"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -Hippocrates
We've become a culture with so many health problems and illnesses, that people seem to just be used to getting sick. Vaccination signs are everywhere. Prescription drug commercials fill our TV screens and radio waves. And there are multiple brands of any kind of over-the-counter drug you could ever need or want and they all claim to fix whatever ails you.
So, with all of these ways of "fixing" sickness, why the heck is our society still so sick?!?!
In our house, we've decided to take a different approach to staying healthy. We spend so much time as a society trying to kill germs, but what if we instead spent all that time on just building up our immune systems to be able to fight off those germs? I believe that our bodies were created to heal themselves; they just need the right fuel. This is where food comes in.
About a year and half ago, Dan and I started doing some research on the food that feeds us. We started learning all about conventional produce, conventional meat/dairy, and GMO's. What we learned set us down a path of finding better food. As we've slowly transitioned to a mostly organic, grass-fed, and local diet, we've noticed that overall, we've been a lot healthier! It has now been a year and half since I've been sick with any sort of cold, flu, or bug. I've had a day here or there when I've felt a bit run-down or a little scratchiness in my throat, but my body has been able to kick it by the next day. Dan has had a similar experience. He's had one or two colds over the past year, but they've been short and rather insignificant compared to the full on sicknesses we were both used to dealing with once or twice each year in the past.
So, what has changed?! I've always been one to cook mostly whole foods, mostly from scratch. I grew up with food like that and I've always been a bit turned off by anything that comes in a box. So, with that being said, the types of foods I'm buying has not really changed, but the quality of that food has.
We've also learned multiple ways to give our immune systems an extra boost when we feel that our bodies need it. So, now that the cold and flu season is quickly approaching, I thought I'd share some of the things we do to stay healthy in our house. I'll briefly highlight those things today and then share more in-depth about them over the weeks to come.
- We eat good, whole foods. There is so much to say about this (and I will definitely do so later), but for now, if you haven't done any research on the benefits of whole foods, organic produce, grass-fed meat and dairy, and the potential/unknown dangers of GMO's, then I highly encourage you to do so. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to these matters. Take responsibility for what goes in your mouth and do some research! The bottom line is that we are what our food eats. In the U.S., if we eat a conventional diet (with conventionally grown produced, conventionally raised meat/dairy, and highly processed foods) we are eating a diet filled with GMO corn and soybeans. I'm not going to take the time now to fill this post with references and links, but stay tuned (or do some research), because there is so much to know and learn about this topic.
- We are active people. We are not exercisers. We literally don't exercise. I'm in no way promoting a non-exercising lifestyle, as I do realize the great benefits of exercising. However, I'm also not saying that we are couch potatoes. Rather, both Dan and I work jobs where we are on our feet and moving around for a large majority of the day, and when we're not working, Dan's often out hunting, fishing, or working outside. While I'm often moving around the house or yard working as well. We stay busy and we keep moving. We also are outside all of the time--even in the dead of winter. I think this is a big factor in keeping us healthy. We get fresh air and sunshine (whatever there is of it) almost everyday.
- We try to get good sleep on a regular basis. Sleep plays such an important role in helping our bodies heal themselves. However, we live in an over-worked and overly-tired society. It can be hard to get good sleep. And on top of that, we are also an overly-caffinated and overly-sugared society that struggles with sleeping problems. In our house, sleep is important. We are by no means great at this, but it's something that is often on our minds and in our conversations as we find ourselves feeling run-down and over-worked. When we feel those first scratches of sickness in our throats, we make sure we do what we need to do to get ourselves to bed early for a long, good night's sleep. It's amazing how effective good sleep can be.
- We take large doses of vitamin C when we're feeling run-down. While most of us know that vitamin C is good for the immune system, it's power is sometimes overlooked or forgotten. We have a vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea supplement that we take on a fairly regular basis. However, when we feel like our bodies are run-down or fighting something, we take double, triple, or quadruple the regular amount. Now, I am not a doctor, and I'm not in any way saying that you should do this, but this is what we do and we've seen great results. We've gone to bed feeling like we're on the verge of a nasty cold, taken vitamin C, and then woken up in the morning feeling as good as new. Do your research and find a vitamin C supplement that is well-reviewed. We use Melaleuca's immune system support supplement and have been very happy with it. If you want to know more about Melaleuca and their products, send me a note and I'll get you that info.
- We start fighting colds as soon as we feel them coming on. Whenever we get those initial cold symptoms (a little scratchiness, a runny nose, a tired body) we our bodies the fuel it needs to fight back. Homemade bone broth is one of the ways that we fight back. It's packed full of good things that help our bodies heal. Another remedy we use is to make ginger/lemon tea. I chop up fresh ginger and put it into a tea strainer. Then I pour boiling water over it and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Squeeze in a bit of fresh lemon juice and add local raw honey to taste. Ginger, lemon, and raw honey are each so good for you and the three combined with hot water often takes care of any cold symptoms we may be facing.
Now, we are by no means perfectly healthy people all of the time, but since we've started viewing food differently, we noticed great improvements in our overall health. We don't spend time being sick--which gives us much more time to just enjoy living life, which is a much better way to live. Wouldn't you agree??