Pandemics aside, knock-on-wood, I’m proud to say that I’ve skirted 2 bouts of the flu in my house this year and a constant barrage of primary school cooties brought home by a Kindergartener. While I’m not a doctor, I’ve learned a lot through my health coach school, personal research, and good old trial-and-error to help keep myself well so I’m healthy and available to support everyone else who may be less vigilant with their wellness routine. As such, I thought I’d share my personal process in the event that it may aid in any help (no guarantee, of course)…but I think these wellness ideas are good rules-of-thumb year-round.
What should you avoid eating to keep your immunity up?
- Food and drinks high in sugar. It is recommended that men limit daily sugar intake to 9 tsp. and women to 6 tsp. – of course, the benefits go even beyond immunity.
- Processed foods. A guideline to remember: If it’s made in a plant, think twice. If it IS a plant, go for it.
- Refined carbohydrates (white flours especially) – gluten-free, whole grains are a better choice. Important note: that doesn’t mean products labeled “whole wheat” or “multigrain” as those are still classified as a refined carb.
- Alcoholic beverages
Find a reference link from the medical professionals here.
What do I focus on eating instead?
- Fresh and organic fruits and veggies – especially dark, leafy greens, lower-sugar fruits, and other nutrient-dense foods noted here
- Raw and unsalted nuts and seeds
- Gluten-free whole grains like quinoa
- Fresh and frozen lean protein sources (I personally skip red meats most of the time, those are a “special occasion” only)
- Healthy fats like avocado and olive oil
- Non-dairy milks, homemade or store-bought with very clean ingredients (no carrageen)
- Limit my caffeine consumption and drink plenty of water
What are some other important health and wellness routines and behaviors that I apply?
- I wash my hands regularly, but not with antibacterials soaps with dangerous chemicals that my disrupt my body’s ability to fight germs on its own. Read your labels and learn more from the Environmental Working Group.
- I consider the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, depending on the situation at hand. Read more helpful perspective on that here.
- I don’t touch my mouth, nose, and eyes without clean hands.
- I swap out toothbrushes regularly and sometimes toss the first small squeeze of toothpaste to ensure we don’t recirculate the recent germs.
- I prioritize exercise as I would any other nourishing activity. I walk, practice yoga, and/or do cardio 6 days a week – even if just for 30 minutes which is my daily goal on my iWatch.
- I try to get a dose of natural sunshine when it finally shows itself in winter, even if cold outside. More details on that here.
- I take my daily vitamins and probiotic as prescribed by my integrative physician.
- I change my bed sheets more regularly and wash them without unnecessary chemicals. My preference is to wash them in hot water with non-toxic laundry detergent and always skipping fabric softeners and toxic dryer sheets.
- I ensure that I get an over-abundance of sleep, prioritizing it from a time-management standpoint. This book called, “Why we Sleep” is awesome and provides you all the science you need to understand why it’s beneficial.
- I try to keep my spirits up and say “no” to emotional drains – negative mood and emotions create a drag on your health and immunity. I try to focus on people and activities and align with my values and don’t drain my energy. It’s ok to say “no” and uphold your boundaries – do it in the name of your mental health.
- I use quality air purifiers and plants to keep my home environment as healthy as possible.
- I use breathing techniques that reduce stress in efforts to boost immunity.
I hope that you find these personal guidelines are helpful and achievable in your household too. Stay well everyone!
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Danielle is Founder of The Well-Intended® and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach that specializes in Executive Wellness. As a former long-time Senior Executive in the Marketing and Advertising Industry, she’s passionate about improving employees’ quality of life through improved mental and physical well-being and knows first-hand how great an impact it can have both personally and professionally. If you’d like to learn more about how The Well-Intended can help your organization – be it an inspirational speech, engaging workshop, or one-on-one coaching – please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: “The Well-Intended”, and its associated blog and social media pages are owned and operated by The Well-Intended LLC and does not provide medical advice. The Well-Intended’s author is not a physician or licensed medical expert. The content provided shares perspective on a personal wellness journey and healthy lifestyle approach practiced by its owner in order to achieve their own health and happiness. Please consult your physician for advice and/or guidance regarding specific concerns with your own health, vitamins, supplements, fitness plan and/or anything else health- or wellness-related.
Photo credit: iStock.com/aamulya