I’VE ATTENDED TWO of Kim Renshaw’s Smoothie Club evenings in Tauranga (here and here), and I thought that Doctor Feelgood readers would like to hear more about this dedicated and passionate advocate for good health.
In addition to Smoothie Club, Kim runs Kimmithgone, a manufacturer and distributor of hempseed oil and other hemp products. Hempseed oil is one of those little known health foods that might just be worth its weight in gold. So with hemp and smoothies on my mind, I decided to catch up with Kim for a chat about Smoothie Club, hemp and all kinds of other healthy topics.
Kim Renshaw: “So, what did you want to talk about?”
Doctor Feelgood: “Let’s talk about everything but we can start with hemp. I’ve got a friend who’s treating himself for a fairly serious autoimmune condition and he’s got some interesting theories – he reckons that he got it from 25 years of malnutrition, effectively by eating really badly. Modern medicine has said ‘Have a nice day mate, there’s not much we can do for you’. He’s done a lot of research to see how he can best manage the condition and he’s worked out a lot of things such as the obvious – getting rid of refined and processed foods, eating a really healthy diet – he hasn’t gone vegan but he’s identified hempseed oil as one of the keys to his ongoing health. In his opinion, hempseed oil is the perfect oil, so I was curious to find out more about it and about how you ended up in the hempseed oil game.”
KR: “I first got started with hempseed oil when I was recommended to take Omega 3 fish oil and I didn’t really want to for a number of reasons. I’m not a vegan although my diet is predominantly vegan but it was more about the fact that it wasn’t a good use of resources. I haven’t eaten a lot of fish my whole life and have stopped eating fish altogether over the past five years. I just didn’t feel comfortable taking fish oil and not knowing what was in it, so that led to a lot of research as to what goes into supplements and understanding the supplement regulations and how weak they are compared to food regulations. You don’t have to list your ingredients on supplements, it’s not mandatory, it’s completely optional and I find that to be really odd – that we’ll eat something and we don’t know what’s in it.”
DF: “Especially since you assume it’s the healthiest thing in your home.”
KR: “Exactly. So that’s where it all stems from. I was in Australia, in the backblocks of Noosa and I met this beautiful woman who’d been in a fire. When I met her, it was three weeks since she’d been in the fire, she was into health and nutrition, a bit of a hippie and I was talking to her about how I’d been recommended to take fish oil but didn’t really want to. She said ‘Oh, you should try hempseed oil’, and I went ‘What’s that?’
She said in New Zealand, you could actually get it but in Australia, it’s not permitted because there are different laws although we share the same laws for food safety. In New Zealand, there’s a bylaw that allows the sale of hempseed oil as food. It’s the only hemp product that can be sold as food. She’d been in Tasmania six or 12 months before and they’d been doing some research that was showing that hempseed oil was a fantastic alternative to fish oil. So when I came home, I went and got a bottle and went ‘Hey, this stuff actually tastes pretty good’, I was expecting it to taste horrible sitting on par with fish oil but once I tasted it, I realised that I could have this in my diet.
After trying it, I thought this is a really awesome alternative to fish oil, so because of my passions in decreasing consumption of fish, I thought that I’d go out and market this as an alternative, and it’s been two-and-a-half years since then.
I’ve learned a lot along the way and I’ve learned a lot about the industry. One of the issues that I have is that hempseed oil is touted as a cure-all. It’s not a cure-all; you have to do a lot to your diet to get any benefit from any supplement. You need a lifestyle change. If you’re dealing with any serious issue like arthritis, any inflammatory concern, you need to look at the inflammation rather than take a pill, and that’s the stuff that I struggle with.
Fish oil is stronger than hempseed oil, so you can still live an inflammatory lifestyle, take fish oil and see some result. Hempseed oil isn’t as strong, your body needs to be in a better working condition to use it and metabolise it. That’s why vegans and vegetarians that take hempseed oil metabolise EPA and DHA better than meat eaters because their bodies are cleaner. It’s proven that you’ll get a better result if you’re vegan or vegetarian.”
DF: “Interesting, there are other people I know who battle with inflammatory conditions and every time they make an effort to clean up their diet, they seem to improve. The rest of the time, they’re at the mercy of Big Medicine.”
KR: “I’m the first to admit that I hate Big Medicine’s model, yet I have probably succumbed to that style of selling as well, which is ‘There’s something wrong with you, here’s a solution’.
The reality is that with anyone in any condition, there are root causes why they’ve got the condition in the first place. They could be psychological, they could be philosophical. Anything, trauma, addiction, they all stem from something that’s going on inside, and you can do a lot of work – it’s a slow process to make the change to a healthy lifestyle but in the process of changing your diet and becoming fit and healthy and treating disease, you’ve got to get to the root psychological concerns as well because they’re there.
It could be some trauma that happened when you were a child or in your adult life and you’ve got to deal with it because that stuff will come up. When you do a detox, you’ll have an emotional response, a lot of stuff comes up and you’ve got to be able to face those issues and realise that it’s all connected.”
DF: “That’s an interesting perspective and I buy into it totally but very few health practitioners, even the holistic ones seem to go down that road. They tell you what you need to do to fix the physical but who actually looks at what’s going on inside?”
KR: “Well, that’s my whole belief and passion and where I’m going with everything. I want to ask us to be authentic and to be real and to say ‘That’s great that you’re doing something’. Let’s take you as an example, it’s great that you’re doing yoga but how’re you really feeling at night, how are your bad days? When you’re really bad, what goes on there? What lurks behind the scenes? Once you hook into those things and start to be really present, that’s when you really start to get there and then all the rest of it just flows. You know… over-eating, over-exercising, or just using things to solve problems whether it be medicine or even a healthy lifestyle. I believe that there’s a core idea of flipping it all on its head and saying ‘There’s something going on, let it go on, just let it happen'”.
DF: “Going that deep is really difficult”.
KR: “It’s pretty scary.”
DF: “I’m writing a health book at the moment and it’s all about the lifestyle change. It can be tough enough for people to take that step let alone looking at what they actually need to change, not just what they can do.”
KR: “And I’m not claiming to be an expert that knows how everyone works, and I’m not a practitioner. I don’t want to be a practitioner, I want to be an inspirer, to help people to think that little bit more – practitioners, people that are investigating their own health, even people that aren’t.
I’m not going to be a middle of the road person when it comes to health. It’s about bringing people in and finding what resonates for them. With the Smoothie Club in particular, I’m really hoping that gets to the point where I can have a blog and a website where people can go for inspiration, where people can go to find out how to get to the right place for their journey. Everyone’s on a journey and they’re all doing it at their own pace and there have to be different influences around that can trigger things.”
DF: “I like it! It’s almost refreshing. I’m becoming almost militant against Big Medicine and Big Pharma, just that ‘We’ll chuck a pill at you whenever you have a problem and we’re never going to solve the problem, we’re just going to manage it and keep you going’ thing. So to see people, whether they’re practitioners or not, taking a different approach and saying ‘let’s do something outside the box’ is great. You’re advocating a commitment at a very different level than the norm.”
KR: “But you have to be ready to hear that message, and if someone is really unhealthy, they might not be ready. And I’m using the word unhealthy in the holistic sense, so that can be mentally, or in terms of their openness – so for example, you try to tell someone about something you really care about, say composting and they go ‘You’re a dick!’, that’s somebody being unhealthy because all you’re trying to do is share something with them.
So my challenge in this world is to try and create a message that I can share with people in different stages of health. People who have no knowledge whatsoever of how to take care of themselves, mentally, holistically, food, diet or whatever – just understanding that there are people taking the first step on their journey and to realise that’s an amazing step to take.
So if you’re eating McDonald’s three or four times a week and you just make one little change, that can have a snowball effect. A lot of us are walking around a bit ignorant and once you have the world opened to you, then that’s a good thing. We’re here as teachers, we’re just here to share what we have”.
DF: “Makes sense to me.”
KR: “What’s your green smoothie made with?” (I’d lugged my 800ml of green smoothie along to the interview, as you do)
DF: “Silverbeet, spinach, kale, bananas, Good Green Stuff and Clean Lean Protein.”
KR: “I’m really interested in it. Do you ever feel sick after you eat this much green?”
KR: “Have you ever done a kidney stone cleanse?”
DF: “Nope. Read about them, never done one.”
KR: “You should do one. And I’d recommend that you add some calcium in there. Some high dose calcium because that’s a lot of raw greens to have. People talk about cooking and not cooking greens and about phytic acid and the acids that are in raw greens. They bond really well to calcium, which can lead to stripping of calcium and a build up of phytic acid and to kidney stones. If you take calcium with it, it’ll bond to the calcium and move out of the body. There can also be theft of enzymes, it can take a lot to break down all that phytic acid.
I used to drink a lot of green, green smoothies but now I have a lot more fruit in my diet. Being very green didn’t work for me, so I’m more 50/50 greens and fruit and I do juice fasting too – different story. I used to add unhulled sesame seeds, which are extremely high in calcium, like ten times the amount that’s in hulled sesame seeds. Just add a teaspoon of those into your smoothies. Give it a go. You don’t have to do it every day.
I fully advocate eating that many greens. I just think that for me, in my body, I’m little, you’re very big and it’s too much for my stomach. All my fruits are tart fruits, not sweet fruits – kiwis, feijoas, heaps of lemon in all of my juices. I’m gone from believing in green, green, green to believing in yin/yang. More about balance.
I also need a lot of warming foods because I’m little and I have a very detoxifying diet, so I get very cold, I get very yin. So I add in a lot of warming spices to get the balance right for my body.”
DF: “I’ve been feeling the cold like crazy lately.”
KR: “You’re just a bit yin, and it’s also because of all that Bikram you’re doing. You’re letting a lot go, so you need to add in some ginger, cinnamon and turmeric and gentle warming spices instead of the hot stuff like cayenne pepper.”
…to be continued soon… ASHLEY KRAMER