After going through a rough flu the last week, I've put together a 'first-aid' kit for you to survive the winter bugs.
I also share my secrets for strengthening your immunity so you can sail through the 'sick-season' like a boss.
Tissue salts mentioned:
S3 - Ferrum Phos.
S6 - Kalium Sulf.
Join the waitlist for Hormone Health Academy today: www.vandghie.com/hha
I am so grateful to be recording this episode today.
You might pick up in my voice that something’s a bit off.
Well, it’s because I’m coming out the other end of what was probably the worst illness I’ve had in my entire adult life.
I’m guessing it was the flu but I was man down for 2 days, flat in bed. Unable to do anything.
It definitely caught me off guard, because I hardly ever get sick.
And if I do, it might be a runny nose and sneezing for a day at best.
But this was something else.
On day 2, which was yesterday, it also got to my head and emotions real bad.
At one stage, I felt like I was spiralling out of control, unable to stop crying hysterically.
So I wanted to share this experience with you to share the things I did to pull me out the other end and also the things you can do to get your immunity strong, so you can fend off the post-covid superbugs.
And you know, I say post-covid superbugs, but I truly believe it’s the effect of the 2 years of isolation, masks, & hand sanitizer that we are experiencing now.
Personally, I think the approach was totally wrong.
I never saw any messaging around how to improve our immune system.
Everything was around not catching any bugs.
So I wanted to share with you today, strategies that you can implement to help your body get strong, so you can pull through the other end when you DO get sick, just like i did.
Or, to help you get strong enough to fend off these bugs.
And just so you know, if you are in the northern hemisphere, you’re probably past most of this already. It is now winter in New Zealand and the flu is hitting our country so hard this year. So if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you can implement these strategies now to get ready for the next winter. You’ll be all sorted!
Ok, so first of all, I wanna share with you the things I did over the last 3 days, and that I’ll continue to do until I’m 100% good.
The focus is to increase the immune response, so give your body what it needs so it can fight the infection and inflammation. And in simple terms, the immune response is how your body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses and substances that appear forein and harmful.
And secondly, you want to reduce the inflammation that is happening inside of your body, which is what is creating the terrible symptoms.
So keeping those 2 things in mind, this is how I pulled myself through those 2 incredibly hard days. But please note that this is NOT medical advice in any way, shape or form. I’m sharing with you, from a holistic approach, how I support my body through disease and how I make sure I keep my immunity strong.
So here we go…
Keep those fluids up
When we’re sick, our immune system requires extra fluid to fight off the infection.
When our bodies get attacked by a virus, bacteria or other pathogens, we generally get a fever as part of the defensive response, and because of our elevated body temperature, we lose water more rapidly through our lungs and skin. Which, you can imagine, may easily lead to dehydration and this will lead to all body functions becoming less effective. Which is NOT what we want when we’re fighting off an infection. We want all our systems in top notch condition.
So when we are dehydrated, fever may increase and symptoms such as headaches, weakness, muscle and joint aches etc will get worse.
If your body is well hydrated, mucus will remain thin so you can easily clear it through your lungs and sinuses and you won’t be stuck with sticky phlegm that are hard to get rid of. And I don’t know about you, but this is the worst!
So how do you know if you’re taking enough fluids? By simply keeping an eye on your urinary output. So if you are dehydrated, your output will decrease and the urine will get really dark in colour. If you are taking enough fluids, your urine will be pale and you’ll have frequent trips to the bathroom.
So here are some easy ways that I made sure I was getting enough fluids the last few days:
Drank about 1L of hot water. I have a large mug which is about 450ml. So I fill it up at least twice a day with almost boiling water and sip on it. I prefer hot water in general and this helped me tremendously as my body constantly went into cold shivers
Secondly, I had at least one cup of homemade lemon, honey and ginger. So that would be ½ a squeezed lemon, tablespoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of crushed ginger with almost boiling water
I had a cup of rooibos tea, which is also high in antioxidants.
I had my diffuser on in my room with some essential oils, which means I was also inhaling some fluid.
And a very powerful way of getting the most of your fluids, is to have bone broth, which is amazing to support your immune system. Unfortunately I did not have access to this, but I highly recommend you have 2-3 cups of good quality bone broth on your sick days.
So that is the first thing I do when I’m sick, keep those fluids up!
Secondly, as mentioned before, I diffuse essential oils, specifically Thieves and Eucalyptus.
Thieves essential oil is a blend, manufactured by Young Living, consisting of lemon, cinnamon leave, clove, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary essential oils.
It’s really effective as an antimicrobial and helps with the symptoms of colds and flus.
Eucalyptus helps to clear airways and help to fight viruses
Thirdly, I used paracetamol and ibuprofen to control any fever and body aches and pains
This was incredibly helpful to just take the edge off the pain and the horrible feverish feeling. I alternated between the 2 four-hourly and that worked really well for me.
I also used Prospan, which is an Ivy Leaf Extract bronchial syrup, which opens up the airways and also helps to clear mucus from the lungs. It’s an amazing natural product that is safe for all ages and works a charm. So I highly recommend this. Even our paediatrician used to prescribe this when our kids were only babies. And hopefully you can find it where you are, but I know that it’s available in South Africa and New Zealand. Just the name again, it’s Prospan cough syrup.
Fourthly, and this one can be hard if you don’t feel well and don’t have much support, is to make sure you have nutritious food that will support your body through the inflammatory process.
This was definitely the part where I was struggling the most, as my husband is working full time. I was longing for my mums amazing bone broth veggie soup, but instead I tried to throw together a few raw veggies as a salad.
I also try to have more berries than usual. LIke maybe twice a day
So make sure you eat loads of vegetables and good quality meat so you’ll get enough protein
And stay away from foods that will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. And next week, I’ll be talking more about why it is important to control your blood sugar and how to do this.
Stay away from sugar, alcohol and coffee while your body is fighting any infection and increase anti-inflammatory foods. So basically, double down of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, green tea, turmeric (I love having a turmeric latte with oat milk and lots of cinnamon) and again, that magical bone broth or even use your bone broth to make a vegetable soup. So this is not the time to order in those take-aways or only have toast. As always, it is very important to make every single meal count.
OK, moving on to number 5 - Rest, rest, rest
This is not the time to be a tough cookie.
Make sure you stay in bed and do as little as possible. During those 2 days, it was so hard for me to just let go. I have so much work to do so naturally I started panicking about deadlines etc. Until I allowed myself to be ok with the fact that some things will simply not get done.
For instance, I was going to skip this week’s podcast and I allowed myself to be ok with that.
But thankfully, I woke up this morning feeling so much better and so I was ready to take on tasks again. Of course I had to prioritise, push out some dates, etc. But that’s what I need to do right now to look after me. And that’s more than ok. That’s actually the priority.
Then, moving on to number 6 and my little super secret, tissue salts.
I used tissue salts number 3 and 6, 2 tablets 3-4 times a day.
Tissue salts are tiny little tablets that you can chew and they are micro doses of minerals.
Number 3 is Iron phosphate and number 6 Sodium sulphate.
Both these are great for the first phases of inflammation and keeps the mucous nice and thin so you can get rid of it easily through your lungs and nose.
Number 7, I supplement the right things.
So the things that I supplemented in the last few days are Probiotics, a good broad-spectrum probiotic with at least 2 billion CFU per capsule.
I also used a good quality multivitamin. And just as a side note here, you want to make sure that the folate in your multivit is in the methylfolate form, and not folic acid.
And then I also use Ningxia Red, which is a nutritional supplement made by Young Living and it’s really high in antioxidants.
So the probiotics are keeping my gut healthy, which is where 70-90% of your immunity is, and the other supplements are providing my body with the antioxidants to help stop the inflammatory cycle.
And then lastly, but most certainly not least, was my breathing exercises and activating the vagus nerve.
This has most certainly been a game changer for me.
Just to provide you with a little bit of context, cause you might be thinking “Vandghie, how on earth do you bring breathing exercises into this equation?”
When our body is infected with a virus, bacteria or other pathogens, it activates the stress response, which turns on the inflammatory response.
Now inflammation is good when there are foreign invaders that need to be fought off, like in the case of a flu.
But when you have uncontrolled stress, this increases the inflammatory response beyond what you actually need to fight off viruses and bacteria.
So you want to control your perceived stress.
So what actually happened with me this week, was that I was feeling incredibly sick, so my mental space was not good.
I then started missing my family so badly that I went into an emotional downward spiral. So much so that I sobbed uncontrollably for about 30 minutes.
I then realised that I needed to regulate my physical response in order to regulate my emotional response and down-regulate my cortisol production.
So I took 2 minutes, did my controlled breathing exercises, which is what we learn inside of the Hormone Health Academy, and it was amazing to experience the clarity that came after that.
And I repeated those exercises every hour.
When we do them, we activate the vagus nerve, which has amazing benefits such as regulating your emotions, reducing blood pressure, lowering your heart rate and most importantly in this situation, it reduces inflammation.
So when you are sick, don’t forget to do your breathing exercises more regularly. This will really help you regulate that inflammatory response.
So those are the things I did to pull me through that terrible flu and I hope that it will help you the next time when you experience the same.
But maybe you would like to know how to get your immunity as strong as possible, so the next time you are exposed to any bugs, you have the best shot at recovering quickly and maybe have milder symptoms than what I’ve experienced.
So I have 6 basic things that you should make part of your daily routine to ensure you build a nice, strong immune system. In no particular order, they are:
Firstly, as you would expect me saying, make sure you make each meal count. Have lots of plant based foods so you can have heaps of fibre and micro nutrients, which are the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that our cells need to be strong and perform their functions well. Make sure you get enough good quality protein by including proteins and fat every time you eat a meal or snack.
Limit sugar, alcohol and dairy as much as possible and only have coffee very sparingly. So maybe one cup a day would be a great start.
Secondly, move your body every single day. This is really important for various reasons, but it will definitely help you to build a strong immune system. And if you’ve known me for a while now, you’ll know that I advocate exercising for your cycle. So don’t do high intensity exercise every day of the week, every week of the month and rest when required. More is not necessarily better.
Thirdly, take a probiotic every single day. LIke I said, 70-90% of your immunity is in your gut. So if your gut is not in a good state, you will have very little defence against intruders. And feed that healthy bacteria with lots of fibre and plant-based foods
The fourth thing which will help you to build a strong immune system, is to respect your menstrual cycle.
By pushing your body in times when rest and recovery is needed, will activate the stress response, leading to poor gut health, higher inflammation and a higher risk of getting sick. So start tracking your cycle today and jump on the next round of the Hormone Health Academy, so you can also learn how to use your menstrual cycle as your superpower. I promise, this is life changing.
The fifth thing that should always get your highest priority is to manage your stress. And for reasons already discussed, this is probably the biggest contributor to imbalance hormones and overall feeling unwell, not even talking about a poor immune system.
And this is the reason why the Hormone Health Academy has an entire module on stress management and practical skills to downregulate stress and activate the vagus nerve. This is a must!
One of the largest studies done on stress in the UK, showed that 74% of people are so stressed that they felt overwhelmed. We know that the modern world brings so many more stressors, so learning to cope with them in a healthy way is no longer an option. It’s a skill that we all HAVE to learn if we want to live long, healthy lives.
And lastly, make sure you have a good, consistent sleep routine.
That means that you go to bed roughly the same time each night.
You get up roughly the same time each morning
You don’t use screens within 30 minutes of bedtime
And you do something relaxing for about 60 minutes before you go to bed.
Also, make sure you get at least 8 hours of good quality sleep each night.
So there you have it friends.
Stay healthy this season. Make sure you give yourself the care that you need to remain the best version of yourself.
And if you are interested to join the next intake of the Hormone Health Academy, and I highly recommend that you do, you can head over to www.vandghie.com/hha right now to get onto the waitlist.
We only take 15 students at a time, so make sure you don’t miss out.
Ok my friends, have a fabulous week, I’ll see you again next week.
Bye for now