It's fall and winter is approaching. This is the time of year that everyone thinks about fighting colds and flues as the kids have gone back to school and begin to come home with all manner of shared illness. This is the time many of us think about what we can stock up on ahead of time to be prepared. The next few Blog posts will be a preparedness series.
Part of being prepared is not just what to stock up on, but also how to begin NOW to build up our immune systems. Many people suffer needlessly because their immune systems are low. Our immune systems were created to overtake germs and viruses that enter our bodies and destroy them BEFORE they make us sick. If they don't work well, the best cold and virus fighting aids won't keep us from getting sick. So building a good immune system is a key to good health whatever the time of year. These next series of blogs will offer you good building materials to do just that. AND, don't forget that you can always ask questions by commenting to this post.
"Those who believe they have no time for health will sooner or later have to make time for illness" Edward Stanley, The Conduct of Life
All the organ systems of our bodies are meant to work synchronously. When any one of them gets out of sorts, it affects all the rest. Your respiratory system along with your digestive tract are the two organ systems that have direct contact with the outside world; meaning they are our first line of defense against the germs and viruses that can attack our systems. How do they become weak? Anything that irritates and inflames our digestive tracts causes a breakdown in the lining at any point along the way. That means that eating excellent, anti-inflammatory foods is going to help us maintain that stomach and gut lining. It also means that the nutrients from that food that feed, sustain and strengthen the rest of the internal organ systems will be absorbed well and used efficiently; and that is right down to the cellular level. It also means that all the nutrients that the respiratory needs to be sustained and strengthened are going to work efficiently also. You see you really are what you eat!! If your body is not fighting so hard just to digest food, it will have more energy to fend off the attackers when they come along and have a lot more soldiers to do so.
So the first order of business is what breaks down that system and how do we avoid it? This will be our first topic of discussion in this series. We will start with food and then progress to supplements, herbs and other considerations in our next few blog posts.
The Cellular Healing Diet Pyramid below will be your guide.
. Highly glutenous grains - wheat, barley, corn, soy, oats - there has been a lot written about gluten forming foods so I won't belabor the point; but consider these things. Non organic grains in these categories are highly treated with pesticides and especially with glyphosate a key ingredient in products like Roundup used in growing and drying before harvesting. Many of the digestive difficulties attributed to gluten sensitivity are a result of the use of these herbicides that actually tear apart the lining of the digestive tract when we eat them. Steer your purchases towards alkaline grains like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, amaranth. Use smaller portions of the more glutenous grains or as limited additions to other dishes perhaps once a week. Buy only non-GMO brands that have the non-GMO seal on the packaging, which means no genetic modification has taken place. Gluten irritations cause an increase in phlegm and mucous that inhibit absorption and in turn can cause similar congestion in other organs like liver, bowels and lungs.
. Processed foods - This one can be confusing. If you think that processed foods are only the ones that come in preboxed or packaged dinners; think about this: grains that have been ground, like flours, are all limited in the amount of nutrients now available because the whole part of the grain is missing. That includes even good grains like lentils and rice made into pastas and noodles. The more processing the less value to your system. Purchase foods in their whole forms as much as possible and use good grains in their processed forms on a limited basis.
. Toxic fats and oils - We know a lot more today than we did even 2 or 3 years ago as the science of food continues to give us a clearer picture of what healthy food is. We have for years believed that vegetable oils were good for us. This is not the case as in their processing they are hydrogenated in order to maintain shelf life which renders them "toxic" in that they begin an artery clogging process. Pure fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and foods like nuts, olives, coconut cream, milk and aminos, whole fat grass fed dairy, butter, ghee, cheese (if you're not allergic) are some examples of the great fats that actually stimulate better metabolism and actually help stabilize insulin and clear arteries.
. Alkalinity is key as your digestive tract needs alkaline foods in order to be absorbed efficiently along your digestive process. This is all about the pH of the food, not its natural form. For example citrus fruit has an acidic form but it's pH is alkaline and thus is good food for us. Foods like sugar, coffee and alcohol are extremely acidic and interfere with your body's ability to absorb nutrients and actually contribute to malnutrition. Good, fresh fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors, organically grown and ripened on the vine are your alkaline allies. Buying them as locally as possible will ensure that the ripening process has occurred naturally and not synthetically by spraying as they travel to your destination.
. Cancer is a name that causes fear in many peoples' hearts. Extreme amounts of sugar feed cancer cells and help them to grow. Sugar also depletes our immune system and weakens it so that we are more susceptible to bacteria and germs. Holiday times can be especially fraught with folks coming down with all manner of sickness because of the overabundance of sugar choices during festive meals. Develop your dessert menus with low or no sugar substitutes and make a conscious effort to limit your sugar intake.
. Too much meat based protein. Although good grass fed meats are good for us; a large portion of meat at every meal is not advisable because it will tend to make us too acidic and upset the alkaline balance needed for good absorption. Remember that protein does not just equal meat, but many other foods have good protein like a variety of vegetables, eggs, nuts, dairy. Too much meat can also put undue stress on your kidneys. Make sure you take good advantage of a variety of vegetables daily in multiple colors as each color has unique nutrients that your body can use to build your bulletproof immune system.
. What a dinner plate looks like - a typical plate for dinner might look like 2 tablespoons or more of good fat, a palm sized portion of protein, a similar sized portion of good carbohydrates and twice that amount of vegetables.
That's enough food information to get you started. Watch for the next blog segment as we continue to look at other circumstances that affect our ability to improve and build a healthy immune system.
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.