When someone I love gets a cold or flu bug … it hurts! So many medical doctors over the years have asked me not how to get well, but how to stay well. It seems there is nothing in their black bag for prevention. So if you are someone who travels frequently, easily contracts a cold if someone sneezes nearby or if you are just sick too many times per year … you need to know how to stay healthy. Here are some tips:
Look at nature, what color is most prevalent? No it is not the blue sky overhead, it is GREEN! The green plants that landscape the highest mountains and down to the ocean floors give us a clue that we need to consume large quantities of greens for protection. You see it is those green plants that continuously clean our environment from pollutants whether airborne, water, or ground sources. Green plants specifically are charged with the responsibility to provide us with oxygen while protecting our environment which in turn makes for healthy lives. So if you cringe at the site of spinach salads, romaine lettuce, snap peas, broccoli, asparagus, Swiss chard, collard greens, or kale you are really missing out on one of the earth's greatest health resources. And you know what, people in America do the silliest thing – they chop off the tops of vegetables and throw them away! What the heck are we thinking people? The tops of vegetables contain the highest amounts of nutrients. In plant chemistry we learn that nature provides a perfect balance if we adhere to the rules. For instance, a carrot is filled with beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that is a rich source of nutrients known to protect our eyes, skin, and mucous membranes as well as being one of the most common anti-oxidants known on the Planet. Well the tops of the carrots should not be discarded because they contain huge amounts of other nutrients such as potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. The potassium rich carrot tops are wonderful in soups (keep the lid on) because potassium is known to help remove toxins from the bloodstream. Sodium rings nutrients in and potassium takes the waste away. Magnesium keeps your bowels moving and that will also help you to stay well.
Okay, if you will not eat your greens, I will have to give you some alternatives for healthy survival. I assure you that if you chop or shred raw veggies you can discreetly add them directly to your soups, salads or other dishes without much flavor change at all. If you would dare to visit a "health food" store; Now there is another clue, you will find some of the most magnificent products to enhance your health. In a high-quality shop you will discover that there are compressed vegetables, encapsulated veggies and even veggies in powdered form that can be added to juice to disguise the flavor. Some companies have really gotten smart and have begun making health bars that are complied with greens along with nuts, seeds, and grains; A much better substitute for a regular granola bar. Yes, compressed greens do taste like grass and yes you will probably want to barf if you chew them without you are like me and other avid preventive-crazed people on this planet. But you have not lived baby until you have downed your very first shot of wheatgrass at a wheatgrass bar!
When I was a little girl my father took us kids out to the back yard to teach us about plants; Wise man my father. He taught us about how dandelions were good for us because they helped to clean our bodies by stimulating the liver. You know, he was so right. Those herbs and plants with a bitter taste actually cause stimulate the liver. So if you are so inclined, most grocery stores even carry dandelion greens that you can add to your salads. You can lightly steam them then saute 'with extra virgin olive oil and garlic, or be brave and just add them to other lettuce mixes. Another wonderful and a bit more unusual plant is watercress; It has a slightly mustardy taste with a bit of a zip to it and is "to die for" as a complement to roasted garlic and goat cheese. So now you understand that adding greens of every kind is important and we will move on to other ways that will help you stay well.
If you push yourself too hard, travel too frequently, do not sleep, or worry a lot, it will depress your immune response and this can make you more susceptible to illness. We must rest physically, mentally and emotionally if we want to remain strong. So, know your limits and try not to push beyond them on a consistent basis. The older we get the less "wiggle" room there is for abusing our bodies. Embark on some kind of a plan that includes relaxation. Try meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, listening to soothing music on a plane when you must fly. Get out of doors as often as possible, we do need sunshine. Eating wisely is important. Everyone who eats animal proteins, like juicy steaks, chicken, lamb, veal, or pork also consumes various anti-biotics which in turn destroy the probiotics in your gut. We need those probiotic strains to remain resistant to viruses, bacteria, pathogens, and parasites. Taking a wide-spectrum probiotic blend is paramount to good health today. Also, since most people eat diets that consist of many heated foods they are not getting adequate nutrition because heating destroy many of the vitamins and mineral vitality as well as the much needed enzymes. Digestive enzymes are extremely important to good health and as we age the production of these enzymes diminishes. We will always be dependent upon exogenous enzymes to sustain health. Regarding your daily diet, it is extremely important that you never eat when you are too hot, too cold, too tired, or upset in any way because the brain sends signals to first remedy your ailment and will not generate produce enzymes during those times. That is why animals with their innate wisdom intact turn away from food when they are injured or ill. We need to take the hint. Eat simply when you are sick, like a baby. In fact baby foods for some people may work well because they are nearly masticated and easier to digest.
So my basic rule is this: eat two-thirds of live foods or lightly steamed foods daily and one third cooked. Be sure that you get enough fruits and veggies. If you had to fend for your own food daily you would be walking long distances eating more plant foods and less animal sources; Despite depending upon climate, occupation and heritage some people absolutely need meat proteins and would become sick quickly if they switched to a vegetarian diet.
Get rid of the junk food in your daily routine; No soda pop, candy, cakes if you are susceptible to illness. Cut back on coffee and sugar of every kind because it will change your chemistry quickly from alkaline to more acid. Acid chemistry tend to get sick more quickly. What does that mean? People who lead hectic lives, have many people who count on them, are angry, upset, worried, eat a lot of junk food, cooked foods, drink, smoke and burn the candle at both ends will always have more acidic chemistry and will generally Be at greater risk for catching colds and the flu. How do I know this to be true? Seventeen years of biochemical testing to find the most vibrant people around the globe. All of them knew how to balance and to create a good life from the physical to the emotional and on to the spiritual as well. You have to know what thrills you and keep that in your life.
If you feel like you are coming down with a cold real chicken soup may make you feel better faster though researchers are not sure why. I believe that really good chicken soup made from scratch will include some of the most potent plant sources of anti-viral and anti-biotics; Nature's protectors such as garlic and onions. Garlic is known to help fight bacterial and viral infections and will also help boost your memory as it contains sulfur-rich elements that drive nutrients up to the brain. Side note here: Do you know that a study conducted in Oxford, England found that men who consumed garlic at least twice per week were one-third less likely than other men to develop prostate cancer. Lab studies demonstrate that the sulfur compounds in garlic block the synthesis of carcinogens known as nitrosamines. Garlic also stimulates the synthesis of glutathione which is known to deactivate certain carcinogens and it also protects cell membranes as a powerful anti-oxidant. So eat garlic and if you are dating make sure your date eats it too. Then we have those vegetable tops I mentioned which bring in a rich source of minerals and other nutrients. The protein from the chicken will be broken down into amino acids which are the building blocks of life. So I always keep a container of homemade chicken soup in the freezer!
Another factor in staying well, believe this or not, is having a wonderful love relationship! The joyful experiences in life help to improve mood and the harmony of metabolism. It is a fact that patients with a better attitude will heal more rapidly and overcome obstacles that others may not. So when we are in love and enjoying an active sex life we signal the brain that we are still vital, we are not going to die any time soon! It is not just the act of sex that stimulates this immune signal activity but the coupling of the powerful emotion of love that will help to keep you well. When you are ill it always helps to have a loving person nearby to care for you. It is always easier to heal when you are in a nurturing and soothing environment.
Get well faster by keeping your bowels moving. If someone has ever told you that you were full of it – that is a very toxic statement. Well, it is true that when our bodies do not consistently and completely eliminate daily there is toxic residue that can actually make you sick. Include foods that stimulate this area of the body because actually, the crux of your immune response stems from the gut. We need enough fiber in our diets daily. Eating foods that are rich sources of fiber include whole grains, the outer coverings of fruits and vegetables, flax seed meal, and sand -no, not sand, I was just kidding, but wondering if you were still with me here. Soluble fibers are those that dissolve in water and form a gel. Soluble fiber is found in fruits, oats and beans. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and rather absorbbs water which will increase the weight of feces and the speed at which water passes through the intestines and out of the body. By eating a wide variety of plant foods and whole grains you will be sure to get your daily lot. If not, you can always buy some invisible fiber even at your local drug stores today.
On top of fiber it is imperative that we have enough probiotic strains in our intestines in order to fight disease. Probiotics are those friendly bugs that are found in such foods as kefirs, yogurts and clabbered milk products. In the stores today you can find dozens of probioticly enhanced foods. I do not think eating yogart and cultured foods is enough today – so I encourage people to take supplemental probiotics and the strongest and widest spectrum available!
Now here is something else that can make everything I have just said even better. Every person you have ever known and any person you will ever meet needs enzymes! Enzymes help to promote wellness by encouraging more complete breakdown and assimilation of every nutrient from all food forms. Why do you need enzymes? Because they are the catalysts for every single metabolic process your body undertakes and we lose enzyme production by 1% per year. By the time we are in our mid-fifties we have about 1/3 of what is needed to complete digestion and take care of other processes. All of us will forever be dependent upon exogenous enzymes, or those that are found outside of the human body. That basically means that we need to eat raw fruits and vegetables frequently because cooking foods above 119 degrees will destroy all of the enzymes that help to break down our foods into micro particles. So you are not only what you eat, but you are more than what you absorb!
Many of you have asked for my secrets and beliefs about anti-aging and my personal health regime so I will give it to you in brief; By no means is this complete. To insure that I am getting more nutrients from every single bite, and protecting my immune system daily, here is what I take: A multi-strain 30 billion count probiotic blend, along with a wide-spectrum digestive enzyme formula. I take at least 2 probiotics and 9 enzymes daily and between meals to heal faster than illness or injury. I also take a food grade multi-vitamin, enough essential fatty acids from fish oil, or flax, and compressed super food greens such as spirulina, wheatgrass and barley grasses. I include soy lecithin granules for my brain because it is a rich source of choline, one of the only known nutrients to pass the blood brain barrier, along with phosphatidyl serine. I eat a wide variety of foods and am sure to include every color of the rainbow through the week. Cayenne pepper and other heat-producing foods such as horseradish are always nearby because they stimulate circulation.
I drink only purified water and add fresh lemon juice at least once per day to keep myself more alkaline. I do not consume much alcohol, but I thoroughly enjoy good wine and occasional beer or other alcoholic beverage. I do not smoke, stay away from fried foods, smoked meats, creamed foods, sugar, and pastries for the most part. I attempt to do two thirds right with my diet and know that my body will generally forgive me when I screw up. I dry brush my skin with a loofa before exercising and then bathe because it opens the pores to help detoxify the largest organ-skin. I spend at least 30 minutes a day in the sunlight and if I can not walk out of doors I am always driving with the sunroof open to get adequate Vitamin D. I do some form of exercise daily. My cabinets are literally filled with supplements and homeopathic remedies – just like the kings and queens who understand the "best medicine does not harm (is not a drug) but strengthens you from the core."
Find a good homeopathic physician, and MD who has studied homeopathy and learn about it. I have taught my family to understand the science of homepathy. And as difficult as it may be to forgive how these remedies work, it is important to learn about them. It has always been an extremely wonderful experience to watch someone recover quickly from a cold or flu or injury. Homeopathic remedies in the right hands can work marvelously to bolster your innate wisdom and immune response without risk of drug interaction. Check your local health food store for common remedies. I always choose homeopathy over any other OTC drugs first. Another important natural supplement I keep on hand, is powdered electrolytes, minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin c, potassium and zinc. You can find something called emergency c packs which include vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes all in one. This will work well to help you recover quickly; In crystallized form they are readily absorbed.
In order to be well consistently you must have enough oxygen in your blood – so please get out of doors to walk as often as possible. Also practicing deep breathing exercises or something such as yoga will benefit as well. During the day whenever you feel stressed just take a few minutes and do some deep breathing exercises and mentally inhale something you love, and exhale whatever is bothering you. This type of mental / physical exercise will help to relax you and in turn strengthen your mind / body connection – critical to true health.
My life is filled with many things that I love such as writing articles and books, composing music, volunteering, participating in sport activities, and helping others enjoy happier lives. I am sure to feed my spirit and practice meditation, walks in nature, and enjoy observing the world as a beautiful mosaic. I always challenge myself to try something new every day or at least frequently and attempt to keep fluid with life. I find that getting in a rut is painful, and stagnation or lack of circulation even in the physical body usually tears pain. So I like to engage in many different activities, have a wide variety of friends with vast interests because it keeps life spicy and interesting for me. Do not get me wrong, I am also quite capable and willing to just rest and do nothing at all when I feel pressured by life's responsibilities, or need healing time. If you find yourself ill too often or just stressed to the max you might consider considering away for a few days — the mountains or the ocean areas are good choices. The ionization is healthy, and the atmosphere soothing in many ways. Reconnect with nature and appreciate the landscapes we so often take for granted.
Beyond all of this, one of the greatest gifts and healers I have ever known- is love. Having a loving family and many wonderful loving friends has been a true blessing. Participating in things that thrill you will help keep your immune system strong and your mood up. If you are lucky enough to have a partner that you thoroughly adore, and someone who completely loves you, just as you are … now that is quite a gift and you will find that your life can be enhanced tenfold! Love for me is like a universal medicine for the soul, without it we are often sick, and sour, and quite unhappy. Share your love. With love in our hearts we can all do great things!
Be well, be happy, and love life!