Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Every year about this time, it seems the FLU freaks every one out.  It's the bird flu.  It's H1N1.  And on and seems everyone has the flu.  Or has had the flu.  Or thinks they are getting the flu.

So every year everyone freaks out.  And gets the flu.  And survives.

My opinion on how to avoid the flu and treat the flu has changed over the past 4 years.  In fact, my whole view of treating illness has changed.  I have learned there are several factors that influence a person's chance of getting sick.

 Sleep.  Nutrition.  Exercise.

I like to explain it to people through CrossFit's definition of wellness.  (yes, sorry, you are going to hear about it some more)  Picture an arc.  On one end of the spectrum of the arc you have 'sickness.'  On the other end you have 'wellness.'  The goal each day is to create as big of a hedge as you can between yourself and the sickness end of the arc.  You do this by sleeping well at night.  By trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep as often as you can.  By getting continuous sleep, uninterrupted REM cycle.  By creating the best environment to sleep in.  NO light, cover up your alarm clock or turn it away from you.  No computer, TV, or Kindle or iPad, etc. right before bed.  It creates an adrenaline rush.  If you are hungry before bed, eat a small bite of a higher carbohydrate food.  It helps trigger the release of tryptophan.  Sleep keeps your cortisol levels down.  High levels of cortisol weaken the adrenal glands, weaken the liver, weaken the immune system....and on and on.

You also do this by eating clean.  This is much bigger of an issue in relation to your immune system than most people realize or give credit too.  Your gut dictates your overall health.  Seriously.  If your gut is not digesting food well, you aren't getting the nutrients you need from food.  You aren't digesting your supplements, medicine, etc.  You are leaking food into your bloodstream via your 'leaky' gut and the body treats these food globules like a foreign substance and triggers the immune system into action by producing antihistamine which causes inflammation--inflammation is NO good....when this cycle is  constantly happening every time you eat, you can expect your body to wear down.  So when a 'truly' foreign virus or bacteria is exposed in the system, the body has very little left to 'fight' it with and will result in getting sick.  There are many other factors that go into this physiological happening, but I'll spare you the nerdy details.  Main thing to consider is that you need to be eating lots of vegetables, some fruits, good sources of protein and fat (more than you think).  Drinking lots of water.  Make sure and get some good sea salt doses in.  Salt helps kill off the bad stuff.  So do onions.  Elderberry juice has said to help prevent the flu as well as help you recover faster if you do have it.  Zinc.  Vitamin C.  Warm lemon water mixed with honey and a pinch of sea salt helps soothe a sore throat and cough.  Eat brothy foods.

Finally, exercise.  You knew it was coming.  It is important.  You need to be strong enough to lift things off of the floor.  You need the lung capacity to go up and down stairs.  You need to exercise to continue to be efficient at functional movements.  You need to exercise to be prepared to react to whatever situation your life may call you too, on any given day.  The heavier weight you can lift off of the floor the most times (wellness) the bigger wedge you are putting between yourself and not being able to pick a napkin off of the floor (sickness).  Another concept that applies to the wellness spectrum.  So get moving.  Lift something heavy every now and again.  Push something.  Pull something.  Do some labor work.  Other than what you normally do in a day.  Your body is already adjusted to that.

Anyway, just my 2 cents on the FLU season.  Make yourself well by being smart with your everyday life.  Even if you do get sick, which my family has all experienced over Christmas, you have not failed.  BUT, if you are sleeping well.  Eating well, and being active.  You will recover faster.  And may avoid more illness than you contract.

1 comment:

  1. I am very excited by this post because I was expecting to read someone at your house had the flu! I'm glad it's just the opposite! :)
    No one talks enough about the gut's role in the overall operations of the body! I changed my gut and it changed my life! Thanks for talking about it!