Smoothie Expert Imparts Wisdom, Part 2 1

THIS IS THE second interview with Kim Renshaw, the founder of Tauranga’s Smoothie Club and the lady behind Kimmithgone hempseed oil.

The first part can be found here, while our coverage of recent Smoothie Club evenings can be found here and here.

Kim at Smoothie Club

Kim at Smoothie Club

Doctor Feelgood: “So you’re always seeking balance in what you eat? I tend to just cut stuff out.”

Kim Renshaw: “I’m probably much the same but I’ve loosened up a lot. In fact, by cutting back the meat and the dairy in my diet, I’m a lot healthier than I was. So by doing those things, I can be a little less stringent but I’ll still compensate if one thing is a little high, I’ll cut back on something else. It’s funny how the cleaner you get, the less you want, like the less animal products you want. I’m not completely vegetarian, I had a steak yesterday, my iron was really low before I did my detox and I knew that’s something I needed to consider and I just listened to my body.

DF: “That’s an interesting one. I think listening to your body is a good thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a full-blown, plant-based advocate.”

KR: “What’s your blood type?”

DF: “O+”

KR: “Interesting.”

DF: “Isn’t O+ the one that’s theoretically meant to eat lots of meat?”

KR: “Totally, and I’m an O as well, and I really feel that it’s more difficult for me to be vegetarian.”

DF: “It’s funny because when I went vegetarian in 1996, I immediately felt better. I used to be the king of dairy, I could eat as much of it as I liked but when I cut back on that, I felt amazing.”

KR: “So how did you find the discussion with Nicola around gut health?”

DF: “I thought it was great. I’ve been into kimchi for ages, I used to make my own because I loved the taste, not for health reasons or anything. Almost all of the commercial kimchi has fish in it, so I had to make my own but I stopped because it was a hassle. I’ve also been into kombucha and kefir for a couple of years and I like the way they make me feel, but it was only once I heard Nicola’s talk that I decided to get back into fermenting foods.”

KR: “I’m a massive kimchi fan. A friend of mine got me into kimchi and eggs, which is delicious but I can only have one or two eggs a week.”

DF: “I’ve always been a bit grossed out by eggs, so I used to go through egg-free phases when I was a vegetarian.”

KR: “Yeah me too, but you must get asked a lot about where you get your protein? I get it too, even from my naturopath friends – if you’re not eating meat, how do you get your protein? I just say ‘everywhere else, all the plants that have it, all the nuts and grains and seeds that I eat as well’. I think it’s about listening to your body, and getting your gut healthy, and once it’s healthy, you don’t need to feed it much at all.”

Kimchi being prepared at Smoothie Club in May

Kimchi being prepared at Smoothie Club in May (photo credit – Karen Flowerday Photography)

DF: “I used to be really into bodybuilding, not the competitive stuff but I lifted all the time, and I used to focus on the conventional wisdom around protein, where you need a certain amount or else. So I would eat 350-400 grams a day easy, and now I’m eating less protein than I ever have and I’m making the same if not better progress than I used to and I feel like a million bucks. So I wonder did I ever need it? The research says no and once you get past the “Bro-Science”, you find that you don’t need that much protein, even the competitive bodybuilders don’t.”

KR: “Exactly. I make the hemp protein and I also have hemp seeds when I’m lucky to get them, but in terms of protein, I think my gut instinct around protein is that I’d rather eat a whole food. The hempseed oil and the hemp protein together are basically a hempseed, and I’d much rather eat a hempseed. But the hempseed oil is a concentrated anti-inflammatory but I’m not attracted to eating protein in a concentrated form, I’m not into adding it to my smoothies. Even maca, I don’t eat it like I used to, I’m just into eating whole, organic food.

Sometimes my favourite thing to do is just to blend up a whole apple in my blender with a bit of water and a bit of ginger, it’s just delicious and the blender turns it into a little smoothie.”

DF: “Well, you do have a good blender, I’m still using a little cheap thing I bought six years ago.”

KR: “You need to move on from that. Ah, you don’t really have to… (laughter)”

DF: “No I know I do. It takes me three or four blender loads to make one of these smoothies. It’s a pain.”

KR: “I can see how it would be. A good blender opens up a world of delicious snacks. It’s not that hard to make your own food with them. I get a lot of requests from people, especially with Smoothie Club around blended food. It’s so easy, and I think Smoothie Club will be the vehicle to get that message out there. I’m not a practitioner but I sometimes think that being a practitioner can keep you in a box, where not being one can allow you to see outside the box. To maybe come up with a system that makes sense for people.”

DF: “Makes sense to me. I think you’re so right about the snowball effect. Every time I’ve made a positive change in my diet, I’ve noticed a difference. So all you need to do is get people to make small changes and see what happens from there, to give them easy options.”

KR: “Totally. I think that if I could compare my style of cooking to anyone else’s, it would be a cross between Annabel Langbein, Chef Cynthia and Petite Kitchen.

I’m the frugal version of all of those guys. I believe in smoothies over juices because they’re a more cost-effective solution. We don’t use that much produce – juicing is a way of detoxifying your body, of providing a nutrient shot, but smoothies are a better way going forward, they’re the more sustainable option that still provides a lot of nutrition and a lot of fibre, which is important because fibre draws the toxins together really well.

So I’m a big fan of smoothies but I also don’t believe in doing everything with stuff that comes from the other side of the world that costs big dollars, I really think it’s important that we focus on local and sustainability in all of our choices. Not that we eat everything single thing from New Zealand all the time but let’s think about it and at least have that discussion. That’s something I really want to promote.

There’s something about eating food that’s grown close to you. Where you’re living in the environment where your food is grown, then your food is exposed to all the same things you are, so it’s growing in soil that’s got the minerals you require.”

DF: “There’s something really refreshing about popping into an organic shop and picking up locally grown, spray free or organic produce. It’s so different to walking into a supermarket where you’ve got no idea if the stuff came from Kaitia or Bluff or anywhere in between, or even what’s on it.”

KR: “Exactly.”

DF: “So what do you make of the whole keto/paleo thing? There seem to be a lot of younger women turning to keto.”

KR: “I think there are a lot of people floating around keto and paleo, and I think it’s a good idea but if you’re going to eat that much fat, you really need to have good enzymes.

I see a lot of people that are doing the full keto thing and they’ve got really bad skin, and you can see that their liver is really struggling with that much fat. You’ve got to clean your liver first. If you don’t and you eat that much fat, you’re just going to make it sick because you accentuate that fatty tissue issue – fatty liver disease is huge and it’s what happens if you’re obese but essentially, if you overload the liver with fats and it’s not functioning in its optimal way, then you can struggle with it too. So I think you’ll find people looking and feeling bad and they’ll need to detox after keto.”

DF: “So you’re basically bringing on a health condition by pushing the liver too hard?”

KR: “You just need to be really cautious with it. There’s nothing wrong with saying that a high-fat diet will help you lose weight, and the ketogenic diet is absolutely proven but it doesn’t mean that it’s the optimal way for your body to function long-term – balance is very important.

There are so many girls on social media and blogs detailing their weight loss journey where they’re using keto but going back to my original statement, they haven’t sorted out their issues or their addictions, which is why they’re having food issues in the first place. So they’re losing weight but they don’t look good. They’re so unhappy. If you’ve got a weight problem, and an issue with eating, that’s deep seated. You’ve got to sort it out because losing the weight isn’t going to solve the problem. And if you’re doing a high fat diet to lose the weight, you will feel bad at one point and you’ll feel emotionally bad too.

What I want to provide them with is someplace to go when they start to struggle and think about the emotions and the psychology behind that. That’s the whole point of Smoothie Club – to start people thinking.”

DF: “I’ve only been to two Smoothie Club nights, and both times, I was watching the reaction of the people there. They left inspired. Forget the recipes and the information – they left wanting to make a change and that’s huge.”

KR: “So many people have started to make kombucha and sauerkraut after that night, and even if they don’t do it more than once, at least we got them to start thinking about it. Even the people who didn’t try it, thought about it.”

A night at Smoothie Club

A night at Smoothie Club

DF: “So Smoothie Club is going to be a big focus for you this year?”

KR: “Yep. We’re going to Taupo in August, doing a little tiki-tour. I’ll be taking Nicola with me. The key point with Smoothie Club is that it’s a way for these online personalities to actually be real and to come out in person. So that’s where I’d like to take it. I’m lucky that so many good people want to be involved, we’ve got some great speakers lined up for the rest of the year, so it’s going to be big.”

DF: “Glad to hear it! I think the concept is gold.” ASHLEY KRAMER

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