Written by Ryan Guerra
There are universal truths that exist in our world. What goes up must come down. If you check the door locks ten times before leaving town…you will still question whether you locked them all as you pull out of the driveway…or worse are taxiing for takeoff. If a tree falls in the woods and nothing is there to hear it then it doesn’t make a sound (oh, you disagree? Prove it.) Oh…and no one LIKES getting sick! Good news is that you can actually do something(s) to avoid having to deal with the last one. We are encouraging as many as we can to “opt out of sick season” and we are excited to share how so that many of us can save time, money and preserve focus and consistency in life this season.
One of the gifts of our business is that we get to share what we’ve learned with others; be it in one-on-one in informal settings like the gym or a play-date or in nationwide coaching and education settings . We’ve seen the time-saving, life-giving impact that paying attention to these areas of immunity can make. Many are simple no-brainers that might be harder to create discipline around and others require a more in-depth look at what unique deficiencies may exist that contribute to someone’s weakened immune system. Wherever you land you’re in the right place and these are ways we love to help!
To improve and/or maintain health there are four essential recommendations in the areas of nutrition, sleep/stress, habits and supplementation.
This is KEY. Just like “abs are made in the kitchen” and nutrition is more vital to a lean physique than working out nutrition is also the cornerstone for immunity. Make mindful decisions to decrease sugar and carbohydrates and increase vegetables. Sugar restricts white blood cells from absorbing bacteria and viruses from the body and flushing them out. It absolutely takes effort to choose a nutritious diet, but SO worthwhile when you consider time spent for doctor’s visits, time home from work or school and the money for insurance deductibles, co-pays, doctor visits and prescriptions! It adds up. (So pretty much that whole ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure rings true!) Not to mention…shoot for nutrition that supports immunity and you might even get a set of abs as well!
How do we do this practically? Whether you take advantage of the individualized help we offer Shaklee members around nutrition and supplementation be sure to have a plan. A plan ensures you have the framework to make the best nutrition choices when food is in front of you. For example, when you have an event that will involve indulgent foods make sure to consume protein and vegetables earlier in the day (which we should be doing every day anyway 😉 and then have a 10-20 gram protein shake on your way out the door in order to take the edge off hunger and put yourself in better control of choices. If the event is at a restaurant or you know the typical fare that shows up to seasonal/holiday parties each year do the work before attending and check out the menu and make decisions on your food choices ahead of time. Without fail this always leads to a healthier selection when you are placing an order or standing in front of the feast of food…even if you might diverge from the plan a little bit in the moment. Employ good choices 80-90% of the time and you set yourself up to enjoy foods that might be “off the healthy menu” on the occasion you indulge. When you DO indulge in a sweet treat or that half plate of Thanksgiving stuffing (guilty!) or adult beverage or few be sure to have a plan for recovery. A quality, proper supplement will help your body process sugars and ensure you are not left nutrient deficient and be able to recover from the biological stress that less healthy choices create. More on that to come…
2. Sleep & Stress:
Our bodies need sleep to repair and rest. Not getting enough quality sleep leads to a weaker immune system. Probably not news to any of us, right?! But this is an area where facts and reality often part ways in our day to day choices. If you are like us we understand the impact sleep deprivation and stress creates on the body, but often sleep is the first thing we compromise when we hit a hectic pace of life. Then we are rudely reminded (colds and flus are always such jerks!) of the symptoms that stress and lack of sleep cause when it’s already too late.
Don’t have time for that “magical, arbitrary prescription” of eight hours of sleep? Good news! You might not need that much. Business Insider recently shared a method to determine what might be your genetic make up in terms of how much sleep you need. In addition, evidence suggests that committing to a power nap (20-30 minutes) each day or a few times per week can help take the edge off sleep deprivation in the short term. A sleep schedule and stress management approach is essential as it not only keep the mind sharp, but the body needs restorative rest and sleep to reset all systems, including immunity. (Shaklee members can contact us to help with these areas. Stress and sleep are closely related and simple steps or supplements can aid in bringing them into harmony. Ever wonder why a glass of warm milk was the standard to aid sleep in the past, but is not as effective now? We’ve got the answer).
We don’t have to give Howie Mandel a run for his money in order to decrease our exposure to unwanted germs, but small actions like the following can yield potentially big results. Establish habits such as washing hands each time you walk in the door and prior to each meal. Have your children change out of their school clothes when they arrive home. Clean your phone (which might as well be a petri dish for germs) and other commonly touched surfaces daily. One area that gets overlooked in the busy-ness for some is changing bedding regularly. Considering that we spend 6-8 hours (or however long the Business Insider method suggests for you, haha) in our beds it is an immunity game changer to wash sheets to reduce the build up of germs that we would otherwise lay on for up to a third of every day! Don’t have time to change the entire bedding? You can still get the worst of the germ exposure eliminated by changing/washing pillowcases once per week. Other ideas would be habits like using a non-clorox/non bleach sanitizer to clean common surfaces and handles at home and sanitizer wipes when at the grocery store or setting up shop to work at a local coffee shop. How many apples do you pick up and inspect when grocery shopping? Yeah, exactly…and so does everyone else! So washing produce with a non-toxic cleaner is vital. (My eyes were opened to how dirty our produce can be and how germs can spread through food from my friend Monica, who has great professional culinary advice!
Many of us may already feel like we have a good handle on the first three essentials, but there is yet one more approach to build immunity. It may require some up front investment of time and even funds to implement (and we are here to help!), but the cost to be pro-active is far less than the cost of being reactive. As summer comes to a close and fall begins (what we refer to as the beginning of “sick season”) we often get asked which supplements provide the biggest immunity bang for the buck. These are just some BASIC starters, but based on unique needs and environments there is more you can add to address specific issues. Talk to your Shaklee consultant to determine a more customized and cost effective plan for you. If you’re wondering why we choose Shaklee, watch this little video or ASK US! We are passionate about the Shaklee Difference!
Start with a healthy base:
We recommend everyone (young and old) to be on a QUALITY multivitamin with research that backs it’s effectiveness. Why supplement? Despite even the best efforts to eat organic and all natural, our food supply does not contain the vitamins and minerals it once did. Even organic produce is grown for yield and not for nutritional value This means the choice is ours whether to supplement in an educated way that eliminates deficiencies and allows our bodies to function the way God designed them.
For seasonal immunity and those who require additional immune support:
Optiflora probiotics: Over 70% of the immune system is in the gut. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy digestive system. Yogurt is often touted as a great probiotic source because it CONTAINS pro-biotics, however in almost every case the probiotics in yogurt or other fermented food does not make it past the first stage of digestion and deeper into the gut where immunity is really supported. Shaklee has a patented triple-encapsulated delivery system that guarantees delivery of the full dose of probiotics at the right point in the digestive system. This is especially important for those who have Candida issues, have recently been on antibiotics, steroids, or those who experience digestive issues.
Vitamin C: Shaklee makes a chewable Vitamin C for children (better than Flinstone’s in every way, including that it is all natural and has no toxic fillers or ingredients like most over the counter kid’s vitamins have). Shaklee also has a sustained release Vitamin C supplement for adults. Ask me why sustained release is key for certain supplements. (hint, without sustained release it IS true that in many cases you pee out a large amount of the valuable nutrients. Money down the drain)
Vitamin D: Bioavailability matters and ensuring that the Vitamin D you are taking is absorbed into your body is key. Vitamin D is chocked full of benefits for year round health and immunity, but especially important during the colder, cloudier winter days as well as if you work indoors most of the day. Just because a vitamin D supplement has vitamin D in it does not mean it is absorbed unless it is formulated to include the other nutrients that aid in absorption.
That extra boost:
These supplements can be taken regularly, but can also just be added when you feel like you or someone in your family is coming down with something or even once you are undoubtedly sick. Either way, they will help you avoid getting sick or at the very least assist your recovery by keeping symptoms subdued and reduce the time it takes to begin feeling human again. In our family we have avoided sickness countless times in the last several years simply by keeping these on hand and using them at the right time. Not only do we rarely get sick now, even with very young children, but we have more time and less interruptions in our lives from being sick.
Vitalized Immunity: Is a tasty (alka-seltzer-like) orange flavored tab that dissolves in water and boosts your immune system with a variety of vitamins. Has the equivalent of sixteen orange’s worth of vitamin C in addition to other immune boosting ingredients. (For kids under ten I usually give ½ of a tab.)
NutriFeron: Scientists and medical communities have identified interferon as being crucial to healthy immune function. NutriFeron is an exclusive, patented formula, which provides a proprietary blend of four plant extracts designed to naturally increase levels of interferon in the body and provide immune support at the cellular level. When symptoms of sickness begin this is what our family supplements with immediately with close to a perfect record of fighting off the sickness before it takes hold.
Defend & Resist: Defend & Resist Complex strengthens your body to respond to environmental challenges by giving your immune system what it needs to stay strong. Key ingredients in Defend & Resist have been shown in laboratory studies to help stimulate the body’s natural resistance with Echinacea purpurea and maintain a healthy immune response with black elderberry and larch tree. Who knew such little-known natural sources could be part of supporting your body, which was designed to be strong, to fight off sickness and germs?!
The first two of these were staples in our home daily leading up to Christmas when everyone we talked to seemed to be sick and when nutrition and sleep were at a low. We managed to stay completely healthy despite regular contact with sick family and friends over the holidays. Yes!!
These are four simple guidelines to begin a roadmap to a stronger immune system. Be mindful of these things and begin creating nutrition, sleep and other healthy habits and you will certainly be able to find success in “opting out of sick season.” If the supplementation aspect is an area you want to learn more and determine what fits your needs and budget best your Shaklee Health Advocate can help!
Here’s to skipping sick days (at least the ones where you are ACTUALLY sick 😉 and a healthy, fun and energy filled fall, winter and holiday season!
Ryan Guerra has a diverse background in investment advisory, ministry and health and fitness. He loves the continual pursuit of learning in order to bring value and contribution in the areas of faith, family, fitness and business. His wife says he’s smarter than science…and because listening to your wife is one of the smartest things you can do…of course he believes her.