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How often do you get sick? Should I buy hand sanitizer?

Robyn Openshaw - Aug 22, 2010 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I was wondering, while eating the great raw food diet that you eat, when is the last time you “caught a cold.”

Can you give us an idea about whether you and your kids have been sick or the magnitude of it? Do you or the kids get a cold and you are able to fight it off much quicker with a healthy diet OR do you guys not get sick at all.

Here in Jersey our kids go back to school soon and that’s the time I start to really worry about the “germs.” Do you believe in Hand Sanitizer and what are your thoughts on it. It seems like they are becoming MANDATORY on the Back to School Supply list and I was just curious on your thoughts about this.

Answer: I think the Hand Sanitizer is silly. Don’t get me wrong–I am a big fan of washing hands well. But there are millions of bad bacteria everywhere, air, counters, clothes, food. And all the antibacterial products out there are doing very little, if anything, to protect us. And they are possibly helping “bugs” become more resistant and super-virile. A spray or hand gel is like sticking your pinkie in the hole in the dam, when the dam is breaking.

Fact is, people don’t get sick because we get exposed to a “bug.” We’re being exposed to bugs all the time. Why did my tenant, who I saw every day and exchanged food with, etc., get deathly ill from swine flu last year for six long weeks, requiring an ER visit, and I didn’t, and neither did my kids? (My oldest son got a little sick for two days.)

If we are a good host for a bug to overpower our natural defenses, when we create an internal climate where nasty micro-organisms thrive, then we get sick.

How do we become that perfect host? We eat lots of acidic foods–dairy, meat, coffee, yeast bread, and especially sugar. (Stress, pollution, medications, and not sleeping enough also contribute to a highly acidic internal climate and susceptibility.)

If we drink lots of water, eat raw, alkaline food (greens being the very best on that list), and do all the other good stuff (moderate exercise, sleep, etc.), we are minimizing our risk of catching the “bugs” that are omnipresent.

As for when I last “caught a cold”–I can’t even remember. Maybe 3 years ago. I think getting a mild cold that lasts a day, with clear mucous, is a good thing. It’s a way that your body flushes itself out. Getting a “cold” once or twice a year is not a sign of failure. It’s when illnesses linger, when the mucous becomes stagnant and thick and acidic (yellow or green), or when we get things worse than a cold, that we know we’ve become the perfect host for illness. Strep, bronchitis, flu–”catching” these is a sign something is very wrong.

And at that point, it’s time to clean house. Lots of green smoothies, maybe a juice cleanse, and adherence to a 60-80% or more raw plant-based diet.

In my family, none of us has been really ill, or had the “flu,” or had anything requiring an antibiotic, in at least 12 years. But before that? When we were eating the Standard American Diet? We were sick constantly. All of us, especially me and my oldest son.

Posted in: Relationships

21 thoughts on “How often do you get sick? Should I buy hand sanitizer?”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I see you mentioned yeast bread. Is that unhealthy or should it just be eaten in moderation?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Eat naturally leavened whole-grain breads if possible. I teach you to make them in Ch. 9 of 12 Steps. Locals (Utah Wasatch Front) can buy it at Kneader’s and health food stores.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Amen to the silliness of hand sanitizer! I work at a school – it’s my job to go around and fill up all the hand sanitizer pumps. I consider them ‘people pleasers’ – people feel like they are cutting their risk. But it’s not the germs, it’s your compromised immune system that can’t handle the bugs we are surrounded by daily. I got through the enitre school year last year without a cold – just washed my hands a lot and ate healthy. I got a mild cold soon after I started going green, and I have a feeling it was due to me finally giving my body what it needed to purge the bad stuff on a deep, cellular level. Can’t prove that – it’s just ‘mind/body wisdom’ we all have, if we just listen.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I am currently on coumadin (blood clot in leg, DVT). I despise taking drugs, been natural/organic for 40 years….but, gotta get rid of the thing. It’s been 3 weeks and nothing seems to have changed, except the doc can’t get the dosage right, blood either too thick or thin. I am told to avoid vitamin K at all costs, but green smoothies are loaded with it because of the leafy greens……any alternative suggestions?

    Thanks, Aubrey

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Coumadin is a drug that causes you to be unable to eat leafy greens. 🙁

  4. Anonymous says:

    The daily recommended amount of calories, according to labels and other articlesI have read is 2000 (at a minimum). Do you subscribe to this recomendation? If not, how many do you recommend daily?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Susan, I’m not a calorie counter, but back in the day when I was, that is what MY body requires: 135 lbs., 5′ 8 1/2″ female, early 40’s.

      It depends on all those factors. But when I programmed my weight, daily exercise, and food into DietPower, over the course of several weeks, it computed how many calories my body burns, which is about 1600. So I eat about 2,000 calories or so, because I burn at least 400 daily.

  5. Anonymous says:


    I purchased a blendtec blender at Costco a few months ago and have been drinking green smoothies since that time. I feel good but I still haven’t been able to loose weight. Where can learn about the type, amount, and combination of foods that produce Glucagon, the fat burning hormone? Although I consume healthy foods; low glycemic fruits and vegetables, multi-grain high fiber bread products and low fat protein, my appetite is still more than most people. What can I do?

    Glenna Porter

  6. Anonymous says:

    Aubrey, Vitamin E is a natural blood thinner, beets, and cayenne are also good for purifying the blood. You should try seeing a holistic physician. Did your doctor determine what caused the blood clot?

    I have 3 kids ages 12yrs, 4yrs, and 18 months and we haven’t been sick in over a year. My oldest use to get strep really easy, and she hasn’t had it in 5 years. My 18 month old has never been to the doctor for any illness or had to be on antibiotics. He did get a fever and runny nose when he cut his 1 yr molars, but did not require medical treatment. My nieces and nephew still get strep all the time and they are around my kids and my kids don’t get sick.

    My 12 year old daughter is one of the early developers, hitting puberty in 5th grade, and menstral in the middle of 6th grade, with bad cramps and acne breakouts. I couldn’t control her diet as much during the school year, but over the summer I have made a green smoothie every morning and she eats a lot of fruits, veggies, salad, whole grains, and her acne and cramps have disappeared for the summer. I pointed out how much better she feels, and Im hoping it will stick through this school year. I send a healthy lunch to school with her, but unfortunately she does not always resist the temptation to trade with other kids for the unhealthy stuff. Hopefully her clear skin will help her resist 🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    Aubrey, I was on coumadin for heart condition. The diet info from my doctor was the standard American diet (SAD). I felt so unhealthy. I found an MD that prescribes supplements to help prevent clots, so I am no longer on coumadin. And I can eat all the leafy greens I want! I found the doctor on the internet, but I don’t remember exactly how.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The thing with leafy greens (high in vitamin K) and coumadin is to eat the same amount every day. I am a nurse and help to manager my mom’s coumadin and INR. We work with the pharmacists at the Anticoagulant Department in University of Utah Health Care.

    Vitamin K works against coumadin so if you increase your intake of leafy greens from baseline, you may have to adjust your dose of coumadin upwards. If you decrease your leafy green intake, you are at risk of bleeding. A couple of weeks ago when my mom’s INR (clotting time) was too high, I suggested a green smothie (knowing the increased vit K would decrease the INR) . The pharmacist in the Anticoag clinic agreed. Of course-always work with your doctor to adjust dose and monitor INRs.

    “You do not need to stop eating foods high in vitamin K if you are taking warfarin. But you do need to eat about the same amount each day. ” From WebMD

  9. Anonymous says:

    Robyn: I know this is off the subject but are ordering agave anytime soon? I am almost out because everyone bought mine.

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Connie, we will be doing the group buy. It will start mid-October and you’ll know if you’re on the newsletter list or blog!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I noticed that I did not get a cold as soon as I started consuming large salads as part of my lunch. I have not had a cold in about 5 years since I started eating salads with no green smoothie. I do notice that when I do not take a green smoothie that day, I feel more run down that usual so it is helping alot and I can only imagine how it is keeping me from getting ill. I eat so much salad at lunch that people are now joking that I eat rabbit food but I do not get sniffles or get sick like they do. LOL

  11. Anonymous says:

    Dear Robyn,

    In a effort to “clean up my act”and alleviate the pain,discomfort and inconvenience from arthritis(have not given in to standard /conventional medications)and glaucoma(for this I take four different types of eye drops each day!!)I have been seeking a healthier route and your site has peaked my interest because I have considered RAW more than once. I have also been paying attention to Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo’s research on eating according to your blood type thereby regaining your health. In his specifics for my type-0-I am supposed to eat meats,fish, eggs, Essene bread, absolutely NO dairy, and also no more of my favorites:corm,lentils,avocado,cantaloupe,oranges, name a few.. If I include his long list of avoids and also foods that glaucoma/arthritis “hosts”should not eat, I get very confused. Can you give me your opinion on this type of research?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Estela, please search my blog for my response to Peter d’Adamo’s pseudo science that has no evidence to back it up. (I believe Dr. Joel Fuhrman does a great job of debunking that silly blood-typing as well.)

  12. Anonymous says:

    A lot of people get a rash from using the sanitizer. I encourage people to use good ole soap and water. It has worked for thousands of years. Why put chemicals (toxins) on our body? Virtually all chemicals put on our body are absorbed by our body including after shave, colognes, hand creams, sun tan lotion, mosquito spray, etc. Use all these things sparingly or not at all.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Estela – ditto Robyn on the Blood Type theory – total nonsense. I switched to mostly raw, with lots of green smoothies mixed in, to help with migraines and lots of joint /muscle pain and stiffness because of my job. It has made a tremendous difference. If it’s pain reduction you are after, good days are ahead for you if you can embrace the raw food/GS life.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thanks all, for the feedback on dealing with coumadin.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We are new to green smoothies and Robyns site. Hoping smoothies will help my son (12 yrs old)with his allergies. He is allergic to dust mites and goes to bed itching his nose and wakes up sneezing/wheezing. We have put in hardwood, filters, and gotten rid of the stuffed animals, etc. He saw an allergist that put him on several different steroid inhalers and allergy shots. It goes against my nature as a mother to load my kid up on all of these drugs, but the doctor warned that he could have permanent lung damage if I dont. Will green smoothies help? How soon should I expect to see an improvement?? I have stopped giving the shots and have one inhaler in my purse for emergency. Open for any suggestions. Thanks


    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Hey Debbie, nutrition helps, period. What if you put him on whole foods (getting him off dairy, sugar, processed stuff), and he STILL had athsma but everyone in the family benefited in dozens of ways? Would it be worth it?

      Can’t make any promises that X or Y will happen for you. But please read my story here, because it all started with my son’s athsma:


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