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We love the SOUTH! part 1 of 3

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Jul 10, 2012

Congrats to these three readers who won Cool Caps for their green smoothies, by being the FIRST to write us:

Patricia Ottley of Shelley, ID; Sandy Zent of Ten Sleep, WY; Kylee Wilkins of Lehi, UT

Did you know that caps and lids were the third-most collected debris item worldwide along shorelines, with almost 900,000 collected in 2010 alone?

What a great green habit, these dishwasher-reusable straws and lids-–by a GSG reader-mom, of course!

We’re just back from Atlanta, Columbia, Charlotte, and Raleigh, where we had a blast meeting our friends in the South. (And then Kristin and I stayed out till 3 a.m. in both Charlotte and Raleigh, checking the city out, before getting 4 hours of sleep and jumping out of bed to teach more classes!)

At first it was a little disconcerting, all the people saying, “AMEN!” and “HALLELUJAH!” in response to whatever I’d say in the lecture.

By the fourth class, I would actually wait for it. Feel the tiniest bit dejected if I didn’t get the revival response.

I love the South. I’m from Virginia and realized this past weekend that I miss it—the warmth and hospitality Southerners are famous for. In Columbia, I reconnected with one of my dear friends from high school, Emilie, a valedictorian and a phenomenal athlete I haven’t seen in 27 years. In Charlotte, Courtney showed up, our homecoming queen and my freshman-year roommate I haven’t seen in ages either.

I’m almost always given what I call “love letters” at my classes. In Raleigh, Jennifer brought me photos of her and her husband, Paul, before and after his dramatic 127-lb. weight loss in one year, from shifting to a whole-foods diet after a cardiac scare.

The Blackwell family gave me a letter with 10 photos of all the habits they’ve adopted they say are GSG-inspired. Green smoothies made by a nine-year old, homemade spelt bread, my granola, kefir, coconut oil, salad always on the dinner plate, and…..this one’s fun!…..they’ve been on a Sugar Bet ever since I made a pledge with Matthew 10 months ago. None of the kids have eaten sugar in nearly a year! I’m so impressed!

Joanie in South Carolina brought me a hand-written letter and hand-tatted green cross from Hope Green, in Tucson, who has been to my class and sent her friend Joanie. (I should have been named Hope Green. Not fair.)

I want you to know that I read and save your letters, and that the comments you make appreciating my mission, are deeply meaningful to me. I mostly remember names, and it’s so fun in nearly every city to meet people whose names I’ve known from five years of blogging and facebooking.

I feel a deep connection to people who say, “I’ve been with you for so long that I received 12 Steps to Whole Foods, one chapter at a time, in 2008.” Y’all are my people, darlin!

(I call my kids, and other kids I love, “darlin,” probably because of my upbringing in the South. Everybody called Kristin that in the Carolinas and she loved it!)

I put the site up five years ago. I can’t dramatize it by telling you it was just an embryo, or a dream, at the time. There was no dream. It was just some content I put up on the internet, thinking I’d walk away from it and hope it helped some people.

I had no idea how it would resonate with, now, about 100,000 visitors a month, and sometimes as high as 10,000 blog readers a day, or lectures in 50 cities annually averaging 200 attendance.

I love all the people like Hope, who send people she loves 2,500 miles away to hear my message. Our long-time reader Kari Powell, who sent an email to 100 people to attend our class in Raleigh, many of whom were there. More about some amazing people I met tomorrow…..

Posted in: Events, Testimonials

11 thoughts on “We love the SOUTH! part 1 of 3”

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  1. I LOVED meeting you in Raleigh, Robyn. I found you in 2008, ordered the 12-steps by e-book in 2009, and incorporated some of it into our family lifestyle. However, since my husband wasn’t *quite* on board, we didn’t get as far as I’d like. I brought him with me to the workshop and he is 100% IN! We’ve ordered the “Whole Course” and are so excited to make LASTING changes for our own health, and the health of our 7 children. Thanks also for taking the time to chat with me about kefir, kombucha, bee pollen, fresh ginger, and bread with freshly ground wheat. You’re a blessing!

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Cindy, so nice to meet you too! You know how many women would loooooove for their husbands to be “100% in?” Love it! I wish every woman would bring her husband—older kids, too, for that matter, because they “get it” when it comes from someone else. (Sad but true. If YOU were talking to my kids, it would have more impact than when I am telling it to them. 😉

      Very excited for you! You’re a blessing to your family, and thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn.

    Matthew from Aus writing.

    Great chatting with you today on the canyon ride. I just had to search out your site because I love good nutrition. When I once lived with my mother she’d make Celery, Ginger, Apple and Carrot juices ever morning. Now I’ve been here in the US and introduced to the Blendtec. I blend green smoothies every day. Usually Kale, Cilantro, Ginger, Carrot, Celery, Spinach, Honey, Oats, and frozen berries. Sometime I put in Protein powder, but I’ve read hear that you don’t like that, so I’ll do some more research into not using Protein powders.

    All the best and maybe we’ll bump into each other up the canyon. Hopefully not literally. 🙂



    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Matthew, haha, fun ride this morning, except for that bozo in our uphill lane coming downhill. Nice to meet you!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It was so awesome to see you in Columbia, SC! I am ecstatic that you made it to the south. I have been following your blog for a couple of years now and just love everything that you are about. I loved meeting and seeing you in person. You are super funny and down to earth. What a blessing and encouragement to come to your class. I got several goodies that I had been wanting to order to go along with my 12 Steps. My favorite purchase was The Adventures of Junk Food Dude! My kids have been reading it over and over and over! I wanted to have you sign it, I was so sad that you were gone when I come out from hearing Dr. Buttar. Next time!

    My husband and I adopted a sibling group of three in December of 2011. We have an 11 year old boy, 8 year old boy, and a 5 year old little girl. Through the use of your 12 Steps to Whole Food program and a good Doctor we have our little blessing completely free of medication. Altogether they were on over 12 very serious medications. They are now sleeping at night without being sedated, full of wonderful energy that is being used in productive activities. They went from eating food bought at a gas station to drinking smoothies, salads and a bunch of foods that they didn’t even know how to pronounce. And they love it…now. At first there were a lot of tears and resistance, but the more they tried the more they liked whole foods and the better they felt. Thankfully they are all at healthy slender weights and are enjoying being kids. I was beaming the other day when my 8 year old was offered a soda at a friends house and he said “no thank you!” then he leaned over and whispered in my ear “I don’t want anything taken out of these young strong bones”, how great is that!

    My husband and I are both so grateful to you for all you do! We have both enjoyed many benefits from changing to a whole foods lifestyle. I am 4 pounds away from a weight that my doctor told me I would never be able to reach. This year alone I have lost 34 pounds, I have more to go and I know I will get there!

    Thank you SO much Robyn! Lots of Love from South Carolina, take care y’all

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      April, what a wonderful mom you are. Thank you for sharing, and for being there Friday—wish we’d have had a minute to chat!! Congrats on your weight loss, WOW!! XO

  4. Another Cindy here whose husband practically wanted a divorce when I gave up meat 3 years ago. It was like I was threatening his manhood or something. But I’m holding firm with our dietary evolution (or backwards evolution really) because there is nothing more important than my children’s health. My 12 year old niece has even been asking me about kale chips and kale smoothies and I went straight to your videos Robyn! She loved them. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your knowledge!

  5. I didn’t to say hello because we were so busy at the product table afterward, but it was sweet to me to be “Vanna” in Atlanta! People kept coming up to the table and saying, “I can’t believe they made you pass stuff out when you’re ready to pop!” Then I’d explain that a) I volunteered and b) I’m only six months pregnant, but when you’re on number five and you’re 5’2″, well, you get big fast!

    I’m one of the month-at-a-time 12 steppers from 2008 and lost 90 lbs. on the program after my third was born. One of the people I introduced to the program has bought over a dozen Blendtecs for others (!!) if they say they’ll drink the smoothies. My personal guest from Thursday night has autoimmune disease and has resisted green smoothies for years now, but bought 12 Steps and quite a few other products. I’m so excited to see how they improve her health and well-being. Honestly, it was such a joy having you here in Atlanta!

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Heather, I knew your name when Kristin said it to me. Thank you so much for your help—so sorry we didn’t meet. 🙁 You’ve been with us since the very beginning! 90 lbs, huh! wow! Tell us more about your story sometime.

      Toni, read the Intro of 12 Steps to Whole Foods on that topic. My husband? Well, let’s just say this: he’s gained 50# since our divorce. Poor guy. He did eat healthy because that’s what I fed him, but he loved fast food when he was away at work. How about vegan, nitrate-free hot dogs instead?

      B-12….same place the cows get it. The earth. Don’t wash your garden produce very well. Aloe vera. Brewer’s yeast.

      I don’t eat animals and am not B12 deficient. Lots of meat eaters ARE deficient.

  6. A bit more of my story is in the application I sent to Amanda last week for the PT customer service/event planning position. 😉 I’ll write up the rest at some point soon, though!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I am curious about your new menu planning. I have been struggling to find my ideal weight, and find it so restricting and stressful to count calories. I have success for a while when I count and then I get tired of it, and rebound. Did your testers find success in your new book, as far as weight loss, energy, healthy goes? Do you think that even if I only have 15 pounds to lose that I can achieve that, sticking to the plan, but without counting calories? I need some encouragement please!

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