We’re all going to die

Every morning when I drive home from my yoga practice, I see a sign that would be a balm for weary travelers. Travelodge: Your Room Is Waiting For You. What a nice slogan! Alas, it is meaningless, since the motel was demolished months ago, and now the sign advertises for an empty lot. It feels like there is some kind of symbolism there but I just cannot seem to make the leap.

Today I heard that the house featured on The Brady Bunch is up for sale in Los Angeles, and also that it is “one of the most photographed homes in America, with 30-50 visitors every day.” I guess we all have different interests, and the world is a rich tapestry, but still, that number surprises me. I am surprised that anyone at all visits it, but I must remind myself not to be close-minded. After all, I am a person who has a strong desire to see the Jungle Room at Graceland, and also the stained-glass peacocks.

Also, I do not think I have seen even one episode of The Brady Bunch.

We have been having such a beautiful summer, with great weather and lots of sunshine. I was writing down the date for one of my class sign-ins, and I had a small crisis when I realized that July was more than half over. The days are long but the years are short is something people say when you are home with little kids, but now it just seems like life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (Thank you Ferris Bueller).

Speaking of life moving fast, I just finished reading this book:

This is a very silly title. We all have 100% chance of death; P=1. WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.

Semantics, yes. But of course, the book isn’t about living eternally, or even Yoda-like, it’s about using nutrition to assist in the staving-off of premature-death-causing diseases. It is a very interesting book and written in a fairly compelling way, and for some of us who have been following plant-based diets for years, it’s a bit like preaching to the choir. I will say this though: the alarmist use of non-statistics is my least favourite part of the book, and that makes up a large part of this book. It’s quite misleading, and I say this even as a person who is plant-based. Statements like studies show that even one serving of egg per week can increase your chance of x disease by 30% are very misleading if you do not tell the reader what the original chance of x disease is. For example, if your current risk of, say, kidney cancer is 2%, and you increase your chance by 30%, then your new risk is 2.6%. Maybe it is the econometrician in me, but that kind of statement makes me crazy. Most people, I am sorry to say, do not have a particularly good understanding of statistics, and this kind of writing does not help. AND I AM SOMEONE WHO AGREES WITH THE WHOLE PREMISE OF THE BOOK.

The premise is decent, and I think that no matter if you eat an egg serving a week or not, we could all stand to increase our intake of fruits and vegetables, plant-based proteins, and flaxseed. My god, the author of this book is obsessed with flaxseed – that, and turmeric – so much so that you might wonder if he was being paid by Big Flaxseed. Or Big Turmeric. Well, I like and consume both of those things, so I guess I’m okay.

We go through a lot of fruit and vegetables in this house. I love vegetables and I have a big appetite for them; I personally can eat an entire head-and-a-half of roasted cauliflower at one sitting, and I do this weekly. I have been known to consume a full head of kale at a time, and once when I was preparing Sunday dinner my husband came into the kitchen and stared at me.

Mr: Nicole, no. NO. This is insane. No one can eat that much asparagus!

Me: Hold my purse.

All of which is to say that I eat a lot of produce personally, and so does the rest of my family. However, even for me reading the recommendations for the “Daily Dozen” was overwhelming. Like, I just don’t think I can fit all those things into my life. How much flaxseed can one person eat?

Well, as I said, it’s a good premise and eating more whole foods, fruits, and veggies are better than eating highly processed things of dubious nutritional value, if you can. It reminded me that I wanted to tell you about my favourite green smoothie, which is a really good way to get more leafy greens into your diet, if that’s something of interest.

Nicole’s Favourite Green Smoothie

I have one of these every single day, except when I am out of town and have no access to a blender. I usually have this at lunch, but I think most people would enjoy it more as a breakfast food. I, however, tend to have very little time for lunch, so this fits the bill. I use eight cups of spinach for this recipe, but I don’t recommend anyone new to green smoothies starting with that. Maybe start with ONE cup, then work your way up.

Someone once said to me, in a very unkind way, that they do not enjoy smoothies because they are not infants and prefer to chew their food. Hey, I like chewing food just fine. However, I usually have 10-15 minutes to eat lunch, and I just don’t think I could eat 8 cups of spinach in that amount of time. Plus, I LIKE this smoothie. I can chew food at the two other meals in a day. My jaw is not atrophying, believe me.

Anyway, here is the recipe!

8 cups baby spinach (this is a lot of spinach! I’m like Popeye. Start small and work your way up, or you will be completely grossed out.)

1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 frozen banana

a whole lot of cinnamon

The ingredients! Do NOT give me a hard time about the tetra-pak almond milk. Maybe when I have a lot more time in my life, I will make my own almond milk, but today is not that day. Note the red moose in the background – my older son made that in Industrial Arts class. It poops out gumballs! Although we have no gumballs so this is theoretical.

I’m strong to the finish ’cause I eats me spinach, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.

Almond butter = food of the gods.

Mmmm. Liquified spinach. So, first blend the spinach with the almond milk and butter. THEN add the banana and cinnamon. Trust me on this. GET THE SPINACH BLENDED FIRST OR ALL WILL BE ASHES. I keep bananas individually frozen for this purpose, and I always break the banana into pieces before freezing. You don’t want to not do this, unless you want a blender tragedy, or even just unblended chunks of banana.

I have no idea how much cinnamon I add. I just shake it on until the top of the liquid is all covered, thickly. I like a lot of cinnamon. Hey, it’s anti-inflammatory!

This may not look appealing to you but it’s making me hungry.

So there you go! Even though every day we are one day nearer to dying, and I am on that slow journey to death just like everyone else, I swear that these green smoothies make me more energetic and healthy. Are you also a green smoothie lover? If you try this, let me know, I’m DYING to know what you think. Dying. Ha! xo

Comments

  1. So many thoughts but first I’m so glad you posted your green smoothie recipe again. I know you’ve done it in the past but the thought of trying to find anything on the interwebs these days is just too much so I just figured it was lost to the sands of time – but there it was! YAY!

    Other thoughts – I try to eat fresh fruits and veggies – I know they are important and I really do like them and right now it’s especially easy because it’s Oregon berry season (GOD BE PRAISED). That said, sometimes the recommended amounts in books just seem impossible. I mean, I just don’t eat that much of anything. I feel like I’d have to spend every waking hour eating just to get it all in. So I just do what I can and hope for the best 😉

    Finally, I love a good breakdown of statistics. I mean it sounds so alarming when they announce a new study showing doing X increases one’s risk of Y terrible thing by 50% only to discover one’s baseline risk is something like 1/1000 and with the alleged bad behavior one’s risk is now at 1.5/1000. Underlying data is important is what I’m saying – also I’m a bit of a math geek but let’s focus on the first point…

  2. I used to teach a class on horror and when I would dismiss class sometimes I’d remind my students they were all 50 minutes closer to their deaths than when they walked in the room. It was usually during the Poe unit.

    p.s. I would totally go see the Brady Bunch house if I lived nearby.

  3. The hotel sign makes me laugh because we have a BBQ place that’s now out of business & when they closed they left the sign up saying “BBQ. Beer. Free ice cream.” Which is pretty tempting & a little infuriating to be teased with forever.

  4. I love this whole post, but some favorite bits:

    “It feels like there is some kind of symbolism there but I just cannot seem to make the leap.”

    “My god, the author of this book is obsessed with flaxseed – that, and turmeric – so much so that you might wonder if he was being paid by Big Flaxseed. Or Big Turmeric.”

    “Like, I just don’t think I can fit all those things into my life.”

    “Although we have no gumballs so this is theoretical.”

    “You don’t want to not do this, unless you want a blender tragedy, or even just unblended chunks of banana.”

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