Halloween Controversy: better to feed candy to the homeless? or nothing?

Last year on Halloween, I posted that I pay my kids $20 for the privilege of dumping their Halloween candy in the trash outside. On facebook, I have the interesting situation of 90% of my personal page’s friends being GSG readers, and 10% being people I actually know. One of my high-school friends, cheerleader Beth, who has no idea who I am 25 years later, protested:   “Awww, don’t throw the candy away, give it to the homeless!”

A few of my more vociferous readers pounced on her. She had no idea what she’d gotten herself into, poor girl. She wasn’t on the GSG page with 13,000 people who know exactly what we’re all doing there.

She was on the Robyn Openshaw page—for all she knew, I was that girl she left the high-school campus with, at lunch, to get 7-11 Nachos and a Diet Coke.

When I was at CHI spending 16+ hours per day with the same 15 people, only one heated argument broke out. It was on this topic: “Is it wasting food, to throw away candy?” A mother, Esther, and her two adult daughters, Kendra and Melinda, had apparently been “going the rounds” on this subject.

I inadvertently stepped on that land mine when I said, “I don’t want to poison my own kids–why would I want to poison homeless people?” KABLAM, the room instantly divided into two camps.

You know without even thinking what the response will be: “But homeless people don’t get enough to eat! It’s not like homeless kids are eating salad anyway, or have any options! Who cares what their nutrition is—they’re just trying to survive.”

I opt out of those conversations at that point, because they’re a little contentious. But if you ASKED me, I’d say that generally in America, the homeless are not in jeopardy of having a choice between going hungry versus eating candy.

Actually, I could go on all day with my more indirect arguments to that line of reasoning. (If I thought anybody cared.) Okay, just a little academic argument here, acknowledging right up front that I know the homeless aren’t academic—they’re real people, trying to survive. I get it.

But for instance, did you know that the #1 factor related to longevity is LOW-CALORIE DIET? Yep, when people are calorie-suppressed for many, many years, they live a long time! Really thin people have minimal disease risk. Whenever I say this, I just about get strung up from the nearest tree. Check out my report on what the weight charts should REALLY be–this is John McDougall’s stuff, okay? Not mine. But it’s interesting and (sorry!) really valid:


I realize it’s not politically correct to advocate for extreme thinness! I am just making an observation: the low end of our weight charts are the UPPER end of the weights of cultures who have impressive longevity.

My points are, related to whether we give the Halloween candy to the “less fortunate” families/kids, or do the whole world a favor by throwing it away:

  1. Kids who eat candy are HUNGRIER as a result. Sugar just fuels food obsession and cravings. So you fill their belly with fun-sized Snickers. Guess what: they then want MORE of it, not just in two hours, but the next day, and the next day, and the next. They are little addicts. Poor kids are America’s fattest kids. Sure, the poorest among us are the most addicted–but is it my job to feed the addictions?
  2. IS IT REALLY better to give them candy, than nothing? Pretty sure going without—(within reason, of course, I’m aware we do have to eat SOMETIME)—would be better. Less comfortable, but much healthier.
  3. It’s a matter of principle for me. I’m just not going to feed people toxic fuel. It goes against everything I believe in. It was HARD for me, at first, to throw candy away. I compost everything, for crying out loud! I grow my own food! I buy very little stuff in boxes and cans! BUT. If it’s poison for my kid (and it is!), it’s poison for everyone. Bottom line: I feel more guilty feeding someone else’s child candy than I do throwing out “perfectly good food.” Read about 1,000 books on the nutritional-deficiency health crisis in America as I have, and you will never look at candy the same way again. You will not see it as “food.”

I think I will make a new rule for myself, in honor of the reflecting I’ve done writing this blog entry.   From now on, for every $20 I pay my child to throw his candy away, I will also donate $20 (or more) to our homeless shelter, earmarked for raw plant foods. In fact, maybe I will come up with a fund to start making sure they have leafy green salads, and veggies and fruits at the shelters here.   Hmmmm, I’m glad I wrote this blog…..now I’m thinking about a plan……

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl for Arizona, part 3 of 4

Jenny B: I feel sick if I eat ANY cooked food. (She catalogues her diet and laments how difficult it is to stay almost all raw.) Will I always have to be this careful? Do you ever see people as food-sensitive as me? Will my health problems ever turn around?

GSG: I have seen documentation and heard testimonials of thousands of people who, like me, beat:

Seasonal allergies, eczema, occasional asthma, fatigue and excesses of sleeping, skin problems, elevated blood pressure, hypoglycemia, anxiety and mood instability, hemorrhoids, vision deterioration, food addictions, tumors, repeated viruses and strep infections, overweight, low thyroid, PMS and severe menstrual cramps, infertility, Transient Ischemic Attacks (mini-strokes with migraine, right arm going numb, couldn’t speak or see)

That’s just MY list, from 20 years ago. I now have NONE of those things, 20 years later, except I still battle a mild obsession with chocolate. One of my children was born with severe food reactions, and now has no food sensitivities. I hear about turnarounds in health everywhere I go, and on my blog, and in thousands of emails—when people eliminate gluten, or just shift to whole, mostly-raw plant foods. By the way, my theory based on nothing more than observation is that if you stay away from refined and GMO foods and eat at least 60% raw, you won’t likely develop a gluten intolerance–if you’re blessed to not currently have problems with grains.

Just because you have a condition now (like a food sensitivity) doesn’t mean you’ll have it in a year, especially if you go about the business of healing your gut. The vast majority of problems, wherever they occur in the body, are related to a toxic colon. The blood in the colon recirculates everywhere in the body, so filth there means toxicity everywhere. Our goal with a shift to clean foods is the clean the gastrointestinal system first and foremost, with plant fiber, easily digested with high enzyme content–and build it up with good probiotics, and well-absorbed vitamins and minerals.

If you are patient and a truth seeker, and willing to heal your gut with good nutrition, you have a good prognosis. Obviously I can’t promise you any specific outcome for any specific diagnosis. But I believe there is no other way out, without addressing lifestyle! Taking drugs will not cure the health problems you named. Tapping your forehead will not heal the problems you named. (At least the latter won’t hurt you.)

And while you battle an entrenched, difficult problem (like an autoimmune issue), you may find a dozen other health problems reverse themselves!

Make a big ugly list of all your symptoms, like I just did in the bolded paragraph above. Stare at them for a minute. Maybe you’ve never thought about them all at once. Put EVERYTHING on it, even stuff like your brittle nails, thinning hair, insomnia.

What if you could get rid of them all just by eating fabulous food? I did. Would it be worth a try?

Happy Mother’s Day! on prenatal vitamins……

Mothers do the greatest work in the world! On this day, I’d like to say how thankful I am that Kincade, Emma, Mary Elizabeth, and Tennyson made me a mom, starting nearly 18 years ago. I love you guys so much.

And thank you to anyone who reads this blog who does that work every day. It’s hard work and sometimes it feels thankless. But there is nothing else like it–in its highs and lows and its impact on human beings and the world.

If you’re a mom, or if you might be someday, or if you participate in nurturing others, I honor you every day, and especially today!

Here’s an email I got this week about PRENATAL VITAMINS, from Sashleigha:

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

My doctor prescribed prenatals . These are the “other ingredients”:

hypromellose, beeswax, pyridoxine HCI, Zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, d-calcium, pantothenate, microcrystalline cellulose, cupric oxide, thiamin mononitrate, dibasic calcium phosphate, titanium dioxide, FD and C Red #40, shellac, and cyanocobalamin.

What should I take?

Answer:  Zinc oxide? They put it in paint, batteries, batteries, and plastics, because it’s insoluble in water. Shellac? That’s paint/glue! Titanium dioxide has been classified as a carcinogen if you breathe it, proven to cause lung cancer in rats, so perhaps eating it isn’t a good idea?

Red dye #40? Pull up the Materials Safety and Data Sheet on it. This is just part of what it says: “Harmful if swallowed, symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, pain and diarrhea. May cause central nervous system depression; liver and kidney damage based on animal data. Use of this product may aggravate preexisting skin, eye, and respiratory disorders including asthma and dermatitis. Causes skin and eye irritation: symptoms may include pain, redness, and swelling.”

I am so frustrated by medical doctors telling people to eat those synthetic pills. At a minimum, please don’t take the iron pills they sell in pharmacies. That form of iron is not useable by the body, and it will make you constipated.

Food is the best prenatal. All of the nutrients that are found, in synthetic form, in those pills, are found in natural form your body can use in greens, vegetables, and fruits. Also seeds, nuts, legumes, and whole grains (especially sprouted).   If you must take a vitamin (probably a good idea to avoid falling below minimum thresholds, if you’re eating the S.A.D.), at least get a brand at your health food store, not in the pharmacy.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: p.s. I was totally blown away by your email! Not only that, I decided to open one of them up and squeeze out what I thought would be powder.  I got a dark sludge that smelled like foul fish!!! THAT’S recommended to go in my body to harbor a healthy place for a potential fetus?! NO THANK YOU! I was so ANGRY!


Seattle….things that come in 3’s….part 2 of 3

I’m not superstitious, but strange things happen to me in threes. You may have heard me speak about that. (I changed this to a three-part series, in honor of that.)

So I almost brought an ex-boyfriend to Seattle with me as an assistant. That kinda blew up. Then another one I affectionately refer to as “Hot Cop” told me he needed a vacation and wanted to come. Airfare was outrageous at that point. So I let go, and got on the plane by myself. And guess who got on with me?

My first high-school boyfriend, Rich. He wrangled me a seat next to him. He had nothing to do that night so he volunteered to come along to our U of W event, and he ran the GSG book table brilliantly after the show. I learned a long time ago not to force things–relationships, work, kids–and karma rolls around and provides solutions. Sometimes the solution is better than the idea you started with. This ever happen to you?

I introduced him to everyone as the guy who taught me how to kiss. On the plane, he informed me that he could never believe it that I let him kiss me, because I was a year older and he kept waiting for me to reject him. (We saw each other, on and off, for 4 years, through my sophomore year in college.)

He was the ridiculously hot, suntanned high-school quarterback. But JV, when I should have been dating varsity! I never acknowledged him to my friends, because his being a year younger and a friend of my brother’s embarrassed me. We talked about going to prom but then didn’t–I went with someone a year older than me. But we’d make out for hours in the forest behind my parents’ house. Or in the basement. Or at Burke Lake.

We reminisced about a night we both remember as one of the most-fun times of our lives. At that point we were friends, and he and I drove out to an “away” game where my then-boyfriend (#2 of 3 in high school) was the Center on the basketball team. (My senior year, it was the tight end–back to the football team!)

On the way home, an inch-thick layer of ice on the road brought Washington, D.C. to a standstill. We had to abandon my car to traverse the last couple of miles home, sliding on the ice in our shoes. It was a very still, silent night and all the trees had become thousands of delicate icicles. With no cars on the road, we had a blast, dancing around, falling, screaming, and laughing until our sides hurt.

Rich came home from Bosnia a USAF veteran, and is finishing a PhD to become a pharmacist. He was on his way to Seattle for a one-day immunization clinic. He said, “If the pharmacist thing doesn’t work out, can I come work for you?” I said, “People on my site would chew you up and spit you out. Lots of them don’t immunize their kids. I don’t either.”

He told me story after story about the stomach-turning literature he reads about the side effects of vaccines. One that is known to cause a child’s digestive system to fold in on itself. One was linked to Failure to Thrive.

He said, “They don’t tell us to stop giving the shot because of terrible side effects and risks. Instead they just tell us to warn people!”

He talked about observing Teflon, from cookware, built up in the crevices of intestines, in the cadavers he’s worked with.

He told me that he’s never seen people in worse health than the Clinical Nutrition professors he has studied under. I said, “Did anyone talk about plant food? The China Study? Raw food, enzymes?” He said, “Nope. I think they teach that in dietetics.” I said, “Nope, they don’t teach it there either.”

Rich bemoaned the way “they” keep adjusting the BMI chart, where “ideal body weight” range gets smaller and smaller–and the overweight and obese ranges get bigger and bigger. This is a big deal for pharmacists because dosing is based on weight. If you’re overweight, you always get higher doses.

There’s no joy in his acceptance of his future, now that he’s this far into a profession the U.S. military has invested a lot of money in, and he has invested a lot of time in.

He doesn’t want to do it. I know, since we were kids together, that he’s a math and science genius. But he wants to do something good with his education, and can’t get excited about injecting babies, little kids, and old people with toxins, bacteria, and heavy metals.

take two, on apple seeds

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: Don’t apple seeds have cyanide or arsenic in them? (This was in response to yesterday’s post.)

Answer: I don’t think Snopes is the final answer on everything, but I like how they research topics. Here they are on apple seeds:


If this troubles you, by all means take that extra step of cutting the seeds out. But let me say this: you can get yourself really worked up about all the “harmful” compounds in natural plant foods we eat every day. I’ve blogged here plenty–and written in my books–about phthalates, oxalates, and other controversial compounds found in grains, greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits. If you isolated them from the VAST array of natural compounds that work together synergistically for good health, they could hurt you. (I doubt science will EVER fully understand WHY these foods are so disease-preventing because hundreds of things interplay in a simple apple.) Or if, by virtue of our sad (S.A.D.) modern lifestyle, you have developed a fairly rare condition exacerbated by compounds in natural foods, you could possibly have a reaction.

I come from several generations of people eating apple seeds (on my dad’s side, not my mom’s where you may have read the cancer lies). My dad grew up sprayed toxic chemicals WITHOUT A MASK in our family’s apple orchards in Santaquin, Utah. That includes now-banned-in-the-U.S. Malathion, which he once accidentally got sprayed full in the face by his brother. The only reason I can think of why he doesn’t have cancer is his healthy eating habits and a lifetime at a healthy weight, and self-disciplined exercise (move those toxins out of the bloodstream!).

But again, while I constantly encourage a non-paranoid, healthy, calm approach to eating plant foods that we KNOW empirically are good for us, you should cut the cores out of apples before putting them in your blender, if you feel uncomfortable with that.

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.