What my research says about how green smoothies change lives!

I once blogged 20 different astonishing ways my health improved when I began drinking green smoothies and eating a whole-foods diet.   Here it is: What Changed, When We Switched To Whole Foods, Part 2

But I wanted to get more scientific when I wrote The Green Smoothies Diet and find out precisely what a newbie can expect!

The results of my poll of 175 regular green smoothie drinkers yielded some interesting results that suggest quite definitively that it’s a 10-minute habit worth adopting!   To participate in the questionnaire, one had to be drinking green smoothies for at least 30 days, a pint a day for 4 days a week.   Many were drinking more, up to my recommended 1 quart daily.

The vast majority, or 97 percent, said green smoothies noticeably improved their health or quality of life.   Wow!

Very exciting to me is the fact that 84 percent of those drinking green smoothies are so enthusiastic about the positive health benefits that they’ve told others about or taught them the habit!

These are the positive health effects people experience, listed in order of their frequency among the research respondents:

85.4 percent experience more energy.

79.2 percent experience improved digestion (more regular and/or complete bowel movements, no straining, soft/formed stool, etc.).

65 percent experience fewer cravings for sweets and processed foods.

52.3 percent experience a more positive, stable mood.

51 percent experience an improvement in skin tone, or fewer blemishes

50 percent experience weight loss.   The average reported pounds lost is 17.3 lbs.!

(Keep in mind when considering this very impressive statistic that some of the respondents had been drinking green smoothies only 30 days, and some of them did not have any weight to lose!

48.5 percent experience an increased desire to exercise.

44.6 percent experience improved sleep (need less of it, decreased insomnia, more alert in the mornings, etc.).

41.5 percent feel less stressed out.

40 percent experience blood sugar stabilization.

39 percent experience people telling them they look better.

35 percent say their fingernails are stronger or grow faster.

26 percent say their hair is shinier or their dandruff gone.

18.5 percent experience a decrease in PMS symptoms.   (Consider that some of the respondents in the survey are not females of menstruating age.)

17 percent report an improved sex drive.

Other positive health benefits reported by survey respondents include these:

7 people said: Arthritis symptoms/pain gone or reduced

3 people said: Hyperthyroid condition improved (reduced or gone off meds)

2 people said: Seasonal allergies gone or decreased

2 people said: Reduced asthma symptoms

2 people said: Migraines gone or reduced by 80 percent

2 people said: Acne improved or gone

2 people said: Eczema or dry skin cleared

2 people said: Gray hair returned to original color

Decreased blood pressure

No more hypertension

Was able to go off cholesterol meds

Was able to go off Prilosec

Haven’t gotten sick in a year like I always do

Moles disappeared

Deep facial wrinkles “barely noticeable”

Less nasal congestion

Lump on leg getting smaller

Liver spots fading

Tendonitis gone

Muscle soreness gone

Hypoglycemia improved

No more bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation

Avoided a hysterectomy, lifelong menstrual problems returned to normal

Easier to breastfeed

Don’t sunburn any more

Gallstones gone

Depression symptoms gone

Lifelong bad breath gone in two weeks

Ended coffee addiction

Just feel better

The risks of a new green smoothie habit are limited to an 18.5 percent chance of a short-term, uncomfortable cleansing reaction that include the following symptoms:

headaches, skin breakouts, diarrhea, nausea, bloating, intestinal gas, cramps, constipation, vertigo, dizziness, fainting, lethargy or weakness, runny nose, mucous in the back of the throat, liver pain, mood swings, depression, emotional crisis

The top six benefits that people experience when starting a green smoothie habit are, in order, more energy, improved digestion, fewer cravings for sweets and processed food, a more positive/stable mood, improved skin, and weight loss.

It’s hard to look at this data without being compelled to give green smoothies a try!

Jump in with us and let us know here what your experience is after 30 days:


To Your Health,

–Robyn Openshaw

p.s.   Join us in 12 Steps to Whole Foods to get on the path to achieve all these health benefits. Step 1 is all about the why and how of green smoothies!

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 6 of 8]

Raw wheat germ

Raw wheat germ is extremely high in Vitamin E and the B vitamins, so this is a great ingredient for women with PMS or menopausal symptoms, and eating it prevents some birth defects, according to research.   It will help you achieve glossy hair, pretty skin, and strong nails.   It adds a nutty flavor and thickness to the smoothie, so you’ll want to add extra water when using this ingredient.   It’s a great way to add fiber to your diet to promote colonic peristalsis and avoid constipation .

However, raw wheat germ goes rancid very quickly.   Buy it in bulk at your health food store if you trust that the store has good product turnover and buys fresh product oven.   Taste it before using, and if it has an even slightly rancid taste, don’t use it.   Store it in the fridge for no more than a couple of weeks, preferably in an airtight container to slow oxidation.


This adds extremely nutritious fats to your smoothie, which aids the body in utilizing the minerals in greens.   I highly recommend adding it to smoothies for babies and children, too, or anyone who might need to gain weight.   (It is not a food that will promote weight gain, but because of its high monounsaturated fat content, it is higher in calories than most green smoothie ingredients.)   Avocado is one of the most perfect first foods for a baby.   It’s extraordinarily high in lutein, a phytonutrient that promotes strong eyesight and retards degenerative conditions of the eye.   Other research shows that even short-term avocado consumption decreases total and LDL cholesterol.

Maca root

Maca is a very trendy product from the ancient Peruvian food, from a root related to turnips and radishes, because it has been linked by research to endocrine health and a healthy libido.   It is also said to improve energy levels throughout the day.   So the aphrodisiac is used in South America to boost performance in a variety of areas.

how life changed when we switched to whole foods . . . part 1 of 2


Thinking about Katie’s fingernails prompted this post.   Ridged, bumpy, splitting every which way, I believe she wrote.

Green smoothies started her down a great path.   Good things are happening internally, whether she notices the changes or not.   But sometimes we do–sorry to tell you–have to go further than just adding a quart of green smoothie to your daily diet.   If you want to get rid of annoying, chronic issues, like bad nails, a sacrifice may have to be laid on the altar.

You know what it is.   I bet you could tell me.   For me, it’s sugar, my only real vice (most of the time, I don’t eat it–but when I’m weak, that’s where I’m going to fail).

You need to lay sugar on the altar?   Or what is it?

I don’t want to make Katie feel bad or anything, but since we’re talking about hair and nails, right as I read her comment, my camera was sitting next to me and I took this photo of my hand.   Yeah, I know.   That’s probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever taken a photo of.   Thank goodness I don’t have to rationalize the development cost, now, with digital cameras.   But this is what happened when I changed my diet: they have no white spots (mineral problems), and they grow long and fast and strong.   I’ll put up with them like this for a while and then get annoyed and whack them off.   Then they grow again, lightning fast.   I’m not proud of my hands (no offense, Mom, if you’re reading, but they look like hers).   Not pretty.   But I have great nails!   (Stained an unfortunate red right now from putting up raw pickled beets from my garden–that’s Ch. 8 in 12 Steps.)

Victoria Boutenko writes that this is one of the things she noticed, right off, drinking lots of green smoothies–nails growing quickly and becoming strong.   Remember that Boutenko was ALREADY OFF SUGAR (100% raw) when she started adding green smoothies.


What happens when I eat sugar?   Most notably and immediately, three things.   First, I break out: cold sores and blemishes.   Second, I’m tired every afternoon.   Third, I’m anxious and irritable. 



I don’t like being any of those three things.   One thing that really helps is if I have a good repertoire of treats that don’t involve any processed sugar.   I don’t even need a treat every day, as long as I know I could have one, if I wanted.   They’re in the fridge, the freezer, or at least I have the ingredients.   The main ingredients of my favorite treats tend to be cashews, almonds and almond butter, tahini, raw chocolate, raw coconut and its liquid, agave, and fruit.   I have had so much fun developing Chapter 11 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.   Some of the recipes are 100% raw, and none used processed ingredients (well, duh).

The whole time I was developing recipes, I had no desire whatsoever to eat anything bad for me, because I always had something yummy that I made the day before, or something I was about to make.   I hope Ch. 11 helps you.   It’s going to be a fun month, in November.

your body needs SULFUR . . . part 3 of 3 on thinning hair

Before I  talk about  sulfur, I belong to a Yahoo group called LDSRaw (for Mormon raw-food enthusiasts).   One group member lost a lot of hair and did a bunch of online research to talk to other raw foodies.   She said she mostly found, talking to others, that if they lost hair in a “detox” phase (for lack of a better explanation), it eventually grew back thicker and shinier.   Maybe that will give some of you hope.

She also said using the herb red raspberry leaf, to balance hormones, helped her.   (Her problem was the autoimmune disorder alopecia, where she’d actually go bald in patches, different than thinning hair, which is much more common.   She blamed severe stress in her life for the onset of that problem, rather than the raw diet that had resolved so many other health issues for her.)

My friend Row was telling me recently that her husband’s surgery to remove a melanoma from his face resulted in a large incision.   But she had been studying organic SULFUR and had him using it.   The astonishing consequence was that 10 days post-surgery, her husband’s mother did not even notice the scar, because it had healed so well.

Sulfur is supposed to be present in our foods (like onions and garlic), though it is one of the most pervasively depleted nutrients thanks to chemical pesticides and fertilizers, refined foods, and depleted soils.   If you don’t eat a lot of organic produce from good soil, you may be deficient in sulfur.   When Finland stopped using chemical pesticides, its disease rate dropped 90 percent from 1985 levels.   We in the U.S., of course, are totally enamored of our chemical treatment protocols in growing crops and have no plans to stop anytime soon, disease risk or no.

Sulfur is one of the most critical minerals involved in oxygen transport in the cells.   I believe that mineral deficiencies are behind many of the diseases we suffer from in the modern world, and sulfur is one of the most important and possibly easiest to address.   And when you improve oxygenation in your cells, you’ve solved much of your cancer risk, as cancer (as well as fungus, bacteria, mold, etc.) is anaerobic and cannot live in the presence of oxygen.

The ongoing study in the link I’ve provided below has documented impressive results using sulfur against diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, breast cancers and lymphomas, skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, liver spots, and disorders associated with lupus.   Other study participants have seen disappearance of improvement in respiratory, parasite, migraine, Attention Deficit Disorder, and gastrointestinal problems.   Study participants have reported grey hair returning to its natural color and thinning hair re-thickening.


The study has 1,100 participants using sulfur.   If you’d like to try it, obtain the sulfur from the study rather than the company promoting it, so you get it at a large discount.   I personally think even the price offered by the study is high (2 lbs.  for over $50).   So you’ll have to decide if that’s too expensive for you.   Organic sulfur is non-toxic even in large quantities because it’s a food and is easily digested, assimilated, and eliminated (not stored in the body’s organs).

I cannot vouch for the methodology of the study or the efficacy of using sulfur.   The BEST, long-term answers that will help virtually everyone involve getting off sugar, processed foods, and most meat and dairy, and onto as much raw plant food as possible,  which oxygenates cells and tissues and improves our ability to utilize minerals well.

You can read about the wide-ranging benefits reported in the now 9-yr.-old study about using sulfur here:




why is everyone’s hair thinning? . . . part 1 of 3

Hugs and thanks and prayers back, for peace for you, everyone who commented on my last blog (and all you lurkers who emailed me, too).   Your kindness and prayers for my family mean more to me than I know how to express.

Onward and upward.   One of my biggest frustrations in helping people improve their nutrition is that even those of us who eat the healthiest diet sometimes still have mineral absorption problems, despite massively improved health.   That’s possibly thanks to decades of eating the wrong food before we got on the “straight and narrow.”   Helping someone with these specific problems involves getting really detailed and scientific about what is going wrong, and what is missing.   It’s a trial-and-error process.

Lately I’ve been a bit obsessed with studying why some people who eat right have thinning hair.   The next two blogs about iodine and sulfur, are meant to help one reader of this web site and blog, with whom I’ve become  friends.   She is a former Baywatch actress and Hollywood starlet in California, on a quest to find out why her gorgeous hair is dropping to the ground despite being 75-95% raw for some time now.

I’m not going gray, and I wouldn’t say I have thin hair, but it’s much thinner than it was before I had kids, and I am making myself an experiment as well, to see if I can change this.   I have found NO answers to the thinning and graying hair issue within mainstream medicine, and I’ve found no scientific studies on the issue, which is bizarre given the pervasiveness of the problems.   I wish I had the resources to undertake a truly scientific study on what might address this issue within nutrition, because many people are frustrated by hair issues.

So check out the next two blogs if these are issues for you.   I am synthesizing information on iodine and sulfur, but you can decide for yourself if one or both are worth a try for you.   I also think that addressing ALKALINITY has a strong probability of making a big difference.   That’s in Ch. 12, coming up in a couple of months for those of you who subscribe to 12 Steps to Whole Foods.