6 Food Tips for Immune Balance!
Food. The very thing that parties revolve around, the maker of relationships, the master of health, the purveyor of tidings, the offering of consolation in grief or a ritual in the celebration of life. Food is what brings our societies together and is the foundation for the ceremonies that we hold dear. Food is both revered, and feared, and is the most manipulated material on earth.
Food has become both a centerpiece of luxury and freedom as it takes center stage as celebrities slice, dice and cook their way to infamy. It is also utilized as a body of imprisonment as experts coax its use in measured and metered particles to manipulate your body in one particular direction or another.
It sometimes feels like we need a Master's degree just to order lunch, let alone try to tackle a snack that may or may not be the perfect balance of organically grown nutrients with a light imprint on the environment. Is this how you feel?
I must admit, I am a food lover. I love the way it feels to have a satisfying meal, and I love the challenge of thinking of new ways to feed myself that give me variety and fun. I love the way food looks, smells, and how it brings my family and friends together after extended periods away from each other. Food is something I think of often- not just because I have a voracious appetite, but as a means to heal the body as well. I think about the many ways food can be of use to my many patients who are suffering from a whole host of ailments that are crippling to their immune systems, cause a tremendous amount of discomfort, anxiety and stress.
I am an acupuncturist by trade, but as I tell my patients- you come in for acupuncture only once or twice a week but you eat three times a day. I value what we put into our bodies and how it affects the energetics as well as the cellular structure of our many systems. Food, without question, can and does have an impact on our health.
We could really get into the why’s and how’s of diet and break it down into its many parts, but for now consider incorporating the following tips into your diet. These 5 changes will allow for your body’s immune system (read: the bugs in our intestines) to find harmony and become strong, so it can cope with the many stressors of our modern life.
1. Eat farm to table.
Processed foods are not really food. They are really more like food-like substances and do not contribute to the overall nourishment of the body. The idea that we are what we eat is true. You want your food to be packed with nutrition as well as microbes so that you are feeding the body’s whole system.
2. Eat organic when possible.
The more processed the food, the more modified the food, the more your food is sprayed with toxic chemicals the more you will be sick. We need to treat food with the respect it deserves. We want our food to come from good soil, from happy animals, and be free of chemicals. It can be expensive, yes. However, if you consider the price of illness, it makes sense to spend money on good food that keeps you healthy.
3. Eat Bonebroth and Fermented vegetables.
Why? Well, these are elements that contain tremendous nutrition as well as the ability to feed those little bugs in our gut that are responsible for our immune system staying strong. There are lots and lots of discussions going on right now about the benefits of pre and probiotics- when they are deficient this may be the key to rising rates of autism and autoimmunity. These are a couple of aspects of the modern diet that are missing and have always been part of every culture around the globe. This is not a fad but rather has been omitted in the modern age- and it seems there is something to their importance!
4. Eat more dirt.
Ok, not literally, but in some ways this is true. The more we over-sanitize our environment, the less work we give our immune system. Your immune system is like a bored child. If you don’t give it something productive to do, and supervise, it will get into a whole lot of trouble! I am an advocate of washing your hands and showering and all that, but maybe just stick to soap and water and cut out the disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer!
5. Cut the sugar.
Groan. Yes, the sugar. I think this is a big struggle for most people, myself included. It is something that gives most of us great pleasure but can also cause the most harm. Sugar, in addition to contributing to the obesity epidemic in our culture, actually causes the immune system to be suppressed after eating it. This can over-proliferate the kind of bacteria in our gut that we don’t want, causing a dysbiosis (imbalance) in the types of bacteria in our intestines. This means the ones we need as allies can’t come forward to do their job because there just aren’t enough of them. In turn, it leaves us more susceptible to illness and less able to fight off anything that might attack our systems.
6. Drink a tummy tea.
We've designed our Gut Health organic, loose-leaf tea blend to orchestrate gut bacteria to enhance digestion, optimize nutrient absorption and regulate metabolism. This harmonizing tea has organic ginger, which has been used for centuries in Eastern and Western medicines of all kinds to help stomach upset. The peach kernel moistens the intestines, relieves constipation, promotes blood circulation and reduces abdominal pain. The organic hawthorne berry eliminates toxins and fights intestinal infections and gastrointestinal parasites. Puehr is also an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that reduces cholesterol, lowers blood sugar, promotes blood circulation, and improves flora in the intestines. Orange peel aids nutrient absorption, controls bloating and nausea. Drink this blend to balance your flora and elevate your microbiome! Did we mention, it tastes splendid?
There is obviously no perfect diet or perfect way to live. It is increasingly important that you begin to find ways to enjoy your food and take pleasure in it’s great variety, but also be conscious of what types of foods you are consuming long-term. This marathon called life requires us to stay healthy as consistently as possible and not to go up and down and up and down with our health or our weight. If you are looking for a way to modulate your life to create more consistency, then perhaps this is the time to start making changes that help you get back to the true pleasures in life. Eat, enjoy, and be well!