He’s got religion, set on frappe

Special to the Los Angeles Times

When I open the freezer, out spill industrial-sized bags of spinach, blueberries and chopped bananas from Costco.

Inside the pantry, protein powder and barley and large sacks of organic SuperGreens (“made from the purest probiotic greens grown on high-altitude volcanic rich soil”) are blocking access to the cereal and crackers.

My husband, whose idea of a nutritious lunch is goopy grilled American cheese, potato chips and a chaser of gummed spice drops, and whose fantasy fruit juice is Dr Pepper, has experienced a conversion: He is swallowing large green smoothies for his midday meal.

“At least it’s not red convertibles and younger women,” commented a friend when I voiced my theory that this is Brad’s version of an age crisis; he turns 60 in a few months and words like “cancer” and “heart disease” that never used to touch him are suddenly the subject of his breakfast reading material.


Brad is certain I am simmering with jealousy — green with envy, you might in this case say — over his right, at last, to wield nutritional superiority over me with this diet he considers so much healthier than mine.

I am the queen of leafy greens: My daily ceremonial salad occurs in a wooden bowl that serves eight. It brims with organic cabbage, spinach, collards, kale, cilantro, mushrooms and broccoli, and when some seasonal addition appears at the supermarket, not a day passes before it’s in my mix. I invest a substantial amount of time in preparing and ingesting the contents of this behemoth bowl.

I must admit that when the first bag of supergreens arrived UPS, I was intrigued. But I don’t care to succumb to the trendy. I lifted my nose and continued to triple-wash my organic spinach.

“Oh, Mom — can you really resist such powerful antioxidants?” chided my daughter, who was visiting. I assured her I could.


“She won’t be able to stand it; it won’t be long before she’s dipping into the bag,” goaded my husband.

I vowed that I would not.

You see, I like to chew my food; I garner a great sense of satisfaction when I masticate — the more the better. What does that say about me? Oral fixation? Tension release? Grinding to gain power-over?

Brad, on the other hand, would rather swirl the soft and soupy than chomp on the substantial. He claims it’s a saliva thing — he produces little, and so most food seems dry. I maintain that it’s an outcropping of his calm demeanor. He refuses to succumb to the sort of anxiety that generates the gnashing of teeth.


“I couldn’t eat your salad to save my life,” he says. “But I can drink it!”

On the bar counter rests the high-powered machine that pulverizes anything that grows. While I roll collards into cigar-shaped tubes and slice them, he blends fistfuls of frozen spinach, blueberries, barley and supergreens — with a splash of flax oil, a heaping tablespoon of barley.

He offers me a sip: Disgusting, albeit with a faint flavor of berry.

He shops for his own ingredients, makes the smoothies and cleans the mixer himself, and his sense of pride reminds me of the day I made my first monster salad.


Shhhh .... Don’t tell him that, lately, I’ve been sprinkling some of his supergreens into that salad.

Miller, of Huson, Mont., is the author of 300 essays and stories that have appeared in such publications as Newsweek, Missoula Living Magazine and the Christian Science Monitor. Her column “Peaks and Valleys” appears in Montana Woman Magazine. Visit her blog at