The Flu Vaccine–Yes or No?

It’s that time of year to decide whether or not you will get a flu vaccination. My advice as a health coach is to always make an informed decision about anything that affects the health of you and your family.

Information comes from everywhere–the internet, television ads, magazines, billboards, doctors, pharmacies, people you know, etc. Consider the sources–are they trying to sell you something or were they educated for marketing purposes (e.g. pharmacy companies educating doctors and clinics)?

Are you being made aware of any adverse effects? Are you reading the labels? Is what’s right for someone else right for you?

I believe in self-education, because no one knows your body like you do. Learn more about the flu vaccine at National Vaccine Information Center (www.nvic.org).

Personally, I do not get the flu vaccination. Instead, I strengthen my immune system to help fight viruses. My biggest concern with vaccines is the many toxic additives (like aluminum) that may contribute to chronic disease.

Here are a few things that I do at the first sign of illness:

Drink a cup of water with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper. Sometimes, I add a little raw honey.

Take elderberry, which has been studied and shown to reduce the “shelf life” of viruses. It comes in syrup, tea, capsules, tinctures, and chewables.

Take vitamin D3 to help support my immune system. Have your levels checked every six months or so to see if you fall within the optimum range of 50-60 ng/ml. In the absence of adequate sunlight, especially during winter, levels can drop, providing less protection against the flu and other viruses.

Eat seasonal foods rich in vitamin C: citrus, organic peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, organic potatoes.

Eat seasonal foods rich in sulfur: onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, eggs, sardines (eggs and sardines also contain vitamin D3).

Make sure that my digestive system is working well to eliminate toxins by eating plenty of fiber-rich plant foods and taking a probiotic, since 70 to 80% of the immune system is in the gut.

Hydrate with lots of water and nourishing soups to help flush toxins and keep mucous thin so secondary respiratory infections don’t easily take hold.

Take very warm detox baths with a few drops of lavender essential oil, which has anti-viral and calming properties. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil is wonderful for a stuffy nose and congestion.

Stop eating refined sugar. Instead of reaching for carbonated soft drinks, popsicles, ice cream, etc., try bone broth, fruit and veggie smoothies, homemade soups, green tea, and herbal teas (God’s pharmacy). I like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, raspberry leaf, elderberry, and holy basil (tulsi). Try stirring a little ground cinnamon into a cup of warm water with some raw honey.

Have some natural cough syrups on hand. Two I like are Olba’s Cough Syrupand Zarbee’s Naturals Kid’s Cough Syrup + Mucous.

Rest, pray, and nourish my spirit with the Word of God–“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory.”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Register now for the free online Autoimmune Revolution from November 5-11.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

A healthy lifestyle is the best detox!

After the holidays, we seem to instinctively know that we need to detox.  There are many popular detoxes on the market, but in my opinion, a lifestyle detox is the best choice.

There’s nothing wrong with a short-term cleanse, like juicing or using special detox aids (apple cider vinegar, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, aloe vera juice, chlorophyll, etc.), to help us push the reset button and head in a healthier direction.  These aids an also help us recover from a health crisis (food poisoning, virus, bacterial infection, etc.).  A cold or flu is one way the immune system cleans out toxins, which are eliminated through the colon, kidneys, lymphatic system, skin, and lungs.

On the down side, if a detox causes an overload of toxins to be released from the cells into the bloodstream, you can feel pretty lousy.  Some people may even get too sick, because their bodies aren’t strong enough to eliminate an influx of toxins.  Once the crisis has passed, without the support of a healthy lifestyle, toxins will continue to accumulate and affect our health, including weight loss.

Eat foods that naturally detoxify the body.  Add a serving of sulfur-rich foods to your daily diet.  These include eggs, garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, arugula, watercress, and radish).  Eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber each day from whole foods.  This will help bind toxins and move them through the colon before they can enter the bloodstream.

Drink enough pure water to help dilute and eliminate toxins.  Add some lemon to aid the liver.

Replace unhealthy fats (hydrogenated and refined oils) with healthy fats at every meal.  Avocados, coconut, olives, olive oil, flax oil, fish, nuts, and seeds, are some good choices.  This will help reduce inflammation in the body.

Eat healthy protein at each meal to help build a strong immune system.

Eliminate refined sugar from your diet for 10 days and see what happens!  You’ll have to avoid most processed foods and become a label reading detective.  This one step alone, especially when accompanied by the above recommendations, will go a long way toward improving your health!

Make a plan to manage stress from all sources:  emotional, physical (lack of or too much exercise, lack of sleep, toxic food and personal care products, environmental toxins, etc.), mental, and spiritual.

These are some good first steps to creating a healthy lifestyle detox!  It’s easier when you have some ongoing support, so I’ve created a Facebook support group for this purpose.  It’s free, and you’re invited to join if you want to connect with others to give and receive support and encouragement for your health journey.  I’ll pop in to answer your health questions and post health-related information, and it will also be a great place to share healthy recipes and tips for staying healthy.  We can also pray for each other.  (Please don’t use the group for soliciting products or services.)

Here’s the link to join:  www.facebook.com/groups/learningtobehealthywithlisa.  You’ll need to click on “join” to be part of the group.  The group is closed, so any posts will be seen by members only.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Health–the Stomach

Last week, we covered the importance of chewing your food long enough to allow it to mix thoroughly with the carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, amylase, before it enters your stomach.  Hopefully, you’ve been practicing this first step in digestion.

After chewing, the predigested food enters your stomach, where it is mixed and ground into a liquid called chyme (Greek for “juice”).  Hydrochloric acid (HCI) and pepsin help to accomplish this second step of digestion, as well as helping to digest proteins.   HCl is strong enough to corrode metals, so it is beneficial for killing pathogens like parasites, bacteria, and viruses.  Digestion may be inefficient at destroying these pathogens and breaking down proteins when there is insufficient hydrochloric acid and pepsin.

Acid Reflux is most likely caused by a lack of stomach acid, rather than too much.  Taking antacids may offer temporary relief but do not get to the root of the problem.  As we age, the stomach may produce less HCl.  This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, including protein and calcium.

Belching could be a sign of poor digestion.  If the belching is accompanied by a rotten egg odor and/or a taste in the mouth, this may be a sign that proteins are not being properly digested.

Self-test:  First thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything, drink 4 to 6 ounces of water to which 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda has been added.  Don’t gulp the water.  Time yourself for up to 5 minutes.  The sooner you belch (within 1 to 2 minutes), the better the indication that you have a good amount of stomach acid.  The longer it takes (3 to 5 minutes), the lower your stomach acid may be.

Some tips:

Chew your food well before swallowing.

Eat smaller meals (overeating is hard on the stomach and requires more digestive juices).

Don’t drink large amounts of liquids with meals.  Drink a glass of water before a meal, and then just sip as needed during a meal.  If you are staying well hydrated throughout the day, you shouldn’t be thirsty while eating.

Consider taking plant-based digestive enzymes with meals (1 or 2 as needed) to help break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

If you have low stomach acid, you may need digestive enzymes that contain HCl and Pepsin.  Don’t take these if you have ulcers.  Start with only 1 capsule when you eat a meal that contains protein.  Next time, take 2, then 3, etc., until you feel a warm sensation in your stomach.  Back up to the number you took before you felt the warm sensation.  This will be your optimal amount.  Don’t take these long-term.  The goal is to strengthen your production of hydrochloric acid and pepsin through a healthy diet and lifestyle so you won’t be dependent on supplements.  An exception might be for the elderly who are in a chronically weakened condition.

Take a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in 4 ounces of water before a meal, or mix it in a salad.  This not only aids digestion, but it has also been proven to lower blood sugar by as much as 30% when taken a few minutes before a meal.

Enjoy a cup of organic peppermint leaf tea to help with indigestion.

Aloe vera juice is very soothing in cases of indigestion and Acid Reflux.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Proactazyme Plus Plant-Based Enzymes, PDA Combination with HCl and Pepsin, Papaya Mint Chewables Digestive Aid, Aloe Vera Juice)

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Virus season–what’s a person to do?

We see more colds and flu this time of year, all caused by viruses, including Ebola and Enterovirus. When it comes to viruses, your immune system is your best friend! Antibiotics do not kill viruses and may weaken your immune system by reducing the beneficial bacteria that help to build a strong immune system. The first line of defense is to strengthen the immune system to wage war against unwanted viruses through a healthy lifestyle. Create an internal environment that is inhospitable to viruses by eating healthy food, drinking enough pure water, exercising, and enjoying fresh air and sunshine. At the first sign of illness, eliminate refined sugar completely, as it slows down the immune system’s response.

One of my favorite weapons against viruses is elderberry. It’s in the berry family, along with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc., and has been studied for its anti-viral activity. It seems to block a virus from infecting more cells. Florida researchers tested an extract of elderberry fruit in a test tube against the H1N1 virus and concluded that elderberry compared favorably to Tamiflu in inhibiting the virus’s activity. German scientists observed that elderberry enhanced the immune system’s response.

I take Elderberry D3fense capsules from Nature’s Sunshine. This anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and immune stimulant formula contains elderberry fruit extract, vitamin D3 (common deficiency, especially in the winter months), Echinacea, willow bark extract, royal jelly, and olive leaf extract. Nature’s Sunshine also makes a yummy chewable for children (and adults) called Sunshine Heroes Elderberry Immune. As prevention, take these daily during cold and flu season, and at the first sign of illness, take more often to help shorten the duration. Of course, nothing can offer protection like a healthy lifestyle! Order Elderberry D3fense and Sunshine Heroes Elderberry Immune Chewables at member prices: www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com.

Blessing for a healthy season!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist
www.learningtobehealthy.com
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”