We are well into January 2019 now – no, I did not type 2018 – and many of us have indulged over the holiday season, spanning from the latter part of November through the first of the year. Perhaps we are still indulging a little, to finish off the goodies so children will not starve in China (okay – I am showing my age – my mother raised me this way to reinforce a clean plate approach to eating, even if what the children eat in other countries has nothing to do with my eating!).
I still have this mentality – it is apparently in the default programming section of my brain and I have to fight it off and throw away foods I never should have been eating in the first place!
It stands to reason that our immune systems can use a re-boot at this time of year especially, although even with healthier eating and mindfulness lifestyles, it does not hurt to do an internal cleansing and inspire new and healthy immune system growth periodically.
One way to help the immune system is by fasting or caloric restriction. This signals the body’s stem cells to reproduce new blood found in the bone marrow and related systems, and gives a boost to the immune system, most of which is located in the gut. This is especially helpful to older individuals and those with autoimmune conditions – resulting in recycling of unused immune cells and eliminating damaged cells, among other benefits.
Some individuals also juice-fast (using juice extraction), hopefully using fresh, organic vegetables and fruits. This supplies a large quantity of fresh, available nutrients to the body in one of the quickest ways possible. One should juice a smaller amount at a time and drink it immediately so as not to lose nutrients. Alternatively, one can juice larger amounts and store them in the refrigerator, in airtight containers, filled to the top (i.e., try not to have any air in them). This has the effect of boosting the immune system, taking toxins from the body, and some people lose weight in the process. One can juice while eating lightly, preferably fresh salads, clean proteins, or juice for a short amount of time, just also drinking water and/or herbal teas.
Some people choose to re-boot by eating fresh, clean, organic products – eating whole foods rather than processed ones. Accompany this by drinking pure, clean water – spring water is a great choice, although triple filtered water is also great. You can add some organic fruits, peels, etc. to your water and it is possible to purchase water already flavored a bit by some fruit. This is just a healthy lifestyle choice 365 days a year.
If this is not your usual habit, it is a good time to start exercising – perhaps do not jump right away into massive workouts at the gym, but ease into a healthy exercise regime. Some people prefer to play music and dance – this can result also in great aerobic exercise! Do something you enjoy and will look forward to continuing.
One can also start making smoothies on a daily basis, or even 3 or 4 times a week. These can be made using lots of fresh, organic, green, leafy vegetables, and cucumber adds much refreshment to both juice extraction and smoothies. A good pairing would be an apple, or berries, etc.
There has been a great deal of press concerning fermented foods and the immune system – this is also a great way to help your immune system detox and refresh itself. In addition to taking pre- and probiotics, one can have miso soup, yogurt with live cultures, tempeh, kefir (a milk-based product), sauerkraut, etc.
For more information on healthy, holistic choices, please visit Living Healthy Holistically. In this course you will learn what is damaging about our toxic environment both internally and externally - and what you can do about it.
For more information on holistically healthy lifestyle choices, please visit Health and Wellness Online, LLC.
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.