But....after spending a month in Europe eating their beautiful (mostly organic and locally-grown) foods, and watching a couple of eye-opening documentaries on my iPad on the flight back to the US... I've become a convert to a different lifestyle that, already, has changed me in ways I never thought were possible. I say "different" and not "new, because actually I've just returned to the way I was raised...re-embracing, if you will, the lifestyle of eating foods that are real, honest, and unadulterated with sprays/genetics/hormones, just the way God created them to be.
When I first got back from Europe last month, I stepped right back in to eating and drinking the way I was used to in America- albeit, I ate a little more consciously than before my trip. I had always considered my eating habits and what I've provided for my family by way of food choices and meals, as being health-focused...with occasional treats. Let's face it, I was a Physical Education & Health major in college with a Dance specialization who knows about good nutrition AND I was raised with a amazing mother who cooked everything from scratch using wholesome ingredients just the way she was taught in her country, Germany. Not only that, but mom only had one consistent magazine subscription her whole adult life: PREVENTION... a journal of healthy lifestyles, eating organically, cooking wholesome foods, growing great gardens, etc. We ate plain yogurt sweetened with honey in my house growing up before anyone in the US had ever really even heard of yogurt (hard to believe, I know, now with our 237 varieties and brands of flavored yogurt in stores)! Processed foods were never in our cupboards, and I remember whining to mom to "puuleeeaase by twinkies like all my friend's moms do!" She never caved, and I'm thankful for her example.
But after decades of being an American, slowly but surely sliding into our culture of convenience, super-sized everything, and the notion that "technology/biochemical advancements are positive and our future as a country", I was not eating/drinking the way I was created to , and I was feeling the results of that. I've been on two medications now for several years: one for thyroid issues and one to lower cholesterol. I work out and teach dance regularly, I've eaten relatively well all of my adult life, but I still need these two medications to function well. Not only that, but up until two months ago, I have had consistent bouts of insomnia: the kind where I would fall asleep really late (finally), and then wake up at almost the same time each night (4am) unable to go back to sleep. The sleep deprivation thing was the worst.
In Europe, I slept like a baby and woke up with the sun for the first time in a decade! I had energy, and a general sense of health that I hadn't had in so long...my digestive system was miraculously transformed in just the 10 days I spent in Munich. Something was happening, and I had to figure it out.
On the flight home, I watched a movie I had on my iPad, "Vanishing Bees". It documents the massive death of bees...first in Europe about 10 years ago, and recently since about 2007 here in the states. Bee keepers and farmers who rely on the bees to pollinate their crops have been watching millions of bees die...or stranger yet: fly off from their hives en masse and never return again. After studies, and observation, it was discovered that pesticides (sprays, and biotechnically-engineered plants and seeds that have pesticides in their DNA) are the cause of the massive bee-death. When France first discovered this 10 years ago, they banned many pesticides and their application process completely. They also noticed that the rates of cancer/autism/ADD/ other disease in their farmers and their farmer's children were off-the-charts higher than the regular population. They tested cord blood of babies at random, and found pesticide residue, etc. there! Many communities in France now - and across Europe - grow only organically. A few only offer organic foods in their school lunches for their country's children.
I learned that here in the states, you can't buy anything in the food supply (unless certified organic) that is not genetically altered or been treated with chemicals. No wonder we see the incidence of all of the same things France saw ten years ago on the rise here in astronomical proportions: cancers in younger and younger adults, autism/ADD spectrums/ auto immune diseases that didn't exist 50 years ago/ tumors, etc.
I never knew this before, but pesticides/herbicides were only "invented" after WWII by the same chemical companies who made mustard gas and war-time herbicides for combat support. After they lost their military contracts when the war was over...they needed a new way to earn revenue, so they began marketing the idea of spraying crops to help with food production. And, just like everyone embraced the marketing ploy that cigarettes were healthy for you back then, the farmers back in the late 40's and 50's began buying herbicides/pesticides and spraying crops. They were duped...and so were all of us. The result after 50 years is that America now has chemicals in everything we eat and drink... we are sicker as a nation, but don't even know why.
"Vanishing Bees" was a wake-up call for me. And then, seemingly at random, I watched another movie that hit it out of the ballpark. It took me from being concerned, worried and questioning, straight into doing something about it for myself and my family ... now.
The movie is,"Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". I watched it on the plane (Netflix has it as an instantly-viewable selection), and by the time I got home to Grants Pass I knew my entire way of thinking about food was about to change.
Here's a trailer from the movie....
And then, it happened. For the first two days I went right back to eating/drinking the way I had before I left for Europe: healthfully by most standards, but I was still buying and consuming foods from the regular stores and trying to buy cheap rather than quality. I had my occasional diet soda in the first days back as well. What happened?? I got sick. My digestive system rebelled big time. It was like it was screaming, "Wait a minute...I've been getting great stuff for the past month, and now it's this again?!?!" I got nauseaus, had headaches, couldn't sleep at night...all within just a day or two of returning to the states and resuming my old ways of eating. And, I'd heard the same story from a few of the ladies that traveled with me on the first leg of the trip to Europe: they got sick when they came home and ate the standard US diet and food again too!!!
So, I had my husband watch the movie with me the next day...he was converted instantly as well (and that's saying alot for a former Mountain-Dew drinking, Taco-Bell-imbibing country boy). We learned that many, if not most, diseases are preventable with the right diet HIGH in micronutrients (nutrients easily gotten by juicing whole organic fruits and veggies that are immediately usable by our cells for metabolism and cleansing). This includes most auto-immune diseases, high blood pressure, heart disease, many cancers, type II diabetes, etc.
We both decided together that we were going to embrace this knowledge now, and apply it! All I can say is please, take 2 hours and WATCH this movie...it will dramatically alter how you think about your health and your family's health; as well as explain so much that you've always wondered about. It's funny, engaging, inspirational...and all true, that's the best part.
The day after my husband watched the movie, I bought a juicer at Walmart for $99....my best investment in years. I began making "green juice" (which is amazingly refreshing and yummy when you add a little Stevia-a natural sweetener- and lemon) with organic Kale, cucumber, celery, carrots, apples, ginger, and drinking it twice a day. I ate healthful foods (mostly organic) including meat in addition to the juice. Just by ADDING the juice and eating "cleaner" (less pesticides, etc), we experienced nothing short of miraculous changes. I began sleeping through the night here in the states and waking up with the sun!!! My digestive system is as predictable as a German train schedule now (you have to understand German culture and their train system to truly get that), and I have a general sense of health, energy and well being that I haven't had since I was 20!
And, it's not just an age-thing...Jake, who is much younger than I... has experienced the same outcomes and is totally sold on the fact that we will be juicing the rest of our lives now. This is how we were created to eat: clean, healthy foods and nutrients straight from the source...so what stopped us in the past? A little bit of ignorance (but when you know better, you do better:D), habit, succumbing to US marketing like everyone else...and, money. I used to think that buying organic foods was SO expensive and I couldn't afford it...ever. The revelation is that once you start buying good foods, you stop buying the crap...and it's the crap that cost so much. I haven't bought a 12- pack of diet soda in almost 6 weeks: savings= $5-6/week...I spent that instead on a huge bag of organic carrots to juice that last me 4 weeks. No more convenience foods: savings = A TON!! ... all put toward cleaner foods. We shop locally at Farmer's Market and the Growers Market now...and get some good deals! All in all, I spend the same amount of money each week on groceries that I did before this paradigm shift. It's totally do-able.
Why juice? Simple: You can drink ALL 5-7 helpings of fruits and vegetables recommended (and essential) by the FDA in one tall glass of incredibly refreshing juice each day. I could never eat all of the fruits and veggies I put in the juicer to create a 16oz glass of juice...it's WAY too much. And after one or two a day, who really can stomach another salad or serving of steamed veggies? This is easy, fun and the best "discovery" we ever made. I'm so thankful that Joe decided to document his journey from being fat, sick and nearly dead...it has changed us in so many ways. Like he says, "You go from knowing...to doing".
Ok, so why a Juice FAST? Well, after seeing the dramatic changes in my own health and well-being during the past 6 weeks that I've added juice to my daily diet, I want to actually reboot my system for 12 days on just the micronutrients from juicing and then start from scratch in this new era of healthy, organic eating. Losing a few pounds would be a great perk too (if you want to see the healthy, incredible weight loss possible, it's all in the movie).
So this is what I'm doing for the next 12 days:
1. Drinking organic juices I make at home (~96 oz a day), Britta-filtered water, and herbal iced tea only
2. Documenting the truth about the 12 days here
Below is the basic recipe for the "Green Juice"....but I add to it at will - that's why the picture of my juice is reddish or even brown...I add red fruits and veggies like strawberries, beets (they make it sweet and do not add a beety-flavor like you think they would), extra carrots, etc. Note: You can interchange virtually any fruits or veggies to your liking. I am also going to drink fruit juice, and a tomato/V-8 style juice I'm going to try just to change it up. There are great recipes on the "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" website (google the movie and it will pop up)..and they are all free to see, etc.
With organic produce, all you have to do is rinse it...no need to peel it to put in the juicer : now, how more convenient can that be (the American way) ! Suggestion: Google the "Dirty Dozen" list to find the top 12 foods you should really never buy unless organic because they are loaded with chemicals...Things that have peels (oranges, lemons, etc.) are less necessary to purchase as organic.
5-6 Kale or Chard leaves w/ their stocks (just juice the whole thing!)
1 lemon or lime (peeled, if not organic)
3-4 stalks of Celery
1 inch length of fresh Ginger (the miracle refreshing ingredient, I tell ya!)
1 huge handful of spinach
** I always add 1-2 carrots to mine. If you like it sweeter, add Stevia (natural sweetener), or an extra apple, or 1/2 beet....it may look more brown than green if you add red kale or beets like I do, but it's still considered "green" since it's 80% veggies or more.
Fruit Juice I made this morning (amazing!!!!)
So far (it's 11:30am), I feel fine. They say to expect a headache maybe, and to be a bit tired the first day or two...and a bit hungry. But whenever you are hungry, you just drink as much juice as you want, so it doesn't feel like deprivation at all. I took the advice of the nutritionist on the site that recommends that you ease-in to a juice fast: adding juice and changing your diet slowly leading up to it rather than going straight from being a fast food junkie into juicing. Obviously, the shock to the system (even though it's good one), may not feel so good that way.
After day 3 it's supposed to be smooth sailing...hunger is curbed, headache (if it comes) leaves; everything is balancing out and toxins are leaving so you feel really great with lots of energy, etc..
I will tell the truth here...even if it's not all wonderful.
One thing I know for sure: this is a permanent lifestyle change now. I'm buying only organic for my granddaughter when she eats here, and she loves the juice too...I bought a juicer for my son and daughter-in-law, and my youngest son is eating better now too, since we are.
All in all, I'm looking forward; and am so grateful for the example my mom set for me growing up, my time in Munich which changed my personal vision for the future, and the inspiration the movie "F,S &ND" was for us to DO something.
I'm still not a hippie, I will most likely always eat meat (just grass fed, hormone-free, etc. the way they originally existed on this earth), I will have occasional "treats" of whatever I want just because it's ok (organic chocolate sounds good right now.. Oh, Man, I need a Trader Joe's!!), I still consider myself traditional and conservative but lean a little more toward the middle these days; and, no matter what -I will be juicing the rest of my life. No doubt.
My Juice Today