I had flu 2 weeks ago and it made me think about it more deeply in terms of health and disease. We all want to avoid flu, but if you do get it, is it a bad thing? Winter brings with it coughs, colds and flu, and as a nutritionist I am always interested in what nature has to offer to optimize our immune system and help us deal with bacteria and viruses that flourish at this time of year. But it’s also important to understand that getting flu isn’t always a bad thing. It can be an opportunity for your whole body to revitalize; to throw off stored toxins through mucus and fever, and generally have a natural detox. And if you don’t suppress any of the body’s efforts to eliminate with medications, you’ll be left feeling much more energised afterwards. It goes against what your body is trying to do if you suppress its eliminative efforts with paracetamol or special all-in-one flu remedies.
Catching flu or a cold is an attempt by your body to bring balance and harmony back to its entire system and it uses viruses or bacteria to help it stimulate enough energy and movement to clear out unwanted rubbish. This is why we often feel hot when we are ill as heat is generated to enable the movement and elimination of toxins.
Naturopathic philosophy sees health and illness in a different way to conventional medicine. When I was a student training in nutritional medicine one of my course teachers taught me that when a symptom is suppressed three times or more then it drives it deeper into the body to return in a more chronic form. For example, someone has a skin condition which is treated with anti-biotics over several years on and off and may even appear to have been cured. At a later date a new and seemingly different disease will arise, for example cystitis. This is seen as a separate condition to the original skin condition and treated accordingly with another medication or treatment regime.
In naturopathy we know that the two diseases are related, and the second manifestation is more chronic or deep seated than the first, as the level of dis-ease is now becoming greater. The medical picture may be one of a person that had eczema which was ‘cured’ and now has cystitis, but they are both ONE dis-ease.
In a sense Naturopathy offers ONE cure. It supports the body to heal itself by creating the right conditions within and without. And this is what we do on our detox retreats, we provide the best environment for your body, mind, heart and spirit to heal. It can be a very profound experience and it may be the first time that you have allowed yourself to sink into the process of healing and trust your body to know what to do.
There are things you can do every day to help support your immune system and guard against winter ailments:
* Eat lots of fresh garlic and onions.
* Avoid sugar, it depletes the immune system and makes you more vulnerable to infections and viruses.
* Increase antioxidants by eating blueberries or take an anti-oxidant formula.
* Take a broad spectrum probiotic, as research has shown it helps overall immunity.
* Drink your greens and get plenty of fresh vegetables.
* Get enough rest.
If you do get flu, then drink plenty of fluids, water and / or freshly made juices and rest, rest, rest. It will pass and you will feel greatly rejuvenated afterwards if you haven’t suppressed your body’s outpourings of unwanted toxins. If you are well-versed in using coffee enemas, these can be a great help with liver detoxification while you are feeling ill.