7 Things To Avoid If You Want To Keep Your Immune System Strong

7 Things To Avoid If You Want To Keep Your Immune System Strong
This is a fantastic article that I stumbled across on Dr Axe's site and I really wanted to share it with you as these 7 things are so important to decrease during the current pandemic! I'm definitely guilty of some of them - especially sitting far too long and not drinking enough water.... Let me know in the comments what resonated with you.

While forgetting to wash your hands, touching your face and smoking are major no-nos, there are a number of other, less-talked-about ways that people can adversely affect their immune system function.

1. Too Much Sitting

The average American now spends a minimum of 6 to 8 hours a day in a sedentary state — most often watching TV and behind a computer or phone.

Too much sitting doesn’t just put you at risk for problems like weight gain and posture problems — it’s now considered to be as dangerous as smoking. While other studies need to be conducted, a 2012 study in a noted health journal found that being chronically sedentary can negatively impact immune system health and function. 

✅Do This 

  • If working at a computer, stand up and do 10 to 20 sit-to-stand squats at least once every hour.
  • Aim to get out for walks as often as possible. Bonus points for “forest bathing” by walking in forests or parks.
  • Work gentle yoga into the mix, focusing on grounding postures like Mountain Pose, Warrior II, Child’s Pose and Corpse Pose.

2. Negativity

Having a pessimistic mindset can actually mess with your immunity. An often-cited major study found people with a more positive mindset experienced a more robust immune system response overall, although more studies need to be conducted.

Adopting a gratitude-filled lifestyle isn’t just about rainbows and unicorns, either. Recent studies indicate that gratitude is a great health supporter. 

✅Do This

  • Be prepared for what life throws at you, but don’t panic. 
  • Write down three things you’re grateful for — and hopeful for — every morning. Corny? Maybe. Beneficial? Absolutely. 
  • Think about people who bring a lot of light to your life. Send them a note letting them know they make a positive difference in your life. 

3. Fear

Fear signals danger to our bodies, setting up a fight, flight or freeze response that can send a shockwave through the body, including one’s immune system. 

Here’s what the body typically does in the “fight or flight” response:

  1. Slow (or shut) down non-essential functions we don't need for immediate survival, such as digestion.
  2. Sharpen things we may need in an emergency, like eyesight, increased heart rate and blood flow to run fast.
  3. Provide higher hormone flow to amygdala part of the brain to focus on danger.

But most of us aren't being chased by a lion, so this response, when chronic, can adversely affect the body, including the immune system.  

✅Do This

  • Be aware, but don’t be fearful. 
  • Use prayer or meditation for focus and faith.
  • Retrain your body for diaphragmatic breathing. Fear can prompt shallow chest breathing, which further recruits our fight-flight-or-freeze response. 
  • Spend 15 breaths in Crocodile (see below) to naturally support your body’s relaxation response.

Crocodile Pose

  • Lie face down. Fold your arms, each hand on the opposite elbow, and draw the forearms in so that the chest is slightly off the floor, with the forehead resting on crossed arms. Keep the legs together, or separate them a comfortable distance with the toes turned in or out, whatever feels best in your body.
  • Close your eyes. Relax the legs, abdomen and shoulders. Soften the eyes and jaw. Turn your attention to the breath. Feel the cleansing qualities of each exhalation and the rejuvenating effects of each inhalation. 
  • As you center here, visualize your diaphragm muscle, a dome-shaped muscle located just below the lungs and heart. Breathing in, envisioning the diaphragm drawing down toward the belly like a parachute, feeling the belly rise and ribs expand on each inhale, and letting it all go on the exhale.
  • Breathing through the nose if comfortable; notice the qualities of your breath. Is it smooth, continuous without jerkiness? Deep without effort? Inhalations and exhalations about the same length?
  • Center here for about 15 breaths. Invite the qualities of the parasympathetic, rest-and-digest response of your nervous system.

4. Overtraining

While too much sitting certainly impairs the immune system, the other extreme — overexercising — can do the same. Signs of overtraining include swelling and fatigue that doesn’t go away after bouts of training.

A classic way to know if you are overtraining is this: You train vigorously, yet performance deteriorates.

Overall, when you’re exercising too intensely for too long, it can directly and adversely affect the immune system. 

✅Do This

  • Try to schedule more walks or hikes into your training schedule. Download a nature-focused app and use it to identify new plant, insect and animal species as you explore. It’ll slow you down and help you connect with nature, which can be beneficial to the immune system  
  • Avoid long bouts of intense cardio, and make sure to make time for gentle yoga. Try this restorative posture…

Legs Up the Wall

  • To begin, roll a towel to about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
  • Then, sit with one hip against the wall and your rolled towel nearby.
  • Carefully roll onto your back as you swing your legs up the wall.
  • Find a comfortable distance from the wall so your legs can easily rest on it.
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the wall so you can lift your hips enough to place the roll under your pelvis there.
  • Then rest your pelvis on the roll and extend your legs up the wall to relax there.
  • Stay for 3 to 5 minutes, using your exhalations to help relax.

5. Alcohol Overuse

Consistent alcohol overuse is not beneficial for health overall, including immune system health, so it’s best to not overdo it. In fact, for some, it’s best to avoid alcohol consumption altogether.   

✅Do This

  • An occasional glass of organic red wine isn’t generally problematic, but some people may not stop there, while others should avoid alcohol consumption altogether.
  • Replace alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic alternatives like kombucha, organic green tea, coconut water and pomegranate juice.
  • Mix up a mocktail, like the one below...

Bloody Mary Mocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of an organic vegetable juice (with tomato juice as first ingredient)
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ⅛ teaspoon celery salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 dashes of fresh cracked pepper

Garnish options:

  • 1 celery stick
  • Olives
  • Pickled okra
  • Asparagus
  • Lemon wedge

Directions:

  • Combine vegetable juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, turmeric, celery salt and olive oil in a glass and mix well.
  • Add desired ice cubes and stir again.
  • Top with cracked black pepper and garnish of your choice.
  • Enjoy your mocktail!

6. Dehydration

Dehydration can do a number on your body’s overall health, so stay hydrated. While it’s easily said, for some, it can still be tough to hit hydration goals on the daily.  

✅Do This

  • Download a water-tracking app on your phone to remind and inspire you to get enough water.
  • Opt for filtered tap water instead of bottled water. It’ll save you money and more. 
  • While not appropriate for everyone, a good rule of thumb is to aim to drink half your body weight in ounces daily. So if you weigh 200 pounds, aim for 100 ounces. 
  • Don’t be afraid to add slices of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.

7. Loneliness

Loneliness has been shown to, at least indirectly, negatively affect the immune system.  

✅Do This

  • Use technology (such as FaceTime or Skype) to connect with loved ones who are living alone or are lonely. It can not only make their day, but may be helpful to their immune system health, too.
  • If you’re isolated and need to connect, voice chat services are available, too.
  • Join an online book club or start one of your own. 
The blog author is Leah Zerbe, MS, NASM-CPT, NASM-CES and you can view the original blog here.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

What a massive mistake I made!

On the 12th of May, Young Living Essential Oils' founder, Gary Young, left our beautiful planet. So many people I meet have never heard of Gary and Young Living. I want to pay my respects by writing about how much he, his oils and products, have meant to me. Even though I never had the chance to meet him. I also want to feature something he wrote not long before he passed which really resonated with me recently. 

I was introduced to Young Living Essential Oils when I did Alexx Stuart's "Go Low Tox" course back in March 2015. I purchased the Everyday Oils kit and I was pleased with the oils but had nothing to compare them to. I know how thorough Alexx is and I trusted her to have found a company that meets her strict standards but I wanted to do my own research as YL's oils weren't "certified organic". I'm very cautious about the products used in my home and around my family.

The worst thing I could have done was google about Gary and YL. So many seeds of doubt were planted and so I bought 3 other brands of oils. All were from large companies and relatively well-known - 2 certified organic and 1 not. When I started trying them out I just didn't feel connected to them like I did YL. For me they didn't have the depth of action, I had to use more either topically or in a diffuser, and they didn't smell as earthy and robust as YL. 

But there was something else about them that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I now know, after 3 years of using the oils and learning about Gary Young, why they are so special and different and what sets them apart. Until you immerse yourself in these oils, and products, it's very hard to explain. But trust me, these essential oils and essential oil infused products, will transform your health and your home.


Now that I know what I know about Gary, his upbringing and health journey, the lengths he went to to bring the world essential oils exactly as God intended them to be, well I wish I had have been committed 100% from day 1. There is a reason why he's called the Father of Modern Day Essential Oils. I really do hope that you try the oils and see for yourself. 

Gary, I'm so sorry I doubted your creations. I'll be forever grateful for everything you achieved whilst on this earth and I'm honoured to carry on your vision of every household in the world having these little bottles of awesomeness in their homes.

Here is Gary's last column that he wrote for Young Living US's monthly publication. You can check out the newsletter in full here.

“As convention is almost upon us, I am reminded of an interesting little bit of news that recently came to me.  There seems to be concern that other network marketing companies are claiming that their source of oils is the same as ours, so they think they can lay claim to our Seed to Seal standard.

What that says to me is that other companies think we are the best; and by claiming to share the same source, they think that makes them as goods as usI would have to investigate to see if this is true, but does it matter if one of our oils is sourced from the same supplier as for another oil company as well?

As long as we have the best, that is the most important. Most growers and distillers produce 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-grade-quality oil, which has a lot to do with how long the plant material is distilled and at what temperature, as well as the quality of the water used. Although we may be buying from the same supplier, we don’t know what grade of oil the other companies are buying. We know only what we are buying. Not many companies want to adhere to our standard because it is more complex and costs more money. If a company is about profits you can be sure that quality is not its top priority. Highest quality and purity of oils really affects the financial bottom line. 

No other company can lay claim to our Seed to Seal process. We are the only company in the world that grows, harvest, distills, test, and then bottles in our own manufacturing facilityIf the plants are not being grown on one of our own farms, they are grown on partner farms or supplied under very strict regulations - and the oils are always tested.

Just know that you have the best, and if people want to attach to our standard, they are only acknowledging that we are the world leader in essential oils.

Your friend, D. Gary Young”

If you’d like to know more about essential oils and how to remove the toxins from your home, contact me for a free Skype consult.

Vic xx

Mother's Day. Why I loathed it.

Mother's Day. Why I loathed it.

So this is my very first blog. Welcome! I'm pretty sure starting a sentence with "so" is kinda like "and" but you'll soon realise I really have no idea what I'm doing with all this blogging business and it'll be the first of many blogging faux pas from me. I apologise now.

I've not long returned home from a night out with some awesome school mums (ex-school mums actually but they still let me hang with them #theycantgetridofmeeveniftheytried). We played 9 holes of putt putt at Holey Moley Golf Club in Northbridge. So much fun, highly recommend. Then we grabbed some dinner at Northbridge Brewing Company where I had my first ever Espresso Martini (but it was in a jug, not a fancy cocktail glass) #caffeineoverload. To say I'm a little wired (it's currently 1am) is an understatement so what better time than now to smash out my first blog other than at this fine hour, officially on Mother's Day, and fuelled on caffeine and alcohol :)

I have been procastablogging (love that word - totally stole it from the amazeballs copywriter & blogger, Jay Crisp Crow of Crisp Copy fame - thank you Jay) for quite some time (oh about six years) as I have wanted everything to be perfect for my first blog. I wanted a great social media audience, be completely up-to-speed on all things blogging, find my blogging voice, maybe learn the English language from scratch, have a fantastic topic and content that will amaze, enthral and delight you and ultimately see my post go completely viral and propel me into blogging stardom. One post, overnight success, mic drop, job done #neverhavetoprocastablogagain. Um yeah so that's not going to happen and I just have to write something. Anything. If it connects, it connects. If it doesn't, it doesn't. One blogging workshop under my belt (credit again to Jay for that) and here goes....

Mother's Day was a day I enjoyed celebrating/acknowledging  up until 2007. Pre-2007 it was a day to thank my Mum for being so wonderful. She was a single Mum since I was 8 and my brother 5. After a few years of being the school bus driver and cleaner, she pulled herself up by her bootstraps, went to community college to learn how to use a computer and went and got herself an office job. We didn't have much but we never went without. Always food on the table (a beautiful lamb roast every Wednesday night) and a roof over our heads. So from 1974 - 2007 that's what Mother's Day meant to me - a day for my Mum to be acknowledged and celebrated for the legendary woman she is.

In 2007 the meaning would change and little did I know that this day of the year would cause so much angst and depression.

Whilst trying to start a family I discovered I was actually already in menopause and the only hope for motherhood was adoption or donor eggs. I was 32 years old and what I thought to be, in perfect health. I never thought egg donation a possibility (and I didn't know how I felt about it to be honest) so we looked into adoption first. Wow what a bunch of baloney we face here in Australia to adopt! Extremely hard, heartbreaking, expensive and with absolutely no guarantees at the end of the day. (I'd one day discover that the egg donor journey is exactly the same.) 

A lot happened between 2007 and 2011 (alternative medicines, lots of doctors, lots of drugs and needles, miscarry an anonymous donor egg, research into overseas egg donors, the list goes on) but in 2011 an amazing lady found my ad for an egg donor on a forum and offered to be my egg donor angel. The hope that her email gave me is indescribable. I remember that exact feeling to this day. After a couple of miscarriages an embryo finally persevered with my complex health issues and my beautiful daughter was born in May of 2012.

For five years I loathed Mother's Day. A cut that went deeper every year I wasn't a mum. I truly thought I'd never experience it and it was the only thing I wanted. In fact, I've never wanted anything so badly. Ever.

It consumed my every waking minute. There was constant reminders of my infertility. A pregnant belly here, a gorgeous bubba there..... Especially when you're in those prime child bearing years and all your friends are starting and adding to their families. Of course you're thrilled and happy for them but you still cry yourself to sleep every night wondering what you did so wrong and why you were living the "1 in 6" statistic (I actually think it's far higher than that these days - another blog, another time).

In 2012 I experienced my first Mother's Day when Zoe was just a few days old. I can't even begin to describe to you the joy and surreal feeling I felt that day. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I can remember what Zoe was wearing, what I was wearing, how I had my hair and my gift from Steve (a gorgeous Pandora gold pram charm that I still wear today). Even through the extreme sleep deprivation and mastitis I was experiencing nothing was going to burst my first Mother's Day bliss bubble!

It's now 2018 and I've enjoyed this day as a Mum seven times. Two of those as a mum of two. Today will be a day of reflection. Thanking my body, willpower, alternative and modern medicine for helping me to realise my dream. Reminding myself that anything worth fighting for generally doesn't come easy but not to give up - ever. I'll also do my very best to not get frustrated at my little two-legged miracles.... Let's be real here people, regardless if you've been through hell and back to become a parent, your kids still drive you bonkers. 

For anyone reading this currently experiencing the infertility rollercoaster I hope it puts a fire in your belly to not give up on your dream of parenthood. That you too will experience your own Mother's Day. It may not be a biological child. And that's ok. If it's something you want as badly as I did then keep working towards that goal. Don't give up on it without a serious fight. It's ok to loathe today until you can celebrate it. I completely understand and don't want you feeling any guilt whatsoever. I guarantee you that you won't be the only one feeling the same way. Infertility sucks. The loss of an infant even more. Have a big girly cry and then give your Mum or best friend a big hug - celebrate the day with them. Make them feel super special. Fake it if you need to.... Drink if you need to.....

Happy Mother's Day.

Vic xx