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The best way to avoid colds and flu is to be healthy so that you don’t get sick in the first place. A healthy terrain is incompatible with illness!

Eat whole nutrient dense foods. Every time you put something in your mouth you are making a choice. Ask yourself if it is going to heal your body or harm your body. Support your digestive system. If you’re not digesting and absorbing food, then it’s not benefitting you.

Eat organic. Grow your own food. Eat locally. Get to know the people that are growing your food. Buy direct and locally to ensure the food is fresh, nutrient dense and nourishes your body. Not only are certified organic foods hopefully free from harmful chemicals, they contain more phytonutrients that support immunity.

Eat non GMO. The top GMO foods are soy, corn, canola, cotton, Hawaiian pineapples, zucchini, potatoes and sugar beets (what most sugar is made from). This means that all commercial cooking oils are GMO. It has now been proven that GMO foods are allergenic, toxic, carcinogenic, anti-nutritional and suppress immunity. Animals, when given the choice will not eat GMO foods.

Find out your ‘metabolic type’ and eat food in the right balance for your unique body to ensure you are in balance and healthy and strong.

Eat low glycemic foods. Foods that raise your blood sugar levels feed pathogenic bacteria and mycotoxins and also inhibit immunity. Remember that one teaspoon of sugar will decrease immunity for several hours.

Get enough Vitamin D. For most of the year you will need to take a minimum of 2000IU per day from D3 and in the summer spend at least 20 minutes outside with no sunscreen in direct mid day sun. Remember not to burn. You may need to increase the time gradually. If you do get sick double this for a few days.

Reduce exposure to toxins, especially endocrine disrupting estrogen mimickers. Support your body in eliminating toxins.

Exercise, which creates immune enhancing chemicals and increases oxygen. It also ensures your lymphatic system is optimized ~ a key part of your immune system!

Rest and de-stress because a positive mental attitude makes a big difference in how the body fights disease.  When adrenals weaken from stress, the immune system is the next to go. Those who get less than eight hours of restful sleep will have reduced immunity against disease. And sleep in complete darkness, as more melatonin is produced by your brain in the dark. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant. Meditation, prayer, yoga, positive thinking or tai chi, all play a powerful role in promoting a positive outlook on life and overall wellness.

Balance your ph so that your body is on the alkaline side. An acidic body will encourage viruses and bacteria to thrive.

Water helps to flush out toxins and keeps your body functioning smoothly. Without it, toxins get back up, tissues get overloaded which puts a great deal of strain on the body. Make sure you drink non-chlorinated water as it is carcinogenic.

Use a homeopathic formula like Influenzinum to give yourself a natural flu vaccine. Influenzinum contains the same 3 strains of homeopathic flu viruses that the flu shot has, but without the side effects or toxins that the actual vaccine contains. Easy to take in 5 weekly doses.

Focus Foods

Fresh fruits and vegetables (apples, berries, broccoli, carrots, citrus fruits, dark leafy greens and green food powders, figs and dates, squash, yams, tomatoes, goji berries, acai berries, golden berries). Eat raw as much as you can. Phytonutrients abound! (Antioxidants such as anthocyanins, carotenoids, polyphenols, catechins) and vitamins and minerals!

Cruciferous Vegetables are chock full of anti cancer compounds such as sulforaphane, di-indolemethane and I3C (indole-3-carbinol). Get 2-3 servings every day! Broccoli, cauliflower, watercress, cabbage, kale, bok choy, radishes, mustard greens, collard greens, arugula, rutabaga, kohlrabi, turnip, brussel sprouts, broccoli sprouts, daikon radish sprouts.

Whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, beans, flaxseed, sesame, oats, etc… It’s best if you soak your seeds, nuts and grains before eating them. Lignans from flax and sesame help get rid of excess carcinogenic estrogen.

Herbs and Spices (garlic, onions, turmeric/curry, ginger, cayenne). Ginger, turmeric and cayenne all reduce inflammation and increase circulation. A nice ginger and turmeric tea made with fresh roots will help you feel warm and improve how you feel immediately! Onions and garlic are sulphur vegetables and great for supporting the immune system as well as supporting the liver.

Mushrooms (maitake,shiitake, whites, portabellas, oyster and crimini). Mushrooms contain selenium, potassium, Vitamin D, B Vitamins and beta glucans that are all great for your immune system.

Sea Vegetables are rich in minerals, sea vegetables contain mineral concentrations in the exact proportions that your body needs. Highest concentration of calcium, of any food.

Fermented Foods (Yogurt, miso, amasaki, kefir, tempeh, tamari, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kim chi, etc…) The process of lacto-fermentation is a traditional technique of preserving food. Sugars in the vegetables or fruits are converted into lactic acid by lactobacilli bacteria. These bacteria are all around us and when used in this way increase nutrient levels in the food and make them more easily digestible, because in a sense they have been ‘pre digested’. Even when these foods have been heated they are more easily assimilated by the body. This process produces many beneficial enzymes, beneficial antibiotics and anti cancer substances.

Probiotics play a huge part in keeping us healthy. 80% of immunity is dependent on the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. They also make vitamin K and many B vitamins in the intestinal tract, detoxify harmful chemicals, metabolize hormones and help get the most out of the food we eat by helping enzymes with assimilation.

Probiotics are key to a balanced and healthy immune system. Some things that can cause problems in this delicate balance are overuse of antibiotics (antibiotics kill all bacteria, not just the bad ones),alcohol, large amounts of sugar, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS), radiation, chlorine, fluoride, bacterial dysentery, stress, high meat, high fat diets, antacids,  and other anti-bacterial chemicals.

Other Super Foods ~ Camu camu and acerola (both high in Vitamin C), matcha tea, acai, noni, dark chocolate, sprouted grains, sprouts …… the choices are infinite!

Proteins (fish that live in deep cold water, salmon, free range organic meats and poultry, high quality protein powders, eggs)

Fats (cold pressed polyunsaturated oils such as chia, sacha inchi, flax, hemp and others) as well as fish and krill oil supplements all are important for the immune system and brain and neurological function.

Natural Remedies

Antivirals like Oregano Oil, Olive Leaf Extract, Curcumin, Cat’s Claw, St. John’s Wort, Garlic, Astragalus, Grapefruit Seed Extract are all great to take when you’ve encountered a nasty virus. If you’ve developed a bacterial infection then antimicrobials like goldenseal, oregano oil, olive leaf extract, myrrh and many others can help to reduce the number of bacteria so your body can fight it.

Expectorants to use when you have congestion or a bronchial/lung infection include mullein, peppermint, elecampane, eucalyptus, plantain, marshmallow and thyme. You can use essential oils of eucalyptus and thyme in a steam bath and breathe them in to help clear sinuses. These herbs are also available in tincture to take internally or as dried herbs to make a tea.

Sore throats benefit from slippery elm lozenges that will sooth and coat your throat. Slippery elm is a demulcent and will form a protective layer over inflamed mucous membranes.

Cough syrups contain expectorant, antispasmodic and demulcent herbs to help reduce coughing spasms, reduce mucous and soothe inflamed tissues. There are many to choose from.

Homeopathic remedies are specific for symptoms and there may be a different remedy for each person. If you get the right remedy for your specific symptoms then they work very well and quite quickly. Ocillococcinum is a homeopathic combination remedy that will cover several flu symptoms.

Taking a flight? Try Thieves blend! A combination of essential oils designed to protect you and deflect bacteria trying to enter through your respiratory tract. A few drops on a tissue, placed close to your nose and breathed in throughout your flight will help to protect you from the circulating germs in the airplane.

Chicken Soup

Very simple soup! The vinegar will draw the minerals from the bones of the chicken, making a mineral rich broth.

  • One organic or free range roasting chicken (after you haven eaten most of the meat from a previous meal)
  • Water
  • ¼ cup naturally fermented apple cider vinegar
  • Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Parsnip
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cabbage (lots!)
  • Brown Rice or Quinoa
  • Seaweed (optional)

Break the bones up into pieces and cover with water in a large pot. Add the vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer partially covered for 3-8 hours (depending on the time you have!). Add water if you need to. Strain and remove any meat from the bones and set this aside. Return stock to pot and stove top. Add vegetables cut into smallish pieces. Use as much or as little vegetables as you want. Add salt to taste. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the rice and chicken. Simmer until the rice is cooked. Add some seaweed if you like for additional minerals.

Carrot Ginger Soup with Lemon

  • 2 onions
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups diced carrots
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock

Pulse the onions, ginger and garlic in a food processor and then sauté in a bit of butter in a soup pot. Chop the carrots in the food processor and add to the pot. Grate the rind from the lemon and set aside and then juice it. Once the carrots have started to soften add the rind. Add the can of tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for one hour. Cool. Puree in a blender and add the lemon juice. Serve hot or cold. It’s great either way!

Kira Neumann, RHN  http://www.foodworksnutrition.com

November 15, 2011