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Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food

16 Ways to Avoid Flu and Colds this Holiday Season & Through the Winter Months

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Winter is here, and if you get sick a lot this time of year, there are many natural ways you can improve your body’s ability to stay healthy – especially with the foods you eat and lifestyle you maintain.

Many people believe that hand-washing is one of the best ways to keep illnesses away. In the last two decades we’ve seen a huge increase of the use of anti-bacterial substances which are supposed to keep our bodies healthier. But actually, these substances are toxic and don’t help our bodies to maintain health. They wipe out all bacteria, and our bodies need good bacteria to function optimally.

There are also many other factors which come into play toward keeping healthy. If your body doesn’t have the right nutrients every day – especially during times of stress, when you consume processed foods and especially those with sugar, exposure to illness from others, and days where sunlight is in short supply – your body will weaken and succumb to sickness and disease.

Whether you are a person who tends to catch every cold or flu that comes along or you just get sick once in awhile, here are some tips that really work for keeping away bacteria, illnesses, and viruses:

  • Avoid eating processed foods and refined sugars   Fall and winter months are times when people tend to eat more sugary and processed foods due to holiday activities and gatherings. Sugar is a poison to your body and lowers immune system function. This includes foods such as crackers, chips, most breads, bagels, pastas, cookies, desserts, candy, juice, soda pop, and other related items. All of these items contribute to lowered immune system function and poor health. A good rule of thumb to follow – if it is not a whole food, avoid eating it regularly. Load up on real, raw, whole foods for snacks and meals alike.
  • Consume plenty of healthy oils and fats   Real, organic butter (grass-fed and raw is a plus), ghee, extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oils, coconut oils, sustainably-produced palm oil, and healthy animal fats from organic, grass-fed sources such as lard, chicken, duck, or goose fat, tallow (from beef), and drippings from those same types of animal meats. Avoid vegetable oils and trans fats including vegetable shortening, margarine and fake butter spreads, soybean, cottonseed, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and peanut oil, which are rancid, contain too many Omega 6s, and have inflammatory and hormonal disrupting properties. These foods are often from genetically-modified sources which are hazardous to health. Read about why GMOs are harmful here.
  • Be certain to obtain essential fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in your diet Take fish oil daily (good source of Vitamin D), eat grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, raw dairy, and safe-source fish. Green Pasture Products sells the only fermented cod liver oil in the world and is the best source for fish oil nutrients like Omega 3s, Vitamins A & D, and other trace nutrients. Good sources of other EFAs include healthy oils like cold-pressed organic flax seed oil and coconut oil. A good brand is Udo’s Organic 3-6-9.  Read this FAQ about why we need good essential fatty acid support for health.
  • Continue to eat plenty of organic, GMO-free and pesticide-free fresh fruits and vegetables   Especially those in season in your local area. Vegetables and fruits are high in nutrients and antioxidants which help thwart the development of disease and illness when properly prepared such as cultured or eaten with healthy fats like butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, or olive oil.
  • Drink mineral water or add liquid minerals or fulvic acid   There is some controversy about whether filtered water with added minerals is actually healthy for us to drink because it’s not much different than a lot of processed foods which have been stripped of nutrients and have synthetic added back in. Avoid plastic containers, tap water, and bottled water. Tap water contains toxins and plastic contains pthalates – both of which supress immune system and health.  Two other great ways to get minerals is to drink nettles infusions (made with filtered water) or add real sea salt to water and drink throughout the day. Good salt brands include Premier Pink Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, Maine Sea Salt, and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. Lack of minerals is one of the leading causes of illness and disease.
  • Drink bone broths and incorporate them into your meals as well    Bone broths made from the bones of healthy animals and birds on pasture are full of easily-digested and essential nutrients which can help your body stay healthy such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, amino acids, and glucosamine (for bone health), and gelatin (muscles, metabolism, weight, skin, digestion, hair, fingernails, joint health). Read this post for more information on health benefits and recipes for making your own bone broths at home.
  • Eat real, fermented foods like home-made yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut Making your own at home is best for optimal preservation of nutrients and beneficial bacteria, as well as immune supporting and digestive enhancing. Commercial yogurts, sour cream, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and other foods do not have the health benefits or probiotic activity of home-made cultured foods. See this post for more information.
  • Be certain to take a good probiotic each day – especially if you are lacking fermented foods Good brands include Biotics ResearchNature’s Life liquid probiotics (great for kids), Bio Kult, and Prescript-Assist for especially low immune function. Also, try the great recommendations by Rockwell Nutrition including a great line of HLC Probiotics by Pharmax.
  • Use digestive enyzmes If you have maintained the Standard American Diet at any time in your life, your digestion is likely compromised.  Altered digestive function is one of the cornerstones of disease and illness. Digestive enzymes can help you to digest foods – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. I use Enzyme Formulations, live enzymes with healing herbals, or try Dr. Ron Schmid’s Pancreatic enzymes.
  • Watch intake of alcoholic beverages, which tend to increase during holiday months     Drinking excess alcohol can have adverse affects on appetite, blood sugar, blood pressure and cardiovascular function, metabolic processes, and weight. If you are a binge drinker during special occasions, cut yourself off after two drinks and make certain you are eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water at the same time. Consider unpasteurized beer and wine.
  • Make sure you are getting adequate rest and not overextending yourself    If necessary, say no to extra tasks that you know you really won’t have time or energy to accomplish. Stay home on a night where you might normally go out and rest, relax, catch up, and go to bed early. Go to bed by 10 p.m.
  • Set aside time for some regular exercise, preferably outdoors   In the colder months people tend to go to health clubs more. Many more toxins lurk indoors during colder months, so bundle up and go for a walk, hike, or bike ride. You’ll be pleased with how exhilarated you feel afterward. If you are a winter sport enthusiast, get out on the slopes and go skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding. If you are an equine enthusiast, make time to get out on your horse or a friend’s mount during weather that is not icy.
  • Set aside time for contemplation, stress reduction, and relaxation   Whether that is a hot bath, a massage, tai chi, yoga, stretching, meditation or some other method you prefer, make sure you give yourself this time to recharge.
  • If you do get sick, load up on probiotics, foods with healthy fats, and everything else mentioned above   Take time to pamper yourself (but not with toxic products that contain harmful chemicals – remember -read labels and if you cannot pronounce something or don’t know what it is, avoid!), rest, and put off things that aren’t necessary so you can get back to a state of health quicker and easier.  Read this informative post about my home medicine cabinet and things you can do to remedy illness and other health issues.
  • Avoid taking pharmaceutical drugs and antibiotics   These substances rarely help your body to heal sooner, are over-prescribed, and actually cause nutrient depletion and lowered immune system function by wiping out friendly bacteria that is vital to health. For information on nutrient depletion caused by drugs, read Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition by Dr. Hyla Cass, M.D.
  • If you cannot shake a cold, flu, or illness, consider visiting an alternative health care practitioner such as  a chiropractor, naturopathic physician, or other qualified individual  These practitioners are often very successful in alleviating health issues and perform treatment based on the cause of the problem rather than just treating symptoms.

If you maintain a good schedule of eating healthy, avoiding processed foods and beverages, take proper supplementation, obtain moderate activity, exercise, rest, and relaxation, you will notice an enormous improvement in the way your health responds. You will have more energy, feel more productive, and avoid catching flus and colds.

This post is part of Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday blog hop.

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Healthy Meat Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

Prevention – Could This Be An Answer to Our Health Care Woes?

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Do you want change in our health care system? If so, it is critical to start thinking about health care change in the form of preventative action rather than remaining with the Status Quo.

Our current health care system relies too heavily on reactionary treatments that wait until the problem is acute (and sometimes too late) instead of emphasis on changes in lifestyle that would support a preventative system and better health.

When people get sick, what do they do? The normal course is to make an appointment to see the doctor, and get a prescription for medication or antibiotics. It’s less common to hear of someone treating their ailment or disease at home, with real food and natural remedies.

Why is this the case? Our system is built upon the premise that a doctor who gives you medication will be able to “cure” your disease.  But is this really true?  How often do you hear your doctor talking about real food or natural remedies as a treatment for your health problem? The answer is, you won’t hear this as an emphasized way to improve your health because if you were making less trips to the doctor, soon you would start to see a lot of doctors closing their doors.

The medical system as a whole has made consumers feel powerless to take charge of their own health. As a culture, we believe as though we couldn’t possibly have any of our own answers about why our bodies get sick and that we should rely upon treatment by a licensed medical doctor to get well, or we will continue to stay sick. And yet, in our developed nation where we have the “best health care system” available and the “safest food system in the world”, we are still seeing record numbers of disease and illness, and it’s continuing to rise.

As one example, just look at the statistics on the steady rise in obesity in the United States since 1989 – the numbers are staggering.  Heart disease, cancer, auto-immune disease, and other health problems are also increasing at staggering rates. If our current system was effective, wouldn’t these numbers be going down?

How is prevention different than our current system? Let’s take a look:

  • Prevention assumes that everything you do affects your health, which it does. It comes from a holistic approach, rather than than a compartmentalized view taken by allopathic medicine. In other words, allopathic medicine waits until the problem is noticed by the patient and then treats symptoms, not causes. Preventative medicine knows that every day counts in making your health optimal. It considers diet, stress, sleep, physical, spiritual, and emotional needs.
  • Preventative measures are ongoing. They are continual in nature, whereas allopathic treatments are used only when there is a symptom occurring. Many people have health issues and aren’t even aware of it. It can take days, weeks, or years sometimes to notice negative effects of poor lifestyle habits. That is why preventative medicine is so important.
  • Preventative medicine does just what its name implies – it prevents issues from occurring before it happens or lessens the severity of a problem because action is constantly being taken. Allopathic or reactionary medicine doesn’t prevent anything except the body’s reaction to poor lifestyle, and then can cause or exacerbate other issues in the body because everything is connected. Our organ systems are not isolated from one another and when one system is compromised, it puts a strain on the others.
  • The cost of preventative health care is paid incrementally and falls under a “cost of living” item, and is much less compared to costly intervention recommended by allopathic treatment after a condition has gone on for a long period of time.

Political leaders, CEOs of agricultural and food corporations, the government and leaders in health continually praise our food system. They claim that it is the “safest in the world”. In 2007, President Obama talked about how we spend less than 4 cents of every health care dollar on preventative care. The U.S. Preventative Medicine organization praised his appeal for modernizing health care by investing in prevention. But is he just giving lip service?

The main point here is, it doesn’t seem to matter who’s been in the oval office, the correct approach to health is ceasing to be employed. Our health care system needs a recognizable preventative component. We need to see some results from the money we pour into the health care system – not higher numbers of disease and illness.

We need action and leaders who will deliver!

The time has come to address this issue and put pressure on government and health decision-makers about creating a health care system that values and utilizes preventative care for citizens of our country. As long we as rely on pharmaceutical and allopathic care for the primary treatment of health issues and undervalue the importance of lifestyle changes that really work, we will continue to see a rapid decline in the health state of all people, everywhere.

Write letters to your congressmen and women, and to the president expressing how important preventative care in our health care system is to you.

Grassroots are the key to change

It sometimes seems as though the government and legislation will never listen to our concerns. So even though it is important to become active in the larger, political sphere, it’s even more critical to become involved locally wherever you can. Become an activist and make waves in your local community, or run for office. Start a blog and get involved on message boards and social network sites where you can make your voice heard. The only way we will see change in our current system is from people who get involved and want action.

Any prevention plan that works will include eating diet of whole foods and encourages you to avoid processed foods. That means, literally, foods that are as close to nature as possible. If our ancestors didn’t eat it, it’s probably not healthy to consume.

If you have been noticing the proliferation of food recalls in the news lately, it’s because our food system is one of the most dangerous in the world – a system relying upon automation, heat treating, irradiation, pasteurization, genetic modification, and use of dangerous chemicals and other toxins to produce it. If the situation with our industrialized food system doesn’t change, things will only get worse.

That’s one reason why we are seeing disease and illness in such numbers – because of the consumption of processed foods like grains, corn, nuts, soy, pasteurized dairy products, and meats and meat products laden with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and are from animals on feedlots.

To learn more about the health benefits of raw dairy, read The Truth About Raw Milk, Part I and Part II. To learn more about the benefits of meats and meat products that come from animals on pasture, read Whole and Healthy Meat…Does It Really Exist?

For the past 50 plus years, common medical rhetoric tells us to avoid foods with fat and cholesterol – but in doing so, we’ve caused many of the very debilitating diseases and conditions which have become so chronic in our culture. To learn more about which fats are healthier to consume, read Which Is Better For You – Polyunsaturated or Saturated Fats? 

There are many courageous health care practitioners and doctors who are now coming forward and telling the truth about how important fat is to our health and how we’ve been lied to about this for decades and decades. 

Enjoy Eating Saturated Fats, They’re Good for You- video, Dr. Donald W. Miller, M.D.

Heart Surgeon Speaks Out on What Really Causes Heart Disease – Dr. Dwight Lundell, M.D.

Dutch Get it Right and Recognize Saturated Fat Is Not A Problem – Dr. Joseph Mercola

Although a preventative lifestyle will not grant anyone perfect health, it will certainly go a long way toward preventing degenerative disease and illness. A return to traditional, whole foods is the only diet philosophy which supports a truly preventative way of looking at health.

Want to know more about why our current food system is making us sick? Is Cheap Food Really Cheap? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food

Want more information about healthy foods? Read How Well Do You Know Your Food? Find Out!

Want more information about natural remedies? My Home Medicine Cabinet – What  I Use To Remedy Ailments

For more information about how the role of traditional diets prevents disease, visit the Weston A. Price Foundation.