In terms of the food we eat, we already know what our cells need but with the mixed messages we get in our daily lives, it’s worth revisiting. Here’s a recap of what & why:
- fats: enjoy them! your body does eg 60-80% of our brain is comprised of fats. Be smart and enjoy lots of good ones eg avocado, walnuts, coconut, organic butter, cream, flaxseed (ground or oil), chia seeds, fish, krill or cod liver oil etc mix it up. Some of these fats may get converted into energy, a slow-burning energy. Fat that isn’t burnt off may form structures in the body. Every single cell in our body has a membrane made of fat to protect it. Hormones and vitamins are released through fat absorption. It insulates our body and protects our organs too.
- proteins: eg in fish or lamb, breaks down to enzymes that are responsible for converting carbs and fats to energy, but also for carrying hormones, relaying signals, building new tissue and bone, and removing old tissue.
- carbohydrate: the good wholesome carbs ie, from vegetables, fruit and soaked or sprouted wholegrains. These are broken down into simple sugars eg glucose, fructose and galactose and absorbed in our small intestine for quick-release energy.
- vitamin & minerals: think alkalising foods, there are lots eg vegies and fruit, herbs, seaweeds and special mention to lemons, apple cider vinegar, cacao, kudzu to name a few.
For good digestion there are many other really important things to consider eg:
- chewing – your mum was right, slow down & chew!!
- water, plus
- relaxation & importantly,
- Vitamin H(appy) for those ‘good vibes’… Self love or self care is a perfect place to start.
No refined sugar mentioned… nope, our cells just can’t use this stuff! And no additives, preservatives, chemicals etc.. Our cells will tolerate this ‘foreign fuel’ or toxins for awhile, then… one day they’ll just start ‘breaking down’, we might develop headaches, lethargy, or even a digestive disorder or chronic disease.
Cram the good stuff in and without thinking about it you’ll naturally stop eating the nutrient dead stuff – do it – you’ll surprise yourself.
This description just scrapes the surface of our beautifully complex digestive system and how to get out motors runnin’.
The important thing is, ‘we are not only what we eat – but what we digest (absorb)’…
Two great references for improving digestive health are:
Jordan Rubin, ‘restoring digestive health’ or ‘the makers diet’ and Elizabeth Lipski, has written a number of books specifically on this topic. There are many others…
Bury the ‘bad bugs’ with these simple, natural remedies, (it’s as simple as A. B. C).
Spring is around the corner and, with that, the ‘bad bugs’ are having their day with anyone’s immune system that’s performing under par, which can easily be the case for many of us, especially our kids. While being sick is a natural part of life. Do you ever notice some people always seem sick? Or for others it’s just really hard to shake that bug & get on with life? And as parents, or someone who cares for young children, one of the hardest things is seeing children in pain or less than their vital selves. It doesn’t need to be this way…
Here are my top tips for shaking that bug and strengthening our immune systems especially through this change of seasons. Hopefully it gives a timely reminder and helps you and your family fight off the next round of bugs entering your home.
- Build your army of good bugs. An acidic digestive system, created with things like poor food choices, stress and toxins wreak havoc on these critical players in our immune systems, allowing the ‘bad bugs’ to take centre stage. Start your day with fresh pre-biotic foods like a veggie/green smoothie, natural unsweetened yoghurt, lemon tea, instead of coffee and cereal with milk. Eat probiotic foods & consider adding in a probiotic supplement. Popular foods include authentic, unpasteurised sauerkraut, miso paste, organic yoghurt, kimchi or kombucha. If you haven’t already tried making your own home-made sauerkraut, it’s super easy & rewarding, see my recipe here .
- Reduce any other foods that place stress on the digestive system eg gluten and wheat products, dairy, sugar, packaged or processed (artificially preserved) foods. Allowing the body to put energy toward healing and not on trying to absorb or eliminate foods that can be difficult to digest.
- Supplement. Vitamin C, Zinc & Vitamin D are especially good for fending off colds and flus. Make sure you find a good quality brand with pure and natural ingredients.
- Gubinge or kakadu plum. I recently came across this food, it commonly comes in a powder form, (a.k.a the Vitamin C tree). It’s hailed as having the highest natural source of Vitamin C on the planet and it’s native to Australia. The brand I have is by Loving Earth.
- Bone stocks. I cannot rave enough about the healing qualities of this amazing food. Check out my recipe here.
- Healing herbs & essential oils. Essential oils are relatively new to me, and I’m quickly becoming a big fan of them, I’ll be sharing more on this exciting topic soon. One that’s especially good for this time of year is, ‘On Guard’… produced by do Terra or ‘Thieves’ by Young Living. They have powerful anti bacterial and viral properties. You should find them, or one similar, in your health food store.
- Minimise caffeine. Caffeine can raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system. If you’re a coffee drinker, just stick to one cup a day, and take notice of how you feel – are you stimulated by it – does it affect your blood sugars? If so, try substituting for a green tea or a herbal tea.
- Add in greens and other healing foods and spices like garlic, lemon, ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Add these foods in with green smoothies, soups, sauces, dressings or as condiments with whatever you’re cooking. Delicious!
- Stress less. When we’re stressed, our adrenal glands churn out adrenaline and cortisol. While occasional stress pumps up the immune system, long-term stress taxes it – eg weight gain and psychological stress; and it raises the risk for the ‘common cold’ and other viruses. I’ve talked about stress a lot . Managing it well is one of the best things we can do to improve our overall wellbeing. Yoga, meditation, stopping to breathe, massage, walking outdoors, whatever floats your boat. Do it!
- Sleep. Listen to your body, if you feel tired – rest or go to bed early. Our bodies heal and repair when we sleep.
- Head outside into the sunshine (when it’s around) and enjoy the healing qualities of the sun and the fresh air – a natural nourishment.
C . Prevent
And maybe you’re not sick and just want to maintain your healthy immune system over the next couple of months. Try one or a few of the above ideas and add in a couple of these gems below if you’re not already;
- Move. Moderate exercise releases tension and stress and enhances our immune function. Pr eferably try some form of movement where you sweat (or perspire..) & then release toxins at the same time.
- Socialise & laugh. People with richer social lives enjoy better health and longevity than loners. Contact those people you love catching up with and totally energise you (rather than the energy zappers we also have in our lives) and organise to catchup.
- Remove toxins in your home, work place … and even relationships. Toxins leave us feeling stressed and depleted, lowering our immunity.
If at any time you do need to resort to antibiotics, following with a good probiotic and fermented foods is fundamental. Then nurture your body with all the good strategies in sections A & B especially. Remember, prevention is better than the cure.
And for us – my husband celebrated his birthday this week & it happened to be his first birthday in a long time when he wasn’t sick, (must be something in the food he’s eating)!
Now I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favourite natural remedy for boosting your immunity?