I keep reading updates on the pandemic from mainstream media but every time I do, I end up asking “But where is the conversation on keeping ourselves healthy to help fight the virus to begin with? “
We don’t grow 80% of our own food for fun. It’s hard work, it’s chaos by times, we are constantly going against convenience culture, a lot of people really don’t get why we do it, and it’s not very clean: There’s animal manure involved usually.
Well, not only is agriculture in my DNA so I couldn’t stop it if I tried, it is scientifically proven that vegetables and fruits grown by yourself( there’s a wellness aspect there), in healthy soil full of biomes and micronutrients, have more nutritional density and value. The homegrown food is better for your physical and mental health.
The better food you eat, the better your gut health. Your gut contains bacteria and the more good bacteria you have, the more chance you have of fighting off any bad bacteria that cause illness. The less illnesses you have the healthier your body systems run, so the less chance disease has to set in to those organs and systems.
That’s a simple way to explain the absolute miracle of how our body was built to naturally fight off bad bacteria (which is everywhere) and give our immune system a workout which keeps it in tip top shape.
But some of our deficiencies in gut health we have caused ourselves. In a world where antibiotic resistance is very real, from the over prescription of antibiotics searching for a cure for our ailments, health professionals say the cause lays in our SAD (Standard American Diet-very much alive in Canada, despite the name) or WPD (Western Pattern Diet).
Some people develop or are born with illnesses and diseases which are genetic in origin, develop with age and need to be managed, and diet management is often a big part of treatment. As well as medications to provide what their bodies cannot. My heart goes out to these people during this pandemic.
I’m not getting into what everyone thinks of the pandemic. Regardless of where you and I stand on precautions, causes, reactions, actions etc (and I love a healthy debate ) you will not convince someone over the internet, who doesn’t think like you or have your experiences or values, that you are right about an issue. Period.
So really, I just want to have a conversation on our personal immune systems. A conversation about the things we are doing, and things my family and I want to do more of. This is from a place of service and a place of growth for myself. And if it helps someone else kick themselves into action for responsibility for their health, fantastic. When you write it down, it gets real.
So boosting our immune systems when there is enormous convenience culture and the inconvenience of effort? We can do it but it’s work.
10. Eat more whole foods. -keep 80 % of our food in natural form. Just as if it was just picked or harvested. We do well with this at meal times as we eat fresh from our garden from May-October and preserve a lot for the winter. What we need to work on is snacks. Overall, it doesn’t help to be too dogmatic or absolute with food. We aim for 80/20 with an eye out for when we start to slide. Did we have a poutine at the hockey game the other evening? For sure. It was a treat and we haven’t been to a game all year. The funny thing is, the better you eat -the more processed food doesn’t taste good anymore.
9. Get plenty of sleep. You get run down, you get sick. Every September ,ironically, when the harvest and the farm are at its busiest, kids are starting school and my mind has trouble shutting down even though I am physically bone tired, I feel myself coming down with something. This year, along with making sure I read before bed, I boosted my diet with raw honey, and echinacea tea which seems to help.
8. Stay grounded. Plant something so you touch the dirt. It can be edible, which is great, or just for beauty. There is a quietness in the soul and body systems when you touch the earth. I do it often but still could do it more.
7. Grow your own foods. It tastes better. As I wrote earlier, dirt is so good for your gut health. Even if it’s just one thing. That is how we start, and everyone started somewhere. Herbs on the windowsill or pea-shoots is a great winter one.
6. Ditch white sugar. I have such a sweet tooth! (I blame my grandmothers-they were amazing dessert bakers) This has been harder for us as I love to bake, but I have switched out to organic cane sugar, honey and maple syrup as sweeteners for the most part .
*we are not wealthy. Yes honey costs more than white sugar however I have noticed we use way less sweeteners and the food is much more satisfying.
5. Eat something fermented every day- vegetables, sourdough breads, sauerkraut, kimchi, barrel pickles, kombucha. These contain natural probiotics from the fermentation process. I fermented a lot more this year but still need to learn more.
4. We are what we surround ourselves with- yes, social media feed, this means you! Set rules so you don’t mindlessly scroll. Unfollow anything that causes us to clench our jaw (hello mask debates), hurts our stomach, makes us feel less than enough. Let’s surround ourselves with inspiration to be a better human. And if we are already stressed out, avoid it like the plague. When we have the wrong kind of stress over long periods of time, our immune systems suffer.
3. Raw milk- DISCLAIMER ahead. I am not telling you to drink it (I could get sued for that believe it or not) but I’m telling you what we do to boost our immune systems. We drink raw cows milk for gut health. I grew up on it, and pasteurized milk from the store hurts our bellies. I know the risks, and accept the benefits as far outweighing them. Educate yourself and make a choice that works for you.
2. Get outside and take deep breaths. We need to get up and move our bodies every 20 minutes, it’s a natural biorhythm and fact is, not many viruses survive outside.
1. Hugs and laughter – yes, we will have to touch germ-y people to hug. And maybe only hug people in our bubble to avoid getting arrested. Give those immune systems a workout -laugh and hug and feel the endorphins flood our body, making all those body systems so happy to be alive.
Because we ARE happy to be alive, aren’t we ??
When I started writing this, I thought I would struggle listing ten, but felt so compelled to have this conversation. I could have easily kept going!
Let’s be strong so we don’t have to be so fearful.
Love, Jenn xx