Q: Hi Nicole,
I have a personal problem… Of course everyone around me is sick right now, and I keep fighting off sickness myself. My main recurring problem, is that sickness always seems to go straight to my chest/lungs. I’m not sure why? It’s awful though. Maybe it has something to do with my lung development as I was extremely premature… Who knows?
What are some ways to really boost my immune system?
A: I, too, used to get the same kinds of “bugs” that most people suffer with especially this time of year. I remember my first year at UT when my parents came to pick me up and drive me home to Fort Worth for Thanksgiving. I had a sore throat and cough for about a week, which I did not go to the health clinic to treat. By the time my dad showed up, I had totally lost my voice, was sweating profusely, pale, and listless. We drove home, and he said, “Enough of this. Get to the doctor and get some medicine.” I went; and of course, with the help of antibiotics and cough syrup I felt fine the next day.
Unfortunately, what you don’t feel after taking antibiotics and cough syrup is what it is doing to your insides! After years and years (maybe 20 in all before I stopped needing antibiotics), my immune system started taking the toll big time. How it showed up? My skin. My energy. My digestion. No good.
…and of course the same annual illnesses…the flus, colds, allergies, etc.
In life, you have 2 choices.
1. You keep doing the same things.
2. You do something different.
If you want a different result, you HAVE to do something different. Change is scary and bold, but it is necessary if you want a new result.
Now – I don’t get sick. It’s been a process of learning, and I will share what I have learned about immunity:
1. Western medicines are chemical in nature, and as such, should be used only if necessary because they have serious side-effects on your body. For me, “necessary” would mean I have exhausted every other option: herbal medicines, experts in all fields: acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, essential oils, (and maybe even my psychic!) and I was still extremely ill.
2. Stress is a killer. In the past few years, if I do get sick it’s always because I have worn myself down and not rested enough. When we moved into our house in 2008, I completed the move out of our apartment all by myself, including the cleaning. I was rushed, stressed, and exhausted. And then I got sick. Lesson learned.
3. Food is medicine. What you are eating (or not eating) will directly impact your life. The wrong foods can give you arthritis, fatigue, digestive problems, hormone imbalances, etc. Not enough of the right foods can give you these same problems. There is no exact right diet for everyone; it’s something you have to experiment with and find what works for you. For me, I get cravings…and I listen to them. I don’t typically crave things like candy, chocolate (sometimes, though!), or chips, but I crave things like a juicy steak, a fresh salad, luscious soup, or sweet potatoes. Your body wants to eat healthy foods and if you learn to listen to her wisdom better, you will hear those healthy cravings too.
4. Take your vitamins. I used to not “believe” in vitamins. Then I got pregnant. I was exhausted and very emotional. Of course, we’re told that’s “normal” for pregnancy, but I think that’s a bunch of BS. Those are signs of a vitamin deficiency. My midwife suggested that I was slightly anemic, so I started taking Standard Process’ Ferrofood (double dosage) and literally by the next day, I felt fine.
The next time you feel like you’re coming down with something, take a moment to think about what you’ve been doing or not doing up until then that may have led to the illness. Then, stay calm, drink some peppermint or ginger tea, have a hot bath, and get some rest. If you are not better in the morning, call your herbalist / homeopath / acupuncturist / massage therapist / etc.
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