10 Tips for Supercharged Immunity Through the Winter
Anyone else feel like they’re burning the candle at both ends right now? I’m sure I’m not alone! Between being a mama, my clients, preparing for the launch of my Winter Whole Foods Seasonal Reboot, holiday shopping, recipe testing, family in town, school parties, holiday parties, drinking and eating more at said parties….phew! I’m exhausted just talking about it all! And the stress of travel isn’t on my list this holiday, but I know it is for many.
And I didn’t even mention that darn elf on the shelf. 😉
Can you relate?
I bet you can. As fun as all of that can be, the truth is that the hustle and bustle of the season usually includes an overdose of indulging and imbibing, spending money we might not have and some stressful family dynamics to boot.
And that my friends, is the perfect storm for the sick bugs to cozy up right inside you. Yep, those little buggers wait until you are at your weakest, and then they pounce!
You think you’re mojo is jammin’ and you’ve got it all handled, and then WHAM. Inflammation, infection, viruses, constipation, fatigue….Wipe. You. Out.
Having battled a comprimised immune system since my early teens, it’s become my life’s work to figure out how to stay healthy and feel great, and to help others do the same. I got so sick of getting every bug that passed anywhere in my vicinity, and then fighting it for AT LEAST 2 weeks. Talk about a drag!
Once I had kids and couldn’t afford to just rest and recouperate, I dug even deeper for ways to keep our immune systems rocking. And I’m happy to say, I’ve done a pretty darn good job at figuring it all out! 🙂 Sure we still get occassional sick bugs, but they are few and far between, and out of here FAST.
So I’m laying it out for you…..
1. Eat Real Food ~ It’s the holidays, I get it. While there are clean options for most of your holiday favorites, I’m realistic that this might not be the time to start experimenting (or maybe it is?!). 😉 I’m simply suggesting that you focus on real, whole foods over processed foods and sugar 80% of the time so that you can indulge (within reason!) at your holiday parties and get togethers. And of course, never show up at those parties hungry! Eat a meal with veggies, fat and protein before heading out, and you’ll be able to take the focus off the food and on to your friends. And while you’re cooking, focus on adding lots of garlic, onions, tumeric, ginger and cayenne for their immune boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits.
2. Take a Quality Probiotic ~ Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your gut? Yep. A healthy gut is essential for prevention of pretty much all disease. So if there is one supplement you take….let it be a quality probiotic! Also be sure to include cultured foods like natural sauerkraut, kimchi, Kombucha and Bubbies Pickles to extra immune support and enhanced digestion.
3. Wash Hands! ~ WITHOUT antibacterial soap. Just some natural soap and warm water and you’re good to go. Seriously, this one seems so simple, but so often skipped. Our house rule is that we take our shoes off and then wash hands first thing when we come in the door. It’s a ritual that I enforced from the times the kids were babies, and they never forget it. This way I don’t have to worry about every germ from school/ doorknobs, etc. getting all over their toys, the furniture, OUR doorknobs….talk about inviting the bugs right in! Simple…and necessary.
4. Bone Broth ~ Broths made from the bones of healthy, pasture-raised animals and birds are full of easily-digested and essential nutrients which can help your body stay healthy. And the gelatin will help you look amazing (muscles, metabolism, weight, skin, digestion, hair, fingernails, joint health). A win-win! Save the bones from organic meat you cook with in the freezer, and once you have about 2 lbs., you’re ready to whip up some nourishing bone broth. Or….stop by the deli at your natural food store and ask them for their leftover bones! I have a great recipe you can grab in my new ebook, Eat Your Way to Hormonal Health.
5. Green Smoothies/ Juices ~ If you’ve followed me for long, you likely know I have a serious love affair with green smoothies. You can check out this post for my template for making super nourishing green smoothies, and even though my smoothie challenge is over, you can still get my ebook with 17 delish smoothie recipes by clicking on the link in this post. Suffice to say, this is a serious secret weapon in our house. We drink them DAILY, and you can load them up with an insane amount of nutrient-dense goodness to keep your immune system happy. One of my fave superfood add-ins is Camu Camu, which has 60 times more Vitamin C than oranges!
6. Lemon/ ACV Elixer ~ Combine the juice of one lemon, 1-2T. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV ~ make sure it’s raw, unfiltered and with “the mother”), 1 tsp. Raw honey (local if you have allergies) and a dash of cinnamon in a full glass of room temp. or warm water (not hot or it will kill the beneficial bacteria). This is a GREAT way to boost your immune system, show some love to your liver and digestive system, reduce inflammation and flush toxins, just to name a few. This is a daily routine in our house!
7. Healthy Fats ~ coconut oil, ghee, EVOO, pastured organic butter if you tolerate, sustainable red palm oil – avoid “buttery spreads”, soybean, cottonseed, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and peanut oil, which are rancid, contain too many Omega 6s, and have inflammatory and hormonal disrupting properties. These foods are often from genetically-modified sources and are really messing things up in our bodies.
8. Dry Skin Brushing ~ this is a simple but powerful ritual you can easily add in to your routine before you hop in the shower each day. It will get your lymph system moving, which is essential, considering your lymph system is the “sewage system” of your body. Clogged up lymph is the beginning of a whole host of issues (including weight gain!), so keeping it clear and moving is key. Skin brushing is also great for increasing circulation, improving digestion, decreasing stress and decreasing cellulite (awesome, right?! Did you know that cellulite is just toxins trapped between fat tissue?). Get your lymph moving and you’ll see some pretty amazing things happen.
9. Elderberry Syrup ~ this antioxidant rich berry is great for supporting and strengthening the immune system. We take it preventatively through the winter months, just 1 tsp. every other day, and if you feel a cold coming on, up that to 4x/ day.
10. Epsom Salt Baths ~ who doesn’t love a nice soak in the bath tub? Add ½ cup epsom salt, ½ cup baking soda, and a few drops of Lavender essential oil and soak for at least 20 minutes. Add in some deep breathing and some herbal tea and you’ve done some good detoxification for your body and relaxation for your soul! Epsom salt baths help to warm the body, de-stress, reduce muscle pain and inflammation and improve sleep. Sweet dreams my friend. 🙂
I know that’s a lot of information! Start with a few and then add others in as you see fit for your lifestyle.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give mention to the two biggies, Sleep and Stress. For me (and I’m not alone in this!), sickness coincides with stress and lack of sleep. If I fail to pay attention to the signals in my body when they tell me to slow down, get sleep, and take a breath….I end up sick.
So right now, I invite you to take a few deep breaths in and out, focusing on the energy of your breath going to every cell of your body. For increased energy, make the inhalations longer than the exhalations; for increased relaxation, make the exhalations longer than the inhalations. Do this a few times a day to support your stress levels and to remind yourself that you need to slow down, even if for a minute, in this hectic season.
What do you do to stay healthy through the winter? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
To Feeling Strong and Healthy All Season Long!
P.S.~ Does this all sound fabulous but you’re not sure really where to start?
If you’re ready to look an feel better than you have in ages, possibly ever, my Winter Whole Foods Seasonal Reboot is just around the corner! Just after the indulgences of the holiday season wrap up, we’ll be diving deep into shedding pounds, reducing infammation and supercharging your energy and immunity.
No dieting, no pills or shakes, just real, whole foods and simple lifestyle suggestions.
An actual plan so you won’t just yo-yo back to where you are now when it’s over.
My full support inside an amazing community.
If you’re ready to learn how to make clean eating pleasurable, satisfying, simple, and easy to integrate into “real” life, then join us!