I'd like to share my thoughts on how to stay healthy and prevent sickness for everyone in the house. I do not claim to have a perfect immune system or know all the secrets but I have learned a lot over the last 5 years of living a cleaner life and also the last 2 years of digging deeper into a healthy lifestyle when I found out I was going to be a mother. My mama bear instinct kicked in and put me on a path of wellness which has worked out pretty well. My 10 month old has never had any type of illness. I have only had to deal with a 2 day cold and 4 hours of food poisoning sickness in the last 2 years.
A lot of what I am sharing here may seem little or that it is insignificant in your health, but it truly all adds up. The more of these changes you can make in your life, the more you will strengthen your immune system and prevent sickness. Just because you cannot feel a detrimental impact immediately, does not mean that something is not hurting you. Think of smoking, it doesn't hurt or feel bad to do it, but it can kill you in the long run. Similar idea with what I am suggesting below.
So you want to feel better, avoid the cold going around the office, and help your kids stay healthy with all the germs at school?
These are the changes I suggest you make to see a difference in your long term health:
Household Cleaners • Time To Ditch The Chemicals
Time to throw it all out. I know it works so good/smells good/kills the germs/etc. It is also killing your immune system! There are over 80,000 possible chemicals in those bottles under your sink and none of them have been tested for safety and long term effects. We do know that store bought cleaners do get into your bloodstream easily through your skin and inhalation and they have the same effect they do on your floor(wiping it clean of all germs) which is bad! We want bacteria in our bodies, we need them! Our immune system literally is made of bacteria so if we absorb chemicals that erase the bacteria we have nothing left to fight off the bad bacteria that cause sickness.
I have been using a spray bottle with 60% water and 40% white vinegar with a few drops of essential oils for 4 years now and my floors have never been cleaner, my counters are truly disinfected, my bathrooms sparkle. Plus my baby can lick the glass door and I don't have to worry about the shitstorm of chemicals he is ingesting. You can read more about chemicals on my post on toxins Part 1 & Part 2.
Diet • Whole Real Food
If this list was numbered this would be #1. To make it short and sweet: if you want a resilient long lasting body you need to feed/fuel it with nutrients and the
SAD(standard american diet) will never ever cut it. Every single day you need to be eating whole real food. Start with breakfast so at least your day begins well and work up from there. Get a high powered blender and make a green smoothie every morning with organic fresh produce. Not only does packaged and fast food contain slim traces of nutrients, it is also likely causing an inflammatory response in your body. Inflammation is the cause of dis-ease in the body(1). So if you are eating inflammatory foods every day, your body is ALWAYS under stress and never able to get back to homeostasis and heal itself.
Stress • Combat It With Lifestyle Changes
Chronic stress can suppress protective immune responses and induces chronic inflammation(2). See note above about how inflammation is the cause of disease in the body. Everyone has day to day stresses that we cannot avoid. Chronic stress is referring to something that you are exposed to for long periods over and over. This can be many different things from dealing with PTSD, the death of a loved one, being a caregiver and the physical and emotional toll it takes, to physical stressors like having a physical condition that frequently causes pain in the body for long periods. Often times it may not be possible to remove this chronic stress from your life but what you can and need to do is fill your life with anti-stressing activities. Take up daily walking or yoga, go for weekly acupuncture treatments, join a support group, make a weekly lunch date with a supportive friend, find a creative outlet like coloring or playing the ukulele. This is not optional if you want to feel better. You must commit to adding these positive choices into your life. This is also known as self care.
Antibiotics • Just Say No
Yes, antibiotics have their place in the medical world for life threatening infections. Ear infections, nope try breastmilk, homeopathics, and Chinese ear formula. Flu, no it's a virus not bacteria. Cold, nope; time, rest, and food will heal you. Other odd illness that your doctor does not know how to treat and wants to cover his butt so he prescribes antibiotics? No thanks! There is an amazing world of natural ways to heal your body with food, herbs, homeopathics, and more. When someone close to me is sick they are prescribed 5 cloves of garlic a day chopped up and eaten raw(natures antibiotic), double dose of probiotics, fish oil, and vitamins, along with coconut water, trace minerals, rescue remedy, elderberry syrup, bone broth with soft vegetables, arnica, hot detox baths, hot rice packs, no electronics, sleep all day. I also create a lemon tea with a whole lemon sliced, a few inches of ginger sliced, and whole turmeric sliced, 4 cloves of garlic smashed, and a few tablespoons of ACV in a pot of water. Let it simmer for 30 minutes and drink 2-3 cups a day.
Did You Know?You may not know this but your gut bacteria is amazingly diverse and highly talented. It not only supports your immune system but your mood, cravings, weight, and tons more so you want to protect it at every cost! Even just one round of antibiotics can permanently kill certain important strains that you will never get back! Isn't that sad! You could kill off strains that help you release oxytocin or those that help you sleep or bacteria that combat flu bugs and on and on. Say it with me: "Bacteria is good! I love my gut bacteria!"
Add In The Good
Now that you have made some healthy lifestyle changes let's add in some more good to support your body through this change.
• Probiotics - Make sure it is a good brand, I take this one and get it from my acupuncturist, keep it in the refrigerator to keep the bacteria alive. Best time to take it: first thing in the morning on an empty stomach with a glass of room temperature water with lemon juice.
• Eat fermented foods daily - Kimchi. Sauerkraut. Kiefer. Some yogurt brands. Some cottage cheese brands. Kombucha. Incorporate it into your meals every day to help build up the healthy bacteria in your gut.
• Bone broth - It is a little bit of work to make but you can now buy it frozen at Whole Foods or online. It's worth it, a cup a day keeps the doctor away. It nourishes every cell in your body, helps you feel full, rebuilds your joints, collagen, and gut. It IS all that it is cracked up to be. But make sure to use organic grass fed bones.
• Magnesium - This is my magical erase-all-the-sore-muscles-and-help-me-sleep drink. More than likely you are deficient in magnesium, most of us are, and this particular brand is incredibly easily absorbable for your body. I take a glass before bed and then fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer. I also take the formula with calcium since I am breastfeeding and need all the calcium I can get.
It Is Worth The Effort
It is a lifestyle change. It is a mental commitment. It does take effort. It will not be easy at first but after a while you will feel the difference. You will get little encouraging messages from your body that you are doing the right thing and it will be worth it. You may get pushback from your family or those around you, but all that matters is that you are doing what is best for you. Break free from the herd, it's more fun out here! Come join me on this healthy lifestyle journey! You can follow me on instagram for little tips and to see my journey.
Thanks for reading! I look forward to hearing your comments and how you make changes in your lifestyle! BTW: I am not a physician and do not claim to be one. Please consult your doctor before making major changes to your health. I am only sharing my opinions of what works for me and my family.