This year’s cold flu season has proven to be one of the worst, resulting in several deaths around the country. With this news comes the great debate of ‘to flu shot or not to flu shot’. There are so many reports, numbers, statistics and stories, that it can be stressful to even know what to think about it all.
Regardless of belief and decision, there is one thing everyone can be doing, now and always, and that is to boost your immune system. The human body comes with its own defense system, which sadly gets taken for granted, ignored, medicated and abused. When this happens too often, it doesn't respond as readily as it could, resulting in illness.
I am not saying this is a cure or a magic pill against the flu or any virus for that matter. However, this body is the only one we are given in this lifetime, so it’s probably a good idea to pay it some respect. Even those who are immune suppressed due to illness, whether acquired or congenital, can give their already fragile immune systems a boost.
So, how do we start?
First, stop panicking. Fear of ‘what if’ is certainly not going to help your chances of NOT getting ill. Fear creates stress and stress lowers the immune system. Negative thinking in general affects the cells in our body. As Caroline Myss says in her book, Anatomy of the Spirit, your biography becomes your biology... if you let it. I know, easier said then done when you read/watch the news or cruise social media. Well, here is an idea: Stop. Turn off the news and take a social media break for a week.
Get 6-8 hours of sleep per night. That means, go to bed by 10:00p. If you are reading this and say you can’t fall asleep before midnight, it may be because you have the TV on or are on your mobile device… right? Well, now that you are on your TV/Social Media fast, you can now focus on shutting down for the night earlier than usual. If you need something to fill the technology void, try going to your local library and taking out a book (an actual one with pages) and read by a little book light.
Clean up your diet. Chances are, if you open your fridge and pantry, you are bound to find convenience meals with sugar, gluten, dairy and a multitude of preservatives. I know that eating clean can seem like a pain in the neck, but it’s really not. It’s a choice. My husband is not very good at this, so I pack his breakfast and lunch every day to avoid the chances of him buying a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich (I love them, too, but they are not terribly immune boosting). So, every morning I pack a small cooler with a hard-boiled egg, a coconut yogurt and a banana, which serves as his breakfast. Lunch is usually leftovers from whatever I made for dinner the night before or a sandwich on sourdough bread (which is good for the gut bacteria). There are loads of ideas for easy snacks and lunches that you can find online!
Make bone broth. Another pain in the ass suggestion, right? It’s really not… it’s just boiling bones with some veggies for about 24 hours. Don’t have 24 hours?? No problem. Get yourself and InstantPot and you can make it in two! Doing this will yield about 6-8 quarts of broth (depending on the size of the vessel you make it in), which you can freeze and use in all sorts of dishes, including soups and stews. The benefits of bone broth are vast, being that it is rich in minerals that support the immune system. The healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline, help to heal the gut lining and reduce intestinal inflammation. I know you can just buy some from the store, but seriously, just make your own!
Use essential oils. I diffuse during the day and at night with various oils that have anti-microbial chemical properties. Also, personal inhalers are easy to make and a great way to use oils 'on the go'. They fit into pockets easily and since you are the only one who can smell them, they do not bother anyone around you! Check out this video on how to make a personal inhaler from my teacher, Andrea Butje. There are various places to get essential oils, but be sure that the ones you purchase are pure therapeutic grade, with a GCMS report that shows their chemical make up and proof of purity. I get my oils from both doTERRA and Aromatics International, both of which sell only pure therapeutic grade oils.
Wash your hands. Do I really need to explain this one?
Floss. Seriously... dental hygiene can make or break your health, not just in the immediate, but long term!
Add immune boosting supplements when you feel anything coming on. I have heard rave reviews on the incredible healing benefits of adding Colloidal Silver and Elderberry Syrup to your arsenal should you come down with symptoms. I am still learning about these two remedies, but I have friends who swear by them. To read up more, check out Dr. Axe's page on both: (Colloidal Silver: https://draxe.com/colloidal-silver-benefits/ Elderberry Syrup:: https://draxe.com/elderberry/)
Get outside! I live in Florida, so this is easy for me. If you also live in a warm climate with sunshine year round, take advantage of this incredible natural resource by taking a walk for 10-20 minutes, no sunscreen, no sunglasses. This will provide enough radiation to get up to 10,000 IU’s of the vitamin. Not only has research shown that sunlight may reduce the risk for disease, but that it also has the hidden benefit of boosting your mood & reducing depression… which, as you have already guessed, depression lowers your immunity. Check out this research paper to learn more about how responsible exposure to the sunshine vitamin may prevent disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/
Of course, if you live in a climate where you are freezing cold and don’t see the sun for about 5 months, try this happy lamp to at least keep your mood boosted!
MELT! Add MELT to your self-care regimen!! Health is found in healthy fascia, which means it is fluid, hydrated and buoyant. Daily living causes this tissue to become dehydrated, like the old dried out sponge on your sink. Not only will this make a body feel old, achey and stiff, but will also result in body wide inflammation which causes problems with sleep, digestion, hormone balance, mood and metabolism, which, if left unaddressed, can result in disease. Just 10 minutes a day of MELTing can combat ALL of that! Don’t know what MELT is or how to get started? Contact me personally or go to the MELT Method Website to learn more, get the gear and start MELTing immediately!
You can also make yummy teas that help reduce inflammation. The one I make is simple. In a mug I squeeze half a lemon (I love Meyer Lemons), a tablespoon or so of raw orange blossom honey dashed with about a teaspoon of tumeric, two droppers of ginger extract and topped with boiling water.
I then use the remaining boiled water in a neti-pot with a saline packet to keep nasal passages clean. Of course, let the water sit to a comfortable temperature, but boiling the water removes toxins and bugs, which you really don’t want to put in your face. Many of you reading may say ‘NO WAY!’, but if you can get over the squeamishness of it and remind yourself you are indeed not drowning, the benefits are worth it.
Stay active, hydrated and well rested. Maybe ease up on the booze and supplement it with Kombucha or the yummy tea mentioned above. Cook wholesome, nutritious meals and invite friends over to enjoy them with you. Laughter is a fantastic immune booster, so if your friends aren’t funny, get new ones (just kidding). Watch funny movies and surround yourself with things, people and places that bring you joy.
Of course, there are dozens of other things that you can add or do instead of what is listed above... this is just a few of the things I do and so far, I have been spared of illness for well over a year or so now.
Although I wrote this in response to the immediate flu crisis, in truth, boosting your immunity and being good to your body is super important. I am NOT saying to leave fun out of life or never have a cheat day... Do all of those things while remembering that compound interest works in both positive and negative directions. Make positive investments in the one body you have while you are alive... Be Awesome In Your Body!