Your health is a pure reflection of what is going on inside your body, mind and soul. Physical health is one of the most important things you can invest in, especially during the fall and winter months on the Northern Hemisphere. If you’re anything like how I used to be, you’d put off going to the doctors for your annual check up or avoid taking any real preventative measures for boosting your health and immunity. Depending on how you grew up and where your parents landed on the socioeconomic scale, doctor visits and health insurance may seem like a simple necessity or a huge luxury. In my world, I was so used to compiling a list of things I “couldn’t afford”, that I ended up making myself even more sick and miserable, year after year.
Your Health is an Investment, Not an Expense
Somewhere down the line, we became disconnected from our bodies. We stopped eating whole foods full of nutrients and vitamins. We substituted exercise and moving in the fresh air to globo-gyms with recycled air and repetitive, aggressive movements. We forgot about the mantras, the chants, the medicine of song and dance. Many of us find ourselves in the cycle of feeling stressed, tired, overweight, unhappy, unsatisfied, and bored. This is not how we were meant to live. We aren’t supposed to strictly “survive” our day-to-day, we’re meant to thrive.
When we find ourselves in a cycle similar to what I mentioned above, it’s easy for us to find reasons why we won’t be able to get out of said cycle. We blame genetics, our lack of income to see a doctor or pay for the expensive supplements all the health gurus tell us we need. We tell ourselves the story we don’t have the time, the money, the support- the list goes on. But here’s the solid truth that no one has dared to say because quite frankly, it isn’t sexy and it isn’t profitable- You aren’t making your health and well-being a priority. Period. This usually comes from a lack of value systems and understanding our self-worth. I’m going to tell you RIGHT NOW, you are SO worth investing in, and your HEALTH is so worth the investment.
How do we go from a “lack-mentality” in our consciousness to an “abundance mentality”? Changing our inner dialogue from “I can’t afford this” to “I deserve this” is one of the easiest steps to take, and it doesn’t cost you anything. My twenties pretty much consisted of avoiding doctor visits, and doing my best not to end up in a hospital because I didn’t have health insurance. I looked at anything outside the realm of going to the gym as a luxury I just simply couldn’t afford. I was viewing these outside sources as unnecessary expenses, not an investment for my future self and my health.
Protect Your Health During, “Flu Season”
Hmm.. Why the quotation marks, you ask? Because the, “Flu Season” isn’t a thing. As a collective, many people come down with the flu during the fall and winter months especially because of the inability for our bodies to adapt to decrease sun exposure. Mix this with stress for end of the year holidays, shuttling the kids back and forth to their practices and training, less water intake and usually more alcohol intake, and let’s not forget the extra sugary snacks, artificial holiday drinks, and an increase in heavy “comfort” food. It’s a recipe for disaster. We create internal chaos for our system, our immunity levels are super low, and we catch the flu of the week.
Want some immunity-boosting tips for the Fall? Listen to, “Welcoming the Fall Equinox” podcast with Erin Oberlander for some practical tips and advice for thriving during the fall and winter months.
How can we support our bodies and our immune system in the most ethical and economic ways? Below is a list of a few natural remedies that are super worth the once-in-a-while splurge and investment, as well as practical tips you can incorporate in your daily practice that will help boost your immunity and protect your health.
Holistic Practices That Are Worth The Investment
High Quality Probiotics
I know. Five or six years ago if you told me I’d be buying $65 dollar bottles of probiotics I would have laughed and said, “yah, sure bro.” I also at the point had not experienced dengue in the midst of the jungles in Mexico. Want to know one of the main things that got me out of that horrible, less than desirable experience? Probiotics. Of course, high quality doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be expensive. And what works for me may not work for you. We all have different genetics, and have gone through different traumas in our lives. For me, I had constant ulcers and stomach problems as a child all the way through my teenage years. I was a nervous, stressed out, introverted being and I did absolutely nothing for probably 25 years to address my gut-health.
What Are Probiotics? Probiotics are live bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to fight off infection and absorb proper nutrients. According to a study in 2016, it was found that our bodies contain almost the same amount of bacteria in our gut as it does for cells in our entire body. This really puts into perspective how important our gut health is.
Why Should I Invest in Probiotics for My Health? Having healthy amounts of good gut-bacteria is extremely beneficial for your health. It’s responsible for creating enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria. Good gut-bacteria is responsible for producing vitamin B12 and vitamin K2. Vitamin k2 helps activate certain proteins that play a role in calcium metabolism, heart health, and blood clotting. In 2015, a study revealed the direct link to the “gut-brain connection” and notes the complex dance that happens within our gut and brain. Some early research suggests a link to aiding in our mental health with the use of good quality probiotics.
Which Probiotics are Best For Me?
This is very dependent on you, your body, and what it needs. I always suggest to get the real deal before spending money on secondary supplementation. What foods are naturally high in probiotics?
- Fermented vegetables such as Kimchi and Sauerkraut
- Probiotic-rich non-pasturized greek yogurt
- Miso Soup
- Pickles/ Pickled vegetables
For those who already know they have difficulty absorbing nutrients (ahem, Hi!), a probiotic supplement is probably the route you want to take. ALWAYS consult with your doctor, nutritionist or naturopath before beginning new supplements into your diet.
Below are some of my most recommended probiotic supplements.
Bone broth is extremely nutritious and holds so many health benefits. Bone broth is a highly nutrient dense liquid containing brewed bones, herbs, vegetables and connective tissues. To make bone broth, you can use cow, pork, chicken, and or fish bones. Drinking bone broth has been studied extensively in the past five years and may be beneficial for the joints, immunity and digestive system, among many other things.
Can I buy bone broth? Or do I need to make my own? Personally, I prefer to make my own bone broth. It is a labor of love and patience is definitely needed as it takes up to 8-12 hours for some recipes. However, when I make my own broth, I know exactly which ingredients are being used and I can alter the flavors. Over the past three to five years, bone broth has been growing in popularity and companies have hopped on the Bone Broth train- allowing for the health benefits of this liquid gold concoction along with the convenience of buying pre-made. Either way, as long as you take into account where the bones and produce are coming from, both are fine options.
What are the Benefits of Bone Broth? There are SO many benefits for drinking and enjoying bone broth for your health and immunity. As the fall and winter months approach, one of the best things you can do for your immune system is drink some broth on a regular basis. Below are some key benefits of bone broth.
- May protect joints and benefit joint health
- May help fight osteoarthritis
- Can help reduce inflammation
- Heals the gut
- May aid in restful sleep
- Boost in collagen (cellular rejuvenation)
- Increase in bone strength
High Quality Bone Broth Brands
I completely understand. You have a life, maybe you have kids, maybe you have a full course load for school and work part time. Maybe you aren’t very time-rich yet, but you want to take the right steps towards your holistic health journey. Here are a few of my absolute favorite, high quality, ethical bone broth brands and companies.
- Osso Good Bone Broth Sample Pack (3 pk)
- Bare Bones Bone Broth Mix
- Kettle & Fire – Beef Bone Broth Soup
Holistic Practices That Are Economical
If you aren’t fully able to invest in your health due to financial reasons – I have you covered! There are a handful of simple changes you can do to your routine that will help boost your immunity and benefit your health and overall well-being. I know- this is probably “health advice” you have heard a million times. However, I want to challenge you to try these tips in a week and see how your body responds. You never know- it may just turn into part of your holistic routine.
Get Restful Sleep
I know this isn’t news to anyone, and we hear this ALL the time. When it comes to your immunity and health, sleep plays a huge role. TO be clear, sleeping or getting extra sleep won’t prevent you from getting sick. Lack of sleep will trigger our immune response and possibly suppress your immune system, leaving you susceptible to the cold or flu. Our body needs time to rest and regenerate. If you find your schedule being disrupted by obligations, busy work week, etc., it’s best to fully invest in some naps. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Taking two naps that are no longer than 30 minutes each —one in the morning and one in the afternoon—has been shown to help decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the immune system. “
In a recent study published in 2017 mentions, “when sleep deprived people are given a vaccine, there is a lower antibody response and if you expose sleep deprived people to a rhinovirus they are more likely to get the virus,” Generally speaking, a healthy sleeping pattern is integral for our survival. Our bodies need sleep to fight off infectious diseases as well.
Long term lack of sleep can also increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart and blood vessel diseases. Research indicates your body reacts to sleep deprivation by producing what scientists call a “c-reactive protein”. This particular protein is a marker for inflammation, which plays a huge role in many diseases.
This also is another tip that sounds so simple (because it is!), but many of us don’t get our recommended amounts of water daily. Typically during the winter months we find ourselves dehydrated and inflamed which is a welcome mat for virus’s and dis-ease. If you think about it, our physical composition is like 70% water. If we’re not drinking water then we’re depriving our body of hydration. Want to know something else? We typically tend to get a more restful sleep when we’re fully hydrated and less stressed.
Drinking fluids and staying hydrated is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of our organs and body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and helps prevent from being constipated, which can lead to a lot of GI and lower abdominal discomfort.
Many people find it hard to start drinking more water on a daily basis. When we find ourselves chronically dehydrated, our bodies tend to be a little bit more acidic within our Ph – system. An acidic body = a welcome mat for dis-ease. An alkalized body = healthy. Making sure our bodies are in an alkaline state also helps fight free-radical damage and inflammation while supporting healthy cellular regeneration within your body so you can stay healthy and thrive.
Invest In Your Health Now For A Healthy Future
Life rips sometimes. And its hard for many of us to focus on our health or create healthy habits for ourselves. Falling off the ball or having a difficult time “starting” a new routine is perfectly normal and doesn’t make you less of human being. Hopefully these tips gave you some insight and can encourage you to implement at least one or two new things on your road to health and wellness. Be well!