Amid the promise and joy of Christmas season and even starting a New Year, for some there are also underlying stressors effecting health, mood and energy.
Whether it’s working with a chronic illness, demands of caregiving, anxiety, allergies, an overcommitted schedule, or flu prevention season. Stress can take a toll on our immune system.
From a food as medicine perspective there is reason to feel encouraged. Eating well really does equip us to live and feel better.
This Christmas season and into New Years, give yourself the gift of feeling better.
These day to day habits support biochemical pathways that synergistically lessen stress, boost our immunity and promote wellbeing. Many report progress in just a few short weeks of making even a few changes.
~ 7-9 hours of sleep each night - aim for a 10:00 bedtime at the latest.
~ 30-minutes of activity most days. Try a mini trampoline, walk in the park and definitely go dancing!
~ Eating well day to day. Avoid on again, off again, “diets”. Instead, choose balance and moderation, mostly plant foods. Include plenty veggies, along with some beans, peas and lentils, fruit, ocean fish, nuts, seeds, cooking herbs, fermented foods, and whole grains prepared healthfully. Choose foods free of unwanted pesticides, additives and genetically modified organisms to help lessen undue stress on your health. Just as nature intended, you will begin to feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.
~ Gratitude heals. When my Mother taught us to “count our blessings”, she was in fact, in a major way, helping us to cope with stress. According to an article in Psychology Today, genuine feelings of gratitude lead to improvements in emotional and physical health, good sleep and mental strength.
~ Spending time with others improves health. Consider your hobbies and interests and join in with a local group to enjoy them. I know people that are in a quilting group, a cycling group, a dance group, a walking group, a mom’s with children group, a bible study, a ham radio group, a care givers group, the sky is the limit these days on groups that meet up :)
~ Relaxing music can help brighten your mood in minutes. According to an article in The American Music Association, It also helps prevent stress induced anxiety and hypertension. Try singing in the shower, lifts my spirit everytime :)
~ Pray. Larry Dossey in his book Reinventing Medicine highlights studies supporting what many have known… prayer helps physically and emotionally those who pray and those who are prayed for.
~ Laugh often. Laughter lessens stress and the effects of stress hormones. Laughter boosts our immune system by helping immune cells and antibodies that fight infection.
I love the phrase “Good Great Food”, title of one of Julia Rosso’s and Shelia Lukin’s cook books. For me, this means nature’s foods and herbs simply prepared.
Here’s what we know for sure, the raw power of healing nutrients are found in real food and near void in most processed foods. There’s a saying, “we can muck it up for so long then we need to clean it up” :)
All plant foods contain nutrients that support immunity as well as help reduce inflammation, support healthy digestive function and heal illness.
But, these foods are standouts in the world of immunity. Eating well will go along way to minimizing the effects of stress on your health.
Probiotics found in fermented foods
Mushrooms provide spectacular immune help
Wild Fish rich in omega-three amino acids (choose fish low in mercury)
Prebiotics found in fiber rich foods
Holy Basil Tea
A dash of 85% Dark Chocolate :))
Clean filtered water
Busy Day, Help is a call away :)
Picking up healthy meals will help avoid the fast food energy drain.
Carry the phone number of a few places that offer healthier options. Call in your order for pick-up.
A Few Local Options to get you Started:
Luna Grill - Kabobs with plenty veggies
Modern Market - Bowls, Sandwiches, so many choices
Whole Foods - call in to order an organic whole roasted chicken. Pick up a bag of frozen veggies or veggies off the hot bar and you have it, yummy dinner complete with leftover chicken for another day.
Jason’s or Whole Foods Salad Bar - both use organic greens :)) Whole foods also uses several organic veggies.
So Good! Recipe for Healing Immune Broth
From Rebecca Katz, culinary guru and author.
This recipe is by one of my all time favorite culinary guru’s Rebecca Katz.
I recommend we all make an extra batch to freeze or give to someone in need.
Tip: Whole Foods Market has burdock root, fennel, shiitake mushrooms and dried kombu seaweed.
Makes about 4 quarts | prep time: 15 minutes | cook time: 90 minutes
Whether you’re under the weather or just looking for an immunity boost, this is a great go-to broth.
Here I introduce you to burdock root. It’s loaded with potassium, iron, magnesium, and ever-important zinc. In the olden days, physicians used burdock root as a blood purifier, and clearly science has shown they were onto something.
Here I combine burdock with shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and garlic to create a delicious earthy broth that’s full of antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory goodness.
1 fennel bulb plus stalks, cut into chunks
1 unpeeled yellow onion, quartered
3 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
½ bunch celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
1 sweet potato, cut into chunks
½ large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 (3-inch) piece burdock root, quartered crosswise
6 sprigs fresh thyme
6 large unpeeled cloves garlic, halved
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
1 (8-inch) strip kombu
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 quarts cold, filtered water, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more if needed
Rinse all of the vegetables well, including the Kombu.
In a 6-quart or larger stockpot, combine the fennel, onion, carrots, celery, sweet potato, parsley, shiitakes, burdock root, thyme, garlic, ginger, kombu, peppercorns, and bay leaf.
Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for at least 90 minutes, or until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted.
As the broth simmers, some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out.
Strain the broth through a large, coarse-mesh sieve (use a heat-resistant container underneath).
Stir in the salt, adding more to taste if desired. Let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Variation: For an extra immunity and anti-inflammatory boost, add 3 (1-inch) slices of fresh turmeric root or 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Despite our best efforts sometimes we just don’t get in the recommended 8 - 10 servings of produce/plant foods per day.
A good qaulity multivitamin may be recommended to help ensure nutrient adequacy.
We know for example that many nutrients including Vitamin A, C, D, E, the B’s, omega-three fatty acids, minerals such as zinc and protein play an essential role in immunity.
When even one key nutrient is deficient, overtime, our immune system can become compromised and unable to defend against illness or effects of stressful challenges.
Identifying nutrients that are deficient enables a better defined program for personal health.
Many clients benefit from the Spectracell Micronutrient Test that I work with. To read more: https://www.spectracell.com/patients/patient-micronutrient-testing/
To comment or learn more about this article or my practice please contact me at 817-868-9388 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to Good Great Food, Gratefulness, Hope and Joy, Debra
May every heart prepare Him room.