I can’t believe it, fall season (calendar-wise) has already arrived. The weather has been beautiful as if August was delayed into September but this past week on September 23rd was the Autumn Equinox where daylight hours and nighttime hours were equally aligned. From now on we have shorter daylight hours, which I dread every year because I want to extend those long daylight days. As the weather begins to cool and leaves fall, it’s also a good time to begin preparing your immune system for the winter. Already, I have noticed many people around me have gotten their first colds (myself included) for the season.
Our immune system is part of our body’s system made up of many biological structures such as organs, tissues and cells and processes that helps protect us from viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites causing colds, flus, infections, inflammatory diseases or more threatening illnesses.
Immunity is the expression of homeostasis which is the state our body strives for maintaining stability and balance within its internal environment. The immune system fights off disease causing germs and bacteria that enter the body. The antibodies and antitoxins of this system recognize foreign bodies and attacks them using leukocytes (white blood cells). When the immune system weakens is when we become susceptible to colds, infections and viruses.
Eating fresh whole foods is essential to keeping your immune system well stoked. It’s recommended to eat 60-80% alkaline and probiotic foods to keep you system in balance. Fresh vegetables, fresh whole fruit, good fats (Omega 3’s, oils, nuts (raw), seeds (raw), dairy substitutes, natural sweeteners, and seasonings. fermented foods, (tofu, tempeh) and organic proteins (grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free), non-gluten grains are an example of foods to eat.
In light of my cold, I restocked my supply of supplements which I took a break from over the summer. Here are 5 options of immune boosters and essential nutrients you may consider keeping in your cupboard or better yet, start taking now!
#1 Vitamin C – Ascorbic acid – the most basic and essential! Take 3000 mg a day or between 3000-6000 mg when feeling under the weather. There are also these immune booster Vitamin C powder packets that are easy to get and mix with water or juice.
There is also Buffered Vitamin C with bioflavonoids that are also good but you’ll need to take more of them to get the full effect.
#2 Probiotics – select one that works for you that is around 6-10 million organisms with a variety of strains of probiotic bacteria (There are many variations). Take more when sick (25 billion to 50Billion if you’ve been on antibiotics or through surgery (depends on situation, ask healthcare professional)
#3 Adaptogens are good for energy, coping with stress, normalizing hormonal regulation and supporting the immune support. (if a person has an auto-immune disease they should not take an adaptogen – speak to healthcare professional). (You can take them up to three months but then take a break). Here are a few:
- Echinacea – often used as anti-microbial for colds, infections bacteria or a virus.
- Astragulus –used for a chronic problem with the immune system
- Siberian Ginseng- is also used for deeper treatment for (there is Chinese or American Ginseng supports different areas)
#4 Vitamin D – select a good organic brand and a daily dosage of 1000 -3000 IU a day. I’ve read some labels that is best away from food and others with food so check that out.
#5 Select an organic Multi-vitamin with a mix of vitamins and minerals and some phytonutrients in it. One vitamin brand I’ve heard a lot about is Mega Food that has the span of nutrients made from food.
I’m always more productive at this time of year with the cooler weather and changing colours of leaves is almost magical. I also like some of my winter clothes – but I’m not pulling out my sweaters yet!
One day this week during my morning dog walk, I met up with my neighbour and friend Veronique Tomaszewski . We talked about many things catching up about kids, work and personal life stuff. She asked me about people’s comments of a past blog called What’s Really is in Those Ensure and Boost drinks? (July 23, 2015). At that time, I heard from a few readers how they’ve been giving their parents Ensure drinks for ages and were shocked by the amount of sugar and preservatives in them. They were also inspired to learn there were healthier options available.
Here’s Veronique’s story when ashe started to add a vegetable-based protein powder to her routine and how it helped her:
“I had pain and a feeling of weakness in my right arm, wrist and shoulder for a while. It was from regularly opening heavy doors at work and daily chopping vegetables for my family mealy. I felt I was overusing my arm which became weak and achy. Having read the article on Boost and Ensure drinks from Rani’s blog, I started using Vega’s One protein powder. I use the Mocha flavour with warm black tea or coffee in the morning; I have experimented with the Vanilla Chai in the late afternoons too.The rich taste taste has been satisfying and has stopped the sugar cravings I had at night despite having diner. (The cost of the shake is compensated by the savings in snacks.) Within a few days I started to notice a significant improvement in my arm mobility. I was feeling much better and had more energy.. I felt that having more protein regulates my diet and better balances my meals. While it’s easier to take a protein shake than make a meal, I now know that I need to include more protein in diet”. Veronique Tomaszewski.
New menu for this week at The Wellness Wagon
Its been a few weeks since I’ve added a new menu to The Wellness Wagon site.
Menu for this coming week provides some immune system support. The Assorted Peppers Stuffed with Roasted Pecans and Millet are loaded with vitamin C, B6 and A and the Shitake Mushrooms in the the Crispy Tofu in Lettuce Wrap are known to enhance immune function beneficial for immune cells called macrophages (not as much as medicinal mushrooms). They are responsible for identifying and clearing potentially cancerous cells from the body. The Plum Gingered-Spiced Cake is also a delicious treat with the richness of the plums soaked into the spiced cake.
- Crispy Tofu and Shitake Mushrooms with Tangy Orange Sauce in Lettuce Wrap
- Assorted Peppers Stuffed with Roasted Pecans, Collards and Millet and Drizzled with Spicy Tahini Sauce
- Enlightened Moroccan Stew with Quinoa Pilaf
Mix and Match a Side or Sweet with each main
- Arame Salad
- Carrot Ginger Soup
- Baba Ganoush (Eggplant) on Zucchini Rounds
- Baked Apple with Nuts, Raisins and Dates and Drizzled with Caramel Sauce
- Melt in-Your-Mouth Almond, Coconut and Cocoa Nibs Cookies
- Upside Down Ginger-Spiced Plum Cake
CHECK IT OUT!
We had a great time serving up food at the two festivals the last two weeks.
Cabbagetown was lots of fun, loads of people and seeing many of my neighbours and friends was a blast. I also found a lovely cake tray at a garage sale to add to my collection of stuff.
The Danforth East Art Fair was a smaller community affair at East Lynn Park and new to me. My cousin Julie introduced me to it and kindly spread the word about our rice bowls and burgers at The Wellness Wagon booth. So, we sold lots of black been burgers (sweet potato, beet and kale) and I was surprised how so many people liked the beet burgers!
Many thanks to Sarah Clement for helping me that weekend It was truly appreciated and last weekend at Cabbagetown Festival. Also Chef John Davis at Cabbagetown Festival.
Unfortunately, I am cancelling the Monday cooking class on September 28th and will resume next month.
I begin teaching a Nutrition course “Eating Smart: Unravelling the Aspects of a Healthy Diet” (on aging and nutrition) at the Life Institute from October 1 to November 5th
If you have any comments or ideas you’d like to talk about, I’d be delighted to discuss! Email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy week, Rani