this is what it looks like when I’m sick

True confession: I got sick on Tuesday. I did yoga and worked out with my tennis team from 8-11 after waking up feeling a little weird and weak. I went home and took colloidal silver, with some powdered Vitamin C mixed in, every few hours. I texted my massage therapist Kortni, who fit me in and worked on my neck/lymphatic system.

In the afternoon I felt a little feverish, so I climbed in bed and slept for a couple of hours. Then I got up and worked at my computer and took care of my kids, feeling about 50%. I watched TV for the first time in a year and slept 8 hours that night (which is 2-3 hours more than normal). I took a big spoonful of my friend Charlene’s Anti-Plague formula before bed, which is raw apple cider vinegar and raw garlic and 8 immune-strengthening herbs. (It’s based on a Dr. Christopher’s formula which you can buy.)

Then I woke up feeling fine and normal the next morning, went to the gym and ran 4 miles.

In my 20’s, I used to get sick a dozen times every winter. I’d go into a dark depression because I couldn’t seem to get healthy. I believe this happened because of MANY rounds of strep throat and antibiotics when I was a child weakening my immune system. Finally when I was 28, I got strep for the last time. I’d been reading a lot, starting into better nutrition, and becoming less enamored of medicine. Also, I was pregnant. So I refused to take antibiotics, and instead took the herb GOLDENSEAL. The strep disappeared quickly and has never returned.

I’ve never had any respiratory problems or sinus infections or bladder or yeast infections, ever—since abandoning the S.A.D. and drug interventions.

So often I hear people say, “I never get sick” as evidence that they are very healthy. I’ve known a number of people who suddenly have Stage 3 cancer even though they rarely got viruses. My point is just that whether or not you’re susceptible to viruses is only ONE measure–not even necessarily the most important measure–of how your immune function or even your overall health is. There are many functions of immunity.

That said….I now get sick about one day, every year or two, and even then I’m totally functional. If that were the ONLY miracle that occurred from our switch to a whole foods, mostly plant-based diet 17 years ago, it would still be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

And, your body flushing out with clear, thin mucous when you get a cold or slight fever is a POSITIVE THING. It’s necessary and it builds those immune-function “muscles.” Suppressing a fever is unwise. Read Dr. Robert Mendelssohn (who was a pediatrician and wrote How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor) on how utterly rare an out-of-control fever is, and how helpful and necessary it is for the body in resolving the illness.

What ISN’T healthy is when that mucous becomes thick, yellow, green, and/or stagnant. Thick, acidic mucous sitting in your throat, sinuses, and lungs is a breeding ground for infection and cascading problems. Lots of alkaline water, lots of green food, living plant food, and extra REST, are the best enemies of that condition.

Always use an antibiotic for strep and ear infections, right?

With winter coming up, I know many of you have kids who get strep or ear infections or any number of other illnesses we have come to think of as “normal.” When my family quit eating processed foods many years ago, we eliminated any need for asthma drugs and antibiotics.

In Europe, antibiotics are used to treat ear infections only when patients experience recurrent drainage or pain, because infections resolve themselves over 85 percent of the time. One study shows that 75 percent of childhood ear infections are caused by viruses. One study followed 168 children with ear infections where antibiotics were prescribed only if the child had a history of meningitis or subsequent serious infection, or if the illness involved a high fever or profound weakness. Antibiotics were recommended for only 6 percent of the children. No serious complications were observed in the others, who recovered fully. Another very large international study showed that antibiotics did not improve rate of recovery in ear infections in nine countries.

Mothers who breastfeed have the highest chance of avoiding the ear-infection cycle that many are in today–the best preventative measure you can take, according to multiple studies.

More than 75 percent of patients seeking help with sore throats are given antibiotics by their doctors, when only 10 percent are caused by bacteria (or 30 percent in children). Even half of those who test positive for strep are positive because they chronically carry the bacteria even though it doesn’t make them ill. (I am one of them. When I had my last baby, they tested for Strep A and came rushing into the room demanding I be put on a “preventive” antibiotic because I was positive–fortunately, the baby came out before they could try to inject me.)

Doctors provide antibiotic prescriptions often even though they know they are unnecessary, because patients want a prescription. You are more educated than that. The scare tactics of “you must take this antibiotic or your child may get scarlet fever” are highly overrated (these complications are very rare and even most bacterial infections resolve themselves thanks to the human immune system).

My mother put me on antibiotics every time I got strep as a child; consequently, I got strep every few months. I spent 15 years trying to recover my immune system from so many courses of antibiotics. The last time I got strep, 15 years ago, I refused to take antibiotics and used goldenseal instead (an herb that kills bad bacteria without killing good bacteria, and it can also be effective against viruses). The strep went away and I never got it again. (In combination with the herb, I was changing my diet at that time and becoming much less susceptible to infections and have never had one since.) None of my children has ever had strep. One of my children had chronic ear infections as a baby, but I never gave her antibiotics and used natural remedies instead, and I did have tubes put in her ears.

On the other hand, risks of antibiotic use are significant and should be considered as well. Joel Fuhrman in Disease-Proof Your Child quotes a large study published in JAMA showing that women who used antibiotics fairly frequently had twice the breast cancer risk compared to women who took no antibiotics (over a 17-year period). Other medical studies show that children getting multiple rounds of antibiotics early in life are more prone to asthma, hay fever, and eczema. Killing the beneficial bacteria in your gut as antibiotics do (they can’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria) also means you have little defense against the next virus or infection to come around.

I use colloidal silver, oregano oil, and lots of alkaline water. I’ve never had to go to antibiotics. I much prefer methods of fighting infection that work WITH the immune system rather than against it.

what changed, when we switched to whole foods . . . part 2 of 2

My publisher for The Green Smoothie Diet, to be released next spring, wants me to tell my “story” in the beginning of the book.   I’ve been compiling a list of what happened as my family transitioned to a diet of whole foods.   It was certainly a sea change, to go into my pantry and dump all the Tupperware labelled flour, sugar, cornmeal, spaghetti . . . and relabel those same containers with things I’d never heard of before: quinoa, spelt, Kamut, oat groats.   And to fill up the fridge with produce instead of milk.

It’s helpful to make a list like what follows so you see the gains you’ve made (12 Steppers, I nag about this all the time, right?!)   Please feel free to share YOUR list or any part of it!   I know you are experiencing profound gains, because you email me all the time about this.   Sharing here helps others.

  1. Kids’ asthma more or less disappeared, never again a steroid prescription or an emergency visit
  2. I lost pounds I’d been carrying for several years and achieved my ideal weight, easily and without dieting or deprivation
  3. I regained energy I’d lost in my 20’s
  4. My really scary migraines (right arm going numb, unable to see or talk for several hours) stopped
  5. I needed 2 hours less sleep at night and no longer had insomnia
  6. I didn’t crash into coma-like 90-minute naps in the afternoon anymore
  7. I bounced out of bed in the morning instead of needing 20 minutes to drag myself out
  8. Panic attacks / anxiety I’d had since childhood gone (only returns if I eat sugar)
  9. Digestive problems gone: all of us totally regular, all the time, no hard or foul-smelling stool, eliminations complete
  10. Nobody gets sick anymore, besides an occasional mild cold (no strep, bacterial infection, or flu in 10 years)
  11. All four kids grew strong and tall and dominate in competitive athletics
  12. Menstrual irregularity gone, PMS symptoms dramatically lessened (I didn’t get so cranky, didn’t have cramps any more, didn’t break out)
  13. I loved people more naturally and purely, and I took frustrations with people in stride, even when their behaviors are negative–instead of wanting them to just leave me alone!   My siblings and parents commented on the dramatic change in my personality.
  14. My nails lost their white spots, grew quickly, and became strong and flexible
  15. Cravings for bad foods lessened (not gone, unfortunately, but lessened)
  16. People in the family who had warts lost them (they just went away)
  17. Nearly all of us had eczema, and it went away for everyone
  18. Two of us had hayfever, which dramatically decreased, no longer requiring drugs
  19. I used to be a terrible runner and hated it; now I look forward to running 15-20 miles per week and sometimes run races
  20. My hypoglycemia (since childhood, causing me to be unable to fast for even one meal, and causing me to not dare even going for a walk without an apple in my pocket while pregnant) . . .  GONE.