California trip: sometimes you just have to punt (part 1 of 2)

When I went to CA last week (Thurs. through Mon.) with my daughters, I was hard pressed to get all my work done before I left. I was up very late the night before we left for the airport and consequently didn’t have any time to think about how to get through five days eating well. (If I don’t eat well, I lose my energy and my digestive system shuts down. As long as I’m eating 60-80% raw and 95% whole foods, I have energy and to spare, wherever I go!)

Car trips are conducive to taking lots of frozen pints of green smoothie, but plane trips aren’t. And our hotel room had no fridge, something I usually try to ensure by booking online where you can see the hotel’s amenities. (I had booked the hotel awfully late.) So, besides taking a bunch of VitaMineral Green, buying two boxes of snack bars from Costco which I will review tomorrow, and bringing my BlendTec in the suitcase (which I did not have a chance to use after a day of teaching in San Diego and Fullerton), I was on my own.

The Costco Bora Bora bars and Trio bars helped a lot. That and the oranges my daughter stuffed her backpack with, from the hotel, got us through lunch before we headed to a buffet with a salad bar at the end of each theme-park day. Breakfast at the hotel, sigh. You know how continental breakfast is. What I do when I have to punt like that is scout out what the best thing is to eat. I don’t touch donuts/pastries, ever. I don’t drink juice–too much concentrated sugar. Cold cereal, no. So every day, after my run, for breakfast we ate oatmeal (instant, unfortunately–you made your own with really hot water) and two oranges. Not wonderful but not too bad.

You probably don’t believe me that I’ve never fed my kids at McDonald’s, but while I’m telling you outlandish tales, here’s another one: we’ve never eaten a meal inside a theme park, even though we vacation at them about once a year.

Tomorrow I’ll do a product review to compare the healthy snack bars at Costco that got us through, since planning for our California trip was minimal at best.

I’ll also post some photos of the class I taught in Fullerton, if I get them from Christy, which was lots of fun.

swine flu prevention: should you worry?

I hope you aren’t worried about the swine flu.   Like you, I’ve been reading all about it.   I am simply not worried.   Not because I don’t understand the risk, but because by following a few simple practices, you minimize your risk, and the rest is in God’s hands anyway, where we would do well to leave the remainder.   “Do your best and forget the rest,” as Tony says in P90X, the extreme workout regimen I started this week.   Or, as an embroidery sampler said that my mother did, hanging on her wall as I was growing up, “God grant me the wisdom to change the things I can and accept the things I cannot.”

All that written, I got the devastating news last night that my beautiful 36-year old cousin I grew up with, who had no known health problems and was a normal weight, has passed away on the way to the hospital of cardiac arrest after contracting the flu.   (Swine flu is not suspected.)   My extended family is reeling and we are praying for her young family that includes three little boys.

I don’t think the answers lie in extreme precautions, running out and buying gas masks and paraphernalia.   Experts I have read say that the little germ masks won’t do us a bit of good against the swine flu.   Washing your hands well, not touching doorknobs and other things in public, and staying out of crowds is common sense wisdom.

Adding to your food storage some power foods and natural remedies against illness is wise.   Vitamin C, colloidal silver, oregano, garlic, sproutable seeds/nuts/grains, spirulina, cacao, goji berries, cayenne, aloe vera, and ginger.

Drink lots of water (half your weight in ounces), jump on a rebounder, get enough sleep, and get out in the sun at least 15 minutes daily for your Vitamin D–these four things are paramount to keep your immune system supported and lymph fluids moving and draining.   Minimize stress and maximize love in your life.   Don’t exhaust your adrenal glands with eating sugar, and nourish all the organs of your body with whole plant foods, mostly raw.

Thinking that because we’re healthy and have nourished our immune system should give us lots more confidence, but of course it was the healthy/young in the population who died en masse in the flu epidemic of 1918.   (Usually those with strong immune systems do well, and I see no evidence to the contrary so far with the swine flu.)   So observing the simple precautionary behaviors mentioned above would be wise as well.

Indulging in fear and panic is not wise, and it’s paralytic and unhelpful anyway.  My prediction is that this is not going to be a massive pandemic; it will go away soon, though we may have a Round 2 in the fall.   Most who get the swine flu will find that it’s no worse than the usual influenzas that some people contract in the winter.

If I’m right, that will give you some time to focus on preparedness, including a three-month supply of food so you could stay home if you needed to.

 

back from Costa Rica: can you eat well there?

I am back from Costa Rica.   It was supposed to be a 7-day trip, using Delta buddy passes given to me (very inexpensively) by a friend.   Unfortunately at the end of our trip, we spent THREE DAYS in the airport trying unsuccessfully to get out of Costa Rica until I finally bought both of us full-price tickets home, the last seats on the plane.   (My friend is a tennis coach without the means to pay for hers.)   Turns out her mother and sister had felt strongly (independent of each other) to PRAY her home right before I produced a credit card at the Delta counter, even though I hadn’t planned to do that.   It’s a good thing, because flights have been booked through today, so we’d still be there . . . and you may have seen on the news that the airport city, San Jose,  got rocked by a 6.4 earthquake this morning and the whole city is in chaos with thousands in the streets.

So, I’m glad to be home!   I feel  blessed to not still be there.   Pray for the Costa Ricans!

Can you avert the normal travelers’ diet  eat plant food in Central America?   (You know I’ve been globe trotting this past year–that’s my 16th country–and am a little obsessed with that question.)

Well, Central America is the place for FRUIT!   It’s so beautiful–watermelon and pineapple and papaya and this most amazing thing called GUANABANA.   We made a smoothie of guanabana pulp we got a quart of in a grocery store, plus ice and Greens to Go from Costco . . . the most unbelievable smoothie of my life.   YUM!   (Unfortunately, I am unaware of anywhere you can get this fruit in the U.S.   Anybody?)

Greens to Go is nowhere near the nutrition of VitaMineral Green that I offer on the site and in local group buys.   But it comes in little packets you can rip the top off and add to a bottle of water.   That stuff saved me in the airport, and it tastes really good!

If I can’t figure out how to post photos here (a problem I have  had lately), I’ll have Ritesh do it for tomorrow: see me with some of the local stuff I pulled right out of the trees!   Okay, I was holding my friend’s 7-year old daughter up under a coconut tree, and she was banging on the coconut with a big glass Coke bottle we found on the ground (dumb, I know, but it’s all we had) . . . and a local felt sorry for us and pulled over and gave me that giant coconut in the photo from the trunk of his car.   Then I found another guy with a machete, and voila!   Fabulous electrolyte- and mineral-rich coconut liquid!   And a photo of what the white-faced monkeys eat–we should take a page from them!

costa-rica-coconuts-and-starfruit

Reflecting on nutrition, food storage, and hard economic times

What a year this has been.   The much-predicted failure of  American investment banking  has come to pass,  our nation’s net worth has plummeted precipitously, and we’ve started into what promises to be a long recession.   I just came across this quote by a wise man named Joseph Smith, from 175 years ago:

“Our nation, which possesses greater resources than any other, is rent, from center to circumference, with party strife, political intrigues, and sectional interest; our counselors are panic stricken, our legislators are astonished, and our senators are confounded, our merchants are paralyzed, our tradesmen are disheartened, our mechanics out of employ, our farmers distressed, and our poor crying for bread, our banks are broken, our credit ruined, and our states overwhelmed in debt, yet we are, and have been in peace.”

So, many other times in even the comparatively short history of the U.S., we have found ourselves in perilous times.   The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

But we need not fear because we can do simple, inexpensive things to prepare.   People of the dominant religion where I live (Utah) are counselled to store a year’s supply of food.   Yet no matter how long this counsel is given, and how urgently, at any given time, only 15 percent of LDS (Mormon) people actually have a year’s supply.   At the moment, church leaders are pleading with the people to get a three-month supply in place in the immediate future.

This is a smart thing to do for anyone, not just LDS people.   You have observed how sensitive supply and demand is, for food.   (I mentioned in a blog comment recently that I cannot buy canning jars anywhere, because Kerr and Ball cannot keep up with the demand nationally.   You have seen the price of rice increase 250 percent.)   That’s all I’m going to say about that, because I frankly hate scare tactics.   (Love Mike Adams “The Health Ranger,” hate all the fear-mongering in his newsletters.)

Victoria Boutenko says she calculated once that her family of four could live for a year on one 50-lb. bag of wheat, by sprouting it.   I don’t know how that’s possible, unless she is calculating nutrients rather than caloric needs–but anyway, she said that.   The LDS Church has a calculator at lds.org, and one person needs 200 lbs. of grain per year.   (Of course,  50 lbs.  of sprouted grain has in some cases as much nutrition, plus lots of live enzymes, that 200 lbs. of dry grain does!)

Thus, my family of six has stored 1,200 lbs. of grain: wheat, quinoa, rye, rolled oats and oat groats, popcorn, Kamut, and spelt.   That may sound like an obscene quantity, but when you add it up, people eat a lot of food!   We also store 400 lbs. of legumes (lentils, split peas, beans) and lots of other items like coconut oil, olive oil, agave, honey, and sea salt.   I do more than that, but if all the rest will be overwhelming to you for now, just start with a three-month supply of those basics.   When you’ve got those inexpensive bases covered, consider storing bottles of VitaMineral Green for your greens; cans of Ultimate Meal for easy, optimal nutrition; nuts and seeds (frozen in Ziplocs where possible); and spices, herbs, and condiments.

The point is, when your food storage is a bunch of white flour, white sugar, canned powdered milk, canned turkey, and macaroni (the staples of most Mormon one-year supplies), you might not end up hungry, but you’re going to end up sick.

Store whole grains, and know how to use them.   What I am teaching you in Step 9 isn’t just for good nutrition–it’s for good emergency preparedness!   When you know how to sprout as I teach in Step 7, you have the invaluable skill to use dry, long-term storage foods (like any grain) and make it live food that will keep your family healthy–not just alive.

My European immigrant ancestors came across the plains from the East Coast to Utah, with handcarts, and some of them were caught in winter storms.   Their nutrition was sometimes reduced, in the winter, to small rations of cornmeal fried in lard, day after day.   Some of them died of starvation, as well as exposure.   Some became ill with typhoid, malaria, scurvy, and smallpox.

We have the ability to spend very little but have the peace of mind to be prepared well, by storing whole foods.   I hope you’re getting a year’s supply of RAW ALMONDS in the current group buy–yet another way to eat well now AND buy very inexpensive insurance against emergencies.   It’s the kind of insurance that doesn’t need the backing of our virtually bankrupt federal government.   It’s the kind of insurance that pays no premiums to a huge company teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, being robbed by its executives.

what did we pack/eat in Europe . . . part 2 of 2

For lunch, we’d stop at a market and buy something like this every day:

1.           6 nectarines

2.           6 large carrots (I never saw baby carrots in Europe)

3.           A loaf of whole grain bread (a comedy of communication errors in a bread shop in Paris taught me that “complet” is the word in France to describe whole grains!)

4.           Some local cheeses and mustard and tomatoes for the bread (read John Robbins’ Food Revolution on how European meat/cheese is highly government regulated and not full of antibiotics, steroids, infected pus and other lovelies, like the U.S. products contain)

 

We’d wash the fruit and carrots, toss all the stuff in a backpack, and stop in a park somewhere to eat each day,  like on the steps of the chateau at Versailles in the photo below.   Part of the fun was going in the little local grocery markets to see what they have.   In Barcelona we bought loaves of the most amazing fresh-baked 6-grain bread just across from our hotel, every morning.   Finds like this make you feel at home in a strange city and add to the sense of discovery and accomplishment in your travels.

 

And dinner we would eat in a restaurant.   I’m certainly not going to take my kids to Italy without letting them try gelato, and pizza!   (Of course, the pizza bears no resemblance to what is offered here in the U.S., is much better for you, and you can get many lovely vegetarian pizzas, one of the most popular being topped with mounds of raw greens.)   Ditto Barcelona, where we enjoyed the paella (vegetarian, of course) and gazpacho.   And France?   I did not, myself, try the white bread (I’ll tell you why tomorrow) but let the kids do it once because my husband thought it was somehow important in their “experiencing” France.   And of course they did fall madly in love with crepes (I’ve never tried that hazelnut/chocolate spread, Nutella, in my life before–I’m going to have to make a mental to note to stay away from it, because it was yummy on crepes).   So, we did indulge, but always with a big green salad (never forget Step 2 of 12 Steps!).   The Europeans have lots of watercress and other lovely greens that we consider exotic here.  

Amazingly, even without my green smoothies, and despite a few servings of gelato and crepes, I came home the same weight and had lots of energy each day for our adventures. 

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.