Winter: time to rejuvenate.

What? Usually people are encouraged to ‘deaden’ themselves in winter! We’re told to get flu shots and raised to trust in over-the-counter medications, yet this means the cold, cough and flu hang around for longer than needed. So, yes, rejuvenate. How? Go within. Create the opportunity for the body to grow via building immunity.

Oddly, the general consensus is that we should take ‘this for that’ in order to ‘nip it in the bud’ — whatever ‘it’ is. Most people go to their local supermarket or chemist and shell out for Coldrex, Robitussin, Demazin, Benadryl, Sudafed, Dimetapp, Maxiclear or similar products, with the idea that those are the best things to combat the cold and flu season. Rather than rejuvenate, we go into battle mode.

Do you know what is in these products …besides the active ingredient?

Ever heard of excipients? Excipients are classified as an inactive substance that serves as the vehicle or medium for an active substance. Excipients can include a variety of additives: E104 (Quinoline Yellow), E129 (Allura Red), E133 (Brilliant Blue) — these are all colours most likely to cause behaviour and learning problems and should be avoided, especially by children.

Here is where the dilemma is …

Perhaps you have created an organic household and make sure the house has few chemicals in it, however your interpretation of ‘sickness’ hasn’t evolved. Your ‘medicine cupboard’ is still full of over-the-counter medications to help ‘ease’ the cough, the cold or the sign or symptom. But if you found the excipients in your food that are found in most of these medications, you wouldn’t touch them. Why do we not question the medications? Partly because you’re not taught any different, you don’t know any better or you simply haven’t seen the incongruency. There is a massive push that has been underway for years about how to read the ingredients of your food items. Are you reading the ingredients of your medication items?

People are taught to believe that medication only has the active ingredient in it, which in actual fact is a very small portion of what you are consuming. And the lack of labelling laws means the manufacturers don’t have to tell you. You have to go digging to find it out. It’s taken a thorough investigation, and I’ve put the time in so that you can help keep yourself and your kids safe by choosing different items and methods to boost your immune and stay away from the ‘pill for every ill’ industry.

Here are my top 7 ways to support a well functioning immune system:

  1. Get regular adjustments: by a qualified chiropractor, for me in this instance, it’s from my husband! I do so because I am a self healing, self regulating and self regenerating human who is constantly adapting to my environment. At the core of this is my nerve system and seeing as chiropractors work directly with a person’s nerve system, I make sure I receive a weekly adjustment. I’ve done this for the past 23+ years. And I do so not because something is wrong, but because everything is right. It is just like eating good food… you don’t just do it once; you do it regularly because you know it is good for you.
  2. Probiotic: A large part of our nerve system is located within our gastrointestinal tract. If your diet is one that is not sustaining i.e. you consume FAST foods instead of SLOW foods (seasonal, local, organic and whole foods) then you should look out for a good organic plant based probiotic to feed the gut. Eating less processed foods means less toxins within your system, which means less chemicals interrupting the body’s immune system. And an uninterrupted immune system has got to be a good thing, right?
  3. Eat organic grass fed meat: We are unique here in NZ because we get access to the most incredible farmers and their meats. Find the local farmers in your area who supply organic grass fed meats.
  4. Fish: is another way to boost your immunity. We have a local fishing store here and all the fish are fresh and line caught. Yum! Think about where your fish comes from, as many supermarket chains buy in bulk from fish farms. My suggestion is to ask. If they cannot be confident about the quality and source of the fish, don’t buy it!
  5. Bone Broths: We have been into broths lately. During winter we tend to have them more often than not. For instance we buy organic chickens, roast them and then boil the carcass to make chicken soups adding whatever vegetables and herbs from our garden we have available. (See Recipe tab: ‘Homemade Organic Chicken Soup’)
  6. Fermented Foods: Fermented foods are fabulous. These include yogurts, traditional pickles, apple cider vinegar, kumbucha, sauerkrauts (our kids favourite), kefir, soft cheeses. Our kids also love goats, sheep and occassional buffalo cheeses and yoghurts when available… makes for variety!
  7. Vitamin D and C: During the winter months it’s important to still ‘see’ the sunlight. Getting outside for walks or your favourite exercise when you can will help to stimulate your nerve system and immune system too. I cannot go past Vitamin C either. But, the number of times I have had people bring me their Vitamin C container and ask if it was okay to consume is incredible. I am a big proponent of whole and real foods. I always suggest people look to nature as the source. Camu Camu has recently garnered some attention and rightly so. It is high in Vitamin C and other nutrients which makes it a perfect symbiotic food.

So, there you have it: my top 7 ways to support a well-functioning immune system this winter.

And please remember to get plenty of rest. It’s important to replenish and revitalise!

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