Eating healthily does not necessarily mean turning over great and delicious foods. Today’s special guest proves that healthy eating could just be as flavorful as the day to day processed foods we eat. What is more, it is life-changing. Carrie Miller sits down with Patricia Greer of Pat Greer’s Kitchen—the hotspot for clean, organic foods for healthy eating. In this episode, Pat shares with us the beginning of how she changed her diet and life for the better. Giving away some healthy advice, she talks about the ingredients she puts into her foods along with the delectable products that they produce. Pat also explains how our body responds to clean, organic, and healthy foods and how they work as medicine for illnesses. Change your life by choosing clean and healthy eating. Let Pat guide you in this conversation.
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Patricia Greer: Change Your Life With Clean And Healthy Eating
What better way to start this day but with a special guest who gives a piece of her heart away in every raw food dish she prepares. Her kitchen is the hotspot for clean, organic foods for healthy eating to keep our brains moving and grooving. She started the city’s oldest organic co-op many years ago. She’s fed the city’s professional soccer team, caters to many medical professionals and generously feeds the homeless. Welcome to the show, Pat Greer.
Thank you so much for having me here, Carrie. I’m happy to be here with you.
I’m excited you’re here. Pat, I hear you grew up in North Texas with fried chicken and okra, cornbread, black eyed peas, collard greens drenched with all that lovely bacon fat. You’ve been quoted saying, “I didn’t even know what fresh spinach tasted like until I was in my twenties.” When did you change your diet and why?
I probably changed my diet when I first had fresh spinach. It wasn’t an instant thing. I think it was a gradual pace. My oldest daughter got into organic foods before her first pregnancy, took a permaculture class, and everything took a direction from there. About that time, I’d gotten into a raw food diet and it all started coming together, that big ball that rolls down the hill.
Your mama had Alzheimer’s or something. She might’ve been misdiagnosed.
Possibly. She was diagnosed in the ‘80s and I had her undiagnosed. I said, “Take it off. Get her off of there. I don’t believe it and we’re going to move on from here.”
How did you take action? Was it food and nutrition food?
She was in Dallas where I grew up in and I was in Houston, so I had to go back and forth and deal with her still being able to drive. I would make food every time I’d go up enough for 4 or 5 days and then I’d go back up and make more food. That worked until she stopped eating anything except those little cinnamon rolls, which you get 3 or 10 for $1 or something.
Did a doctor recommend that? Did you research yourself?
No. Some things have always made sense to me. I made lots of greens, took the sugar out and stopped using bacon fat. I don’t even remember when. I encouraged her with the things that I knew she’d like to eat and made them healthier. My dad too. She had a rapid decline when my dad passed away.
I know that you’re an incredible chef and you work wonders in that kitchen. Let’s talk a little bit about the ingredients you put into your foods that you and your awesome staff prepare.
We started with organic crackers, which are dehydrated crackers. It’s flax seeds and leftover produce from the co-op until we got into national distribution. We’re more specific about our ingredients but always maintained organic ingredients. Our cookies and crackers and all the food that we prepare, it’s fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. That’s it.
No white flour. Do you have some almond or coconut flour in there?
When I make some of the specialty cakes, I’ll have almond flour and coconut flour. We are experimenting with a local organic rice grower who does his own milling and is doing rice flour. I’m doing some experimenting with that and I am using some oats in some of the baked goods that I’m doing. Everything is gluten-free.
I have a gluten intolerance, so that’s awesome to hear. How does our body respond to this clean, organic, healthy foods?
I can speak for myself and the stories that I hear when people come in. I pulled up with a truckload of stuff to unload and I hear this, “Pat,” and I looked around and in a car was a young man. He was there with another man and he said, “This is my dad.” His dad started telling me his story. He goes, “I started eating fresh food and vegetables. It’s changed my life.” I had a man call and order a birthday cake and he goes, “My girlfriend had her birthday. She ordered a carrot cake from you,” which is essentially carrots and pineapple, “I decided that day that I would just eat vegetables and that’s all I’ve done.” He stopped talking and I said, “How’s it been for you?” He goes, “I can’t even say how incredible it’s been and how great I feel.”
That’s the key, how great you feel when you take out all those processed foods. There’s so much out there. I know all about this Strawberry Geez Cake, but I haven’t tasted it yet.
It’s a cardamom cookie and that’s going to be your spoon.
What’s in this cardamom cookie?
The cardamom cookie has sesame seeds, dates, raisins, apricots, cardamom and cinnamon. I think that’s about it. The Geez Cake is made with cashews, organic agave nectar and organic strawberries. The crust is pecans and dates.
It’s delicious. You can taste that Graham cracker and that strawberry taste. These are real strawberries in there. Is this online, the Strawberry Geez Cake?
No, but I’ll tell everybody the ingredients. The crust is ground pecans and dates. We put them in the food processor and blend them together and press that into the bottom of a pan. The filling is cashews, agave nectar and water. You don’t need much agave nectar, honey or whatever it is you use because cashews are sweet. Here are the ingredients and then it’s your personal recipe. The topping is just strawberries blended. It is still a little bit early for strawberries, we’re maybe a third of the way into the season, so they’re not sweet yet, the local strawberries that we’re getting. You can add a little bit of honey. You can add a little bit of agave nectar or whatever sweetener you use. I am a fan of honey. I do prefer vegan food. You can use dates. You have to sweeten them. There are many ways that you can sweeten something that is simple.
I love dates. I make some of my fat balls with dates. They’re good. That is the best cracker. It’s so good I don’t want to give it up. Pat, I’d love for you to share a story or two of how you’ve seen food be the medicine for individuals with illness. You had mentioned a little bit.
Dr. Baxter Montgomery here in Houston is a delightful man. Before he came out, so to speak, about everything he was doing, he would tell me some of the things he was doing. He goes, “Don’t tell anyone.” He knew decades ago that eating vegetables was going to make a difference for heart patients. He’s a cardiologist right here in Houston, Texas and has stuck with that knowing that’s what heals people. In the Integrative Medicine Department at MD Anderson, which is part of their palliative care, they have known Alejandro Chaoul, Dr. Lorenzo Cohen. Dr. Cohen and his wife have written a book about cancer and how food is such an important element to it.
I saw that online, but I’ve been following Baxter Montgomery for a while. I didn’t know if you were aware of him. He’s got a kitchen in his clinic. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I love that.
The stories that I hear from people is the amount of energy that they have. There’s a point that our bodies crave something healthier. It truly is taking the things that we know and then changing the ingredients. We serve pizza. Our crust is made with portobello mushroom. The cheese is made with sunflower seeds. It’s taking the things that we know and altering it. It may take a few times for the body to say, “I want that instead of that.” There’s this funny book out years ago that I got for my granddaughter when she was going away to college and it was Do This, Not That.
It was a grandmother’s stories for her grandchildren about do this, not that. We can apply that to everything we do, all of our food, everything we’re consuming. I’m talking about the energy that we consume from other people too, because nourishment comes from so much more than the food that we put in our mouth. It’s the people we are associating with. It’s the words that we hear, the words that we can take and process in our brain quickly and put back out in a positive way. The first ingredient in everything that we do is love. The FDA says we can’t put that on our labels, but I know it and you know it. Everybody knows it.Nourishment comes from much more than the food that we put in our mouth. It's also the people we are associating with. Click To Tweet
When you’re talking about people and their stories that they feel better, are the aches and pains going away? Do you see people with memory problems?
Aches and pains are going away. With memory problems, there are many ways to address that. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much feedback as I would like from folks that are doing that, working with their family members or as an individual working with dementia care. There’s a wonderful book out, Healing Alzheimer’s, by a man many years ago. He took care of it with supplements and eating differently and everything. It’s a personal path for everyone. I know that with my mom, when I finally moved her in with me, I was eating raw food diet. I started incorporating some cooked foods and things for her and I could see the difference in her skin and her hair and those kinds of things. There was a point that I didn’t think I could do it anymore. We all reach those and I put her in a facility for a short time here in Houston. I couldn’t do it. She wasn’t there too terribly long and I brought her home again. The food there was different.
Pat, let’s talk about this whole organic thing going on. If someone were to say to you why there’s no such thing as organic, the regulations are not strict here in the US, therefore many of the farmers are getting away with labeling their crops as organic. How would you respond to that?
I would say because I get it all different kinds of ways, that exact same piece, that you have to know your farmer. You have to know where your food is coming from and trust their heart. Visit their farm. People that are open and willing are open and willing. A lot of farmers are not going with the organic certification because it is incredibly expensive. I did it with all my crackers in the beginning and it was a fortune back then. With all the regulations that the farmers face, it is difficult for them to have an organic certification.
If you’re buying locally, you can ask your farmer and you can visit your farmer. They’ll tell you their practice. Conventional farmers will too. They will be open about what they do and the reason that they do it. You have to make the determination on what you can. The Environmental Working Group is an amazing website and organization that tests fruits and vegetables every single year. They may have expanded that to tell you the twelve things that you always must eat organic and the fifteen things that it’s not as important because there is no pesticide on it anyway. Mango, it’s like a weed. Broccoli and strawberries, yes.
Strawberries are dirty, so are apples. You’re not a fan of GMOs. Why not? Can you tell us a little about the history of GMOs because a lot of our readers may want to know?
Another argument that comes in with that is one of the most ancient practices ever, which is true. I can go with that. I grew up with ranchers, so I know about the breeding practice and all different kinds of that. Grasses and grains, it’s always been altered to give the best crop. In 1935 is when DNA was discovered and it was from there that people started altering things. That’s where genetically-modified foods and organisms were born. People started taking it and doing it for good. We have to look at the process that it was intended for, to do good things for people, to take away disease, pestilence and all these things.
It took a big turn a number of decades later and greed came into it. I think that’s where GMOs got off track and have affected many people’s lives. Jeffrey Smith with ResponsibleTechnology.org has dedicated his life to educating about GMOs, the practice, what we can do and how we can test. While I’m not a fan, I believe, and this is my oldest daughter’s positive self coming out in me, I try it every time I can, that we’ll have to utilize that science to get us back to homeostasis at some point because things are out of whack.
There’s a topic our readers would probably want me to address sooner than later and that is the unhealthy foods that are being served in the hospitals and memory care homes all across the US. You cater to quite a few medical professionals here in the area and I think that it’s great that they want to keep healthy. I wonder if there are more than a few conventional doctors here in the heart of the medical center who are fighting for their patient’s nutrition needs, because food is medicine. We’ve got to start thinking of that individual who’s been diagnosed with an illness, particularly dementia. There’s such an epidemic.
There’s a disconnect with not only the doctors’ and patients’ education of post-treatment nutrition and lifestyle needs, but patients in hospitals and residents in memory care homes are being served reduced fat milk, orange Jell-O, grape Kool-Aid, Ensure for the elderly, apple juice pudding, which does nothing but feeds disease. Otherwise, patients are fed those chicken nuggets, burgers, fries and that whole array of disgusting foods with no nutritional value. When our loved ones are in the hospital and homes, we want the best care for them, especially since we’re paying for care. What can we do to change the mindset of profit over people?
It takes one person and then another person and another person to keep asking questions and being safe with the questions they ask, feeling safe with the questions they ask their doctors and change doctors. Keep looking until you find someone. It’s not necessarily the youngest person. It’s not necessarily the oldest person. It’s somebody that is willing to look at what they are saying, how they were trained and how it hasn’t served their patients, the people they love. The number of doctors who won’t let their families eat the stuff that they prescribe is a little shocking.
We have to take one step at a time. If a hospital is serving food that you don’t want your loved one to eat, you go and you figure out how to get it up to them. There’s always going to be something in every major hospital that someone can eat. If it’s off the salad bar, you bring a blender in and you blend that up for somebody, then that’s what you do. Bring in your own juice. I had over a year with my sweetheart having some serious illnesses, surgeries and all this. I had to make it work because I was living there and taking care of the dynamo when I was in the middle of it. You do what you can and it takes one person to make a direction change in a canoe.
What’s your take on the overall food industry? The abundance of processed foods out there on the market is absurd. Meanwhile, we keep getting sicker.
We keep getting sicker and it feeds the profits of organizations. Within each of these large corporations that buy small companies and take over their recipes and then alter it to make more of a profit. There are good people, so we have to remember that and feed them what we want. I think processed food is killing our future by killing our children. It’s hurting our elderly by keeping them at bay, for lack of a better word. It stops processes in the body. The body has to work hard to process the processed food that’s coming in. It can’t take care of the tangles that are going on in the brain, the synapses that are stopping because it’s working hard to process what’s coming in. It’s going to store it somewhere.
What do I think about the food industry? I think there’s a lot of possibility for big, great change and I see it in the small people. I got an email from a young woman who I met years ago in another lifetime with community gardens I believe. She worked with me with the feeding people during Hurricane Harvey. She’s working with a community garden and they have access to a house over in one of the wards. They look like they’re going to start doing a kitchen out of there and start feeding people locally and providing cooking classes and all this. It’s those people that are going to make a difference.
There are unconventional doctors who are speaking out and demanding change, putting an emphasis on nutrition with whole organic and locally-grown foods. It seems that prevention and education have been lost in the shuffle with the conventional methods. In the South, we love our fried foods, barbecue and all these sugary sweets. Most people pay no attention to the epidemic of chronic disease and the hundreds of dementias that are sweeping to the US. They’re popping the next pill to get through to the next week. What is wrong with this picture?
Unfortunately, that has filtered down into some of the “healthy” doctor’s side by using supplements. It filters through and often there has to be supplementation. It can start with food is what I truly believe. What’s wrong with the picture is everybody. That’s way too broad. Many of us are accustomed to having everything we want when we want it. It’s the reason my daughter and I started our food co-op too, on her front porch. While we were buying from a local source of our greens and things, we also needed apples and onions year-round. We started buying from the United States. There was a supplier here that we bought organic food from, but we have that thought that we can have anything we want anytime we want. People want to get healed fast. Pills may or may not do that. We don’t know what many things are going to do in the future. It ties it back into GMOs. We don’t know the eventuality of many drugs are. They have to start layering. It’s a tough cycle.
It’s been such a pleasure talking with you about clean eating. You are making such an incredible difference nutritionally and keeping us healthy with your clean, plant-based foods. It speaks volumes. Thank you for being a part of the movement to keep our brains and bodies healthy.
Thank you for having me here, Carrie. I love what you’re doing with The Healthy Brain. It is a tool that we can use in many ways and we have to look at how we can keep it healthy. It’s not the master and it is a great tool.
Pat, please share with our readers where we can find you. You’ve got a website and you’ve got cooking classes going on and all kinds of stuff.
We’re at the farmer’s market every Saturday, Urban Harvest, that is at St. John’s at Buffalo Speedway and Westheimer from 8:00 until noon. You can find all kinds of information about all the companies that we sell to at PatGreersKitchen.com. We have all the social media things and that’s @PatGreer or @PatGreersKitchen. You can find us there and we’d love to have you come to visit. It’s the craziest house on the block, 412 West Clay Streets in the melodious Montrose.Processed food is killing our future by killing our children. Click To Tweet
I’ve been there. It’s full of joy and yummy foods. Thank you, Pat, for being here.
Thank you, Carrie. I love being here and I appreciate you.
If there are any medical professionals out there in the audience who are willing to fight for the patients’ nutrition needs to keep a healthy brain or if you have a loved one who’s been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia of any kind and have been cured with alternative medicine, please shoot me an email at Carrie@TheHealthyBrainPodcast.com. I’d love to have you on the show.
- Pat Greer
- Dr. Baxter Montgomery
- Environmental Working Group
- @PatGreer – Facebook
- @PatGreersKitchen – Twitter
About Patricia Greer
What better way to start this day, but with my special guest, Pat Greer with Pat Greer’s Kitchen who gives a piece of her heart away in every raw food dish she prepares. Her kitchen is the HotSpot for clean organic foods for healthy eatin’ to keep our brains movin’ and groovin’, y’all. She started the city’s oldest organic co-op 15 years ago, she’s fed the city’s professional soccer team, caters to many medical professionals, generously feeds the homeless. (Please revise for better flow if needed!