Sneezes, coughs, droopy and tired looking eyes are all signs that some sort of infection has taken hold of your body. It doesn’t feel good, it slows you down, makes you stop when you don’t want to – or take medicines so you can keep going, but there’s no denying it, being sick sucks. What is it about the couch, blanket, comfort food and the TV remote that we gravitate towards, as opposed to doing gentle exercise, meditating, cooking up some nourishing broth for soup laden with garlic, that isn’t top of mind for most of us? We could debate that for a while, but instead let’s look into what you can do to avoid, lessen the duration and severity and support your immunity to get you through whatever comes at you. We’ve talked about immunity in episodes 14 and 95 in the past, and also inflammation in episode 67 with Dr B and they are inseparable when it comes to health. I’m not all that sure that we’ve really hit that home in the past and it needs to be discussed for living your best life. As we record this, winter is coming and no matter where you are in the world, its pretty typical for flu season to rear its ugly head along with colds and various named viruses that will circulate. In a continued effort to keep you up to date with how to look after yourself, make informed choices and feel great, today on EAT THIS with Lianne, let’s power up your immunity while reducing inflammation. Not only to avoid all that’s coming at you, but to avoid the diseases associated with inflammation as a bonus to your efforts.
There’s an army in your body that works around the clock as your body’s defense against infections. That army is your immune system made up of cells that act like the levels of an army battalion, filtering stations, highways of garbage disposal, and clean up crews. How do you know if your immune system is on high alert? Sometimes you feel it. Your lymph glands swell – you have glands under your chin or in the neck, your armpits or even groin where there are bigger clusters. You’ll start to notice symptoms like scratchy throat, sneezes, stuffy nose, aches, fever, chills, and cough and you’re tired. Sometimes you can feel it coming, and others it hits you like a Mack truck.
While I’m talking about viruses here, I also want to be clear that inflammation in your body drives all of the crappness that you feel. The inflammatory response happens when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat, or even a food that your body deems harmful as in the case of allergy. The army and its soldiers are trying to surround and contain whatever it is. The assaulted or damaged cells release chemicals that include histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins. These natural body chemicals are what cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues, and cause swelling, and pain. The body is an amazing machine and without the right vitamins, minerals, good bugs in your gut, antioxidants, proteins, and fibre, it’s going to struggle.
If your immune system and its ability to quell inflammation in your body are impaired or even burnt out with all that it has to do, that’s when you head toward illness like heart disease, cancer, obesity, and dementia as well as arthritis, autoimmune disease, allergies, digestive disorders and on the outside, premature aging. Inflammation is a double edge sword as in we need it to survive, and it’s imperative that the immune system brings the army to try and capture what it perceives as an attack, but inflammation is at the root of disease. So while you’re here to hear about how to power up your immunity in the case of colds, flus and all that, know that everything I’m about to talk about, also help prevent disease that none of us want to deal with.
Let’s talk through some ways to help this inflammation and immune burn out.
When was the last time that you wrote out a food diary to realize what you’re consuming for a few days? Not exactly top of the to-do list, right? But that can help you realize that when you eat that fast sandwich at your desk or hit the drive through once again, that your belly blew up and you could have used the intestinal gas to propel you home, that in fact, your gut isn’t happy when you eat those foods. And that leads to understanding that a situation called leaky gut which is like microscopic holes in your intestinal wall. Those holes allow undigested food particles through to your blood stream and then what happens? The immune army does what it’s supposed to do. Capture and contain. First, you get leaky gut from taking medicines, alcohol, eating nutrient void foods, stress, eating foods that you’re sensitive to – dairy, gluten, eggs, and corn are the most likely culprits and when you give your body time away from these foods and focus on healing leaky gut, that can ease the load on your immune army, and that response inflammation.
That food diary helps you realize the foods that you don’t feel great after eating. And it’s not right after you swallow. Think of where your gas pain is if it’s digestive – above or below the belly button links to how long ago you ate. If it’s in your stomach and you’re nauseous, you just ate it. If it’s gas, bloating and gassiness, it’s from 12-24 hours ago, maybe more. Track and find the offending foods and replace them with a dairy free, gluten free substitute. It’s not hard to do. Also look out for the effects of sugar. Not from fruit, but packaged foods, candy, chocolate, cookies, starch heavy foods like pasta, white bread, your morning muffin that are made from white flour and almost act like sugar.
Next is to do a gut check. How does the bathroom smell after you’ve had a bowel movement? Do you leave a smelly gas bomb behind as you leave the kitchen, your office cubicle or move along in the supermarket? You’ve got bad bacteria if you do. Poo doesn’t smell like roses, but if the fan needs to go on in the bathroom with the door closed before anyone else can enter, it’s time to get rid of the sugar, processed foods, and do an about face with your food choices. Yes, taking my Take This by Lianne Bio Boost will help. Take it daily and even as you start do what’s called a flush (instructions below) and even add in some garlic, which is also excellent for immunity, and kills bad bugs. If garlic isn’t your thing, Olive Leaf extract, berberine or artemisia intrinsic or Nat Colon CLR from Physica energetics all kill off the bad bugs.
Vitamins A, C, E, Zinc, magnesium, Selenium and All Superfoods of all the bright colours that you can eat from plums, to berries, goji berries and even beets. You’ll find all those in my Skin or Kid Boost superfood powders. Then there’s all the herbs, spices, veggies and fruits like turmeric, rosemary, garlic, onions, chicory root, dandelion greens, jerusalem artichokes, banana, asparagus, ginger, garlic, quercetin found in onions, leeks. Vitamin A can come from eating clean liver. Prebiotic and probiotic foods like kefir, plain yogurt, fermented sauerkraut, miso, natto, tempeh, kimchi all feed the good bugs in your gut.
Protein is a must for repairing all your cells as well as fueling the immune army with all that they need. Particularly when you’re sick, to build the components of the immune system – immunoglobulins and antibodies are part of that army that I keep talking about.
Vitamin D3 has its own episode with all its benefits, but know that vitamin D3 alone can be your number one defiance. Head back to episode 59 and order my Take This by Lianne Sunshine D3+K2 liposome spray to maximize absorption and get it into your cells where it needs to be.
Protein malnutrition can happen to anyone when you’re going for comfort foods that come from a bag, box or have a barcode, or choose to eat a more plant based diet, so be aware, please.
Proteins like lentils, nut butters, beans, grass fed animal products, fish that’s checked for its toxicity. Get a box delivered from a farm near you if you can, it’s easy and so great to support local.
Vitamin C, the unsung hero of all the vitamins in my opinion, but please take it daily. It goes into my drink every day – my Alka C with extra minerals like zinc and selenium make it a one stop shop. Please know that vitamin C doesn’t stop you from getting sick – according to a study from Guellph university, but it does lessens the severity and duration. So you might be sick for a day instead of five, or have your immune army stop the potential to move to a bacterial infection in your sinuses or chest and you end up with an infection that needs antibiotics. It all helps. A sign of a strong immune system isn’t that you don’t get sick, but that what you do get resolves without complication.
If you haven’t already, you’ve got to get some mushrooms into you. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve got Mushroom everything. Both here on EAT THIS with LIanne in episodes 131, 132 and 134, but at home. I buy them weekly, I eat them daily and I’m growing my own. Lions Mane, Chaga, Cordyceps, Reishi, shitake, maitake, all of them in tincture like GiddyYo’s that I’ve talked about, powders, capsules but you also have to eat the real thing.
I know how hard it is to pull off homemade foods and not rely on sugar as your fuel of choice, especially now as we have yet to head through halloween and then the holiday season. Getting into making homemade foods is an evolution. I do it every week. I don’t say this lightly that if I can do it, so can you. I have kids, a full time job, this podcast, clients, and try to have a social life of sorts too. For me, going to my local market is a priority, and then I spend a couple of hours making up meals on Sunday, and it’s become part of my routine. Before bed, during the week I make up breakfast for work, put all my powders in a sealable cup, ready for my collagen powder and liposome B complex in the morning and water. I mix it up, seal it and head out the door with my breakfast and lunch, full water bottle and I’m good for the day.
I want to run down a quick list of when you get sick, feel that tingle or start to get stuffy.
- Nose squish bottle. Use two to three times a day. Add in probiotics, or goldenseal if you’re prone to sinusitis.
- Pull out your Orion Red Light (use code EATTHIS10 at checkout for 10% off) and NIR device and use it for 10-20 minutes. If you don’t have one, find some sunshine and put your body in it. While you’re laying or sitting, put some caster oil on your throat and chest to help support all that immune action. Head on top from a hot water bottle is great too.
- Jump in the shower and start with hot, then turn to cold for as long as you can stand. If a bath is more your speed, then load that up with epson salts and still do the cold shower after. It’s worth the discomfort. You will feel amazing.
- Get into bed with your Brain Tap on if you have one – we talked about that in episode 129 with Dr Patrick Porter, listen to some soothing music or put on a guided meditation.
- Do some yoga, go out for a walk and get some movement in. It can be short, but your lymphatics, that highway of garbage disposal, needs you to move and pump it around your body to the garbage cans called lymph glands.
- Get out that broth or immune boosting soup that you made and eat at will.
- Eat protein like an egg with sourdough toast, or crush a clove of garlic, mix with butter and broil for a few minutes.
- Take a spoonful of raw or manuka honey especially for sore throats. Add to hot water, lemon, and ginger.
Alright, that should have you armed for what’s to come for now. I’ll share a couple of soup recipes on below so you can make them and freeze them for when you need them. Delicious lentil dahl and immune boosting soup that are family staples and found in my award winning book Sprout Right Family Food.
In the case of digestive issues, after a course of antibiotics, or an immune challenge, follow this 3 day FLUSH protocol and then continue with daily dose. Suitable for those 12 years and older.
Day 0– Take 12 before bed.
Day 1– Take 3 capsules at breakfast, 3 at lunch and 10 at dinner.
Day 2– Take 3 at breakfast, 3 at lunch and 8 at dinner.
Day 3– Take 3 at breakfast, 3 at lunch and 3 at dinner.
Corn, coconut and ginger soup
This colourful, antioxidant-rich soup is a perfect staple to have around as the weather gets colder. It also has immune-boosting properties from the garlic, onions and meat broth.
Makes 6 cups
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 bag (17 ounces/500 g) frozen corn
- 1 2⁄3 cups (400 mL) Meat Broth or Vegetable Broth
- 1 2⁄3 cups (400 mL) canned full-fat coconut milk
- Black pepper
- 4 whole-grain buns, for serving
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the carrot, onion, ginger, and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.
- Add the corn, broth, and coconut milk. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the carrot is fork-tender.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly. 5. Using a hand-held blender, purée to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted whole-grain buns.
TIP: For a fast chop, pulse the carrots, onion, and garlic in your food processor.
Immune boosting and sickness soup
- 300 gm (1 1/3 cups) cooked leftover chicken, chopped
- 2 litres chicken stock or broth
- 1 piece of kombu seaweed (dried kelp)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 cm knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 150 gm (2/3 cup) shiitake or button mushrooms, stems trimmed sliced
- 2 carrots cut into matchsticks
- 200 gm soba noodles
- 2-3 tablespoon miso paste
- 4 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal (optional)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, to sprinkle (optional)
- Pour the chicken stock or broth into a medium pan and add the kombu. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and cook gently for 5-10 minutes. Remove and discard the kombu.
- Bring another pot of water to the boil to cook the noodles. Add the noodles to the pan of boiling water and cook until tender but still retaining a slight bite, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and immediately toss with a little sesame oil. Set aside.
- Add the ginger, mushrooms, carrot and garlic to broth and simmer for another 3-5 minutes. Then add raw chicken and cook until chicken is just opaque throughout- about 1-1/2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down as low as possible. Add miso paste just before serving. Do not boil once miso is added.
- Divide noodles between soup bowls and scatter over the spring onions (if using). Ladle the hot soup over the noodles, making sure that you divide the chicken and mushrooms evenly. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.
Delicious Lentil Dhal
This recipe is one of my personal favourites! The turmeric and cumin in this recipe add wonderful flavours. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory too so bonus! Try serving this meal over brown rice with a dollop of yogurt or served with a flatbread.
Makes 4 cups (1 L)
3 cups (750 mL) filtered water or broth
1 cup (250 mL) red lentils, rinsed well
1 medium sweet potato, chopped into small cubes
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup (250 mL) packed baby spinach, finely chopped
2 Swiss chard leaves, finely chopped
1 can (14 ounces/398 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Combine the water, lentils, sweet potato, onion, olive oil, turmeric, cumin, garlic, and cilantro in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the spinach and Swiss chard and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the chickpeas and simmer for an additional 3 minutes. Leave chunky or purée slightly to desired consistency.
- Store the purée in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer in food containers for up to 3 months.