Uh oh… clocks have to be set back an hour this weekend. Not a big fan of it getting darker earlier. I love summer and especially love fall weather. As more leaves fall to the ground, it reminds me that my archenemy is just around the corner… the winter season! I think a big part of my disliking winter is not only the cold, but the lack of sunshine. My brain on winter is a seasonal affective disorder disaster. Fortunately, I am much better than I used to be. This is due to getting more of the things I needed for my hypothalamus and body to function better. I wanted to share some of my survival techniques that have really helped me and my family in the winter.
A few years ago, I ordered a NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp. This little light box is amazing… I sit in front of this for 15-30 minutes a day. It really makes a difference. I ordered mine off of Amazon.
Here is what it looks like from the front. A light box mimics outdoor light. Researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Taking Vitamin D3 has changed my life in the winter as well! You can get your levels tested.. I got mine tested and I needed 7,000 IU! Once I started taking the right amount, I noticed a huge difference in my mood. I was not as cold and I did not have to sit in front of my light box as much. Most people in this country have very low Vitamin D3 levels. I use this Thorne brand (shown below) and you can also order from Amazon. Did I mention that I am a Amazon Prime junkie? Free shipping is pretty awesome. (make sure it is D3 not just D) I buy a spray Vitamin D3 for my kids from Dr. Mercola’s website. It tastes good.
Vitamin D3 not only improves mood, but may help you lose weight. In a paper published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Anthony Norman, an international expert on vitamin D, identifies vitamin D’s potential for contributions to good health in the adaptive and innate immune systems, the secretion and regulation of insulin by the pancreas, the heart and blood pressure regulation, muscle strength and brain activity.
Access to adequate amounts of vitamin D is also believed to be beneficial towards reducing the risk of cancer.
Norman also lists 36 organ tissues in the body whose cells respond biologically to vitamin D, including bone marrow, breast, colon, intestine, kidney, lung, prostate, retina, skin, stomach and uterine tissues.
Probiotics.. What are probiotics? Simply put, it is the good bacteria that resides in your gut and battles infection caused by viruses, yeast, fungi and parasites. And it, like bad bacteria, is killed off with antibiotics, often leaving you more vulnerable for the next bug that comes along. Probiotics improve your immune response. One of the main functions of healthful bacteria is to stimulate your immune response. “By taking probiotics and maintaining good intestinal flora, a person can also help to maintain a healthy immune system.
I have found this brand works the best for me… I get them in the refrigerated section at Sprouts. They have a great kid’s brand as well.
Eating whole food.. eliminating as much processed food and sugar as you can. I am also gluten free and that has made a big difference in how I feel. Nice! I can’t stress enough how important eating healthy food is. It will strengthen your immune system. Eating processed foods and sugar lowers your immune system and makes you susceptible to sickness.
I have to give a shout out to my sweet mom. She was so ahead of her time. In the late 70’s and 80’s, it really was not the cool thing to eat healthy. My mom would find these little hole in the wall health food stores so she could buy what she needed. Instead of a beautiful Whole Foods Mecca awaiting us… there would be a small, quiet and weird smelling store. I’m assuming that smell was from the bulk food bins which were full of yeasts, spices and other dry powders. Most of the time there was some bearded guy behind the counter and sometimes he would say, “Hey kid… do you want a piece of Carob?” Um.. no. I do not want Carob. I think having a Carob bunny in my Easter basket every year was plenty for me. I will tell you…. we really never got sick. My mom always had healthy meals and snacks. She went to Co-ops for Farmers Cheese and large tubs of natural peanut butter. We would drive out to farms and pick our whole chickens straight from the tub of water the farmers had them in. She would freeze like 50 chickens and we would have chickens for the whole year. In fact, I am 40 years old and I don’t have any cavities… I am going to give all the credit to my mom! Back then I would have killed for a white Wonder Bread sandwich with bologna. (my friends would never trade me at lunch) And now… I am so grateful to her. Those healthy lunches not only kept our immune systems strong, but it also taught us great nutrition.
I still don’t like Carob chocolate. Let’s just be honest… Carob needs to stop pretending to be chocolate! 🙂
I mentioned in my last blog about the 4 Essential oils that we use to help fight sickness. Thieves, R.C. Peppermint and Lemon– all powerful in helping you and your family out this winter. Here is the link to that article. http://wp.me/p3XIvS-4V
Last but not least… Exercise! Exercise reduces stress and boosts happy chemicals! Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of euphoria and happiness. If you exercise regularly, there’s a good chance that you’re helping to boost your immune system. In fact, recent studies have suggested that if you complete moderate exercise just a few times every week, you can drastically reduce the number of colds that you get every year. Outside of just keeping you in shape and helping you to become healthier over time, exercise can boost your immune system and help your body fight off harmful diseases and even something as simple as the common cold.
My mom still eats very healthy and is in great shape.. hope I can be in such good shape in my 60’s! I definitely am not perfect. I still struggle to get my kids to eat healthier and I do have my fair share of chip and dark chocolate bingeing. I think the goal is to try and do something every day to improve your health and to work on boosting your immune system with Vitamin D3, probiotics, whole foods, essential oils and exercise! All of these things have greatly improved my winter experience… hope they will help you as well!