tips for preventing H1N1 infection

My focus on this site is that when you don’t dump toxins and their byproducts (mycotoxins) into your body en masse in the form of processed foods, animal products, etc., you are stronger in the face of viral and bacterial infections.

But these are some interesting, simple, natural suggestions by Dr. Vinay Goyal, who has 20 years of clinical experience in hospitals:

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications)

2. Hands-off-the-face approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population. [Robyn’s note: we have a neti pot that you can get at health food stores. My kids use it for occasional head congestion, without my telling them to, because it is so effective. Use warm salt water.]

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids (herbal tea, etc.) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

think you’ll have too many almonds on your hands? a holiday idea for you!

You want to get raw almonds in the group buy (because you can’t get TRULY RAW anywhere else, and the price is awesome) but don’t know how MUCH to get. You love your friends and family. You find the holidays slightly annoying because of all the junk food, right when you want to be strong and healthy against H1N1 and influenza.

I have an idea for you. Make sprouted/dehydrated teriyaki and candied almonds–all natural ingredients, no sugar, no cooking–from Ch. 7 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. Package a bag of each kind all cute in a lined coffee bag (I bought them online) or cellophane bag from a party store, with a sticker on the bag explaining that these homemade sprouted almonds full of life-giving enzymes with the enzyme inhibitors unlocked, 200% of the fiber, and 200-500% of the vitamins and minerals of regular dry almonds. Give them to your neighbors, kids’ teachers, everyone in the family, co-workers, and everybody who shows up at the last minute with a gift for you and (oh no!) you don’t have anything for them. It’s an easy, inexpensive, unique, homemade gift.

By the way, those two recipes may be better if you add MORE almonds to the mix, if you feel the coating of teriyaki or sweet spices is too much. When I make one or both of those recipes, I make some PLAIN dehydrated almonds, too, because that’s what I want most of the time. And that way, you can add more almonds to the mix for either of those recipes. (It’s hard with raw recipes to gauge ingredients exactly, because unlike food from McDonald’s, whole plant foods vary widely in size, texture, color, and flavor.)

Then whatever you don’t use, keep for yourself.

Your friends will love you for caring about their health in the sugar-and-flu season (those two things ARE related). It’ll be a delicious treat that they can feel fantastic about eating. They’ll know you’re a health nut (get it? haha) and come to you when they’re ready to make some changes.

And if that’s too hard, just give them truly raw almonds in that cute bag. Tell gift recipients in your card or sticker on the bag that it’s no longer possible to get the most nutritious raw almonds any more, but you went the distance to get them right from the ranch.

California trip: Costco product review (part 2 of 2)

Today I’m talking about a product review / comparison of Trio Bars and Bora Bora bars at Costco, both of which I love. I wish they hadn’t discontinued Lara Bars, but such it is. (I met Lara about 6 years ago, and she’s a raw foodist who “walks the walk.”)

Bora Bora bars are 180 – 200 calories (48 grams), three varieties, and cost $1 each and are the higher quality of the two brands, because they have sprouted flax seed and all organic ingredients. I love Trio bars, too, because they taste so yummy and are made from nuts, seeds, and fruits. Trio bars are four different varieties, 230 calories (40 grams), and cost $0.80 each. The price is much better than similar bars. I would buy these over virtually any “protein” bar I’ve ever seen, since the proteins are almost always fractionated versions of soy or whey, both ingredients to avoid. Occasionally at a health food store you can find hemp protein bars, which are preferable if you are really insist on eating bars that force protein to be a bigger macronutrient than normally found in nature.

Occasionally someone writes to me that they’re eating whole foods and mostly raw, without losing weight. I’d be amazed if that’s the case for anyone who undertakes the lifestyle for any extended period of time. I always immediately wonder about thyroid issues. But one thing to look at is the question of how much you are eating of high-fat nuts and seeds. They are good for you, but an ounce or two a day is sufficient. A Trio bar takes the edge off my hunger, but I’ll be hungry an hour or two later. Low-calorie, high-micronutrient food like what is in green smoothies is a very important part of a mostly raw, whole-food, plant-based lifestyle. It is unlikely but possible to be overweight eating nothing but raw plant food, if you’re overindulging in nuts/seeds/unrefined oils.

I like how Costco has more and more organic, whole-food options. However, be careful with your selections. Some of the stuff Costco sells is what I call “feel good” food, which is radically different than “good-for-you” food. They have whole-grain pasta, which is good, and Rice Dream, and lots of organics (produce as well as boxed and other foods). But a lady was handing out samples of “organic” PopTarts recently at my Costco in Orem, Utah (different brand name than PopTart, same concept) and literally shouting about how the product is “so good for you.” Cane juice crystals, the main ingredient, are a very marginal improvement over refined sugar (still a concentrated sweetener). And the white flour was organic. Big deal. Beware of junk food masquerading as nutritious food, which is in fact only about 5% better than the typical junk food.

San Diego class at Windmill Farms Market: lots of long-time readers there, loved it! Ed, you are just THE BEST. Thanks for printing directions to our next class and for being so kind and helpful. Russell, your bringing your book The Green Smoothies Diet and telling everyone you’ve read it three times made my day. I think **I** haven’t even read it three times. Other readers with whom I’ve chatted via email over the past two years, it was so fun to put your faces to your names! It’s kind of weird to have a job where you don’t interact face-to-face very much–mostly email–so I always love to do a class where I meet real, live 12 Steppers and GSG readers. It means a lot to me.

Fullerton class at Christy Funk’s cute natural baby/childbirth store BellySprout was wonderful. I’m soooo sorry to those who came and couldn’t find a place to stand. Half the attendees at both classes learned of the events through the GSG newsletter/blog. You are busy and I am honored that you spent your evening with me.

Thanks for your support, for reading my book, for making my daughters feel like rock stars.

My mangled face: a postscript about coconut oil

So I told you about my close encounter with concrete on a run last week.   I told you that day, at a GS class I did, one of the event organizers dabbed lavender oil on my battered face that made the swelling go way down, quickly.   Then I went home and smeared coconut oil on the wounds on my chin, lip, and cheekbone several times a day. That kept the scabs soft and helped me not worry about infection. The scabs were gone three days later and the wounds barely noticeable.

(Craig did entertain himself saying things in public like, “Do that one more time and I’ll smack you AGAIN!” And I was glad to have the end of the comments from my male friends about finding the violent boyfriend who did that and avenging the deed with a hubcap and a cheap bottle of wine.)

But while the scabs have virtually disappeared on my face, the similar-sized scabs on my knees are still ugly looking and going nowhere four days later.   This is despite that the knee scabs had not been repeatedly splitting open, like the scabs on my lip did, every time I laughed.   (I laugh a LOT.)

Okay, so the only difference, which is remarkable, is the application of coconut oil (and originally, lavender oil).   I didn’t care about my knees, whereas I did care about my face.   I took my parents to lunch today, and was telling my mom about this.   She said she wishes she had known her whole life what a wonderful moisturizer and anti-bacterial organic, cold-pressed coconut oil is–she feels she could look younger and would have saved a lot of money!   Like me, she loves it and it’s the ONLY moisturizer she uses. It’s whole foods for the skin. (Why do we buy all these products full of refined oils, at best, and chemicals, at worst?)

She loves that by applying it, it soaks in and is used as NUTRITION no differently than if you ate it.   I put so much of it on, topically, that I don’t always concern myself about getting some in FOOD every day.

Anytime I see a child with eczema, I give the parents coconut oil.   The year we began using it topically as well as internally (as food, replacing other oils, such as in baking and sautéing), eczema disappeared on me and my kids.   Ditto my circulation problems (cold hands and feet) during the winter.

Here’s a photo of me and Craig three days after my accident, 50% healed–not so bad, huh?

Craig and Robyn 003

What to do when your kids go into the “real world”

In 2008, after being married for 20 years, I found myself a newly single parent.   I was on my own trying to achieve a high-raw diet for my four athletes in elementary and middle school.

At their dad’s home, my children get a salad with dinner, but also sugar cereal, Top Ramen, junk-food snacks, meat for dinner, and . . . no more green smoothies.

What’s a mom to do?   I know many of you have similar questions, because I get them filling my Inbox.

Some of my kids are asking for good nutrition on their own. My two daughters are vegetarians by choice and ask their dad if they can come to my house when he makes hamburgers. My healthiest child begs for Brussels sprouts and steams them after school for a snack. And all the kids notice they don’t like how they feel, eating junk at his house.   But others of my children will eat junk whenever they get the chance.

These are a few tips if you or a parent you care about is dealing with this or a similar situation.   Because even if divorce isn’t part of your life, your kids may go to the in-laws’ or grandparents’ home and encounter a set of standards different than yours.

–Make sure your kids leave for school (or for their dad’s or grandparents’ house) with excellent nutrition up until that point.

–Let go and know that after all you can do, God takes you the rest of the way.   You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to do the best you can.   My mom always said that she sent her eight children out into the world and said a prayer after us when we walked out the door.   Control the things that you can, that feel right to you, and let go of the rest.   It’s like my yoga teacher says: I’m going to show you ways to push your body outside its comfort zone, but do you what you can and call it good.

That’s not to say, of course, that we dive-bomb into junk food hell.   If you ever needed good nutrition, you need it most in crisis.   You can’t control the emotional devastation of many of the trials that confront you in life.   But one thing you can control, with a bit of effort, is how you treat your body.

Don’t let nutrition and exercise be the first things to go.   Keep up the standards you can reasonably achieve and you’ll feel so much better, traversing the tough times.

To Your Health,

–Robyn Openshaw

p.s.   If the only habit you maintain through your kids living apart from you part of the time is a green smoothie, you’re still nutritionally far ahead of 99 percent of Americans.   Remember that even a pint of green smoothie is 7.5 servings of greens and fruit!

What to do when your kids go into the “real world”

In 2008, after being married for 20 years, I found myself a newly single parent.  I was on my own trying to achieve a high-raw diet for my four athletes in elementary and middle school.

At their dad’s home, my children get a salad with dinner, but also sugar cereal, Top Ramen, junk-food snacks, meat for dinner, and . . . no more green smoothies.

What’s a mom to do?  I know many of you have similar questions, because I get them filling my Inbox.

Some of my kids are asking for good nutrition on their own. My two daughters are vegetarians by choice and ask their dad if they can come to my house when he makes hamburgers. My healthiest child begs for Brussels sprouts and steams them after school for a snack. And all the kids notice they don’t like how they feel, eating junk at his house.  But others of my children will eat junk whenever they get the chance.

These are a few tips if you or a parent you care about is dealing with this or a similar situation.  Because even if divorce isn’t part of your life, your kids may go to the in-laws’ or grandparents’ home and encounter a set of standards different than yours.

–Make sure your kids leave for school (or for their dad’s or grandparents’ house) with excellent nutrition up until that point.

–Let go and know that after all you can do, God takes you the rest of the way.  You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to do the best you can.  My mom always said that she sent her eight children out into the world and said a prayer after us when we walked out the door.  Control the things that you can, that feel right to you, and let go of the rest.  It’s like my yoga teacher says: I’m going to show you ways to push your body outside its comfort zone, but do you what you can and call it good.

That’s not to say, of course, that we dive-bomb into junk food hell.  If you ever needed good nutrition, you need it most in crisis.  You can’t control the emotional devastation of many of the trials that confront you in life.  But one thing you can control, with a bit of effort, is how you treat your body.

Don’t let nutrition and exercise be the first things to go.  Keep up the standards you can reasonably achieve and you’ll feel so much better, traversing the tough times.

To Your Health,

–Robyn Openshaw

p.s.  If the only habit you maintain through your kids living apart from you part of the time is a green smoothie, you’re still nutritionally far ahead of 99 percent of Americans.  Remember that even a pint of green smoothie is 7.5 servings of greens and fruit!