Heading Into the Dark with a Strong Immune System

I’ve had a sore throat and vague achy feeling for at least a week. This is one of the biggest questions/challenges we face goin ginto autumn/winter months: how to beat the cold/flu bugs and stay “healthy”? I don’t know if it’s a magic bullet, but here’s what has kept me (relatively) shielded and fit for the past 5 years or so:
Extra Vitamins/Minerals (I only take supplements when needed, not as a regular part of my routine!):
C – time-released, 2 grams a day
D3 – recommended daily amount (RDA), I do take this most of the winter due to decreased sunlight
Zinc – 15-30 mg. a day
Magnesium – RDA or a bit higher
Selenium – RDA
A high quality multi (RDAs for everything – no super doses) won’t hurt anything, and could help by keeping everything in balance and filling in the gaps in trace
minerals or other vitamins.

Besides the vitamin/mineral supplements I take 2-3 hot mineral/mud/essential oil baths in a row at the first sign of trouble. I used to be able to buy a mud bath in a bottle here in the Netherlands but it was discontinued a long time ago, so now I make my own with Dead Sea mud (ordered in bulk on internet), epsom salts (magnesium sulfaat in NL) and essential oil of lavendar, pine, ginger, arnica and/or juniper. Helps against body aches, gets your body temperature elevated (like a fever) to fight off infection, helps removes toxins and replaces valuable minerals necessary in the fight. Don’t have a bathtub? Do the next best thing: Dry-scrub your entire body with a loofah or rough washcloth/towel and then take a 15-20 minute hot shower using essential oils on your washcloth or sponge. Then fill a bucket with water as warm/hot as you can stand and put the bath ingredients from above in and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes. Lie down wrapped up in warm blankets directly afterwards (it’s good if you can induce a sweat even); rest for at least 1/2 hour or do it just before bedtime.

I drink a tea that comes from our local supermarket (Albert Heijn for those of us in NL) or from Zonnatura: weerstand tea (iimune system/resistance). Most health food stores will have a ready-made mix for cold/fly season. I personally love the Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care and Throat Coat. Plain old ginger and lemon will work just fine too. Drink lots of it (2-6 cups a day). Room temperature water wth lemon is also good, but don’t over-use citrus fruits. Immune boosting herbs like astragalus, cat’s claw and echinacea are also good (even better if they come in tea form; the warmth and fluid of the tea are soothing and go into the bloodstream quickly).

Cut out all processed foods! Until you are out of the woods, cut out all sugar (OK, an ocassional bit of succannat, honey or arenga palm sugar won’t do too much damage), alcohol, and refined food like pasta, light breads, crackers etc. I eat simple, digestible foods like lightly cooked vegetables with sauteéd tempeh, miso soup, homemade or organically prepared soup, oatmeal or millet porridge made with rice/oat/almond milk, hemp or flax seeds and a bit of maple syrup, or simple salads of raw and lightly cooked vegetables (think beets, leeks, shallots, peppers, carrots, parsnips, turnips, mushrooms, fennel) combined with cooked whole grains
and some fresh greens like arugula or red lettuce. Use herbs and spices and a dash of tamari/soy sauce or balsamic vinegar plus some high quality olive or nut oil to dress it and provide necessary healthy fats. I don’t drink milk and only eat cheese and yogurt sparingly, but not at all when I’m getting a cold; I recommend that you cut out as much dairy as you possibly can when you’re feeling under threat.

I try and do a little stretching or movement even when I’m not feeling great. Lately I do the 5 Tibetan Rites every day, once (or twice if I can manage) with some supplementary yoga or dance poses/stretches in between or afterwards. Keeping your blood stream moving helps energize, detoxify and helps to generate and releas endorphins and other important brain chemicals which can help a lot in fighting off disease. Don’t over-do it!

Get some natural light and fresh air every day! Light has a profound impact on the body’s ability to process hormones and boost the immune system and fresh air helps stimulate the lungs and oxygenates the blood to help boost energy levels and clear out toxins.

A homeopathic or herbal anti-col/flu preparation won’t hurt and has been shown to decrease illness time or sometimes to head it off before it starts.

Know when to rest, listen to your body, let go of the need to be super-human. Being sick is, for some people, the only way they can slow down and surrender to doing nothing or not being productive 24/7. Accept the state you are in and adapt yoru habits (for at least a few days) accordingly; who knows what might emerge from the vestiges of being ill? New insights, renewed committment or perspective, better awareness… Wishing you all optimal health, whatever that is for you!

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~ by suzanlemont on November 9, 2011.

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