If you have a cold, virus, or a more serious medical concern, you may immediately think “I need to go to the doctor” and the next thought may be “what do I TAKE for that?”
Although going to a physician may be the best course of action, perhaps the question needs to be “what is the cause? Are there drivers that I can control and change now or over time to help myself?”
Our world has significantly changed over the past few years and safety is a large concern. How safe is your water, air, diet, and lifestyle? For true safety to occur, we need to strongly consider those things in entirety. Although many turn to pharmaceuticals they are not “free,” and may come with a risk or downside. How do we look at a whole integrative approach to see if we can change the “why” of what is going on.
Prevention is key. Many integrative physicians are now saying “genetics load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.” In other words, genetics are about 10% of the problem and 90% is controlled by what we eat, drink, think, breathe, touch…and can’t excrete.
This article will touch lightly on each of these subjects as they all are important. It would take many blogs and books to cover them in detail. Here’s a basic roadmap to start with:
- Eating a flexitarian whole foods diet tailored to fit your individual needs. Have a diet of integrity with grass-fed protein, organic produce, and good fats. The Western diet of refined carbs, sugars, inflammatory oils, and processed food creates and inflammatory cycle in the body. Even one meal can increase inflammation for up to 5 days so a “cheat day” as so many refer to may be the driver of continual inflammation.
- Inflammatory foods are known to trigger your immune system and result in overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins secreted by your immune system that regulate the immune response). What you eat daily turns pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory cytokines on or off. You control the light switch.
- Time-restricted eating (eating in a 10-hour window) and going at least 4 hours between meals (to help the cleaning waves of the gut complete the cycle of digestion) is important. Since 80% of our immune system is in our gut lining taking good care of your gut is essential! Akin to this is daily elimination so if that is a problem (constipation), it is something to address with a professional. If you are not eliminating daily, toxins are recirculated in your system, thus causing unwanted problems.
- Organic produce is essential to avoid exposure to pesticides (such as glyphosate AKA roundup). Studies show those consuming conventional produce had higher levels of pesticides in their urine. Great Plains is a lab that measures exposure and sheds light on these important issues. Check out their site for testing.
2. Becoming aware of your environmental toxins and quandaries. Even if you consume a healthy organic diet there may be things you are being exposed to which may be affecting your health. The big 3 are clean food, water, and air. See this link for more information on clean water. Outside air is beyond your control unless you move, but perhaps consider a strong air filter in your home that filters toxins, chemicals, metals, and mold. Since dust is where toxins accumulate having a strong air filter helps the sinuses and lungs to assist with preventing colds, and sinus infections amongst other health issues. I am a proponent of Austin Air and have their filters both in my home and office and have noticed a huge difference.
3. Using non- toxic cleaning and personal products. Many home cleaners and beauty products have “endocrine disruptors” which highjack your hormones and can affect your thyroid, prostrate, and increase risk for cancer. There are over 90,000 chemicals in our country alone. Consider organic cleaning products and store your food in glass containers. BPA is in every canned food and many plastics so limiting exposure to BPA is important. Storing food in glass, drinking out of glass helps immensely with less exposure. Even receipts with your purchase can contain BPA so opt for email or electronic receipts. Finally, the average woman puts over 500 synthetic chemicals on her body every day (makeup, lotions, lipstick, etc.) so changing your beauty routine may be part of your roadmap. Follow this link to assist with how to help you navigate this challenge.
Although these changes may be overwhelming pick one thing that makes sense to you. Focus on that thing and see if you experience any changes. The old way of going to the doctor and getting a pill for each ailment does not result in permanent change. Our world is complex and pivoting to control health and toxins may essential to your lifestyle.
This quote from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, may help with the progression: “many situations in life are similar to going on a hike: the view changes once you start walking. You don’t need all the answers right now. New paths will reveal themselves if you have the courage to get started.”