Hey Folks! We're excited to welcome Certified 21DSD Coach Cadie Jardin. Cadie's article is part of a series contributed by our Certified 21DSD Coaches. Enjoy! – Diane and Team
As a dietitian working in functional medicine, I’m constantly being approached when winter hits. Everyone is panicked about catching a cold and wants a quick fix.
What can I do to build up my immune system?
What can I take to not catch a cold?
I’m a teacher/mom/flight attendant/insert anything and I really don’t have the time to get sick; help me!
As much as I would love to give people a “quick fix,” I just don’t have it in my bag of tricks. In fact, if you meet someone that does, I would be highly suspicious!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: What you eat on a daily (if not hourly) basis impacts your immune system. It’s not just about avoiding certain items, but also including foods that support the body’s ability to protect itself.
Below are my top 10 things to tackle for optimal health this winter—all 21DSD-friendly!
- Don’t eat it. If you’re on your 21DSD journey right now, you have this one covered, but sadly many people don’t. It’s always the first thing I address with people. Sugar not only has the capability to suppress certain components of your immune system, but also robs your body of some nutrients needed to protect yourself.
- Fermented Foods. Eat them a lot! Have you heard that up to 70% of your immune system is in your gut? That’s because of the good bacteria that live there. Fermented foods are loaded with these rockstars! You should include them daily, if not several times a day. Some great examples are raw sauerkraut, raw pickles, kefir, plain kombucha, and kimchi.
- Bone Broth. Don’t wrinkle your nose; this stuff is amazing for you. The 21DSD Guidebook has a great recipe for it! It’s loaded with gut-healing properties and minerals to support your health this winter.
- Use them! Ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are my favorites. I add them to teas, soups, smoothies, and stir-fries. I’ve also been known to throw some ginger and cinnamon in my plain kefir! Start by adding a little pinch and gradually work your way up to more. These are super cost-effective, nutrient powerhouses!
- Vitamin C. I love spicing up my water with fresh lemon or lime juice. This provides a steady amount of vitamin C as I sip water throughout the day. Since it’s a water-soluble nutrient, it’s great when you can consume it all day long as opposed to a mega-dose all at one time.
- Drink it! Don’t forget about water just because you’re cold! Staying hydrated is critical during these winter months; you must make it a priority! I use my 32-oz. mason jar every day and have the goal of filling it up at least twice.
- When I do feel like I’m coming down with something, I love to look into my tea cabinet. My favorites are Traditional Medicinals immune-supporting varieties, especially Echinacea Plus, Throat Coat, and Cold Care P.M. I also have a large variety of loose-leaf teas, including peppermint, lemon balm, and Echinacea. Squeeze a little lemon in for an extra boost!
- Tackle it. It’s easier said than done, but stress can wreak havoc on your body. Practice deep breathing, go for a walk, or just decide to let things go. If things are out of your control, try not to let them impact your health. House is a mess? Don’t worry, it’s not worth creating a stress response over something that isn’t really that important.
- Do it. I’m not talking about running six miles in the snow, but just remaining physically active this winter. Being active is crucial for your immune system! Go for a quick walk, do some jumping jacks in your living room, find something you love. Don’t let the cold weather be an excuse for not keeping up with your exercise routine, especially if you want to support your immune system this winter!
- Get enough of it. Getting 7–9 hours of sleep every night can really make or break your health. Inadequate sleep can influence hormones that impact our bodies’ ability to fight disease. Try to create a nighttime ritual; I find it works best if you give yourself a specific bedtime!
I hope you’re able to incorporate all of these into your routine this winter, whether you’re on or off the 21DSD.
Prevention is key when it comes to getting sick, so the sooner you start the better! If you do feel like you’re coming down with something, focus on supporting your immune system with the list above to get better faster!
Cadie Jardin is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who has been living the Paleo lifestyle for almost four years. She originally started her Paleo journey as part of a class experiment to try a fad diet, but found that she felt better, ran faster, and had more energy while living the grain-free life. She is a Boston Marathon qualifier, Crossfitter, mom, and dog lover. She has worked in the health food industry for 15 years and loves educating others about nourishing food and healthy living. Her blog, www.cadiejoy.com, is filled with information, recipes, and her experiences. She hosts monthly 21DSD groups online and in Toledo, Ohio. Her goal for 2016 is to have a detoxer from every state!