Friday, January 5, 2018

3 Steps To Preventing The Flu

3 Steps You Can Take To Help Prevent The Flu

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It's that time of year, the flu season is taking America by storm. 

What Is The Flu?

Influenza (flu) is a virus (not a living virus) which can linger on objects and rooms for many hours and infect those that come into contact with it. .Viruses are complicated assemblies of molecules and  this is just one reason why the flu is difficult for the human body to work through with ease. Viruses are made up of several organisms including a host of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates, but on their own they are harmless and only when they enter a living cell (host) do they begin to mutate into something else. Without living cells, viruses would not be able to multiply. This is why viruses, such as the flu (influenza) are such a pain to deal with. (ref. Virology)

How Does The Flu Spread?

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When a virus invades or comes into contact with a cell, a multitude of chemical reactions go into effect and these actions and reactions can lead to the development of a new virus and this is how viruses can mutate too.. A flu virus, by itself is not aggressive, in fact it is quite passive. According to professor Dr. Vincent Racaniello (Higgins Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons) "Viruses don’t actually ‘do’ anything. Often scientists and non-scientists alike ascribe actions to viruses such as employing, displaying, destroying, evading, exploiting, and so on. These terms are incorrect because viruses are passive, completely at the mercy of their environment".

How Is Influenza Transmitted?

(1) by direct contact with infected individuals (or individuals who where treated with a vaccine).
(2) by contact with contaminated objects (called fomites, such as tools, toys, faucet, toilet flusher, door knobs)
(3) by inhalation (breathing) of virus-laden aerosols (air-borne).                                                       NOTE: Getting a flu vaccine does not mean that you are immune to the flu virus. It does not mean that you will not contract the flu virus. 

Some coughing may produce several hundred droplets, chronic coughing may produce over a thousand.
A sneeze can generate up to 20,000 air-borne particles, When a person sneezes, the particles are being forced out with tremendous force and those particles travel (sometimes over 15'). The particles are of various sizes and can infect 1 room for many hours. 

The largest droplets fall to the ground within a few meters and will transmit an infection to those in the vicinity. Other droplets travel a distance determined by their size. Those droplets 1-4 microns in diameter are called ‘droplet nuclei’; these remain suspended in the air for very long periods and may not only travel long distances, but can reach the lower respiratory tract when inhaled. This is why sometimes bacterial infections can often follow the flu.  Inhalation of droplets and droplet nuclei places virus in the upper respiratory tract, where it may initiate infection.(ref.Influenza virus Transmission)

Nasal fluids which contain virus particles can transmit by direct contact (kissing, sharing drinks). Indirect transmission can occur through shaking hands, hugging, sharing objects such as toy, tools and similar.

Remember a person with the flu is probably going to be visiting the bathroom more frequently, also blowing their nose quite often, rubbing their eyes, sneezing and coughing. The slightest virus particle can easily be transmitted to another person, and the gift keeps on giving. . (ref. PLOS Journal)

How To Control The Spread Of The Flu

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Always consult your board certified physician,  licensed pharmacist or your knowledgeable naturopath practitioner before taking any supplements, changing your diet or lifestyle. Everyone is different and has different needs and some supplements may interfere with the proper function of medications and the excessive misuse of supplements may lead to discomfort or other complications.

Whether or not you have the flu, the following steps may help prevent the transmission of the flu, if you or someone you know has already contracted the flu, the following steps may help with symptomatic relief. 

1. Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and encouraging others to do the same. This helps to control the spread of influenza virus particles. .

2. Washing your hands often with soap and water, and encouraging others to do the same. This  helps to lower the transmission rates of virus infected particles.

3. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body well hydrated and flushed-out. Personally I drink only pure, distilled water and I cook with it too. This works for my personal health needs. You should drink your preferred water source and if it is pure distilled, you may consider adding a tiny pinch of Kosher, sea salt with a tiny pinch of sodium bicarbonate to maintain your electrolytes.  

Additional Tips

Strengthen your immune system response by feeding your body well with real food and a balanced diet.

Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that helps maintain muscle, bones and blood vessels. Some studies have shown that in high doses, it appeared to decrease the ability of the virus to multiply effectively at the cellular level. Overloading on Vitamin C can also lead to loose stool. 

Vitamin D Vitamin D is believed to play an important role in immune system response and function. Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because it is produced by the body in response to sunlight, but it can also be found in some foods like fish, eggs, yogurt, cheese and milk.

Vitamin D has been growing in popularity for many reasons, but also the prevention of cold and flu. That being stated, more research is needed to support and to definitively prove that taking Vitamin D supplements can help prevent the flu virus..Some studies suggest that if you have low levels of both vitamins C and D, you may have a weakened immune system, which may leave you susceptible to viral infections (such as flu).

Even though a balance of vitamins, minerals, (micro, macro, essential etc) are essential; to good health, you must be very careful in taking mega doses. More is not always better, especially when you’re getting sick. In some situations, mega-dosing causes more harm than good. Always consult your physician or local pharmacist or your naturopath practitioner before taking any supplements. Some supplements may interfere with the proper function of medications and excessive use may lead to discomfort or complications. 

There has been a tremendous increase in research over the years linking vitamin D deficiency to a host of health problems including heart disease, depression, rickets, cognitive impairment and even cancer.(ref.Dr. Manny Alvarez, chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey). There are vitamin and mineral tests (from blood and  urine) that you can take to check your levels of  essential vitamins and minerals in your body. Although not often advertised, they are easily accessible to anyone. Your primary doctor may not recommend those tests due to the high cost ($200-$300) and your insurance may not want to cover the cost.  

Zinc  is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. Zinc SHOULD be found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria, viruses and other unfavorable invaders too. . The body also needs zinc to make specific proteins and DNA (genetic material in all cells). Studies show that Zinc taken orally may help to treat colds, but it can also cause side effects and interact with over the counter and prescription medicines too. Zinc is available in two forms (1) oral zinc (e.g., lozenges, tablets, syrup) and (2) intra-nasal zinc (e.g., swabs and gels). A 2015 analysis of clinical trials found that oral zinc helps to reduce the length of some cold and flu symptoms.


Opt for using your slow-cooker instead of eating out. 

Avoid crowded dining establishments and places such as buffet lines.

Avoid going to amusement parks and shopping stores unless necessary. 

When was the last time your forced air heating system had a new filter installed? You would be surprised to know that many people forget about this. All that build-up over the year such as dander, pollen, dead skin cells, pet dust, dirt, hair, dust bunnies, bacteria and even mold can negatively impact your living environment and lead to compromised immunity and health.  Remember to replace your filter.  Change your furnace filter and have your forced air heating vents evacuated.
Consider spending more time outside and getting plenty of fresh, clean air. Fresh, clean air can really do wonders for your body. If you live in a polluted city, try going out to the country for a nice afternoon. 

Eat more fruits and vegetables cooked and raw to keep your cells well fed. When I mention vegetables, I am not suggesting lettuce. I am referring to fruits such as spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots, beets and flowers such as cauliflower.

Eat at least 3 ounces of clean organic grass-fed meat (or wild caught fish, beans, lentils, kidney beans etc) each day. Protein is needed on a daily basis.

Warm mineral rich liquids, such as nutritious soups, provide calories, minerals, vitamins, hydration and fiber (depending on your specific ingredients). Nutrient rich warmed liquids have also been shown to reduce congestion (Ref Journal).

Avoid refined sugars, synthetic sweeteners and avoid any foods that can block the absorption of essential nutrients such as wheat, barley, rye and similar. You need to absorb nutrients in order to feed every good cell in your body. 

Foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, mango, papaya, berries and cantaloupe, could also help reduce the severity of symptoms and maybe even help prevent virus invaders. (Ref. PubMed).

Enjoy some green tea (Oolong) with a bit of raw honey and sliced ginger root, and avoid sweet concentrated juices. When juicing it is always best to include the fiber/pulp too. 

Work up a little sweat and clean out your pores, excrete any potential toxins and flush out your body by taking good fluids. Personally I make chicken stock/broth at least 3-X weekly because I raise free-ranging nutrient-dense, grain-free heritage chickens,  and I have a steady supply. .I understand that if you do not grow your own or have to buy organic, grain-free poultry that the dollars can add-up. . 

Follow your instincts. If you are cold put on another layer, a coat or cover with a warm blanket. Since I also raise cattle, I use cow hides during the winter.  If you are too warm, remove a layer of clothing, take off your coat. I only mention this because when you browse the internet, there are so many unsubstantiated rules of what to do for the common cold (feed it, starve it) or how to cure the flu (stay hot, take cold baths). It's always best to take care of your needs by following your natural instincts, in my opinion. Nobody knows your body better than you do.
IN QUESTION, Some people claim that eating cheese, yogurt, drinking milk or similar,  either produces more or thickens mucous, thus leading to increased congestion. However, the evidence for this is strictly anecdotal. As a professional vocalist for most of my life, I always drank and still drink milk, but I drink it raw (unpasteurized), unless I heat-it myself, just before bed. Getting a clean, un-vaccinated and grain-free source of raw healthy and clean milk can be like pulling teeth. I raise my own goats for milk and since Mary over at Mary's Goat Farm (in Apple Valley, CA.) has far more than I, I rely on her for my off-season sourcing. Again, you know your body better than anyone else 'Follow Your Instincts" and do what makes you feel better, and more comfortable. 


Thank you for following my blog and I look forward to hearing from you.  
What are some of your suggestions? 
What helps you prevent the flu?
What are some of your favorite flu remedies?
Do you have a special recipe for flu season, that you want to share?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cooking in human evolution

Dr. Watzke’s opening bit on why he thinks humans should be classified as ‘coctivors,’ that is, animals that eat cooked food, rather than ‘omnivores.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017