This is not about the coronavirus. However, with the news and our social media feeds getting clogged with fearfulness driving the need to protect ourselves, I decided to write a bit about what we do at our home. These are five simple guidelines to holistically create vitality and immune support.
First of all, we do not wait until we are getting sick or until it’s ‘pandemic virus season’ to start working on our immune system’s health. That’s like cramming for a test the night before without ever reading the material. These are practices that we should ALL be implementing in our lives ALL THE TIME. It’s not hard-don’t worry. But this is why I am not afraid of the next Big Thing.
- Nourishing herbal and bone broth. My family goes through about a gallon or two of broth a week. I will be creating a simple tutorial VERY SOON on how I create my broth, but you can also search the internet.
I use immunomodulating herbs (tonic herbs that provide a slower, sustained effect-they either augment or dampen the immune response), mushrooms, veggies, and then good quality neck and marrow bones or chicken carcasses to make my broths. Not only are we adding gently supportive herbs, mushrooms full of polysaccharides (which communicate with the immune system on a gastric level), we are extracting the minerals, collagen, gelatin, and other beneficial constituents from the bones to support and heal our digestive system~which is where 80% of our immunity lies. We can either simply drink a mug of broth (yes, it tastes good) or use it to prepare our meals-soups, stews, sauces-use it anywhere you would typically use water or store bought broth or stock for cooking.
- Use tonic herbs daily. This requires a little more nuance and perhaps a bit of digging. First you want to identify where you tend to have weakness. Maybe you tend to have lymphatic stagnation, or you need extra support in your respiratory system. Perhaps you are always run down and need a bit of adrenal support. These tonic herbs are safe for every day use and promote longevity, vitality, and support specific organ systems. For example-burdock root for liver and kidneys, cleavers for lymphatic, milky oats for nervous system, and mullein or licorice root for the respiratory system. If you need more guidance here-you can schedule a free 20 minute phone consultation.
- Include these basic nutritional components to your diet: organic whole foods, dark leafy greens, bitter herbs, berries, omega 3 fatty acids, cultured foods, and prebiotic foods (foods that FEED beneficial bacteria). I also make sure whenever I can to cook with herbs and use fresh herbs often: in spice blends, smoothies, salads, soups, etc. You may not think that a pinch of basil in your tomato sauce will provide much support, and you would be right if you only added a teaspoon to some sauce and that was all you did. But, what if in addition to that teaspoon of basil you added fresh dandelion leaves to your salad, and chickweed to your smoothie, and cinnamon to your chamomile tea, and sprinkled turmeric on your eggs, and added astragalus and shiitake mushrooms to your soup. Look at all those herbs you’ve consumed in one day! Kami McBride’s The Herbal Kitchen (affiliate link) is a comprehensive guide to incorporating herbs into your daily life. I used this book to create a workshop here locally and it was totally amazing.
- Supplements. I’m not a huge supplement fan. Like at all. But I am starting to recognize that there are a few things that we should probably consider adding to our daily regimen if we aren’t 100% sure we can get them through food sources: magnesium, vitamin d (make sure you get d3/k2 for reasons I’m still working out but part of it is to guide your calcium to your bones and away from your soft tissues like blood vessels and kidneys), and vitamin c. We personally use sodium ascorbate crystals-but not daily-just at the start of illness and through the duration.
- Lifestyle Medicine. When I talk about lifestyle medicine, I am speaking of things that you do outside of nutrition, and augmenting with supplements and herbs. So this is where movement, getting outside and exposure to sun, proper sleep (remove those screens from your bedroom and turn down the temperature), mitigate stress (super easy, right?), reignite your relationships and friendships, and don’t be afraid. Be prudent. Don’t be reckless, obviously-but avoid your triggers.
While this is not the end all of what we need to do to ensure we stay healthy-and nothing is guaranteed, these 5 steps should create a pathway to encouraging your body’s journey to a strong and supported immune system.
*This article is for educational purposes only and is not to replace a physician’s advice. With everything you do, please research for deeper information. Your health is your own responsibility. Take it back.