Is your gut prepared for flu season?

Here are 7 ways you can prepare your gut for the changing seasons. Be sure to scroll down for bonus recipes!

As the weather gets colder, our immune systems need to work harder to deal with the changing weather, the heater running more and the falling pollen, flora and fauna.

  1. Eat an alkaline diet: Start your day with warm lemon water (1 liter/quart of water with the juice of 1 lemon), make daily green juice, eat leafy greens, vegetables and seaweeds to up your alkalinity quotient. See recipes in my other blogs for ideas.
  2. Take probiotic capsules (with enteric coating): Most people don’t realize how much they can benefit from taking a probiotic daily. Once on a regular regiment of taking 1-2 caps a day, people have reported quicker digestion, better moods, improved brain function, clearer skin and a happier outlook on life. According to Dr. Mark Perlmutter, MD, you should look for probiotics which have Lactobacillus plantarum. to re-implant your gut with good bacteria. The prices will vary according to how many billion bacteria are in the bottle. I suggest starting with 15, 30 or 50 billion bacteria and trying different kinds and strains to find one which works for you. Each person has a different microbiome, so you may need to do some experimenting to find the right probiotic for you. A great way to do this is to buy one brand or type at a time and take it until the bottle is finished, then try a different kind the next time. Some of our favorite brands are: Ultimate Flora, Probiotica, Garden of Life, Master Supplements or Dr. OHara to name a few.
  3. Eat cultured foods daily, such as coconut kefir and sauerkraut (see recipes below). Not only does this add a great flavor to your meals, it also adds a healthy dose of good bacteria to your gut to help fight off the bad guys. If you are on a budget, this is an inexpensive way to populate your microbiome with friendly flora.
  4. Avoid white sugar: Holidays seem to herald an abundance of sugar in the form of cakes, chocolates and candy. If you are feeling at all under the weather, it would be a very good idea to eschew such things. IAccording to Health Services at Columbia University, when you eat 100 grams of sugar, about as much sugar as you find in a 1 liter bottle of soda, your white blood cells are 40 percent less effective at killing germs. This can cripple your immune system for up to 5 hours after eating sugar!
  5. Avoid glutenous foods and white flour: these foods can rob you of energy and create a highly acid environment in your body, which germs thrive on. Gluten consumption has also been directly tied to depression and brain health. Beware of gluten substitutes as well, which can be just as acidic and detrimental to your health (such as gluten-free baked goods).
  6. Avoid nutritionally devoid foods: Many vegans who eliminate animal products start to go for all the meat and dairy substitutes. This can be a big mistake. Be sure to read your labels and avoid things you cannot pronounce or too many ingredients.
  7. Add these immune boosting supplements:
  • Chinese medicine and adaptogens such as Ho Shu Wu and astragalus These can be brewed into tea or taken as supplements and can greatly boost your immunity. A good brand is Dragonherbs.
  • You could highly benefit from taking a few drops of oregano oil to instantly kick out viruses and bad bacteria. This is my # 1 go to when I am feeling like I might be getting sick. Oregano oil, like other essential oils, can act as an anti-viral,anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent so use caution as it might not only attack the bad baceria. Try putting 3 drops of oregano oil in an empty veggie cap and taking it morning and night until you are feeling 100% healthy again. Then be sure to up your pro-biotic quotient for a few days.

P.S. Remember self care: Take a hot bath with Epsom salt, do an evening foot rub with essential oils, have a sauna or massage, do dry skin brushing, and be sure to get in movement every day. If you go outside for a 20 minute walk, you will get life enhancing Vitamin D thru the sun and get improved circulation and fresh air.

Live Sauerkraut

1 cabbage (red or green)11875506_1054747007893450_991697563_n
½-1 tsp. Himalayan salt crystals
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 Tbs. dried dill or 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
2 Tbs. caraway seeds 
4-8 cloves garlic, crushed

Substitutions: Switch the dill for cilantro, the caraway for cumin seeds and the garlic for ginger or turmeric root to make different variations.

  1. Slice the cabbage using the 1mm setting on a mandolin or food processor, or cut paper thin with a knife. Discard the outer leaves.
  2. . Mix all the ingredients together and massage it with your hands. Continue to work the cabbage until the liquid starts to release.
  3. You may need to let your hands rest, so leave the cabbage sitting and come back to it every 1/2 hour until when you press on the cabbage, liquid rises to the top.
  1. Place the kraut in a 1-quart or 1-liter glass jar. Press the cabbage down until the liquid rises above it about 1/8 inch. The juice may sink back down a little and that is okay.
  1. Place a lid on the jar and let sit for 1-4 days in a warm spot (around 80F), depending on desired sourness.
  2. Once the sauerkraut is ready, place it in the refrigerator.

The sauerkraut will keep for up to 8 months in the refrigerator.

Coconut Kefir

Kefir is a healing food that11910457_897325430341866_305599015_n is made by culturing a kefir starter or a proteolytic (will digest the proteins to amino acids) probiotic with nuts, seeds or coconut. By drinking or eating kefir on a regular basis, we clean and strengthen our colons, improve digestion, cultivate friendly flora in the intestines, reduce food and sugar cravings, moisturize the skin, strengthen the immune system and help our bodies to reverse the aging process by breaking down undigested proteins. Kefir is a complete protein, and is an excellent source of amino acids and enzymes as well!

Liquid Kefir can be made by adding a probiotic to the liquid of young coconuts

4 cups coconut water
1 Tbs. kefir starter or 1 capsule 15 billion flora probiotic or 1/4 cup cultured kefir

  1. Mix the ingredients together in a blender for no more than 30 seconds
  2. Place a lid on the jar and let sit in a warm place.
  3. 90 degrees in a dehydrator for 24 hours is ideal.
  4. The cultured beverage is ready when it is slightly effervescent and/or tastes sour

Enjoy as a refreshing beverage or use to make almond cheese, etc.

Yogurt or Cheese can be made by adding the culture to blended coconut meat, almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, pumpkin seeds etc.

2-4 cups blended coconut meat, nuts, seeds with enough water to make a yogurt-like texture
1 Tbs. kefir starter or 1 capsule 15 billion flora probiotic or 1/4 cup cultured kefir

  1. Mix the kefir starter or probiotic with the blended mixture (do not blend the probiotic for more than 30 seconds)
  2. Place the mixture in a glass jar large enough to let the kefir expand by 1/3
  3. Place a lid on the jar and let sit in a warm place.
  4. 90 degrees in a dehydrator for 24 hours is ideal.
  5. You will know the kefir is ready when it tastes sour like yogurt or looks spongy in the jar.

Enjoy kefir in a salad dressing, over fruit, in a smoothie or on its own sweetened with a little stevia and vanilla extract.

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