A Happy Immune System, Naturally
For the love of nutrition (both my Profession + Passion) here are the highlights for how to ignite one kick-ass immune system with The Healthiest Nutrition On The Block;
Everything Organic Always
I’m not trying to be a snob. 150 years ago everything was organic however since the 1940s there have been over 90,000 chemicals introduced into our environment which place an exceptional burden on our health – especially for The Littlest On The Block.
There is plenty of compelling information to show just how truly damaging pesticides + insecticides + herbicides + GMOs are to our bodies. But do we really need proof? Common sense inspired my commitment long ago.
So this means everything we purchase, is organic – or organic practices. Our only exception is while eating out (although we do our best to choose healthful places) or if we are guests at a dinner party, since friendships are a vital nutrient also!
We Dodge Dairy
If there is ONE food in my practice that I’ve seen contribute to tremendous health challenges for children, it is dairy! The dairy industry has changed enormously in the last 100 years; both in farming practices and also how often + how early it is being introduced – sometimes from birth for formula fed babes. (More on special support for formula-fed littles in a post coming soon).
What used to be an inherently healthful food, is quickly becoming a detriment to our overall wellness.
Dairy can play a significant role in conditions such as eczema, asthma, chronic cold + flus (especially in the respiratory system), seasonal allergies, digestive issues like colic, constipation, diarrhea, tummy aches, IBS, food sensitivities or yeast related conditions such as systemic candida, diaper rash and vaginal infections.
It would be unwise for me to reduce children’s illness or chronic disease to merely a single food however in my practice the removal of dairy has unequivocally played the most influential role in the healing such health challenges. Gluten + sugar taking a close second.
What You Need to Know
Non-Organic cows are rarely fed their natural diet of grass + forage anymore – more commonly they are given corn, grain or soy. Hormones are also being used + abused to keep the cow lactating where they otherwise wouldn’t be. Both of these practices are used in order to reduce cost.
Non-Organic cows are kept in unnaturally small confinements many of which have been documented as being unsanitary with very little accountability to a natural, health-promoting environment.
How well would you feel being locked in a sun-deprived pen, barely able to move while being fed something you couldn’t actually digest?
These conditions breed very sick cows with serious health complications rendering the necessity of high antibiotic use as well as the pasteurization (heating) of all dairy products.
Pasteurization practices mean to protect us from harmful bacteria, however during the process we also lose key enzymes (lactase) which are vital to the efficient digestion of dairy.
Cow’s milk sensitivities are on the rise as a result.
I wish to note that surely not all non-organic farms are this dire – however if you choose to eat dairy I encourage you to identify the farming practices of your milk source – and don’t believe everything you read.
What We Do
- We eat it minimally. If at all.
- Our exception is Grass-fed Butter or Ghee since these maintain a different molecular composition which are much easier to digest. Both also offer great health benefits!
- We source from local farms whom we know + trust.
- We stick to Certified Organic.
I watched a hilarious Jimmy Kimmel episode recently where he interviewed dedicated, unwavering Gluten-Free’ers (is that a word?) except out of all the candidates only a few of them actually knew what gluten was! I’ll admit, going Gluten-Free has indeed become rather trendy.
Now I can take a joke! This episode was seriously funny! But let me share with you just how valuable going mostly gluten-free has been, for my whole family. Let’s also demystify what all the fuss is about!
What You Need to Know
Gluten refers to the protein structure found within the grain; it gives bread that chewy, undeniably delicious, elastic quality. It is found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt products.
Gluten grains are one of the most genetically modified crops on the planet; an average, non-organic wheat pod has grown 90% in size over the last 30 years.
Our digestive systems do not know how to handle such a dramatic change and consequently gluten maintains a reputation for wreaking havoc on our gastro-intestinal tracts.
Between GMOs + the prevalent heavy processing of grains, it is becoming widely recognized as the culprit behind numerous digestive disorders as well a major offender in auto-immune disease.
Gluten (of modern description), is mucous forming which creates great sluggishness in the bowels allowing fermentation to take place. This provides an unwanted home for opportunistic, unhealthy bacteria to stake their claim. (How to Nurture Your Gut! CLICK HERE)
Even more noticeably, high gluten-containing diets seem to have an impressive impact on behaviour in children;
The gut is the second most concentrated area for nerve endings in the body and is considered a sophisticated messaging system, directly reporting to none other than the brain.
When you throw in such an inflammatory food you can guess which organ will pay the largest price.
It is curious to consider how grains in general have become such a sad skeleton of their former nutritious selves. When seeking nutritional wisdom, I always look to the past for guidance;
The traditional method for preparing grains was to either soak or sprout them before use. This intentional form of preparation has long been forgotten – for most. Between mass manipulation of the seeds (GMOs), over refining (which strips any accompanying nutrients), and over eating it is no wonder gluten-free has become so popular.
What We Do
- We eat it minimally; I am the most strict with my toddler as he becomes notably more aggressive and hyper after eating gluten.
- We use whole-grains rather than refined bread products.
- We soak or sprout all grains.
What I recommend – start paying attention to how much you eat it. Then be bold, try something new and TAKE IT OUT. Like, 100%. Try this for 30 days then reintroduce it. How do you feel? Better, worse, no different? Let this be your guide.
Refined sugar is one of the greatest threats to healthy immune function. I once read that a single tsp of sugar drops the immune system by something like 8 hours.
Read labels carefully – sugar, and its unfriendly derivatives are conveniently hidden under misleading claims and promises. Some of the worst offenders for hidden sugars are conventional yogurts and cereals. Common names for sugar;
Sucrose / high-glucose corn syrup / fructose / maltose / lactose / glycogen / glucose / mannitol / sorbitol / galactose
Natural, unprocessed sources are far superior offering nutrient diversity including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and many healing properties. My favorites;
Raw / Unpasteurized Honey (12+ months) + Pure Maple Syrup, the darker the betters.
Thank you for your open, inquiring mind!