Monday, July 9, 2012

LOFT LIFE: It's not easy being green, or I can even kill dirt!

I’ve always been into chopping. (See March 2009 post: Food). But, what I am chopping these days has become life changing.
I owe a great debt to Victoria Boutenko and her book, Green for Life. It’s rare that a book truly changes lives--thinking, beliefs, behavior, which of course is always changed by beliefs and thinking.
Victoria starts by explaining that greens and vegetables are not synonymous. I know this it seems obvious, but getting my 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the prescription for health, was not mostly greens up until now, and very difficult to achieve. I would get a head of lettuce and see it as three or four salad sides to accompany larger portions of meat and starch. 
Now I see a head of lettuce and wonder whether I will need a second one to make my breakfast and lunch quart plus green smoothie, along with cucumber, berries, wheat grass, flax seeds, coconut juice, lemon (with rind) and maybe mint and ginger. And, that’s just Monday. I vary the greens, as Victoria suggests, sometimes adding a whole apple, orange (with rind) or a whole pear instead of berries--making green smoothies more green than purple. 

Wheat grass. OK, how many of you say to your friends, I need some wheat grass, then find them scurrying back to their kitchens to get you wheat berries and potting soil they have hanging around, so you can grow your own? I have friends like that. 
I did tell you in my Feng Shui post (January 2012) that I tend to kill green things. This time I killed dirt! This is not easy. It was one of those muggy days, when I thought I was literally dying. My heart was skipping beats; I was listless, drained. My husband came home and suggested maybe I turn on the air conditioning. I said, “You think that could be it?” It was. 
I didn’t die, but the dirt Barb gave me in plastic containers with lids, did. Humidity created awful mold, so I had to throw the soil out and start again. I’m happy to report my wheat grass is growing, however timidly, and isn’t dead yet.
Barb has also introduced me to sorrel, French breakfast radishes, with their greens, and bloody baron with golden beets. These exotic greens add wonderful flavor and color to smoothies, and sometimes I just enjoy them by themselves with some citrus and balsamic dressing, red onions, and tomatoes.
In addition to being grateful to Barb, I’m grateful to Linda and Rainbow. They’ve known about the healing properties of greens way longer than I have. I did have to back off the spirulina Linda gave me, because in my usual zeal for new discoveries, I put a heaping tablespoon of the really, really green stuff, into my blender--which did I mention is a BlendTec ($350 on sale at Costco)--and that was not wise. I broke out in a horrible eczema which still hasn’t healed. The consensus is that I created a giant detox, which, along with my pound plus of greens, my body reacted to suddenly. So caution: go easy at first.
I realize I’m not sounding like an advertisement for the green smoothie life, but really, I am completely sold on it. My body now craves greens, as though I had not been giving her enough of this “live” food. My cravings for other foods--chips, bread, potatoes, meat, has seriously diminished. Unless I begin to eat these items, I don’t want them. It’s as though my body literally cries out for real food with a desperation that warns me never to return to my old food desert ways.
I am losing weight, I am feeling healthy, my skin is glowing and I am sleeping through the night most of the time--all because I have turned over breakfast and lunch to the greens. I usually eat a regular dinner with my husband, but my portions are less, because I’m just not hungry. 
I know we all age and die eventually, but we can stem some of the worst effects of aging with nutrients that our bodies need to fight off free radicals, oxidation, and other environmental enemies of living a ripe old age with robust health. (Have you seen the YouTube Salsa video of Ginger Rogers dancing, at 92, with her grandson? I’ll bet she does the greens.)
As a testimony to my enthusiasm, other friends are trying green smoothies, and liking them. Some need their smoothies colder, some more reddish or purple, and one claimed she does better if her glass isn’t clear, so she won’t see the green. But, if they can heal asthma and allergies, and other life-threatening diseases, I will feel so happy to have had an influence.
This lifestyle isn’t simple. Unless you’re in California or Manhattan, you’re not likely to find wheat grass-, flax seed-supplemented green smoothies on the menu when you’re out of your own kitchen.
The minute I leave for two days, go back to the highly salted, oiled and processed foods out there, I gain weight back. The good news, and I believe a testimony to the power of greens, when I return to a quart of smoothie per day, I lose it again. 
It took 15 years to break the weight barrier I’ve now pushed through in four weeks. I love these smoothies, delicious and filling. With their miraculous healing power--who wouldn’t want them?
Hey, don’t knock ‘em until you’ve tried ‘em!