s life. Knowing and avoiding the triggers of female hormone imbalance can spare a woman from experiencing undesirable signs and symptoms such as forgetfulness, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, stubborn acne, mood swings, and more.

And if ever you might already be suffering from female hormone imbalance, there is still hope. There are simple and practical ways to correct hormone imbalance including leading a healthy and active lifestyle, eating a healthy and organic diet rich in omega-3 and healthy fat, and using hormone replacement therapy.

In all my research, I have found that “bioidentical hormone replacement” is the safest and best way to treat female hormone imbalance. I even prefer it over the other options which are unnatural and dangerous to your body. Bioidentical hormone replacement produces hormones with the same molecular make-up that your body naturally produces. This therapy takes hormones from animals versus making them synthetically as the drug industry does. Synthetic therapies are molecularly different and thus carry several associated risks.

Along with natural hormone replacement therapy is eating a more organic, raw plant food diet. In my opinion, this is as much part of the answer as hormone replacement therapy.

My friend, Kristie Rosser, who doubles as my own bioidentical hormone practitioner, says that stress can play a part in female hormone imbalance. She suggests that practicing meditation, gratitude, and working on your attitude daily has a positive effect on your body and can ease the negative symptoms of hormone imbalance.

When I am on speaking tours, women often talk to me about their hormone issues. I will give you the same advice I give them: Ask for a referral from someone you trust, or google “bioidentical hormone” along with the name of your city. Once you find a specialist you trust, you will need to get your blood tested. This isn’t just a T3 test you need that many OB/GYN’s order. There are upstream, downstream, and precursor hormones, each having a complex interplay that is best evaluated by an experienced bioidentical specialist. These practitioners have an advanced degree in nursing or medicine.

Contrary to what you may have been told, treating female hormone imbalance usually involves more than taking a thyroid pill. The successful approach may involve careful, timed delivery of natural precursor substances like pregnenalone or DHEA that support your body’s own ability to produce hormones. I prefer that versus taking pills!

Along with bioidentical treatment, I use our GSG Ultimate Minerals to support my thyroid function. As a result, I have been able to restore much of my thyroid production in recent years with my diet and strong mineral support. (Even with my quart-a-day green smoothie habit, I was low in minerals!) All of our Superfoods mixes increase raw, organic, whole plant foods in the diet, as well. I add a scoop of our raw, vegan, whole-foods protein to my green smoothie every day for thyroid support, appetite/weight management, and overall wellness.

What’s more is we just put our protein in single-serve pouches. On my recent trip to Texas, I used these GSG single protein servings 3x a day and returned home a pound lighter! (Usually I struggle to NOT GAIN weight on a trip.)

My question to you is what will you do to prevent and relieve the aggravating symptoms of female hormone balance? You can choose to not be a part of the 80 percent of women suffering from female hormone imbalance by simply exercising, eating right, drinking your green smoothie, and considering bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Everything you need to know about female hormone imbalance is in this infographic. Thanks to Sanford!

Robyn’s answer to a famous doctor’s anti-green-smoothie claim

green smoothiestraw berries (1)Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic is a hero of mine. Former President Bill Clinton cites Dr. Esselstyn, a proponent of a plant-based diet as a solution to cardiac problems, as one of his inspirations to go vegetarian. As you know, President Clinton was triple-bypass survivor who gave up fried foods and hamburgers to “never eat anything with a mother.”

Although I don’t specifically advocate for vegetarianism, I’m supportive of Dr. Esselstyn’s plant-based diet, and none of my recipes in my own 14 books have meat in them. It’s not that I don’t think you can be very healthy eating an entirely plant-based diet. I also think you can be healthy eating reasonable amounts of organic, free range, or wild caught animal flesh. The reason my recipes don’t have animals in them is that you already know how to eat meat—I don’t need to provide you those recipes, because you already have them. We have no lack of knowledge about how to prepare meat, in our culture. My goal is to help you eat more plants—easily, inexpensively, and deliciously.

Dr. Esselstyn argues that green smoothies should be avoided, because their fiber is pureed, destroying helpful properties.

In my research published in The Green Smoothies Diet, one of the top 3 health benefits my 175 participants reported, is improved digestion. We defined that as soft, formed stool, and increased throughput. I cannot find any evidence that fiber is “destroyed” just because we blend it. With all due respect to Dr. Esselstyn—he and I are on the same team, teaching people whole plant foods!—green smoothies are a fantastic way, in a fast-food world, to massively increase consumption of greens, and plant foods in general. I’ve found that while most people won’t sit and plod their way through a plate of kale, chard, and collard greens, they will almost always drink a green smoothie.

Esselstyn also says that fructose in the fruit contributes to inflammation and hypertension.

green-smoothies-diet-book-720x720On the contrary, lots of evidence, including numbers from many GSG Detox participants (we’ve had several thousand since August, 2013) are that inflammation and hypertension often decrease by eating high-fiber, raw plant foods, rather than the many animal foods and processed foods dominating the Standard American Diet.

I just read all of the questionnaires from the past month of people completing the Detox, and one included a participant’s blood pressure dropping into beautiful normal numbers and his cardiologist taking him off meds, after only a week on the Detox. He remains in the low-normal range after completing the program. (While this is an interesting story, it is not intended as advice, so please seek competent medical advice for your own health concerns. Getting off meds should be supervised by a doctor.)

Victoria Boutenko’s research published in Green for Life, with 30 people who started drinking a quart of green smoothie daily, showed that blood pressure decreased and inflammation did, too. Perhaps Dr. Esselstyn’s claim is related to eating concentrated fructose and other sugars (like in corn syrup and agave), rather than the whole fruit, with fiber and micro-nutrients, accompanied by lots of greens in the smoothies I teach.

I calculated how much fiber is in a quart of green smoothie, and it’s about 12 grams. That’s more than the average American eats in a whole day!

Of course, if you make a fruit smoothie with a handful of greens thrown in, that’s not what I call a green smoothie. I agree with Dr. Esselstyn that fruits should be minimized. I don’t agree that fruits need to be eliminated (perhaps except for some Type 1 diabetics or very rare conditions).

I like my smoothies to be REALLY GREEN. I’m not drinking them for entertainment, after all—I’m drinking them for the health benefits. I also love to put a scoop of GreenSmoothieGirl protein, and also our TriOmega (it’s back!)–sprouted broccoli, chia, and flax seed, for their high essential fatty acid content.

shutterstock_216030343Lots of folks have major jaw and dental problems in North America and Europe, after several generations of eating so much processed food. (Prehistoric man had a wide, strong palate and teeth that could grind up nuts, greens, berries, and meat easily.) With these challenges, a pre-masticated green smoothie may be just the ticket. I love Dr. Esselstyn’s work, but I stand by my premise:

A quart of green smoothie a day increases micro-nutrients in the diet by 700% compared to the average American. And that’s almost categorically a good thing.

See my YouTube video HERE for more about the Great Green Smoothie Debate.

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.

Exactly Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Terrible

sweet miseryAspartame (or brand name Nutrasweet).  Joe Mercola says it’s the most dangerous substance added to foods. I might quibble with that, because mono sodium glutamate is a neurotoxin every bit as deadly. And the nitrates and nitrites in cured meats are potently carcinogenic.

I’d agree that aspartame is a TOP THREE worst things, to avoid at all costs.

A chemist discovered this concentrated sweetener when testing a drug. Although it was approved in the 70’s, a neuroscience researcher and a consumer attorney objected, and the FDA put the approval on hold.

aspartame3Unfortunately it would not be on hold forever, because chemical company Monsanto bought it and the rest is history. We have over 4,000 food additives approved for use by our FDA, and literally the majority of complaints to the FDA about health problems caused by food additives, are related to aspartame alone. There is far more evidence of the harm caused the American public by aspartame than there ever was about saccharin, which was Americans’ chemical sweetener of choice prior to the 1980’s.

The main complaints to the FDA are related to death, and seizures. Headaches and migraines are also common. When I stopped drinking diet soda many years ago, even though I drank only 3-4 sodas a month, my own migraines stopped completely, never to return.

Others of the 90 documented symptoms of aspartame consumption include dizziness, depression, weight gain, rashes, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision and hearing problems, loss of taste, memory loss, joint pain, breathing problems, heart racing, vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hormone problems, and many more.

Why would ANY of these symptoms be acceptable to us, in order to eat a toxic chemical? And those are just the symptoms we FEEL. What is happening underneath the hood, that we don’t see or feel? What is happening to our disease risk? There is strong evidence that our soaring Multiple Sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases are related to massive consumption of aspartame (and MSG) in North America and Europe.

Physicians and researchers have also documented how chronic conditions can be triggered or worsened by eating this deadly chemical. Those include brain tumors and lesions, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, and more.

ExcitotoxicityNeurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., has been a tireless researcher, publishing his results of the effect on the American public of the twin neurotoxins that nearly every American eats: monosodium glutamate and aspartame. He references nearly 500 scientific articles about the neurological damage and other symptoms

He calls them excitotoxins, which means that they “excite the nervous system to death.” Don’t you want your nervous system, myelin sheaths intact, to keep you calm and happy for many years to come? If so, stop eating all Nutrasweet. You’re killing neurons every time you eat it.

Even gum. It’s got to go. It was the last thing to go, for me. But gone it is. No more diet sodas. Anything in a regular store that says “sugar free,” check the label, and avoid all aspartame and Nutrasweet 

splendaSplenda is new enough that data isn’t available. Give it another decade. But saccharin was pushed out of the market by the manufacturers of the patented chemical Nutrasweet. The Nutrasweet bullies, trying to make an exclusive spot in the marketplace for their product, leveraged a study showing that massive quantities of saccharin caused cancer in rats. A much higher level of saccharin than any human could ever eat. I’m not saying this to defend saccharin. For all we know, low doses cause cancer too. It’s a safe bet that eating chemical sweeteners is a bad idea in general. But I’m making you aware of why the entire marketplace shifted from thousands of products sweetened with saccharin, to thousands now sweetened with aspartame.

It’s becoming widely known that aspartame, now, is phenomenally neurotoxic. So the fight to molecularly alter a sweetener, patent it, and foist it on the American public, is underway.

rats in maze

Enter Splenda. Be cynical here. This is where your critical thinking skills serve you well. Watch what has gone on, which is a fight over the money made on addiction, nothing more or better than that, and stay out of consumption of these foods. To participate is to be no better than rats in a maze.

truvia deceptionTruvia. Truvia is the newest of the chemical sweeteners. It’s rather insidious marketing ploy is to align itself with stevia, which Americans began using later than much of the rest of the first world, due to the government strong-arming tactics of Nutrasweet’s owner, Monsanto. This isn’t stevia. It’s molecularly altered FROM stevia, so now it’s a synthetic chemical with sweetening properties.

Ask yourself. WHY would a manufacturer take a legitimate herb like stevia and change it? There’s one answer. PURE PROFIT. Because you can patent it and make a billion dollars. Don’t buy in. Your body does not recognize a synthetic chemical as food. It does not digest, assimilate, or eliminate non-food items. We have learned this from long, hard, sad experience.

We will find out only later what THIS white chemical does to the people who jumped in the maze and willingly started running around in it, gobbling up the pellets.

Be a free mouse. Run around in the field, eating grass and normal mouse food. Stay out of the maze.

malitol

Maltitol. It wrecks your gut. It’ll give you horrible gas, and your stomach will do flips. How can this be anything but bad for you? I can find little published on the health effects of sugar alcohols, but if you eat something with maltitol, the immediate effects give you clues that this is problematic as a “food.” 

steviaStevia. Use it if you want. But try to get away from everything needing to be super-sweet. I haven’t seen real evidence, but I’m reading more claims that your pancreas is stimulated by the SWEETNESS of a food, so replacing one toxic sweetener with a nontoxic one may not solve all our problems. Learn to love the taste of real food.

Stevia, at the end of the day, is still a crutch. I don’t know of any ill-health effects reported from its use. Still, only the refined version avoids “aftertaste,” so that’s mostly what’s being used. The less you use it, the better, if you’re serious about a whole-foods diet. However, I’m not concerned about it as a very minor part of the diet, and it would be my sweetener of choice in those I’m reviewing here.

Saccharin. It’s made a slight, half-hearted attempt back on the market. It was put on a rail out-of-town for causing cancer, but the studies did use massive amounts of the sweetener. That said, I wouldn’t call it safe. It’s probably preferable to aspartame, but that’s akin to saying it’s better to have prostate cancer than colon cancer. That’s true, but why have any cancer at all?

In conclusion, I’d far rather have you eat SUGAR than aspartame (Nutrasweet) or Splenda or Truvia. Sugar is deadly for your health, don’t get me wrong. But, eating neurotoxic chemicals is even worse.no sweeteners

fruitdatesnatural-sweetenersThe best sweeteners are fruit and dates. Those are whole foods with fiber (to slow impact on the blood sugar) and many health benefits. The next-best are coconut sugar (my current favorite, lower glycemic index and high in minerals, neutral flavor), raw/organic agave, Grade B maple syrup, raw honey, brown rice syrup, or molasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should I “eat right for my blood type?”

A recent grad from Institute for Integrative Nutrition applied for the GreenSmoothieGirl Health Coaches certification and said this:

“I’ve studied over 100 nutritional plans, and the 12 Steps to Whole Foods program is the most comprehensive, practical, grounded approach I have found.”

(That’s the goal. I think I’ve studied all those nutrition plans, too. Most have a kernel of truth, or lots of truth, along with, usually, some problems. And many of the diet plans appeal to popular tastes – such as Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, etc. — rather than being supported by evidence.)

One of the more frustrating diet plans, to me, is the blood type diet. The idea is that you have a certain blood type because your ancestors were from a certain place, so they adapted to a specific diet. You are then instructed, based on having O, A, B, or AB blood, to eat according to the prescription. Vegetarian, highly carnivorous, a mix of the two, grains or no grains, etc.

The diet has no real science backing it. Only a very dubious theory. The theory collapses when you consider that every indigenous population of the world has all the blood types: A, B, AB, and O. It’s also highly problematic when you consider how much genetic mixing and nomadism we’ve had in recent centuries. Few people have both parents going back to the same origins.

Peter D’Adamo fathered the first blood typing program (based on the theory of his father James, both naturopaths) that gave rise to a set of nutrition principles. But others have leveraged the same concept, with different recommendations. It’s tempting, financially, to author a new diet, since those books sell well. I know this all too well, since I waged an epic war with my publisher over the name of my bestseller, The Green Smoothies Diet. I hate the word diet because “diets” don’t work. I wanted to teach good principles, towards a sustainable lifestyle, but my publisher said,

“But American love diet books. They fly off the shelves.”

I lost the war and, in so doing, probably gained financially, as my book was instantly a bestseller for my publisher. It wasn’t a hill I was going to die on, because if it gets the same message out, I can “sell out” on the fairly minor point of a title. (Mostly, I just wanted, on principle, to name my own book!) And Ulysses Press was right—Americans do, apparently, want to “go on” yet another diet.

The whole idea of blood typing does call legitimate attention to the fact that we are all different, with different needs. This doesn’t obviate the fact that there are certain classes of foods that are nutritious to just about everyone. Just because you feel weak if you try to eat only plants, after a lifetime of eating animals, doesn’t mean that for you, vegetables are bad food.

It could mean you are transitioning and cleansing, and that is uncomfortable in the short- to mid-term. It could mean that because degenerative gut problems are nearly ubiquitous (everyone who has indulged in the S.A.D. suffering from them to one extent or another), many of us have developed sensitivities to specific foods. Some of those sensitivities are to good foods. This doesn’t mean that food X or Y is necessarily “bad” for you personally—it may mean that you have a problem to rectify so your body can accept and utilize nutrition from that food class.

Some people are reading this article and preparing to scream at me that I’m wrong because they went on the blood type diet and feel much better. I believe that! But not because you’re eating “correctly” for your blood type.

You feel better because the author of the nutrition program eliminates gluten from the type O diet. That will make everyone feel better, as grains have been hybridized and are causing many people problems. And he tells all type A’s to eat vegetarian, which is actually a good diet for most, if not all, people.

(As always, I refuse to take a stand on whether a limited amount of animal protein is good or desirable or at least acceptable—but it’s clear that more plants, and less animals, is across the board, more environmentally sustainable and more health-promoting.)

You feel better because regardless of your blood type, you’re told to eliminate processed foods such as white flour.

D’Adamo’s theory gets really silly when he tells Type A’s to meditate, Type O’s to do aerobics, etc. (Does this mean Type O’s shouldn’t meditate, and Type A’s shouldn’t exercise their hearts?) He delves into stereotyping personality and character based on blood type, too. It’s really nonsense but can “look” true because some true principles are involved.

Many other experts have soundly debunked D’Adamo’s reasoning and recommendations. He claims type O is the oldest blood type, but in fact, A is. This decimates the crux of his theory. Also, agriculture developed in different parts of the world independently, and his theory is based on unilateral development worldwide and positive outcomes for that development, neither of which is fact.

Most of his theory rests on lectins, proteins on the surfaces of foods that can cause cells or molecules to stick together. But a number of doctors object to the hypotheses the D’Adamos make, saying that there is no documentation of the health effects they predict if you eat “wrong” for your blood type, which virtually everyone does, of course. Michael Klaper, M.D. said that the effects he describes would be fatal for millions of people, if D’Adamo were correct in his theory.

The diets D’Adamo advocates for are not particularly harmful or out-of-the-ordinary, and all of them eliminate the worst of the bad in the Standard American Diet. (He isn’t telling any of the blood types to eat Twinkies or Cocoa Puffs. He is just making certain recommendations within whole-foods groups and macronutrients. Most Americans, of course, are eating Twinkies and Cocoa Puffs! Any  involves less processed food is likely to result in health improvement.)

As a culture, we need better critical thinking skills. We have a long love affair with personality testing and typing, horoscopes, and other ways to try to categorize and make sense of our world. But blood-typing theory is flawed on so many levels. I believe that individuals have specific dietary needs that may fall slightly – not massively — outside a prescribed set of guidelines.

Looking to blood type does not provide those answers. As logic might suggest to you, only experimentation and intuition do.