We are going through scary times right now. Many of us are separating from each other and hiding out in our homes, waiting for some good news that the current COVID-19 epidemic has passed.
If you are feeling afraid and powerless, there are strategies you can implement for you and your family in order to stay healthy.
The current practices that are being suggested by health officials are to prevent you from contracting the virus. However, there are no guarantees.
To add to this approach, you can be more proactive with your own health and fortify your body and immune system so that should you contract the virus, you can hopefully shorten the duration and minimize the symptoms.
There is no one thing to do – understand that the immune system needs many things to fight. Take a look and see what you can add to your diet and daily routine to support the immune system.
This is just one more way to do our part. The more of us who take steps to support our immune system and be healthier, the more we can avoid putting pressure on the overworked healthcare system.
And trying new foods and activities can be fun.
The foods, spices, herbs and other suggestions are not all that you can do – there’s more, but it’s my goal that this inspires and empowers you to take charge of your health.
To download this as a guide, click here.
Consuming foods that have been studied to have anti-inflammatory properties is a good idea:
Avoid any known food sensitivities. This can also increase inflammation if you are reactive to specific foods. However, don’t look at lists that claim certain foods are “inflammatory.” Reaction to foods is an individual thing – the inflammation that a person may experience belongs to the person, not a food. The sensitive food is the symptom, and the cause is gut health issues. If you think this may be an issue for you, experiment by removing the food for a couple of weeks and see if you notice a difference.
The simplest way to start is to feed the gut the food good bacteria loves and remove the food it doesn’t. Fortunately, the good bacteria, just like the immune system, love foods that are full of nutrients. That’s not a coincidence. Adding foods that contain good bacteria also helps.
Here are some examples of foods that help the gut:
Probiotic and/or Fermented Foods: Contain good gut bacteria that affect the adrenals, the thyroid, the liver and how our hormones function
Prebiotic Foods: Feed our resident good bacteria and aid good gut bacteria
- FOS and inulin foods: Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onions, dandelion greens, asparagus, bananas, blueberries, almonds, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, radish, chia, flax, tomatoes
- Pectin foods: Apples, pears, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi
- GOS foods: Dairy products, legumes
- Resistant starch foods: Wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, barley, oats, corn, brown rice (and cooled white rice), potatoes, sourdough, quinoa, sweet potatoes
Supporting other aspects of the gut
Bone broth provides amino acids that help the intestinal wall lining. Colostrum, aloe vera and collagen also help nourish the gut lining, and all have some anti-inflammatory properties.
Ode to Mighty Mushrooms: Mushroom are immune system stars. They have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, they are all prebiotics, so they feed good gut bacteria. They’re available both fresh and dried (be sure to rehydrate dried by soaking in water for 30 minutes). Extract powders can also be added to recipes and smoothies or made into teas and supplements. Several companies have created products that contain several types of mushroom combinations and are available as tea or liquid extracts.
2. Take supplements that help the immune system fight pathogens.
For the Gut: Probiotics, glutamine products or formulas, plant sterols, antimicrobials such as oil of oregano, aloe vera or grapefruit seed extract, essential oils such as clove, cinnamon, thyme or lavender. Note: If ingesting essential oils, make sure they are food grade.
What is an antimicrobial supplement or food? There are many supplements which contain phytochemicals that are known as antimicrobial. This means they have the potential to help the immune system fight pathogenic bacteria and viruses. They help “inhibit,” not “kill.” They can be useful for helping to eliminate excess pathogens and do not harm good bacteria.
Immune System Supplements: These supplements are misunderstood because they’re often called “immune boosters.” Many assume this means they will make the immune system more active, and in the case of the inflammation, more will be produced. This is not accurate, and the correct term is “immune balancers.” They can be very helpful to the immune system to fight pathogenic bacteria and viruses. They do not harm good bacteria.
Examples of immune-support supplements include elderberry, echinacea, astragalus, plant sterols, garlic and algae such as chlorella or spirulina.
My family and I take whole-food based nutrition capsules and gummies every day to help bridge the gap between what we do eat and what we should eat.
Exercise improves circulation and allows cells and the immune system to function better.
4. Implement stress management techniques.
Some stress can be helpful for the immune system and inflammation. Too much stress can use up valuable nutrients that are needed by the immune system in other areas of the body. Even if you feel really stressed for periods of time during the day, it’s important to find ways to relax and calm the adrenal glands down and lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Here’s some ideas:
- Listen to your favorite music; sing along and dance if you like.
- Make time for your favourite hobbies.
- Take an adrenal supplement – there are many. Look for them online (HERE is a reputable source for practitioner-grade supplements delivered to your door) or ask at your health food store. Talk to a health professional for more advice.
5. Make sleep a priority.
The immune system needs the time you sleep to repair and regenerate itself.
Here’s some tips:
- Lower stress - it can keep you awake at night.
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get at least 7–8 hours of sleep.
- Try to create a proper sleep environment with a completely dark room and no sound distraction. Sleep masks and ear plugs can help where necessary.
- Avoid caffeine or eating a large meal close to bedtime. Some people cannot sleep on an empty stomach so a light snack such as a piece of fruit or a few nuts is acceptable.
- Disconnect from electronics like computers, cell phones and even TV at least an hour before bedtime.
- Read a book, take a warm bath or practice some deep breathing or relaxation exercise before bedtime to quiet the mind and prepare the body to fall asleep more easily and get a better-quality sleep.
- Consider taking an herbal sleep formula or magnesium, if needed, to help you relax so that you can have a better sleep.
Yours in health,
Medical Disclaimer All information contained in this document is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent health problems. For all serious health issues, please contact a medical or nutrition practitioner. The information provided is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing, and we do not assume liability for the information, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special exemplary, or other damages. In all circumstances, it is always wise to consult your physician before changing your diet, taking supplements, or starting any exercise or health program.
As you know though, travelling can be stressful. And if you’re anything like me, you want to maintain at least a tiny sense of normalcy even when you’re away from home.
I know so many people who get sick either while on vacation or shortly after they get home.
Getting sick on vacation truly stinks because you spend so much of the time that you’ve looked forward to with anticipation either stuck to the toilet or missing out on fun because you're not feeling well.
This is why I make a point of planning ahead and taking certain items with me on vacation, so that my family and I stay as healthy as possible for the duration of our trip, reducing the likelihood that one of us misses out on fun while we're away or gets sick a few days after we return home.
Traveling for pleasure often takes us to places with an abundance of delicious foods and depending on the type of vacation it can be all-you-can eat, and it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re on a break so it’s okay to go crazy for the entire week or two you’re away.
Although vacations are a time to let your hair down and break out of your daily routine, I’ve come home from vacation enough times feeling so far out of routine (and sometimes even sick or feeling really yucky) that it’s worth it for me to keep at least some of my normal routine so that I still feel good when I get home. Make sense?
When you’re trying to stay healthy, it’s even harder when you realize you might not have a say over when, what and where you get to eat. Nor will you be able to hit the gym or a fitness class whenever you feel like it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t go to the gym everyday on vacation (in fact, I didn’t hit a gym once during our recent two-week vacation), but I found plenty of fun ways to stay active outdoors in the sunshine so that it didn’t even feel like exercise. I was just having fun with my family.
As a side note, I’ve been on a cruise ship while doing an elimination diet before (I was suffering from a lot of digestive issues and food sensitivities at the time.)
So, I want to mention that travelling with food sensitivities can be done with a bit of pre-planning and asking questions. If you have food sensitivities, you don't have to go through your vacation eating things that are going to make you feel unwell, just because you think you don't have another option.
I’ve been gluten and dairy-free for the past six years and so far, this has never been an issue while on vacation. After a bit of pre-planning and talking to the waiter/waitress, I’ve always had more than enough to eat at every meal, and I wasn't stuck eating foods that I know would have caused issues for me.
The following is a list of things that I bring with me pretty much on every vacation, and I’m sharing them with you to hopefully inspire you to do your own pre-planning before your next vacation to stay healthy and able to enjoy it completely.
1. Healthy Snacks
You know how it is - you spend a few hours driving to the airport, possibly in the middle of the night.
You then spend 2-3 hours at the airport waiting for your flight. The flight itself is at least 3-4 hours and then you land at your destination.
You grab your baggage and then have to look for your shuttle or rental car and then drive an hour or so to your destination. You’ve now spent approximately 10 hours in travel time just in this scenario (yes, this was our personal scenario just recently!)
You can either chance it with airport food and fast food (which yes, can have some healthier options sometimes) or you can come prepared with healthier granola bars that contain higher fibre and protein with lower sugar, like KIND BARS, MADE GOOD BARS or COMPLETE BARS or bring a small shaker cup with a lid and single serve packs of COMPLETE SHAKES for a macronutrient-balanced drink that won't leave you feeling like garbage.
Probiotics help boost your immune system and can help you stay regular even when the rest of your schedule is way off.
Your body will be exposed to unfamiliar germs and bacteria while travelling. Combine that with the fact that your immune system tends to be compromised while traveling and suddenly you’re looking at an increased risk of getting sick on your trip.
On a daily basis, I take probiotics like HMF Probiotics by Genestra that require refrigeration, however when I travel I like to use HMF Travel because it doesn’t require refrigeration, which makes it super convenient when on the go.
*The HMF probiotics by Genestra are available in my online dispensary with Fullscript. Simply sign up for an account using the link HERE. Go to my Dispensary Favourites (on the left) and choose your products. You will receive 10% off every order using the link. Any questions, email me HERE.
You will be exposed to a plethora of germs while travelling!
It’s easy to see why people get sick on vacation and it's just that much more important to ensure that your immune system is in top notch before and during your travels.
My family and I take Juice Plus capsules everyday and especially while travelling, so that we can fight off the many germs and viruses that we come into contact with during our travels and reduce our risk of getting risk.
*I've been blessed to be able to help many families boost their immune system through the Healthy Starts For Families Program and I take pride in personally taking care of my clients orders and ensuring that their child gets theirs for FREE. Send me a message HERE for more information.
This one is for the green tea drinkers out there!
If you’re a green tea drinker and you’ve done any travelling, you’ll know that in certain countries when you ask for green tea they either look at you like you have two heads or they try to give you something called sweet tea (not even close to green tea).
Sometimes I luck out, sometimes I don’t, so I always bring some green tea with me like the one below.
5. ESSENTIAL OILS
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled at least one of these out of my bag of tricks every time we travel.
Whether it’s tummy troubles, skin rashes, sunburn, scratchy throat or one of us feeling like we’re coming down with something you can usually hear me saying “I’ve got an oil for that!”
My favourites to bring are Young Living's Digize or Peppermint oils for bloating, gas, nauseau or stomach upset, Lavender for sleep and relaxing and Lavender and Peppermint together for sunburn relief. I will also bring either Thieves or Oil of Oregano (or both) for any sign of sore throat or if one of us feels like we’re coming down with something.
Many oils are effective antiseptic, antibacterial and anti fungal oils that can be applied topically as well.
*If you are new to essential oils and would like help, send me a message HERE.
6. Natural Suncreen
Research is showing that many of the most common sunscreen products are actually causing more harm than good, which seems to be partly to do with the chemicals in sunscreen and partly with the sunscreen blocking Vitamin D production, which most of us are severely lacking in.
Once I’ve allowed my skin to be exposed to sunlight for at least 20 minutes sans sunscreen I will apply a natural sunscreen like Boo Bamboo or Derma-E.
According to The Truth About Cancer, “While getting safe sun exposure is important, so is eating a diet that is high in antioxidant-rich foods, which helps prevent sunburn. When solar rays hit the skin, antioxidants come to the surface and act like sunscreen, forming a protective shield. Foods rich in antioxidants include berries, apples, beans, and dark leafy greens to name a few.” (This is another reason why I take Juice Plus Capsules on a daily basis, including while on vacation.)
7. Natural Lip Balm with SPF
If I’m in the sun without lip balm with sunscreen for too long, you'd better believe that within a few days I’ve got myself a nasty cold sore.
As with sunscreen, in order to avoid chemicals that can do more harm than good, I opt for natural lip balms with SPF like Green Beaver Natural Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF15.
BONUS TIP: An important tip that I will leave you with is to drink plenty of water during your vacation!
Dehydration is the fastest route to crankiness, fatigue and feeling gross, so make sure to drink water whenever you have the opportunity.
It is possible to remain healthy while travelling and not have to miss out on that vacation that you've anticipated for so long. All it takes is a little planning and intentional packing.
What are your favourite things to pack for vacation that help you stay healthy during your travels? I'd love to hear them below!
Until next time,
When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice what’s taking place. It’s when we have an underactive immune system that we are at a greater risk of developing infections and getting sick.
Why we get sick
To fight colds and flus we need a strong supply of antibodies. The trouble is, we have many things reducing our antibodies, making us more susceptible to getting sick.
Things like STRESS - which includes:
- Physical Stress (exercise and sleep),
- Chemical Stress (pesticides and herbicides on our foods, processed and convenience food, our beauty products, the air we breathe, our water), and
- Emotional Stress.
Also, as we age, our bodies make less antioxidants. Antioxidants are needed to grab free radicals and detoxify them from our bodies.
How To Keep Our Immune System Strong and Fight Off Illness
Food gives us micronutrients and macronutrients as well as antioxidants (enzymes, vit C, E, beta carotene) that will help keep our immune systems strong and fight off germs and organisms.
We need 8-13 servings of fruits & veggies each day to combat Stress, Chemicals and Toxins. You might think that’s a large number of servings, but realistically, our life has become so polluted that we need these 8-13 servings to combat everything that come against us
Now even as a nutritionist, as hard as I try, I know I don’t get the recommended 8-13 servings of fruits and veggies every day, and especially not in a wide variety. Eating that many servings every day would be costly and frankly, hard to do with our busy schedules.
This is why I’m grateful to have discovered an easy and affordable way to get even more than the recommended daily serving of fruits and veggies every day through JUICE PLUS+, and my son gets them for FREE in gummie form through the HEALTHY STARTS FOR FAMILIES PROGRAM.
JUICE PLUS+ is great cold & flu season defense, and they make it simple and doable, even for the busiest of families and the pickiest of eaters.
They’re vineyard ripened and grown without chemicals and pesticides, making them the cleanest garden you could ever eat. Remove the H20 from fruits and vegetables and what do you have left? Nutrients – including healthful antioxidants in the form of juice powders that can be put into a capsule.
JUICE PLUS+ has made it super easy to get 20-30 different fruits and vegetables and all of their nutrients every single day!
Intake of a dietary supplement from fruits and vegetables was associated with a 20% reduction of moderate or severe common cold symptoms days, meaning less getting sick and when people do get sick it’s not as severe or doesn’t last as long.
I can say this was true for me when I got sick this past Fall. I got hit hard with the flu (fever, chills, body aches, you name it) but the worst of it was over in less than 24 hours! By the next day I was feeling almost back to my old self. Years ago, that same flu would have dragged on for weeks and I would have missed a full week of work.
For even more strategies to boost your immune system and reduce your chances of getting sick this winter, check out the video below by Ana-Maria Temple, MD:
PREVENT COLDS AND FLU - ANA MARIA TEMPLE, MD
If you want help to bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you actually do eat, send me a message HERE. You will get 20-30 different fruits and veggies each and every day (including all of their nutrients! in capsule form, proven to boost immune system function.) And, if you have a child/grandchild/relative over the age of 4, I will make sure they get it for FREE in a gummie!
Until next time,
Fall is here, and that means that cold and flu season has arrived. Have you ever noticed that some people seldom get sick? Or maybe you have wondered why after being exposed to the same virus, one person gets ill while the other remains well.
I actually haven’t been sick in a few years, but this past weekend, it got me.
If you’ve listened to me for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m all about taking care of yourself first because you’re no good to anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself first. Right? Right. Except that I haven’t really been listening to my own advice lately.
I think it’s that Wonder woman complex - I can do it all and do it well. Not.
Anyways, this past week was crammed full of big events for my business. A Wellness Fair, a Grand Celebration at Peterborough Maximized Living, a local Festival and the launches of both my Online Slim Down Program and the In-Person Slim Down Program - all in one week. Not to mention, hockey season starting up with four days of hockey in a row for my son.
It all makes sense now why I would get hit hard with the flu this past Sunday - right in the middle of the Purple Onion Festival. I’m talking fever, chills, aches & pains. Nasty. I left my booth half an hour early and came home and crashed in my bed.
Thankfully, the worst of it was over within 24 hours and now it’s just working it’s way out of my body.
The awesome thing though, is that years ago this same flu would have wiped me out for at least a week and has even turned into both pneumonia and bronchitis at the same time in the past, with a lingering cough and feeling lousy for a good 3 weeks.
Now, two days later I feel a lot better (I sound like I have a not-so-sexy telephone voice, but I feel tons better.)
So, what does make the difference between someone getting sick and someone not getting sick, or how badly the sickness affects them when they do get sick?
I’m going to share my two cents worth and get a little bit science-y here for a minute….
The reason lies in the strength of the immune system. And the strength of your immune system is largely dependent upon the condition of your digestive system (ongoing STRESS is one way of letting your guard down with your immune system.)
When you are exposed to bad bacteria or viruses, it is up to your immune system to protect you from being infected. If your immune system is strong, your body will fight off the threat. If your immune system is weak or compromised, you may end up sick.
Inside your digestive system are many microbes. Microbes are live organisms that affect your overall health.
Some of these organisms are beneficial and protect you from disease. These good bacteria recognize when illness-producing intruders enter your body; they promptly attack the intruders so you do not get sick.
If you do not have enough good bacteria in your gut, you will be more susceptible not only to infections such as colds and stomach flu, but you will also be at risk for autoimmune diseases such as colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Chron’s disease.
Ideally you have a large supply of these good microbes living in your gut. But they can easily become depleted. If you have recently taken antibiotics, you have had not only the bad bacteria wiped out, but also the good bacteria. Antibiotics are not selective in their destruction.
Antibiotics are not the only way that good bacteria become depleted in your digestive system. The chlorine in your drinking water can destroy them, as can the pesticide residue on the food that you eat.
Once the supply of beneficial microbes in your intestines dwindles, bad microbes such as yeast, fungi and disease-causing bacteria begin to take up residence. When the scale tips in favor of the bad, your immune system becomes compromised.
If you think you might be deficient in good microbes, it is not difficult to remedy the problem. The solution is to take probiotics. Probiotics are good microbes that you can consume in your diet.
They then settle in your digestive system and get to work protecting you from illness and destroying the bad bacteria that may be living there.
Probiotics are available in capsule form, but you can also replenish the good microbes by eating the right kind of yogourt and other foods that contain good microbes (like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir.) Check the label on the yogurt that you buy to make sure it says that it contains active cultures—those are the good bacteria that you need to eat. You also want to make sure it has a low sugar content, otherwise you’re defeating the purpose. Sugar feeds the BAD bacteria.
Take action now and get a head start on this year’s cold and flu season. You can get ahead of the game by improving your gut function and fighting illness.
As I’ve talked about before, you want to be very choosy when buying your supplements because they are NOT all created equal and if you’re not careful, you’ll basically be flushing your money down the toilet because you’re body won’t be able to absorb the benefits due to binders and fillers from poorly made products.
MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE BRAND OF PROBIOTICS:
Genestra HMF (you can find them HERE under “My Dispensary”)
MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE SUPPLEMENTS FOR BOOSTING MY OVERALL IMMUNE SYSTEM ARE:
Vitamin D3 by Pure Encapsulations
Oil of Oregano by CanPrev
Juice Plus 3-blend capsules (kids eat FREE! Let me know if you're interested and I'll set you up.)
Now, as I mentioned above, sugar feeds the bad bacteria. I also know how hard it is to reduce the amount of processed sugar in your diet, because sugar is added to almost EVERYTHING. Even things we wouldn't think it's been added to (read your labels!)
Remember, anything made with white flour TURNS INTO sugar in the body (breads, bagels, muffins, pasta, crackers, cookies, etc.)
Sugar addictions are at an all-time high and because of this and we can get stuck in a vicious cycle very easily of consuming sugar and feeling good, then the resulting energy crash which leads to reaching for more sugar.
I've been through this myself and am now helping others to take back control of their willpower by crushing their cravings for sugars, carbs, caffeine and alcohol (all of which feed the BAD bacteria.)
Grab my FREE 5-DAY SUGAR-FREE CHALLENGE HERE.
Let me know in the comments what you're doing to boost your immune system this Fall!
Until next time,
May Anne xo
As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, May Anne's passion is working with women who have lost themselves in the busyness of life and don't feel comfortable in their skin anymore. She uses a step-by-step program that includes nutrition and lifestyle strategies, along with coaching and support, leading them to feeling vibrant, energetic and confident in their skin, without dieting or spending hours in the kitchen.
Afternoon Energy Crash
Exercise And Diet
Get Back On Track After A Long Weekend
Healthy Weight Loss
Kitchen Cupboard Cleanout
New Years Resolutions
Slim Down Program
Why Hire A Nutritionist