Monday, December 9, 2013

Eating to Fight Flu and Colds

Last year, I was the only one in my office who didn't get the flu vaccine and the only one who didn't get the flu. I was militant about making my 'green juice' every morning and washing my hands. I'm pretty sure the vigorous hand washing helped me, but I'm positive the green juice and attention to a healthy diet saved me.

What is the flu? The Influenza virus affects you by latching onto your normal cells and programming them with the flu virus RNA. The virus then replicates and affects other cells causing inflammation, mucus production, cough, congestion, headache, fever, fatigue, body aches. The virus that causes the flu is not the same as a cold, but produces similar symptoms. Usually the flu is accompanied by a fever. The most important treatment for the flu or cold is to stay hydrated, preferably with an isotonic solution (water with salt). If you're unable to keep fluids down, then you need to see your doctor.

Here is a recipe for making your own 'vitamin' water at home:

It is also imperative you eat foods that help your body fight the virus as well as getting plenty of rest. If your symptoms stick around longer than a week or you have a persistent fever, see your doctor.
According to Sandra Brougher, HCC, AADP here are ten foods that can help you boost your immune system:

1. Bone Broth- full of absorbable minerals
2. Pumpkin seeds- high in zinc and omega-3, both essential for a healthy immune system
3. Cold water fish- good source of protein and omega- 3
4. Fresh fruits and vegetables - beets, carrots, sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene
5. Liver- a natural multi-vitamin
6. Ginger- anti-viral properties (drinking a few cups of ginger tea is key)
7. Garlic - has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties
8. Honey -raw - anti-viral
9. Green tea- the ultimate anti-oxidant with anti-viral properties
10. Mushrooms- elevate flu-fighting agents

Stress, as always, can be an invitation for viruses as well. Make sure you're minimizing your stress level as well as getting high-quality sleep. Sleep is underrated in our culture and it can be a life saver as well as a disease fighter.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Same Food, Killer Diseases

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to go back home for Thanksgiving and it was magnificent. My parents and I were sitting in the living room while I completed my Anti-Inflammatory Diet certification and my mom posed the question that I think so many people have.

"I've been eating the exact same food for the past 50 years, I haven't changed anything, why has my health changed so much?"

My mom was 110 pounds for the majority of her life, even after two daughters, her cholesterol and blood pressure were in the normal range, she had radiant skin, no signs of cancer and her bone density has stayed normal despite little weight bearing exercise. Then about 15 years ago, she started gaining weight, her blood pressure went up and now she is on a statin (a decision I vehemently oppose). She has integrated daily yoga, she eats less, but her health is so different. Age has a lot to do with it, plus the fact that she has been under intense stress from taking care of my father, but her diet remains the same.

"What could it be, I asked her?" She couldn't give me an answer.

"Have you ever thought that perhaps the food has changed?"

And from there I listed off all of the changes in our food system that are so drastically different from when she was a child and has caused the diseases that we have today, that rarely existed before last century. These lifestyle diseases and conditions- Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, evolved as the our foods did. (Plus the increase in stress levels)

The University of Colorado reported that "In the United States, chronic illnesses and health problems either wholly or partially attributable to diet respresent by far the most serious threat to public health." Our food has changed and it's killing us.

The actual food that we eat has also decreased in the amount of nutrients. Not only do we eat less nutritious food than our grandparents ate (less veggies and fruits), but when we eat the nutritious food, it has less of the good stuff than it did 50-60 years ago! It is estimated that our current vegetables and fruits have half the important vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phytochemicals compared to those of the past.

We have to be more aware about what we put in our bodies and how it affects our health. We've allowed big dairy and big pharma and big fast food corporations to serve us a slow death. There are ways to change, little changes, that can drastically improve your health.

So there is your answer momma. You haven't changed, your food has. Now what are you going to do about it?