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Ten Ways to Improve Your Immune System
by Harriet from Australia
As we grow older we need to optimize all chances at improving our immune system. This is all the more important when resources are limited and access to health/disease care is expensive – there I show you my prejudices. I’m not that enthralled at our current models of so-called health care, especially for those of us with chronic conditions. So if you have a chronic condition, or you just want to avoid getting one, what can you do?
- Spend some time in the sun to optimize your vitamin D. For years doctors have pushed the message about avoiding the sun to cut skin cancer levels. However now we also know that there is a strong evidence that low levels of vitamin D INCREASE the likelihood of cancer. So do be sensible and avoid getting sun burned, but do get some sun.
- Stabilize your blood sugar levels. This is a vastly unacknowledged factor in ill health. Yes, most of us know that unstable blood sugars are bad for people with diabetes, but they are also bad for everyone if they occur on a regular basis. For a comprehensive discussion on their importance read this article: http://www.drrosedale.com/resources/pdf/Insulin%20and%20Its%20Metabolic%20Effects.pdf
- Where possible eat herbs regularly. Bioflavenols and polyphenols are important to our general health as they provide important co-factors needed for good immune function. We need to stop thinking in terms of magic bullets to fix us when we are ill. Eat a range of fresh herbs and vegetables. What is easy to grow in your area will depend on your climate. Where I am I can grow garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, lemon verbena, and a range of mints. Use herbs frequently in your cooking.
- Undertake some regular exercise. There are far too many of us whose greatest exercise is to walk from chair to car to shop to car to chair. How many people get down on their hands and knees and scrub their floors? Or climb a ladder to clean our their gutters, or walk to the local shop, or personally dig their gardens. I would like to think that preppers undertake regular incidental exercise such as these, but if you aren’t then start.
- Eat enough quality protein to keep you healthy and replenish your stores that heal and provide energy. The general advice is to eat 1-2 grams per kilo of lean body mass. However that becomes complicated to work out so think in terms of a palm sized quantity of grass fed protein or fish three times a day.
- Improve your omega 3/omega 6 ratios. What this means is that we eat too much of the wrong sort of fat. We need to eat fish, lots of fish and if that is not possible for budgetry reasons then have some krill oil (preferable) or ordinary fish oil. Avoid vegetable oils except for coconut oil and olive oils.
- Laugh lots and make time for play. Medical research has shown that laughter improves our immune system.
- Do something creative that you enjoy, that’s another activity shown to improve your immune system, though I’ve currently mislaid my list of references for this.
- Deal with your unfinished business. There is a lot of research to show that bad stuff from our past can haunt us, either literally through bad memories and PTSD or through repressing them so they are reflected in poor immune function. Holocaust survivors who told their stories were shown to have improved immune systems compared to those who chose not to.
- Prepare for your future. When we are comfortable we have done as much as we can to look after ourselves then we are much less worried than if we are just aware and yet do nothing.
Elderberry Syrup, DIY
Submitted by servantheart, Editor-At-Large
½ cup elderberries, dried
1 cinnamon stick
1 TBSP freshly grated ginger
2 cups clean water
1 cup RAW, unfiltered honey
Put all in a saucepan EXCEPT honey. Bring to a boil, then turn it down to simmer. Simmer,
covered, until liquid reduces by one-half (about 20-30 minutes). Strain liquid into a glass
bowl. Squish all the good juice out of berries through sieve/strainer, however. Gently whisk in
your honey. Store in a closed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can make
this with fresh or frozen berries, but use a full cup of berries, rather than the half cup dried.
This only keeps for a couple of weeks, so make a small batch at a time from your stored
Source: Mountain Rose Herbs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOYzWyFGkqM
Check out: HerbMentor.com
Used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune
system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and
tonsilitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western
Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated
and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to
improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs,
colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the
juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took
elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who
did not. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1951
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar,
rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly
laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account
for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube
studies2 these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect
cells against damage.
How to create a bed that will nurture your body.
Getting old sucks. Yeah, many of you are probably saying, “No kidding” or something a little more more colorful. From a physical perspective these last 6 years or so have been rough on me. I am only 43 – but numerous sports injuries have side-lined me at different times.
I grew up playing NO sports. I never really played basketball, football, baseball or any other sport like many other kids. I always found myself on the sidelines, being rather shy and too afraid that I would be embarrassed if I didn’t do well. I did get into bodybuilding at age 17 - which is a very individual sport. I enjoyed it through grade 11 and 12. After High School graduation laziness set in and my bodybuilding days went bye-bye.
Over 20 years have past since I graduated and I have gone through multiple levels of health and fitness. I have attempted to get physically fit doing many activities and currently find that Crossfit to be the best answer for ME. We are all individuals and have individual needs. Some people cannot lift heavy weights due to back problems. Some cannot run due to bad knees. Some people are in a wheel chair and others have their own specific limitations.
I am getting to my point – bare with me.
There are numerous workout programs out there that can help your chances of survival – as well as get healthy. From aerobic DVD’s to high intensity workouts such as P90X and Crossfit. There are local gyms packed with equipment and facilities to do all kinds of exercises such as weightlifting, tennis, racquetball - and running. You know what else? There is the great outdoors as well! Go for a walk. Take a stroll around the neighborhood. Have steps in your house? Walk up and down them 10 extra times every single day. Whatever your physical limitations will allow you to do – do! Go for a bike ride. Get up out of a chair and then sit back down – 50 times.
The important thing is MOVE and do more today than you did yesterday.
Man, I didn’t even mention diet. Guess I’ll save that for another day.
Take care all -
By Harriet, Editor-At-Large Australia
Health includes not just our physical body but also our psychological selves, our social set up and our spiritual selves. All three of these directly impact on our body’s functioning, our hormonal systems and our immune system.
This is an exercise to help you become aware of what you do well from a psycho-social-spiritual health perspective. – This is just as important as knowing what you need to change, in order for you to get better or to improve your overall stress levels. You must be aware of something before you can act on it – so scientifically gather the data for your self care experiment. Use the form below the instructions as your template for gathering your data.
For each aspect that you have done well give yourselves a tick (ü). Every now and then you will recognize something that you would prefer to have handled differently. That is great, give yourselves a plus sign (+) to indicate this. We do not allow a cross (x) because this is not a matter of getting something wrong. You have a plus for awareness and after you become aware you may well find the resources to make changes in the future.
Are you getting sufficient sleep, rest (including blob out time – see the note below for the definition of blob out time), relaxing time.
Is your diet balanced and appropriate? Sufficient fruit, vegetables, protein and water, and reduced processed food.
Are you getting daily appropriate exercise? Is it sufficient?
Are you seeing your GP/health professional as needed and getting the advice you need?
Are you taking required medications?
Are you going to the toilet as needed?
Are you managing your temperature requirements appropriately? Not too cold, too hot?
Any other physical requirements – dust, mould, allergens etc?
Are you doing too much? If so give yourself a +
Are you accepting yourself: who you are, where you are, how you are, why you are the way you are?
Give a tick for each occasion you value yourself.
Are you staying away from self judgment? (Evaluation is judgment if you feel bad about it.)
Values and principles, time management, priority and boundary setting
What is important to you?
Did you make decisions about your time management in relation to your values?
Did you set priorities in relation to your values?
Did you set appropriate boundaries so that others are not able to invade yours constantly?
Give yourself a tick for each affirming relationship you have had today.
What are your relationships like with your partner, family, work colleagues, social contacts?
Give yourself a tick for any personal work you do on anything that hangs over you, drains your energy or causes a strong emotional response, eg: relationship issues, poor self esteem, abuse issues, over-commitment, anger, etc
Fun, enjoyment, humour
Give yourself a tick for anything that you enjoyed, encouraged relaxation or made you laugh.
Give yourself a tick for any activity which is expressive of you. This includes craft, art (in the widest sense), music, home redecorations, gardening, cooking and many hobbies.
Future and dreams
Give yourself a tick for time spent with hope, desires and plans for anything that makes you feel more complete, more whole, more enjoyment, anything you look forward to.
Blob out time is time when you just stop. You give yourself permission to do nothing. You are not watching TV, reading, thinking, reflecting, planning, or even listening to the radio. This is stop time, non functioning time. You might choose to have a cup of tea or coffee and a small snack. You might choose to have some relaxing music in the background but it’s not the time to be listening or doing. Any TV watching is general relaxation time and this is in addition to blob out time.
STOP, STOP. Now before you go and read on, “thinking, yeah, yeah, that’s a bit basic, I know all that stuff”. Stop, and think, “Am I really acknowledging to myself all those things that I’m doing right?”
Mostly we spend time bemoaning the things we can’t do, thinking about what we would like to do and blaming ourselves for not being able to do more, or other people for not understanding that we can’t do more.
So… stop… and go through the exercise. Give yourself a pat on the back for EVERYTHING you are doing right – well at least a tick. The experience as we did this exercize weekly was that it took about ten to twelve weeks to ingrain the concept of developing awareness into our everyday thinking.
We have to start (or continue if you already have this insight) recognizing EVERY positive we can. Life is difficult enough with a health condition or when stressed without making it more difficult by “forgetting” all the things we are doing right.
Check out this graph to help you through an exercise:
From Rourke: Last week I published an excellent comment from SeasonedCitizenPrepper Editor-at-Large Servantheart. Well – Servantheart wrote up an expanded follow up to that comment.
Enjoy it below!
Detoxifying Your Body: Expanded
By Servantheart, Editor-At-Large
The Importance of Water
There are some very simple things one can do to reduce or even eliminate “inflammation” – the most important being, what you drink and what you eat. Drink lots of water every day – not citified (municipal) tap water with all the chemical neurotoxins, including fluoride (which is added and you pay for, by the way) and other peoples’ drugs, E. coli, etc., but clean, clear water – filter it yourself or buy bottled spring water (which can also contain many contaminants, so, be careful!). But drink more CLEAN water – flush out those vital organs, every day. Stay properly hydrated – every day.
Many health issues today are the result of dehydration, believe it, or not!
If nothing else, keep a “Life Straw” ($20) on you, so you always drink clean water, wherever you may be. Don’t worry about looking silly, worry about being sick (or, avoiding it, in this case). To avoid passing illnesses, have one LifeStraw for each member of your “party”, if possible. Or, a Sawyer Squeeze Filter might be a good choice for transport (about $60).
Get a good large-volume filter system; it doesn’t have to be expensive; a ceramic filter works well, but it’s very slow. If you build it yourself, it’s relatively cheap. Don’t think you’ll filter by the minute with one of these. A Big Berkey is expensive, and you’ll have to keep replacing the filters. Those cheap things that attach to your faucet or have a pitcher? Don’t waste your money or your time. Sawyer also makes “big” filters, that are well thought of, in general.
Eliminate all sodas. Maybe later you can have one on a rare occasion as a special treat, but it should be very rarely. (Side note: I actually had a stomach ulcer heal up when I stopped consuming my favorite drink, “Coca-Cola”!). The same Coca-Cola I use to soak and degrease and derust my cast iron when it needs it!
Other ways to naturally detox your body include:
1) Green tea: one of the best things you can do to detox your vital organ – in particular, your liver – as long as you don’t sweeten with refined sugar.
2) Garlic: one of the most potent foods you can consume to get healthy and stay healthy for many reasons, not the least of which is that it builds the autoimmune system AND is an excellent detox agent;
3) Ginger is another good anti-inflammatory; if you’ve never tried FRESH ginger (slice and eat from the tuber), you’ve never had GOOD ginger, IMHO! It’s like “candy”, only healthy!
4) Turmeric: this powerhouse can’t be overstated for many benefits, including anti-inflammatory and healing properties. You might want to do some reading on this natural herb; its abilities may surprise you!
5) Omega 3 Oils: these lubricate the vital organs, including the intestines, and help “clear” things out with minimal stress to the system; Omega 3 oils also reduce inflammation in the kidneys; when the kidneys become inflamed, the body cannot detox itself properly. Krill Oil is considered the best, but it’s very expensive. Not all “fish oil” is good; much of it is rancid before you ever buy it. Do a little research and read your labels carefully.
6) Bentonite Clay Powder: this is a natural substance (it is really just finely powdered volcanic ash!). BCP is a phyllosilicate which has adsorbent (yes, that’s spelled correctly) strength second only to powdered charcoal. You can buy it as a powder or as a liquid. BCP attracts, binds and removes pathogens, heavy metals and toxins- from the intestines. BCP gets absorbed into the blood stream and picks up “hitchhikers”, moving them out of the system, out of the vital organs, out of the body. If you can’t handle the liquid, make your own “pills” (this is the form I prefer) using the powder form and gel caps (buy them from The Bulk Herb Store: www.bulkherbstore.com or Mountain Rose Herbs (www.mountainroseherbs.com) or from your local health food store; you can fill them yourself with a dropper, but a “capsule machine” makes the job much easier; see video here: http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/capsulemachine.php
7) Pumpkin Seed Oil: buy this at any health food or whole foods store; pumpkin seed is proven as an effective agent against worms in both humans and animals. Ewwww….gross! I know. But humans and animals can and do get worms from the world around us, as well as each other…detoxification by taking Pumpkin Seed Oil caps according to directions every six (6) months to even once a year should give peace of mind and prevent any unwanted “living hitchhikers” in the body. You can also use them for your pets; if you have cats, for example, they are famous for passing on pinworms. Did you know that?
Reduce or eliminate refined sugar from the diet, a common cause of inflammation in the body, especially the joints. Learn to eat and drink without “sugar” in order to break the addiction (sugar IS addictive!), but if you must have sweetener, use RAW locally-produced honey (you need the antibodies for your area!) or Stevia in the Raw.
Some people like Xylitol, but I suggest you do some reading first, as there is new evidence Xylitol has its problems, too, such as causing diarrhea, and being processed with ethanol – the same reason I say do not use TruVia or PurVia, which are a form of Stevia. Also, avoid Agave Nectar, even though you’ll find it in health food stores. You can do your research to find out why.
My personal favorite sweetener is locally-produced RAW honey, which helps build immunities (pollens from your locale), and never goes bad. If it crystallizes, just heat it up, stir, and use it. It’s also an excellent medicinal, but; I’ll leave you to research this on your own. Again, RAW (unfiltered) honey–its dark amber; not “golden”. That’s how you know. Look for an apiarist (beekeeper)in your area who sells it; an internet search (www.duckduckgo.com) should do it.
Get ALL of the artificial sweeteners (brain cell killers!) and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) out of your diet. Good luck with those two (read labels). I have found artificial sweeteners in a can of green beans (which is why I now can my own). It may take a while to get them all out of your body, as they do have a cumulative effect, and you may experience “withdrawal” symptoms, just so you know. These are neurotoxins (they both kill brain cells); people who persist in consuming them may find themselves diagnosed with Alzheimers or Epilepsy, when they don’t have either one; I learned that from my Neurosurgeon after I blacked out at the wheel in rush hour traffic over 20 years ago. It took eight (8) months to get it all out of my system. I haven’t touched these toxins since.
Cooking Simplified; “Fast Foods”
This means eliminating “ready to eat” foods, for the most part, particularly “off the shelf”. Watch foods out of the freezers, too; better still, don’t buy them and don’t eat them. Cook simple meals for yourself at home, even if you can only cook once or twice a week to eat from all week. Or eat raw fruits and veggies, if you can’t take the time to cook (once in a while).
Freeze your own meals – make not one casserole, but two; eat one for dinner; freeze the other. Mark and date it; “fast food” for a future meal.
Learn to can your own foods and know what goes in them – “fast food” you can live with! Pop a jar, heat it up, yum! I make large batches of soups, stews, beans, meats, veggies, etc., and can them up so I always have home-cooked “fast food” at the ready. If you work full-time outside the home, set aside one Saturday a month just for “food prep day”. Then go to worship on Sunday and thank our Heavenly Father for providing the food so that you would have something to prep! (Just throwing that in for good measure!) :-)
Wash All Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Start washing all fresh fruits and veggies before eating, including “organic” and getting the chemicals off; I like to soak mine in a mild solution of cold water with about a teaspoon of white vinegar per gallon of water. Buy only organic citrus, if possible, because you can’t remove the toxins from these skins. Better still, grow your own; citrus will grow just about anywhere if it gets enough light and warmth, especially in a greenhouse or climate-controlled home (for colder climates); they make beautiful “house plants”.
Eat foods as close to “natural” as possible. The less cooking, the less processing, and the less time out of the garden, the healthier for you.
If you make these simple changes to your diet, you’ll soon feel better, and probably feel like “moving” more! Now you’re ready. Go get some exercise – take a nice walk, even a short one; tomorrow, it will be longer, and the next day…and so on.
Yes, we ALL need exercise, if we don’t want to turn into a bowl of gelatinous muck, one that couldn’t whip its way out of a soggy paper bag. Can you say, “Easy target”?
Baby steps. But get started today!
Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,
Your Fear of the Doctor Could Kill You
The older we get, the more important it is to visit the doctor for annual check-ups. During these yearly physicals, doctors not only check patients for obvious signs of ill-health, but they request various blood tests that can alert both patient and doctor to beginning stages of such diseases as diabetes, high cholesterol and even cardiovascular disease. It’s not a stretch to say that, if you are afraid of doctors, your fear may be killing you. By avoiding the doctor, you are risking not only your health but, ultimately, your life. Here are five ways to manage your fear and get through your appointment:
1.Schedule a Visit
It may help to lessen your anxiety if you can meet your doctor face-to-face with no examination required. Schedule an appointment with your doctor simply to discuss your fears and have your upcoming physical explained in detail. Most doctors will be happy to schedule this meeting if you let them know that you’re fearful or anxious. Once you get to know your doctor, he or she may seem less intimidating during your “real” appointment. You can also ask your doctor how he or she suggests that you cope with your appointment; believe it or not, you won’t be the first person that they’ve run across with a fear of doctors.
Take part in a relaxing activity just before your appointment. You may want to go for a massage, sit for a pedicure or even go for a walk on the beach. Different things relax different people; find what relaxes you and do it before you see the doctor. By taking part in some type of activity ahead of time, you will be less likely to spend hours worrying about your appointment, heightening your level of anxiety.
3.Take a Friend
If you’re appointment won’t be too personal, take a friend or family member along. Having someone with you for moral support can go a long way toward lessening your stress. Even if your friend isn’t permitted in the exam room with you, just having them in the waiting room can keep your mind off of your pending appointment. Be sure that you take someone along who will be supportive; avoid asking anyone who will tease you to tag along. Remember that the goal is to lessen your anxiety, not to make it worse.
There’s nothing that will heighten your stress level like a long wait in the reception area. Feel free to call ahead and make sure that your doctor is running on time. Explain to the receptionist that you’re feeling anxious and don’t want to have to sit in the waiting room for an extended period of time. The receptionist should be happy to tell you if the doctor is running behind and can give you a better idea of when to show up for your appointment.
When we get nervous, our body naturally responds by quickening our breathing pattern. Make a conscious effort to slow your breathing to a more exaggerated pace. Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose, filling your lungs deeply. Hold your breath for about three seconds and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this exercise three times and then return to normal breathing. Perform this exercise in your car, in the waiting room and then again in the exam room. This breathing pattern is naturally calming and can help relax your mind.
If your fear of the doctor is causing you to avoid medical care, you could be harming yourself more than you think. Even if you feel “fine,” avoiding the doctor completely can cause you to miss out on early diagnoses that could ultimately save your life. If you can’t get yourself over your fear, you may want to seek the help of a trained therapist or psychologist who specializes in phobias. Getting over your fear will be the first step in ensuring your health and longevity.
Kelly Rhodes writes for health sites. If you’re concerned about your health, check out more information on locations for discount blood work in florida.