Happy Easter! (a day late)

You’d think after 3.5 years of blogging nearly every day, that I’d be thinking of blog possibilities in everything I do….but Easter got away from me without bringing this up in advance! Sorry about that if you were looking for ideas. These are some notes for next year.

We had a nice day with sprouted-buckwheat blueberry pancakes, dyeing Easter eggs, the traditional hunt for the baskets I made, and dinner and a “family home evening” lesson after. To me, Easter is about rebirth, second chances, remembering that we are all redeemable. I talked to my kids about that. How I will love them no matter what. How they have a CHOICE in more and more things, as they get older. They can choose their actions, just not the consequences. But consequences are good teachers. I told them I’m mostly happy with the choices they’re making and proud of the ways they’re learning and growing.

Here’s what I do to let my kids know I care about them in that “gift” kind of way–and so they can participate in the holiday traditions without it becoming a junk-fest.

I mostly fill their baskets with little non-food gifts. This year, a gift from San Diego’s Sea World, where I was a couple weeks ago. A stuffed animal. There’s a can of Zevia soda (no chemicals, sweetened with stevia, with some natural citrus oils). And I put in LOTS of those little plastic eggs, but I get candies from bulk at the health-food store and put just a FEW pieces of candy in the eggs. Therefore it LOOKS like a lot, and it’s colorful and fun–but the sugar damage is minimal.

Not everything in the bulk bins is very good–in fact, not much is. I got yogurt -covered raisins and Sunspire peanut-chocolate candy. No artificial colors, unrefined sweeteners. Still not fabulous nutrition by any means, but 50% better than the regular candy alternatives, and a minimal amount of it.

Are you fixing the plumbing, or building a mansion? Part 2 of 2

At church Sunday, someone was making an announcement about a care center that wants us to bring them snacks for the mentally handicapped residents: “The care center staff said they want HEALTHY treats, like fruit snacks and Gushers.” I don’t know what Gushers are, but the fact that they have a brand name is a bad sign. The person making the announcement turned to the side of the room where I was sitting and said, “Robyn would not approve of these ideas as healthy snacks, and neither do I, but anyway, that’s what they want.”

(I love how at church I seem to have a “rep” even though I never talk about food there.)

It’s a throwback to my days as a grad-school intern on the State Hospital Children’s Unit 15 years ago. I went to the director to plead for less sugar on the unit. I could see that the kids were constantly ill, incessantly fed antibiotics, most of them overweight, because the school and therapists rewarded them with candy, the hospital cafeteria’s nutrition was appalling, and after-school volunteers brought cookies and junk nearly every day. I was brushed off by the psychiatrist director who said, “Sugar is the only love most of these kids every get, and it’s not a big deal. We’re dealing with REAL issues here.” In other words, he was saying: nutrition doesn’t matter for these kids.

I don’t want to roll my eyes. I want to educate patiently. I hope I am always tolerant. I hope I always teach to the knowledge level of the audience. I hope I never act superior.

Whatever knowledge I have, I gained it as God was building a courtyard in my cottage, while I would have much preferred just a little cleanup. I lean on others in their areas of subject-matter expertise where I am shaky. (Computers. Applied math. Spatial puzzles and maps.)

God is making a mansion of me. When He knocks out a support beam, I want to grow from it instead of shake my fist at heaven.

Last Sunday at church, Carla, in our women’s organization, gave a lesson on the Word of Wisdom scripture. I attend a lay church, where the parishioners are also the teachers. She said my name three times during the lesson, as if she had no right to teach on nutrition because I happened to be there.

Fact is, as I told her later, it was the best lesson I’ve ever heard on the Word of Wisdom, my religion’s scripture about nutrition. I told her, “I don’t think I would have had the courage to be so bold.”

She’d researched statistics about the health risks associated with red meat, caffeine, carbonation. She indicted Utah’s prescription drug dependency (especially anti-depressants) as fueled by the culture, even reading a quote from our attorney general. She read stats about the benefits of whole grains, the benefits of drinking a lot of water.

She didn’t cover sugar, she didn’t cover the Word of Wisdom’s counsel to “eat meat sparingly,” she said that poultry and fish are good for you. But overall, I found the whole lesson to be starkly committed to the truth, relative to most lessons I hear on that topic.

She did cover the closing line of D&C 89, that if we eat whole foods, “I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.” This seemed to have a profound emotional impact on the teacher. No wonder, as her husband has battled prostate cancer this past year. Who doesn’t want to put that amazing promise to the test?

She was so stunned when I gave her a hug and told her I would probably have soft-pedaled the topic, myself. Why? I hate offending people. And, as I said to her, “People are more emotional and opinionated about food than they are about religion and sex.”

Anyway, thanks for the food for thought, Jennie, and the Word of Wisdom lesson, Carla.

“what do you eat in a day?” [and more true confessions]

Every now and then I do a “what do I eat on a typical day” blog. It’s been a while! And I get asked this question constantly. So here’s what I ate yesterday, below. Since I’m doing True Confessions, here’s more. I don’t count calories, but long ago I did. I learned from logging everything I ate into DietPower, and also logging my exercise, that I need 1600 calories a day with NO exercise to maintain. I am just over 5’8″ and weigh 135 lbs. My body fat is 20%, and my BMI is also 20%.

I actually eat 2000 calories or more because I burn 400-800 a day doing 2 hours daily of cycling, running, playing tennis, doing yoga–and I’m finally back to weightlifting after an almost 2-year hiatus. (It went by the wayside when I started playing 4 seasons a year of competitive tennis.) (NO, you don’t need to work out that long! I do it because it makes me happy, as I’ve played sports since I was very young.)

Anyway, I give you all of this to compare, if any of those stats are relevant to you. For quite a few years, I have not gotten on the scale more than a few times a year. When you reach ideal weight, only addictions are going to get you into trouble. Sugar, white flour, caffeine, chocolate, meat, fried whatever, salt. Whole foods aren’t addictive, so generally you don’t overeat them. (Some people with heavily addictive patterns can overeat even complex carbs like oatmeal. Nobody really overeats greens, vegetables, fruits–hard to do!)


So this was my yesterday:



Hot Pink breakfast smoothie (Ch. 10, 12 Steps–1 quart, about 400 to 450 cals., 10% protein, 10% good fats)



Orange-Banana Squash (banana squash with orange juice, dates, cloves) (Junk Food Dude’s Yummy Healthy Recipes, not yet published, stay tuned)

1 pint green smoothie

Some black licorice (get a good kind at a health food store or Costco, sometimes you can find a brand with whole-wheat flour–the sweetener should be molasses only, no HFCS or sugar)


1 pint green smoothie

Hot cocoa” (coconut milk powder, really nutritious cocoa)


Green salad with romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, orange bell pepper, sesame seeds, and Sun Drenchers Asian dressing

Big baked potato with some salsa and cashew-based “sour cream”

Triple Doubles and Green Smoothies

Here’s a photo of Tennyson and his green smoothie today. Could eating 20+ servings of vegetables and fruits daily be a factor in his Triple Double last week? (No, that’s not McDonald’s latest offering. In basketball, it’s the rare feat of earning double digits in three different categories. Saturday Ten had 11 assists and steals, 12 points, and 10 rebounds.)

My 17-y.o. son Kincade told me today that he was talking to his friend’s mom. He told her, “Most people’s moms? When their kid leaves, she says, ‘Love you! Be safe! Have a good day!’ MY mom? She calls out, ‘”Did you drink your green smoothie?'”

I laughed but was a little indignant. I said, “Hey, I do better than that! I say, “Did you drink your green smoothie? LOVE YOU!'”

Ah, my legacy as the health-food-nut mom.

Kincade often rates the smoothie. His assessment today: “Solid effort, Mom!”

Yesterday I took cookies into Tennyson’s classroom for his “half-birthday.” I am a founder of Ten’s charter school, so it’s a small place and we all know each other. So every member of the administration and teachers in the hallway, on the way to the 5th grade classroom, stopped me to say, “What does GreenSmoothieGirl make for classroom treats?”

It was peanut butter cookies, from Ch. 11 of 12 Steps. Coconut oil (with some applesauce substituted for it, avoids the cookies being crumbly), home-ground whole-wheat flour, natural peanut butter, unrefined salt (and less of it than a traditional recipe calls for), unrefined coconut sugar, organic free range eggs, no-aluminum baking powder.

Ten said they were a big hit.

When you earn the label of the earthy-crunchy mom, make sure you don’t blow it and let people down! They’re going to expect good things from you. (I could never show my face again if I took donuts into that school. Not that I would anyway!)

baseball, apple pie, and . . . green smoothies?

I was asked recently for photographic evidence of my son Tennyson’s snacks in the dugout that radically differ from traditional standards. It wasn’t easy to capture boys sitting together eating (since they are usually PLAYING), and this isn’t the greatest photo, but here ya go.

I love baseball, but I don’t love blue PowerAde and Red Vines and salted sunflower seeds that you see my son’s teammates eating.

I do love apple pie–the LaraBar kind! (It’s a raw-food snack widely available now, even at Costco.) And green smoothies. Here you see Tennyson, who Coach tells me leads the team in all categories, with both.

No, my high-school junior doesn’t take Mom’s healthy stuff in the dugout any more. That’s okay–I give it to him at home before the game.

raw food: here’s what’s in my dehydrator right now

You know I love my dehydrator, especially this time of year when I’ve got so much stuff coming out of the garden that I don’t want to go to waste. Right now I have all 9 trays full in my dehydrator with two recipes contributed by readers. (I love y’all! Thanks for your ideas and support of each other!)

Tonya’s cheesy kale chips are filling four trays and they are INCREDIBLE, hard to believe how much nutrition you’re getting just snacking. I just took them out and ate a bunch of them while I wrote this. Just press one side of your leaves of kale in the “sauce.” Doubling the recipe will fill your 9 trays.

Here’s my recommendation on the site, if you don’t have a dehydrator yet and want more info (plus one of my recipes for flax crackers): http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/robyn-recommendations/dehydrators/

Tara C. gives this tip for using those baseball-bat sized zucchinis in the garden and I’ve got 4 trays of zucchini moons almost dry–just tried one, and I like them. Super easy

! Silly Dilly Zucchini Moons

Slice zucchini in half length-wise.

Scoop out inner core of seeds.

Turn over and slice thinly (about 3/8-inch thick).

Spread on dehydrator trays and sprinkle with dill. Dehydrate until crispy.

Enjoy plain or with a yummy, dilly dip.

Now that I’ve removed the kale chips, I’m going to use up the big boxful of cherry tomatoes my son hauled in yesterday, with this idea also from Tara C.:

Cheery Cherry Pizza Snacks

(My kids say these taste like mini-pizzas.)

Slice cherry tomatoes in half, toss with pizza seasoning (I get it from Azure Standard) and dry till crisp. Enjoy!

(Tara would like suggestions to improve on this idea.)

Here’s Tara’s last idea, which I’ll try next:

Gingered Zucchini Bites

Slice zucchini as above. Before dehydrating, soak for 30-60 minutes in pineapple juice mixed with 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, 1/2 cup agave, and a dash of cinnamon. Dry in dehydrator until crispy. These look lovely in your pantry stored in Mason jars with a little raffia tied on top–pretty enough to give away!

This morning at 5:30 a.m., I made some pesto from the basil, spinach, and tomatoes in my garden. See your Jump-Start collection on the site for that recipe–whole-grain pasta with pesto is one of my kids’ favorites. Then I made a variation on that, some zucchini pesto with barely steamed zucchini, basil, kelp, cayenne, walnuts, sea salt, olive oil, mustard seed, and Bragg’s. I put these two types of pesto in pint jars, labelled them, and froze them. I think I’ll share a pint with a few friends this weekend.