California trip: Costco product review (part 2 of 2)

Today I’m talking about a product review / comparison of Trio Bars and Bora Bora bars at Costco, both of which I love. I wish they hadn’t discontinued Lara Bars, but such it is. (I met Lara about 6 years ago, and she’s a raw foodist who “walks the walk.”)

Bora Bora bars are 180 – 200 calories (48 grams), three varieties, and cost $1 each and are the higher quality of the two brands, because they have sprouted flax seed and all organic ingredients. I love Trio bars, too, because they taste so yummy and are made from nuts, seeds, and fruits. Trio bars are four different varieties, 230 calories (40 grams), and cost $0.80 each. The price is much better than similar bars. I would buy these over virtually any “protein” bar I’ve ever seen, since the proteins are almost always fractionated versions of soy or whey, both ingredients to avoid. Occasionally at a health food store you can find hemp protein bars, which are preferable if you are really insist on eating bars that force protein to be a bigger macronutrient than normally found in nature.

Occasionally someone writes to me that they’re eating whole foods and mostly raw, without losing weight. I’d be amazed if that’s the case for anyone who undertakes the lifestyle for any extended period of time. I always immediately wonder about thyroid issues. But one thing to look at is the question of how much you are eating of high-fat nuts and seeds. They are good for you, but an ounce or two a day is sufficient. A Trio bar takes the edge off my hunger, but I’ll be hungry an hour or two later. Low-calorie, high-micronutrient food like what is in green smoothies is a very important part of a mostly raw, whole-food, plant-based lifestyle. It is unlikely but possible to be overweight eating nothing but raw plant food, if you’re overindulging in nuts/seeds/unrefined oils.

I like how Costco has more and more organic, whole-food options. However, be careful with your selections. Some of the stuff Costco sells is what I call “feel good” food, which is radically different than “good-for-you” food. They have whole-grain pasta, which is good, and Rice Dream, and lots of organics (produce as well as boxed and other foods). But a lady was handing out samples of “organic” PopTarts recently at my Costco in Orem, Utah (different brand name than PopTart, same concept) and literally shouting about how the product is “so good for you.” Cane juice crystals, the main ingredient, are a very marginal improvement over refined sugar (still a concentrated sweetener). And the white flour was organic. Big deal. Beware of junk food masquerading as nutritious food, which is in fact only about 5% better than the typical junk food.

San Diego class at Windmill Farms Market: lots of long-time readers there, loved it! Ed, you are just THE BEST. Thanks for printing directions to our next class and for being so kind and helpful. Russell, your bringing your book The Green Smoothies Diet and telling everyone you’ve read it three times made my day. I think **I** haven’t even read it three times. Other readers with whom I’ve chatted via email over the past two years, it was so fun to put your faces to your names! It’s kind of weird to have a job where you don’t interact face-to-face very much–mostly email–so I always love to do a class where I meet real, live 12 Steppers and GSG readers. It means a lot to me.

Fullerton class at Christy Funk’s cute natural baby/childbirth store BellySprout was wonderful. I’m soooo sorry to those who came and couldn’t find a place to stand. Half the attendees at both classes learned of the events through the GSG newsletter/blog. You are busy and I am honored that you spent your evening with me.

Thanks for your support, for reading my book, for making my daughters feel like rock stars.

What did we pack/eat in Europe . . . part 1 of 2

I saw a request by a blogger while I was gone for even more detail in the question I’m always asked: what do you eat?   This blogger asked, what EXACTLY did you eat, where were you when you ate it, how much time did it take in the kitchen?   I think she wants to know–do you live the crazy, on-the-run life I do?   (And therefore, GreenSmoothieGirl, can I really believe what you say?)   I had to laugh because I had just logged all the soccer games and practices for this week, at 4 a.m. having woken up early due to my weird jetlagging.   Every single day this week, Monday through Saturday, we’ll be running around to games and practices!   (And that’s just soccer–obviously our life consists of more than that.)


I’ll work on that blog in the near future, thanks for the request.


Europe was a tricky trip and I want share how we went and ate well (5-10 raw vegs/fruits daily) without hassle or excessive expense.   We had NO green smoothies because you don’t go to little European hotels with an appliance, nor will an appliance company cover your warranty if you blow it out with the weird plugs in various countries.   Plus, we had flights from Venice to Barcelona, and Barcelona to Paris, with strict weight requirements.   A turbo blender is just too much weight.


We packed these things in our suitcases to take with us:


  1. Powdered greens.   This saved us, nutritionally, in the absence of GS!   I’d stir a spoonful into a glass of water for everyone, morning and night.   Learn from my mistake and double-bag just the powder in freezer bags so it doesn’t break on the return trip.   (This will save space, versus taking the whole bottle, anyway).  
  2. Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Costco Granola, and Rice Dream.   Double bag the rice milk in gallon Ziploc bags–two fit perfectly in one bag.   Remove the Grape Nuts from their boxes (we bought the big Costco ones) and add another layer of protection with a gallon freezer bag.   You don’t want these things exploding in your suitcases.   Taking these whole-grain packaged cereals lets you avoid being at the mercy of “continental breakfast,” which is never, in any country, an option that will give you sustained energy for the day.   Even restaurant breakfasts (which take time from your touring and are expensive) are pretty much never nutritious.   We bought bananas in the market, upon arrival, to add to our cereal.
  3. Paper bowls and plastic spoons (for breakfasts).
  4. Snacks from Whole Food Farmacy.   All of their many snack foods are delicious, and they just changed their business model (away from multi-level marketing, thank goodness, to simple direct sales) and were therefore able to lower prices across the board!   That’s rare nowadays with food prices just going UP, so jump on it.  

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about lunch and dinner.

Good, Better, Best: what should I put on my cereal?

***Note: I apologize to all those who have sent me unanswered email questions.   I am trying to get to them all.   FYI, I  prioritize what is blogged over what is emailed.   :-)  

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: What should I put on my cereal?

Most people put fractionated (skim, 1%, or 2%) antibiotic- and steroid- and hormone-treated cow’s milk on their cereal.   Then, they figure out that dairy isn’t good for them and they switch to soy milk, another fractionated/processed, highly  estrogenic and thyroid-suppressing food.   (A great man named Ezra Taft Benson who held the highest agriculture post in the U.S. said, in the 1950’s, way before  research showed this more definitively, that any time we alter our food source, it will be to our detriment.)   I recommend you avoid both of these options altogether.   Even if you’re not a milk drinker, you may wonder what to put on your cereal.

Good: (1) Rice Dream (still a bit processed but made from brown rice and unsweetened) or  almond milk from the health food store, or (2) raw, whole dairy milk

Better: Raw goat’s milk (an especially good option for young children)

Best: Homemade nut “mylk” (put 1 part nuts like cashews, almonds, or pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight and drained, with 4 parts water in your BlendTec and puree until smooth, optionally with a tsp. of vanilla)

Why is raw goat’s milk better for you than dairy?   First, you usually find it directly from the people milking the goats, not huge dairies using many chemicals.   It’s raw, not homogenized or pasteurized, thus retaining its enzymes.   It has a smaller fat molecule than cow’s milk, so it permeates the human semipermeable membranes rather than causing the body to produce mucous to flush it out.   And its enzyme and amino acid profile is more similar to human milk.   Babies weaned onto it do better than with dairy or soy.  

Nut mylk avoids animal proteins altogether, and if you soak the nuts overnight, they are germinated and “live,” containing an abundance of enzymes to add to your breakfast cereal, not to mention good omega 3 fatty acids and a wealth of vitamins, minerals–and  insoluble fiber, if you don’t strain  it (just shake before using).

Eating right, even at Disneyland

Hi, Ben here—’s webmaster. Robyn’s on spring break in SoCal, seeing Wicked and doing the theme parks with her family. But she left me her list of what she packed, to give you some travel ideas. She keeps her family’s energy high and digestion strong on vacation, while saving money on restaurants, by packing this stuff for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.


Bags of baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, raw sweet potatoes

½ gal. homemade yogurt

2 bags Costco spinach

1 bag Costco frozen mixed berries

pint of soaked/drained sunflower seeds (to add to granola for breakfast)

quart of alfalfa/radish/clover sprouts (to add to granola for breakfast)



Plastic cups, straws, bowls, spoons, and baggies

Knife and cutting board for smoothies (I use it even on hotel room tables or vanities)

Lexan mugs for smoothies

Backpack for taking food to the parks

3 loaves whole-wheat bread

organic peanut butter-honey mix

gallon bag of homemade granola

3 boxes Rice Dream

gallon bag of soaked/dehydrated teriyaki almonds

Tonya’s “For Cryin’ Out Loud Dehydrator Onion Bread” (post to follow)

bananas (for green smoothies and to add to yogurt for breakfast)

bags of washed apples, pears, plums


5-gallon jug of filtered water

eating healthy while traveling

I’m back from a fun trip down south for a baseball tournament in the sun.   I tried a tip from a woman who attended my nutrition class the night before I left–to use coconut oil instead of sunscreen.   She says it works.   (It seems rather counterintuitive–isn’t coconut oil in tanning lotions used to accelerate tanning?   But I’d read that same advice somewhere else, so it seemed worth a try.)

Well, I got a little burned anyway.   Maybe I shouldn’t have sat out with my coconut-oiled face, for THREE HOURS from 11:00 to 2:00?!   But it’s been a long winter, and I was looking forward to some sun.

So I can’t tell you coconut oil is  a miracle sunscreen.   But I was so busy, I had to fly out the door with my two sons, without doing any food prep like I usually do for a trip.   We grabbed a bag of sprouted teriyaki almonds I’d made for the nutrition class, a bag of those sweet-potato spears from Costco, and that’s ALL.   It was an adventure in finding decent nutrition on the road without the advantage of advance planning.

I found a place called Jimmy John’s (a sandwich franchise) down there.   They have a 7-grain bread and a veggie sandwich featuring alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, tomato, and a homemade avocado sauce. Not too bad, and pretty filling.

Subway is our standby as “fast food” on trips. Here’s what you do: get the “wheat” bread and order a Veggie Delite.   Tell the teenaged employee to put on LOTS of cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, and shredded carrots.   If you’re lucky, they’ll have spinach, though I didn’t see any at the Subways we visited on this trip.   Skip the iceburg and load up on the nutrient-dense veggies.   For a sauce, we just do brown mustard.

Then, your sandwich lies there, open, looking a little skimpy.   The “sandwich artist” awaits further orders.   Do not, in the interest of being polite, leave with that skimpy sandwich.   You say, can I have a bunch more tomatoes?   Thanks!   And how about a lot more cucumbers?   (Go through the whole vegetable lineup again if necessary.   Smile and use ALL your chatty charisma so as to not completely annoy them.)   When your sandwich is piled high with veggies, they manage to squeeze it shut and package it up for you, and you get a rather nutritious meal—though I recommend the 12-inch to make it filling enough!

 I stopped at a grocery store and got Grape Nuts (actually the store brand, because it was cheaper and didn’t contain soy lecithin).   We also got a couple boxes of Rice Dream, some bananas to put on top, and plastic bowls and spoons.   That was breakfast for four days.   I got a bag of apples for snacks.

I still wish I’d made two blenderfuls of GS and put it in a cooler like I’d planned (you can always use the hotel’s ice if your room doesn’t have a mini-fridge).   But we did okay!

Next up, I’m off to fill plastic Easter eggs with carob raisins, and hide them,  for the kids.   Happy Easter to y’all!