How to stay healthy through cold and flu season

This month’s topic is how to stay healthy during cold and flu season.  Some of these tips will sound familiar as they are at the very foundation of great health.  
Also, there is a lot of controversy around the flu shot.  If you decide to get it please do your research to ensure it is the best choice for your long term health.

 Here are 10 easy-to-do suggestions
1. Drink 2-3 litres of good quality water every day.
2. Have a good sleep routine.  Aim for 8 hours per night.  Getting to sleep by 11:00pm is optimal to ensure you get the proper amount of REM and non-REM sleep for rejuvenation.
3. Avoid white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar (all concentrated sugar) as much as possible.  They really do a number on your immune system.  Your immune system is actually suppressed for up to five hours after eating sugar.  A community of bacteria can double in size in 20 minutes which opens the gate to colds, flus and other infections.  In addition, on a more serious topic it is known that cancer cells thrive when sugar is consumed.
4. Eat at least a couple of cups of dark green leafy vegetables every day!!! This is super important.  If you are struggling to fit them in, try having a green morning smoothie.  You will need a high speed blender but there are a lot of options on the market including more cost effective ones like the Oster Versa (The one I use).
Green Smoothie
1 cup of plant based milk
1/2 cup filtered water
1 cup kale (also a cruciferous which is super nutrient dense)
1 cup spinach (I freeze both my kale and spinach and then crush in freezer bag before adding to smoothie)
1/2 banana (or more if you prefer the consistency
1 cup of frozen wild blueberries
This is the base.  You can add other things like green powder, adaptogens, 1 tbsp flax seed powder (keep in fridge or freezer) etc.  Adaptogens are also great to add.  There is a variety of them.  I add ashwagandha into my daily smoothie.
5. Supplements I take at this time of year are vitamin C (I use the powder packets that can be added to water), Fish oils,  and Vitamin D3 (Dr. Zoltan P. Rona MD MSc recommends taking between 5,000 and 10,000 IU per day between Oct and May.) 
6.  Consume whole food probiotics daily including unpasteurized sauerkraut (super easy to make at home), kimchi, kombucha, organic fermented miso etc.  If this is difficult to do a probiotic supplement is also an option.  Start slowly with the probiotics and work your way up to 50 billion live organisms.(Contact me if you need more information on choosing a probiotic).  At least 70% of our immunity is in our gut so it is important to keep it healthy.
7. Mediate your stress.  I cannot say this strongly enough.  Stress creates disease!  Find a method that works for you.  An example is meditation which is currently gaining a lot of popularity.  An app called “Headspace” may help you adopt this practice.  Let me know it you try it and like it.  
8. Find time to exercise.  I know this is not easy at this time of year but do your best.  Try to get your heart rate up at least 5 times per week and sweat (Also great for detoxing).  Asking for a fitbit for Christmas and tracking your steps may be helpful.  I know mine makes me walk more and work out on my elliptical longer.
9. Make a pot of wonderful homemade soup every week.  Use organic bones and make your broth from scratch.  Include plenty of vegetables and plenty of fresh or dried herbs.  This kind of meal is super nutrient dense and an important part of keeping you and your family healthy right through the winter.  Swap with neighbours for more variety.
10. Drink herbal teas, use essential oils in place of fragrances in the home, cook with garlic( let garlic sit for 10 minutes after crushing to activate the enzyme allicin) and onions, use a few oil of oregano drops at the back of your tongue at the first signs of a sore throat etc, etc, etc
Bonus: There have been studies showing a boost to children’s immunity when nutritional yeast was incorporated into their diet on a daily basis (Contact me for more details on this).
As you can see I could go on and on.  However, if you commit to as many of these 10 as you can you will experience an improved immunity.  Creating a daily routine will offset the occasional indulgence at this time of year.
I will have another newsletter coming out prior to Christmas.  Until then enjoy the holidays. 🙂

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