This past Saturday morning, I met up with some friends at a local tea shop. The woman to my direct left was just starting to come down with a cold. I didn’t realize it at first, but I wasn’t concerned. Since I started eating my homemade kimchi daily, I have been around sick people and never got sick. When I lived in California I was highly susceptible to colds. Not anymore.
By the time I got home later in the evening I felt fatigued. I had very early symptoms of exposure. So I calmly came up with a strategy to win the battle against the cold.
- More Sleep – On Sunday, I took an hour nap in my cave, which is a room without electronics and has black out curtains. Sleep triggers melatonin which triggers an increase in white blood cell activity which responds to pathogens in the body. The darker the room, the greater the melatonin release. I covered this in the post Turning Down the Lights.
- Fermented Foods – 75% of the immune system is in the gut. I needed to send reinforcement troops for the battle that my body was getting ready to fight. I consumed kimchi, kombucha and some of my homemade raw milk yogurt.
- Soup With Real Broth – Saturday evening and again on Sunday, I made a soups using homemade broth. Homemade stock is full of natural gelatin, which according to Sarah at one my new favorite sites The Healthy Home Economist, will boost your immune system against stomach bugs, flu strains and colds. Besides all the good health reasons, soups made with real broth taste a lot better.
- Continue Eating Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral Foods – Garlic is also called Russian Penicillin. It is antimicrobial, antiparasitic and antiviral. The book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth is a guidebook that belongs in every kitchen. Eat those foods.
- Avoid Grains – Don’t eat grains while fighting sickness (or ever). They block vitamin and mineral absorption and could trigger auto-immune response. The last thing you want is your immune system attacking itself after being exposed to a pathogen.
Here it is Monday and I feel great. I won the battle without a single sneeze or cough. I feel good enough to go to the gym, but I won’t. I’ll conserve my energy. For lunch I’ll get out some more home made broth and make another soup. The enemy has been defeated, now it is time to rebuild my defenses for the next battle.
Jan 31, 2011 — 6:19 pm
great post, i also feel bolstering the immune system is the way to avoid sickness not vaccines, drugs, or sanitizers. tried your kimchi recipe….loved it but it didn’t look anything like yours in the photo. i eat it not nearly as often as you. maybe a coupla times per week. i don’t get sick though. thought you might be interested in this blog post regarding gluten and the immune system. http://escapetheherdblog.blogspot.jp/2010_11_01_archive.html
Jan 31, 2011 — 6:36 pm
@Chuck – My kimchi looks different each time I make it. 🙂 Every week I alter one thing in it. Right now I am trying a batch with sliced pears. I got the idea from a Korean friend that said it would add a sweet component to the flavor.
Thanks for the link. I like that writing style.
Jan 31, 2011 — 6:47 pm
your pictured kimchi looks more like classic stuff you see in stores and restaurants. i added carrots and radishes to mine. honestly they don’t add much flavor but do add some texture. it was a fun process and really didn’t know if it would turn out any good. it ended up pretty tasty.
since going paleo over 4 years ago, i have only been sick once. i feel my immune system is much more capable to fight off possible problems now and that is the reason for my success. i tweeked my back a while ago and am struggling to get that 100%. i have read your related posts and might haqe pinpointed the cause but haven’t gotten the solution. sure cannot afford the chiropractors forever. you have any reading advice? i have a muscle strain that needs a combination of stretching and strengthening. have you tried yoga?
Jan 31, 2011 — 7:05 pm
@Chuck – Congrats on not getting sick. I’ve had a similar experience.
When I had back pain I was certain that stretching, alignment and strengthening were the solution. I was treating the problem from a top-down approach. It was psychological stress manifesting as physical pain. Dr. Sarno’s book The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain helped me. I have not read his 2010 release.
I have done some yoga. I like it as a way to prove to the body that we aren’t broken and movement is not to be restricted – not as a therapeutic tool. IOW, yoga isn’t fixing your back. You do yoga to prove to your mind that your back isn’t broken. It is a tool for empowerment.
These are my experiences with back pain. Only you will be able to address yours.
Feb 1, 2011 — 9:41 am
Yay! another kombucha drinker. What brand do you drink? GT’s kombucha perhaps? That is what I drink. Have you ever thought of brewing it yourself?
Feb 1, 2011 — 10:02 am
@Sheila – Some home brew, some GT and my new favorite Brew Dr out of Portland.