Change is good . . . or at least inevitable (part 2 of 2)

I once gave up another new sport I’d fallen in love with, kickboxing, when I peeled a tendon off my shoulder bone hitting the bag too hard. For 9 months, I couldn’t do the things I loved. Just like now. A friend of mine just invited me to do a 10-hour hike this Saturday and I had to say no, because of the injury.

Change happens. It’s not that it’s good or bad, although I think most change is a crucible that leads to growth. If we let it be.

It helps to quantify the changes and why the differences inspire and enhance my life. From tennis and running, to cycling? I now have different legs than I had before–biker legs instead of tennis legs. I like them. I liked my tennis legs, but the different, evolving muscle shape is awesome now too. I also get to be outside enjoying the most beautiful scenery in the world.

I went biking Saturday with my friend Kristin, and on the downhill she said, “This is like therapy!” I said, “I know! Sometimes when I’m up here, I start laughing, because it’s all so beautiful it blows my mind. And sometimes I pray. I say, ‘God, thank you for this!'”

And I feel thankful that change–something bad, actually–threw me into these discoveries and metamorphoses that feel like they are “meant to be.”

So why do we resist change so much? It’s scary, I know.

I watch so many people making the shift from the standard American diet, to the whole-foods, mostly raw program that I teach. And I see their reluctance, their fears, their excuses, in the beginning. I see their challenges and hurdles, their small successes, their building excitement, their health improvements and weight loss.

Change we have no control over, that seems bad at the outset, often leads us somewhere good.

Through my divorce, I gained or rekindled two new hobbies/skills (tennis and skiing), new friends, a lot of self-awareness, learning and growth–and it frankly made me a better parent. Because of plantar fasciitis, I’m now spending lots of time biking the beautiful Provo and American Fork Canyons in 20- to 50-mile rides.

Through my son’s illness, I changed my entire family’s health, with nutrition, and wrote books and developed this site to share with others.

Change has cost me a LOT of effort and angst, but it’s made me so much better.

So why don’t we make change that we know is going somewhere good, more often? I wish I could convince everyone to eat whole foods with me. I know sick kids whose parents won’t make dietary changes–because they fear change.

“I won’t get to eat foods I like.” “I won’t know what to make.” “I’m sure it’s too expensive.” “My family won’t support me.” Just some of the excuses to avoid change. I’ve heard from hundreds of people with those complaints, who took a leap of faith, and ended up with glow and energy and chronic conditions reversed.

I am learning to be a person who embraces change and sees the challenge and promise in it. Come with me.

Change is Good . . . or at least inevitable (part 1 of 2)

So I’ve been thinking a lot about change.

I took up competitive tennis two years ago and it quickly became really meaningful in my life. I looked forward to workouts twice a week with my team and played three league seasons a year. It was something new and fun to think about and work on, in the hardest year of my life up to that point.

Then an injury came out of nowhere and stopped my running and tennis cold turkey. If I try to do either one, I can barely walk on my right foot all day.

I’ve had to switch sports for the foreseeable future. My tennis team went to districts and I was out. Now I’m sitting out an entire season. I can either whine about it or find something else I love. And I hate whining.

So I got a Cannondale, oh-so-light, carbon-frame road bike from an old college friend who owns bike shops around here. I go into the shop regularly and crow, “Do you guys know how much I love this bike?!” and they say, “Yeah yeah, we know! You want to marry it.”

I’m now decked out with all the accoutrements. Hand tire pump, Camelbak, hitch and bike rack on the car, odometer computer, clip-in cleats. (I haven’t yet succumbed to the cycling fashions–why do the clothes have to be so ugly?!)

I didn’t really WANT to be a biker, and I don’t have any friends who bike, but if I do something, I generally do it in a pretty big and committed way.

The first day I rode around for awhile and took my bike back in to the shop the next day. I asked Brian if I could have the clip-in pedals installed now, which he refused to do the day I left with the bike. NO, he said, you’re not ready. You want to wreck and die?

So I did another ride from my house in Lindon all the way to Vivian Park, up the canyon, where the Bonneville Trail ends. It’s so beautiful, animals and river and trees and breeze and mountains and so much green, and the smell of earth and trees.

Check out the photos of the terrible views I am forced to endure on my bike. Not to mention deer in the path, a flock of wild turkeys (I know where they live), and the extra protein I get from accidentally eating a lot of bugs.

At this point I’m starting to “get” the appeal of this sport. I go in and ask Brian again about the lock-in pedals, and he said “NO YOU CAN’T, give it three weeks!”

Next day, I get to Vivian Park and I call this guy I used to date who is a competitive cyclist about how the trail ends and I don’t know where to go. He said, “Turn right and go four miles up South Fork, great ride.” (See photo below of the turn to go up, with the twisty road sign.)

I said, “Isn’t it really steep? I’m not worried about getting up, but won’t coming down be scary?”

Silence for a minute. “Duh.” he said, “That’s the whole point, coming downhill!”

Great life lesson. Quit living in fear, just go for it. Don’t do all the work and be afraid to capitalize on the rewards. (Don’t think about the guy I met at the top of South Fork one day who had just spent two weeks in the hospital after a bike accident!)

So I did it. Downhill FAST. And O! M! G! I discovered my need for speed. I love it! Every day I don’t cycle now, I’m wishing I could. When you see my busted-up, bloody body on the side of the road when I hit a rock at 35 mph, don’t let your first thought be,

“Fat lot of good all those green smoothies did her.”

(Part 2, the whole point of this, tomorrow.)

Emma makes soccer team, Tif off sugar, Megan stung by swarm

Highlights from yesterday at my house.

Emma was the original Green Smoothie Girl on this site when she was 11. (Anyone been here long enough to remember when she was the face on the site, not me?) She’s 14 years old, and yesterday she made the Timpanogos High School soccer team despite more girls trying out than ever before, because of last year’s state soccer championship. YAY EMMA, GO TIMBERWOLVES!

Here she is getting a congratulatory attack-hug by her older brother, who pitches on the baseball team for the same school (that has won state in baseball three of the last 10 years).

And here is that same, mullet-wearing older brother and his cute girlfriend Tiffanie, for whom I’d just made a Hot Pink Smoothie (Ch. 11) when Em walked in with her announcement. Tiffanie has just given up sugar, which she says comprised about 100% of her diet. I couldn’t talk her into carrots and hummus, but she loved the smoothie. Then Cade asked me to inform her what is in it, for the shock value. (It’s beets and carrots.)

He said, “My mom does that. She makes stuff that tastes really good but has all this crazy stuff in it that’s good for you.”

A bit later, I made this whole-wheat penne thing, with summer squash and baby tomatoes from my garden, and served it outside on the deck table. Everyone sat down and started eating just as about 20 wasps came up from a nest under the table, all around my daughter’s sweet little friend Megan. By the time we all got up and ran inside, she’d been stung 7 times.

I share this in case you don’t know how to treat bee and wasp stings: I immediately made a paste of baking soda and water and put it on the stings. Takes the sting out, works like a charm. Here’s a photo of Megan with soda paste. No tears, no swelling.

that ubiquitous blue, sugary sports drink

That blue drink. It’s everywhere. I’ve never tried it, but it’s in the photo with my son in the dugout from last week.

One of my kids reported to me not long ago, “My soccer coach says I HAVE to drink Gatorade, because it’s good for us and she doesn’t want us passing out.” I told her, “I’ve never tasted Gatorade in my life, and I’ve run 10 miles at a time, or played tennis for 3 hours and haven’t passed out yet. There was no Gatorade until 20 years ago or less. [Thanks, University of Florida! Not.] What do you think all the distance runners in Africa are doing? All you need is what I already give you–good ol’ water. Mom trumps the coach in this case–I am not buying Gatorade.”

Chemical food dyes, chemical sweeteners, chemical electrolytes, no thanks. Good water and fresh fruits and vegetables, plus some nuts or seeds for good fats, are the best thing to fuel a workout before or after. I also love Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie–what I make every morning–for a perfect electrolyte and fat/carb/protein ratio for athletics, 400 calories. It’s in the Breakfast recipe collection or Ch. 11 of 12 Steps.

food obsession

I have worked out, almost every day, with a small group of women. I’m one of the oldest, and the youngest is 26. (You can see some of them in my facebook photos.)

We’ve known each other for years because of our mutual addiction to endorphins. We run, stairstep, kickbox, lift weights, play tennis, and twist ourselves into pretzels at yoga. We do things together outside the gym as well, because we have become very close as a result of the massive amount of time we spend together.

I’m 99 percent certain none of them read my blog. (Most of them drink green smoothies, though–at least if I make them one and bring it to the gym!) So I can feel safe that this story is between you and me.

One of the girls has an eating disorder (I’ll call her ED). Not one I am close to. One of the OTHERS I am close to (I’ll call her QT) just can’t stand it. My tennis coach (I’ll call her Shari) got a text from ED saying, “Why is QT so cold to me?” So QT wrote ED a long facebook message.

The message wasn’t something I would write or approve of (and I didn’t love the “we” in the message because I’m a big believer in “speak for yourself”). It was LONG. In a nutshell, it said, “Here’s why I’m cold to you. We love you, but we don’t come to the gym to talk about food. We get tired of listening to the Debbie Downer attitude and obsession with calories and what you ate and how long it will take to ‘work it off.’ We want to talk about life and positive things!”

Well, this story, on a human relations level, is sad. There are hurt feelings all over the place, and Shari and I (the bystanders) are a little at a loss how to solve the problems.

On the issue of food obsessions, though, I’ve been thinking. How true it is that no one wants to know what you ate! How many calories it had. How guilty you feel. Your self-loathing because you ate this or that.

I was thinking how odd it is that, as a bystander in the drama playing out between my girlfriends, I completely relate with not wanting to hear obsessing about food. (I want to enjoy mine!) Don’t you think that’s weird, since I write books about food, I develop recipes, and I have a web site that is all about food?

I kid you not that none of my very close girlfriends ever hear me talk about food. I just don’t.

I bet you’re surprised.

My point is that I put GreenSmoothieGirl up to SUPPORT. Teach if that’s appropriate. Give ideas and encouragement and helpful information not readily available in the mass channels. Only to people who want it, and no one else.

But food obsession is NOT what I want here. Food is a means to an end–oh, and it can be fun and enjoyable on its own. But as the new year approaches, be thinking about your attitudes towards food.

Do you love food? (It’s okay, even good, if you do!)

Do you hate yourself in relationship to food? (If so, I hope you get clear with yourself about that and gently begin to correct it.)

Do you obsess about food? (That’s no fun. So many other subjects in life are interesting too!)

What do you do when you eat something that’s bad for you? (I hope you don’t tear yourself down and feel worthless. That isn’t helping anything or anyone.)

Learning more about whole foods, and raw foods, is exciting and fun–or it can be! If it’s a way to demoralize yourself, compare to others, or set an unachievable bar way up over your head . . .

Well, look at the psychological issues and try to break them down with logic. Because food is a blessing. It’s necessary, but it’s also good and enjoyable!

Just some things to think about. I’m interested in your comments.