BSB 130     J. Morris Hicks     (1-8-18) 
Common Cold, WFPB Eating & MD Advice

Happy New Year!

Common Cold and the WFPB Diet. Even though my 44-year old son Jason has been eating a near optimal, 4Leaf diet since 2006, he has been plagued with numerous "common colds" of late--three in just the last two months.

A very active and fit young man, here he is hiking with his youngest of six children. Check out the tee shirt he designed with "Just Plants" on his chest.

Jason is the co-author of "Healthy Eating, Healthy World."

What to do about all those colds? I introduced Jason to a few "plant-based" MDs for some advice. Here is what Jason wrote to them:

As my father mentioned, I've been on a whole food, plant based diet for 10+ years, my vitals are very good, well hydrated, exercise often (everyday) but the past 2 winters have been tough. I was sick (cold/cough) for Oct-Feb off & on last year and finally got desperate and kicked it with an antibiotic in March. 

This winter has started off the same: sick in October and have been sick (cold/cough) off & on since. Just went on an antibiotic 3 days ago and feel much better. However, I'm concerned with why this is happening. What am I doing wrong? I look forward to your thoughts/speaking with you when convenient. 

My good friend, Dr. Ted Crawford, was kind enough to provide an exceptionally thoughtful and thorough response. Because I thought that this information would be very helpful for many of my readers, I have included all of it here.

Dr. Ted Crawford--Tucson, AZ

Hi Jason. 

Thank you for your confidence in me. I have heard your complaint quite commonly over the 33+ years that I have been a family practice physician and there are two common threads in most of them 

1)  The time of year 

2) A father (or mother) who has school age children at home. 

We had all four of our kids (all grown and in their 30s) and their spouses and our eight grandchildren over for our annual Christmas celebration last night and half of them had upper respiratory infections (colds), and the others that didn't had recently had one. 

Parents of school-age children are very susceptible to all of the crud the kids bring home. This occurs much more often throughout the fall and winter months, especially during the holidays it seems.  The stress of the holidays also is a huge factor at opening us adults up for this bugs.

I would bet that you are merely a part of this sector.  Some adults are lucky and never get sick.  My wife Barbee is one of them.  I, on the other hand, get a cold probably 1-2 times per year, but I see a lot of sickies at the office as well.  

I highly doubt that you have any sort of immunodeficiency disease or serious problem.  If you did, you would be sick all of the time throughout the year with no let up. To be sure, you could always make an appointment with your doctor and get a blood test to check your complete blood count. But I HIGHLY doubt it. 

I have seen your photo, and you appear to be a very healthy guy. AND the fact you eat a whole food, plant-based diet is the best medicine and prevention one can do. But once in awhile we DO need an antibiotic to kick something completely out of our bodies that has been lingering too long, even us plant eaters!

I have found something that seems to work most of the time for heading off a cold or at least greatly shortening the duration and severity. Zicam I wear by.  They are over-the-counter zinc tablets or lozenges that you start taking at the onset: when you feel a slightly scratchy throat or other symptoms letting you know a cold might be coming on. 

If I am not even completely sure I am getting a cold, but feel a bit under-the-weather, I start on the Zicams!  They seem to work very well. You may want to get some to keep on hand for the next time you may feel one coming on. 

I hope that this information has been helpful for you.  We wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Let me know if you need any additional information. If you ever get out this way, let us know!

Best wishes,  Ted

More Advice from Dr. Kerry Graff.  After seeing Ted's message to Jason, my co-author suggested one other thing that Jason might try. 
  Kerry Graff, MD

Knowing that Jason is an extremely active person (in terms of daily exercise), she suggested that he might want to try doing some yoga sometimes in lieu of his strenuous daily fitness regimen. 

She clarifies, "While exercise significantly improves immune function, make sure you also take the time to manage stress, which has a negative impact on the immune system. Yoga is a great way to do both at the same time without trying to get even more into a busy day."

The Bottom Line for Me. Before starting my own WFPB eating regimen in 2003, I averaged getting sick 2 or 3 times per year and those colds would sometimes last 3 weeks or longer. Now, I average one cold per year and it's usually gone in less than a week. 

Looking for Opportunities to Speak in 2018. Since 2016, my research and writing has been focused primarily on the sustainability of our ecosystem, our civilization and our future as as a species. With an emphasis on food choices, I call it the "most important topic in the history of humanity." 

After all, what could possibly be more important to humans than the survival of our species?

The current title of my standard presentation:

Food. Health. Planet. Our Future as a Species.

Upcoming Talks: Fort Myers, FL ( VegFest), in January and at the in Honolulu and Maui in April. To view all 64 slides in my latest presentation,  click here

To schedule a presentation at a venue near you, please contact me at

Be well,  J. Morris (Jim) Hicks

Promoting health, hope and harmony on planet Earth

Moonglow J. Morris Hicks

Want to see earlier Bite-Size Blogs?  Click here
If you got this blog from a friend or found it on our website and want to  receive more of these Bite-Size Blogs?  Join Our Mailing List

Want to get started nurturing your own health and the health of our planet? Take our survey at
Click here to learn more about this free online dietary assessment tool.

J. Morris (Jim) Hicks, CEO, 4Leaf Global, LLC

4Leaf Logo
See what's happening on our social sites