What Does It Take to Have a Healthy Immune System?

I work primarily as a personal trainer.  My income is dependent on each hour I can work.  There are no sick days.  Without total health and preventing injury I don’t make money.  As a result it’s up to me to stay healthy and fit.

Is it easy for me?  Now it is- yes!  But if you would have asked me this from the age I was 0-23 I would have said no.  In my very early years I suffered from chronic constipation (as a child I remember having to force myself to eat prunes!!)  bronchitis regularly, severe excema that flaked and bled from my scalp consistently, I took a medication they give menopausal women because I had such severe migraines as a child.  I became immune to the ‘banana medicine’ antibiotics because my brother and I had to take it so regularly due to strep throat, and as a result I had to have my tonsils removed to try and prevent strep throat.  Did it help?  Barely, I still had sore throats for the next 15 years of my life.  I snored so much they also took out  my adenoids!  What a crazy theory right?  A small kid gets sick a lot so we should take out her organs rather than figuring out why she’s always sick.  At one point as a child they thought I had scarlet fever, I was so sick with strep throat.  In high school things got worse because my life was now compounded by the stress of being super involved with everything associated with ‘achievement’ in high school.  I was sick probably once a month, and when I was sick I was REALLY sick.  I mean laying in bed crying, unable to move/eat etc.  It all compounded in Grade 11 when I actually missed two months of school due to a bad case of Mono, after they ruled out meningitis (I was almost unable to move my neck it was so swollen and sore).  I stayed in bed for two months.

In University, not only did I continue to get sick constantly, but in first year University I all of a sudden was diagnosed with a chronic, and quite severe kidney condition, that I still have to this day.  Again, there are no solutions or reasons as to why I got the disease, or what to do about it.  In the meantime they treat me with medication, and threaten kidney removal eventually.  Funny right? Back to the old theory of not getting to the bottom of the issue, just medicate and remove the organ!  Throughout University I clearly remember the feeling of wanting to curl up in bed and sleep away my colds, they were so bad, and lasted for a week or longer.  I travelled a lot in University and there were times that I was forced to spend my days on the couch rather than exploring the beautiful countries because my body couldn’t handle staying healthy while travelling.  You’ve maybe also read my article about acne?  I suffered from acne from the time I was a pre teen into my early 20’s.  Severe cystic acne that covered most of my face.  Clearly my insides were sick and it was showing up on my face.  I don’t have acne anymore and am very happy with my skin!!!

On top of it all I found my self ‘sick’ mentally.  What I mean by that was I lived a ‘foggy brain’ lifestyle, never totally present, totally consumed by negative thoughts and obsessions over my weight and body size etc.  Your mental state is totally a result of your physical health, so I think it’s warranted that I mention this here too.

Ok- why am I sharing all of this?  I DON”T GET SICK ANYMORE 🙂  Never?  Almost never…  in 2014 I had a 24 hour flu that I got after Kyle had it and was sick in our home, and in July I had a week of ‘allergies’, where my eyes were watery and I sneezed a lot, perhaps it was a cold.  This year before travelling to Cuba I ended up with quite a cough, perhaps from the stress of the upcoming trip, which while flying got up into my ears.  I spent a week in bed with really bad earaches.  This was the first time probably in 3-4 years that I had a serious cold.  So yes, I do get sick.  Am I sick every few months like I used to be?  No.  Do I get sick to the extent I used to?  No.  Do I go full years without getting any common colds or flus that seem to whipe people out?  Yes.

I want to share with you things that I do in my life that I think help me to stay virtually healthy the whole year round.

Here are my top 10 ‘secrets’ to staying healthy:

1)  Sleep as much as your body needs.  For me this is 9 hours a night/day.  If I don’t get 9 hours at night, I nap during the day when my body starts to crash again.  Sleep is the only time of day where your body repairs and recovers itself and boosts/builds your immunity.  If you aren’t sleeping because there aren’t enough hours in the day or you are too busy, you’ve got to get your priorities straight.  If you aren’t sleeping because you CAN’T sleep, there’s something going on internally that you need to figure out with a Naturopath, or someone you trust.  Doing too much, living on caffeine, and not giving your body the rest it deserves not only leads to illness, but so many other negative effects in the body.

2)  Eliminate/manage stress.   Worry/stress/negative emotions that you allow to live in your body festers up into illness and disease.  Find yourself getting sick around Christmas?  When large projects are due at work? When you’re fighting with a friend or boyfriend?  When you are worried about a family member?  Stress creates the environment for sickness to grow and build.  Unless you manage your emotions with some kind of stress management techniques, you will get sick.  I know I got sick before Cuba because I was quite nervous about teaching fitness classes, and was spending many hours practicing my routines.  I was trying to cram in my client sessions while packing for 2 weeks etc. and it was too much for my body!  Oh and by the way, you can’t hide/lie to yourself.  If you are unhappy in a relationship, if you hate your job, if you are bored with your life, these are all negative emotions that breed illness!  If you are always dieting, restricting calories, or stressing about food intake you are probably sick all the time!

3)  Eliminate processed foods and dairy.  I firmly believe that my nutrition is what led to such poor health as a child.  I loved cheese and ate it very regularly, and up until after University I would regularly have 1-2 bowls of cereal everyday for breakfast filled with milk.  Dairy is extremely inflammatory, and statistics say that upwards of 90 % of people don’t actually tolerate/digest it properly.  I remember a time I was going skiing with friends and on the way there we had to pull over multiple times because I had such severe stomach crams I thought I was going to throw up.  All I could think of was the yogurt and fruit I had decided to have as a snack before I left that morning.  I had these signs consistently with dairy. Bloating (to the point of having to undo my pants, or looking 9 months pregnant), cramps, and poor digestion were extremely common for me, and I thought they were normal.  They still happen now, but only when I eat dairy (or eat too fast :)).  Processed foods are not real foods.  Not only do they not contain the proper macro and micronutrients that we need to stay healthy, but they contain a bunch of other SHIT that when we eat it our body has to work overtime to figure out what the heck to do with it.  As soon as I stopped eating processed foods my energy, health, vitality, and lack of illness has sky rocketed.  Most of all ditch sugars, if you aren’t eating processed foods this is actually really easy to do.  Sugar creates a festering ground for sickness.  Without it in the body we don’t give illness anything to feed off and grow.

4)  Visit a chiropractor and other natural health practitioners.  It’s been two years now since I have been adjusted by Dr Jassal in Vancouver.  Initially I had no idea what a chiropractor did, and I didn’t believe in it!  I was very nervous to get started, and I was hesitant that I would see any benefits.  I initially started going because I had a click in my jaw, but oh boy that has led to so many other learnings/benefits, which is why I continue to go.  Slowly I started to learn about his method of adjusting and how it affected my body.  Without going into the physical (structural benefits) I will tell you how it affected my sense of staying healthy.  Our nervous system runs from head to toe in the spinal column, and branches out to the whole body through our vertebra in the spine.  Therefore if one of your vertebra has shifted slightly, you have poor posture, or have had any injuries/accidents in the past your spinal column has closed off the ability for that nervous system to function properly.  Our nervous system controls how our body works physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and down to a cellular/organ level.  When your nervous system is functioning properly, your organs and cells function at their best, keeping you healthy.  Ask Dr. Jassal for more details (I hope I did him justice here!).

5)  When you feel that ‘tickle’ of sickness coming on you need to fight it with: sleep, massive quantities of oil of oregano, and make yourself tea with fresh ginger, lemon and honey.  Load up on as much garlic and onion as you can cook with.  Whenever I start to feel a throat tickle, if I do these things I don’t end up sick!!!

6)  Regular activity is key to keeping the body feeling good, managing stress, and keeping all our systems functioning at their best.

So does it mean you are bad person if you are sick all the time?  NO!  Does it mean you are super unhealthy?  NO!  What it does mean is that every time you are sick your body is giving you a warning sign.  Sickness is your body telling you that there is ‘something to look at’, something you are doing that you should be aware is not healthy/not working for your body.  (I believe this is the same for whatever disease/illness we are experiencing.  As someone who has a kidney disease I have spent plenty of time exploring where this has come from and how to reverse it!!).

Obviously if you are a person who doesn’t get sick often this article isn’t for you.  If you do get sick often, try these tips, I guarantee they will work for you.

Yes, there are further things you can do to stay healthy, but these are all a good start!

Pass this on to a friend who gets sick regularly- spread the good health.

Thanks so much for reading,

Katherine

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