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.
Microbes: the good, the bad, and the ugly
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.
(As part of my healthy community, you have access to practitioner-grade, safe supplements delivered straight to your door, at special pricing through FULLSCRIPT. Simply click on the image below, create an account and search for products or click on "My Dispensary" on the left for my personal favourites.)
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
May Anne Jordens-LaFlamme is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and the owner of "Wellness with May Anne." She is passionate about helping women look and feel their best, so they can live a more fulfilling life - without dieting, deprivation, relying on willpower or cooking separate meals for the family.