We love the SOUTH! Part 2 of 3

One GSG reader said this to me, the very first thing when she sat down to chat with me after our Raleigh class:

“I want you to know that I was there, right behind you, in your divorce in 2008. I was praying for you.

My eyes are welling up, right now, thinking about this. Women who had never met me had my back—I’m so amazed and grateful.

That was the darkest year of my life. Although I put my head down, and worked and blogged and created all the way through it, I didn’t teach, not once, for a whole year.

I told her: “I went off to lick my wounds for a while. I just couldn’t be in front of an audience.” Sometimes the single moms come to me after my classes and we hug and bond…..we’ve been through the war. We emerge more polished, with some valuable wisdom. And we try not to be cynical.

Debbie Smith told me she left a vacation early to be in my class. She left her family at the beach, but won the Blendtec blender. Right after telling me before class that her health has been rapidly deteriorating and she was there on my front row, hoping for help and answers. She burst into tears when her ticket number was called.

And our volunteers, oh my. Kristin would tell you that we are routinely astonished and we always say to each other, “Our volunteers are the salt of the earth. Quality.” They show up in ANY city we go to, and they work with us, smart and helpful and tireless.

Some of them, very frankly, are on their knees, in a health crisis. They are on a journey. A lovely woman named Rebecca in Raleigh helped us, with her cute trained doggie in tow, who helps her when she has panic attacks related to PTSD.

I didn’t get to tell her that I am a PTSD survivor, too, due to severely traumatic events in my childhood. Not to make everything about nutrition, but this is a true fact: as long as I keep sugar (especially corn syrup) out of my diet, I am now fine and have been medication-free for 15 years.

But the minute corn syrup makes an appearance, my anxiety rears its ugly head.

So of course it’s a biochemistry problem. MD’s say that to justify a drugs-only approach. But if I keep my adrenals reasonably nurtured, I’m fine. If I stress them out with unmitigated chaos, or, more likely, toxic sugars, I’m NOT fine.

Kristin said, of Heather Hunnicutt in Atlanta, “That woman is us. She fits how we are. Best volunteer we have ever had.” And, come to find out, Heather is about to deliver her fifth child and is in the crisis of her life.

Somehow I did not get to talk to her, at that busy event, but Kristin couldn’t say enough good about Heather being smart, competent, kind, and patient with those at our class. Thank you Rebecca and Heather and all our volunteers.

I pray for you all. You wait in my line and I hear about your struggles and I think about you and pray for you.

Life has a way of dishing out some doozies. I’m always amazed at the things people live through, and then have a triumphant story, as zigzaggy as it gets. Tomorrow I share with you a love letter I got from Annette, to her parents, for teaching her in the 1970’s what it is to be healthy in a toxic world where even the smart people have mostly terrible habits.

Patty from Puyallup gets Creative on a Cruise!

You know I love creative ideas that help us eat right, even in social settings and on vacation. Gotta share this, sent by Patty in Puyallup, WA!

Once two women came up to me at the carwash and told me that one of them had more money, and the other had more time. So the one with $$ paid for the ingredients, and the one with time made the smoothies. A match made in heaven!

Other readers start green smoothie clubs, or salad clubs, at work—and everybody gets healthier for very little financial or time investment. Everyone brings an ingredient, or everyone takes a day blending, and the whole office benefits. And there’s just one BlendTec or Vitamix to buy.

Well, Patty went on a cruise to Bermuda, reluctantly leaving her blender behind. She told the kitchen staff she wanted a green smoothie and was delighted when the dining room staff accommodated her. There was a little learning curve, Patty reports, but after a couple tries they got the hang of it. The drink server even became a convert and starting making himself green smoothies daily!

Even on vacation, we can enjoy health and energy. Then we enjoy our vacation instead of slipping into a junk-food coma.

Here’s a photo of Patty enjoying her greens, on board the Blu dining room on Celebrity’s ship the Summit. As she puts it, “The word continues to spread!”

Photo of Patty

Angie starts the Salad Club at work!

Here’s a letter I just got from Angela in California. She’s a renegade and a leader, and I love what she did at her office! I think you will, too.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl,

I wanted to write you and tell you how you have really changed my life and in turn the lives of many others. I read Victoria Boutenko’s “Green for Life” three years ago. I devoured it and soon was ready to begin my smoothie endeavor. I purchased a Vitamix and started making my green smoothies. I eventually fell off and stopped making them, but when I was ready to hop back on I searched the internet for more recipes. I then discovered your website. I became obsessed to put it mildly. I was ready to take on all the challenges and changes you wrote about. Your 12 Steps to Whole Foods course was a Christmas present to me from my husband, and I was off!

I am 27 years old and didn’t have any chronic illnesses or auto-immune diseases, but I wanted to make sure it stayed that way. I became serious about my health and what I put into my body. I stopped drinking diet soda (tough one). I dumped all refined sugar, white flour, white pasta, white rice, bottles of corn syrup (yuck), canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.

In came the whole wheat flour, spelt, coconut sugar, coconut oil and quinoa! I started only cooking vegetarian meals at home, and my husband has been wonderful in accepting all the changes that were happening overnight. (He knows that is how I work!)

I became known as the witch-doctor at work, drinking my weird green drink, carrying around my pink salt, using gritty milk in a mason jar on my granola. Well, you are right! Soon people were asking questions, why is dairy bad? What should I eat when I go out to lunch? What’s kin-o-ah (quinoa)?

Soon others at work were starting to make little changes too. Seeing these changes and that people actually wanted to be healthy (at least part time), I started a salad club. It began with about 15 members (all female plus my husband, who works with me).

People would bring in certain ingredients for the week and all the club members could make salads all week long (see my blog post for more details: http://stylethatfood.com/?p=804)

People started eating 3-5 salads a week instead of going and getting the fast food they usually did. As the weeks went on people would ask what salad club was about and soon would join in. I am proud to say the club now has about 25 members and 5 are men. People who poked fun, joined the fun!

I wanted to share that one person can make a huge difference. From what I learned from you, and a little time and effort I feel I have made a difference in the lives of others. I will continue to spread and share everything I learn about good health and nutrition, and I am willing to teach as long as people want to listen.

Thank you Robyn for being my Health Hero!

PS I have also taken on the sugar bet with a co-worker, we are starting with 1 month. She initiated it too, and I am not one to back down from a challenge.

Angela Merchant

The Power of One: the influence of a nine-year old

Check out this news article about what happened when a nine-year old girl began documenting online the appalling nutrition served in her school. Do you have a child who, like my Emma, loves good nutrition and wants to change the world? The internet makes that possible. Would your child like starting a blog, taking photos, and writing about what masquerades as “food” (menus designed by dieticians!) at her school? We need more kids like this nine-year old!

After my son pitched the entire game in a 12-1 win against undefeated Skyline, we had to play them again. My girlfriends arrived in Las Vegas without me, right about the time that, at the bottom of a third overtime inning, our boys lost in a heart-breaking split-second call at first base. They are not state champs, but they beat the team who is, in a five-inning game. Unfortunately, being in the loser’s bracket, we had to win twice, whereas they had to win only once.

I spent a lot of time with my family watching 7 games last week. I had this convo with my sibs:

Ben: Did you read that Nutella lost a class action lawsuit for claiming its product was a health food? If you’ve bought it in, like, the last 18 months, you can get a refund.

Me, laughing: No. I don’t believe it. No one thinks Nutella is good for you. I mean, SNICKERS are good for you then. They have peanuts in them.

Ben: Yes they do! We were at our good friends’ home and the mom was saying, “I am so thankful for Nutella, because it’s the ONLY healthy thing I can get my son to eat.”

Me: No she did not say that.

Ben: Yes she did.

Betsy: Did you hear about Davis High School? They got fined $15,000 for selling soda in the lunchroom. Federal law requires them to pay $0.75 for each violation of that law, so they went back and figured out how many sodas they had sold, and fined them accordingly. BUT, they are allowed to sell Snickers because they have peanuts in them. Also they can sell soda, but only before and after lunch, in vending machines.

Ben: Corn is in corn syrup, and it’s a vegetable, so……

Me: Almost all corn in America is genetically modified! And high-fructose corn syrup is one of the worst things you can eat, the worst of the sweeteners.

Ben: Robyn. We already know that. I was joking.

Robyn: Sorry. I’m ranting.

Nick and Kristin win #1 GreenSmoothieGirl evangelists!

Schoolteacher and computer programmer Kristin and Nick, after we made this video about attending my class in 5 cities, drove to MESA, AZ from their home in Cali. Every one of the six classes they’ve attended, they bring friends and family from that city.

They’ve driven up to 8 hours to attend my class, and they own every book I’ve written and give them away as gifts. They always stand in line after class and have me sign all their books. Finally, in San Jose, I said, “Hey you guys, what is your story?” They had never told me. We got it all on video here—be inspired!

These two are impressive—full of light and energy and excited to share the good news of what happened to them when they started eating much less crap and starting eating raw plant food! Go Nick and Kristin, XOXO!

Be the change!

After our lecture in Mesa Saturday night, where 350 GSG readers showed up, Kristina W. waited in line almost two hours. She said, “Do you remember me?”

For just a year or two, she lived up the street and around the corner. A few years ago, she asked my daughter Emma to babysit after school so she could complete an extended project.  Emma was the original avatar for this site, see her photo here, at age 12. You’ll remember her, if you’ve been here that long. Can you believe I put GSG up almost five years ago?









Now the original GreenSmoothieGirl is 16 and I’ve included her prom photo, with boyfriend Dustin, from just a few weeks ago. (Isn’t she lovely?)

Emma would show up at Kristina’s house to babysit with a baggie of vegetables and whole-grain crackers, or a pint of green smoothie. Kristina asked her what it was, and Emma explained. Someone else in the neighborhood pointed Kristina to GreenSmoothieGirl.com.

She’s now an avid 12 Stepper and says she does everything but garden, since soil amending in Arizona is very difficult and her young family is finishing dental school and moving to another state soon.

Kristina told me, “Emma is the reason I stopped buying processed foods for my kids, and started cutting up veggies and making green drinks. I was completely inspired, seeing the food she brought to my house.”

The Power of One. A twelve-year old’s example can change many. How many more can you change for good?

Kristina told me, “You have no idea how many people I’ve sent to your class, even though this is the first time I’ve had the chance to attend.”

Kristina’s a mother of four living in a different state now, but her family is transformed by the simple example of a twelve-year old. Now Kristina is a person who openly talks to others about what’s on her mind, and she influences many.

I told Emma about this and she lit up.  My daughter is a natural-born, passionate change agent and loves teaching people about how eating plants saves animals from cruelty. She loves animals, little children, and the people of South America. She wants to be a professional humanitarian one day.

Be the change! Your words and example can and do make a dramatic difference.