Natural and Organic Skin Care

Boo! Said the Flu. Go away! I’m not scared of you!

flu shot signFlu shot signs are out in full force!  Drive through vaccinations, buy one give one, mandates, oh my! You’d think we were facing the apocalypse!  Now granted, I’m not a fan of the flu, but at the same time, I’m not afraid of it either.  Sure, it sucks to get.  It requires time to rest and recover, and you don’t feel so great in the process.  You have to slow down and you pretty much lose a few days to it, but you know what?!  It does have a benefit – it can work as a really great cleanse, it moves toxins and other not-up-to-par cells out of your system and makes way for new healthy ones.  Thinking on the bright side, it’s like a detox.  People spend lots of money on those, and they can and do help your body when done right, but let’s be real – I mean, I personally don’t know a single person who ever uses the words detox, fun and pleasant together in the same sentence.  Detox simply isn’t those things.  So I challenge you, don’t fear the flu.  Don’t fall for the fear-based propaganda on every corner.  Instead, trust your body.  Know that it knows what to do and how to support itself.  Take measures to keep yourself healthy and strong so that when you come into contact with it, you can fight it off, but if you do happen to succumb, know that you’ll get through it and likely come out stronger on the other side, quicker I might add, if you know how to support your body in the process.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about how to keep yourself and your immune system in the best shape possible.

First and foremost is FOOD. You simply can’t under-estimate the value of a clean, healthy diet, and the positive effect it has on your health.  While a truly thorough discussion on eating is out of the context of this post, I’ll keep it as real and simple as possible – EAT REAL FOOD.  Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, naturally raised meat and eggs, etc.  Minimize what you eat from a box.  If there are words on a label that you struggle to pronounce and don’t understand – skip it.  Also, skip colors.  Those brightly colored drinks that are promoted as so healthy and helpful, yeah, skip em’!  Add a lemon to some water instead.

Second is your GUT. It’s home to over 2 ½ lbs of bacteria whose job is to keep you healthy – it’s called the microbiome!  Oh wait! Oh no!  I just said bacteria!!!  Aren’t bacteria something else that we must protect ourselves from?!  Those scary little critters that are everywhere, and just waiting for the right opportunity to wreak havoc on our lives?  I mean, everywhere I look, I see anti-bacterial this, anti-bacterial that. What’s a person to do?  Well, first off, let me just say that we have really misrepresented these little guys. I mean, sure there are some that we are best off trying to avoid, but for the most part, we have a very symbiotic relationship with the vast majority of the bacteria that we come into contact with, especially those that reside within us.  They are the good guys and when we wipe them out, we suffer!  Certain foods and medications can create a digestive environment that isn’t very friendly to them and their numbers can diminish.  Antibiotics wipe them out, so try to avoid those whenever you can.  In the meantime, take a moment to learn about them and feed them so that they stay healthy and can do their job of keeping you healthy!  The friendly bacterial in our guts love fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut.  You can also add more to your mix by taking a probiotic – this is basically a way of populating your gut with bacteria.  Look for ones that have an added prebiotic so that the biotics have some yummy foods to feast on as they settle into their new home – you!

Sleep and exercise – JUST DO IT.  I know, I know.  You’re busy, you don’t have the energy, yada yada. But trust me.  Seriously, once you make this a part of your life and say “You know what?! I matter. Taking care of myself matters. And when I take care of myself I am better able to take care of my family.” It’s simple.  Practice what you preach, and take care of yourself just as you take care of others.  You are that important! I’ll repeat myself – YOU ARE THAT IMPORTANT! Fitting in exercise isn’t always easy, but where there is a will, there is a way.  Start small and slowly the rewards will be obvious, and it will be easier and easier to make it a priority!

Smile, laugh, and think positive.  Not joking.  The negative effects of stress on your health are uncontested.  Find people who you enjoy being around and spend more time with them.  Be silly, allow yourself to let go and not be so serious, at least not all the time.   Find a song that you just have to rock out to and listen to it every day!  Really.  Totally serious.  It does wonders!

Elderberries!  Yep and Yum!  They’re super good and super easy.  They come in a syrup and are just something you must consume.  Well, you don’t really have to, but it’s a really good idea to!  Clinically proven to fight against 8 different strains of the flu virus, elderberries work by mediating production of different cytokines (a group of proteins, peptides or glycoproteins that are secreted by specific cells of the immune system) — decreasing those that trigger an inflammatory response, and increasing (by up to 10x the normal amount) those that spur production of a non-inflammatory infection fighting response.  They have also been found to inhibit a virus’ ability to penetrate the healthy cells that line the inside of the nose and throat — a key entry point for the flu virus, which is why you should also stop picking your nose.  I know it’s fun and can be so rewarding, but somethings you just have to let go of!  You can buy Elderberry syrup from any of your local health food stores, online, or if you are really adventurous (not really because it’s really quite easy!), you can make your own!

Also, plenty of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc!

Oh man, you’ve succumbed!!  You feel the itch, the tickle, the scratch.  What to do now?  Call the doctor, go to the minute clinic?  Nope, not necessary!  Reach for that Echinacea, Goldenseal, and Licorice!  And while you’re at it, make some bone broth!  Or better yet, make some ahead of time and have it in your freezer for when disaster strikes (not really, but you know what I mean J).  Echinacea, Goldenseal and Licorice Root are like your navy seals.  They go in and just get shit done!  No messing around with these guys!  Used throughout history for their curative effects, these (bad)bacteria and virus-fighting warriors are not to be underestimated!  Especially when used in combination!  It’s pretty easy to find them hanging out together in a tincture form, and if not, you can buy each separately and combine them yourself.  Oh and by the way, licorice (which does not taste like black licorice, IMHO) actually has a wonderfully sweet taste to it!  I love to add it to my daily tea during this time of year. My kids love it too! I mentioned the bone broth, but I sort of skipped over it pretty quickly – make sure it’s from a grass fed cow.  It’s so rich in vitamins and minerals and does such a great job at nourishing your body and helping it to recover and repair that many top athletes incorporate this into their healing routine whenever they are injured (no joke, ask Kobe Bryant!).

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