As we approach winter solstice, the days get shorter, moods change, and many of us have a tendency to reach for comfort foods. Work productivity may decline as we take days off to celebrate holiday time with family and friends. Emotions may run high, as holiday gatherings bring up old feelings. Some good. Some not so good. While most of us are aware that holidays may be challenging for people working lose weight, manage cholesterol, lower blood sugar, or overcome addictions, you may find it surprising to recognize that the changes you experience through the holidays will also influence the structure and function of your microbiome. Yes, that’s right, the microbiome is that community of microbes that live on and in your body, and work with your own cells to promote health or disease. The good news is, microbiomes change quickly, and if you take care of your microbiome, it will take care of you. A diverse, healthy microbiome acts like a biological armor, protecting you from colds, flus, and other stressors that leave you feeling tired. Even your emotions are influenced by the microbiome.
We learn more daily about how microbiomes function, and new reports can be confusing to sort out. Yet most data suggest that natural alternatives we already recognize as promoting general good health seem to also support a healthy microbiome. In fact, in many cases, it is our new awareness of the microbiome that helps us explain why some of these time honored remedies work.
The good news, then, is that the more you implement natural, preventive health care, the more you cultivate a microbiome that reinforces good health, making you resistant to sickness, and able to bounce back quickly when sickness does strike.
These 5 Tips Will Help Promote a Healthy Microbiome This Holiday.
- Eat organic whole foods. Okay, so Aunt Clara really did bake her famous Death-By-Chocolate-Cheesecake just for you. The one with double doses of sugar derived from genetically modified, Round Up Ready sugarbeets grown with glyphosate and other pesticides. Yes, the crust is made with high gluten white flour that will continue elevating your blood sugar even after the sucrose in the filling is gone. Give Tia Clara the benefit of the doubt. She probably wasn’t trying to destroy your immune system and remove years from your life. She was just wanting you to know she was thinking about you. So be kind. Give her a big hug, listen to all she has to say, make great conversation, and when she goes, toss that glyphosate- gluten- and sugar-laden processed food concoction into the compost bin. Or better yet, send it to a hazardous waste disposal site. You don’t want that toxic mixture upsetting the microbial balance of your compost, do you?
- Clean your house with cleaning solutions made from naturally derived, biochemically complex ingredients.
- Why? Well first and foremost, these cleaning solutions are safer. They aren’t going to expose you to the kinds of toxic chemicals found in the cleaners noted in this CBS news report.
- Furthermore, when you clean house with synthetic disinfectants and solvents, you clean in a way that not only removes dirt, grime, and unwanted germs, but also leaves an ecological niche void of everything but the most “disinfectant resistant” strains of microbes. In the absence of diversity, and at the first opportunity, these resistant microbes will return with a vengeance and grow unchecked, recolonizing your clean area with aggressive germs that may cause serious infections. The power of using a more natural cleaning formula is that a good formula will contain dirt, grime, and germ removing power, but it will achieve its effect using a synergistic mixture of biologically derived chemicals that work together to create balance. This means that when microbes (ie: germs) inevitably return to the site, they will return to a more complex antimicrobial landscape that allows a more diverse (and therefore, more beneficial) population to establish. A more diverse population includes natural checks and balances that prevent rogue species from achieving the exponential growth commonly observed with antibiotic resistant mirobes. For a more visible analogy, think about microbes as wildlife. If you clean out the entire game park, then introduce and feed rattlesnakes exclusively, you will soon have a booming snake population. But if you also introduce hawks, eagles, and other species that eat the snakes, your snake population will never become threatening. In fact, the snakes will be useful because they will keep rodent populations down. Choosing natural cleaning solutions that contain rich phytochemical blends is one way you can reduce the abundance of pathogens without supporting growth of antibiotic resistant strains. For free recipes for homemade cleaning formulas, click on the button below. For ready made formulas, check out Youngevity’s Natures Direct line. Free Cleaning Formulae
- Find a support team that values your efforts to stay healthy. Remember, the people you surround yourself with not only influence your thinking and beliefs, they also influence the composition and structure of your microbiome. Every time you touch someone, handle a gift they gave you, or share household space, you increase the opportunity for microbes they carry to migrate onto you. You can’t eliminate these microbes. But by choosing to surround yourself with healthy, positive people you support your own positive thinking patterns. You also increase the odds that the microbes colonizing you will support good health. The podcast below, featuring Melissa Brice of Reclaim Wellness, discusses the importance of a positive mindset, and announces an upcoming Better Health Challenge thatoffers support to people seeking to improve their health in 2019.
4. Don’t do drugs. Listen carefully. This is a “read my lips” statement. Don’t do drugs. Seriously. I’m not limiting this to certain kinds of drugs. I’m not saying, “Don’t do street drugs.” I’m not saying, “Don’t do illegal drugs. I’m saying, “Don’t do drugs.” Period. If you are currently on prescription drugs, work with your doctor to find drug free solutions, and taper off the drugs appropriately. If your condition is really such that eliminating all medications is not an option, then at least recognize that every drug you take places a metabolic demand on your cells. For this reason, every drug you take will increase the nutritional demands on your body. Each drug will require additional nutrients to compensate for what is being spent managing the drug and its waste products within each cell. This is not information most doctors will provide you with, so be prepared to do a little homework to figure out the best way to compensate nutritionally for any medications you are taking. Your liver and kidneys will thank you, and you may experience fewer unwanted side effects.
5. Spend Time Outdoors. You don’t have to get out in miserable weather, and you don’t need to partake of extreme sports or cut 5 cords of firewood. But make sure you spend a little time breathing fresh air and absorbing available sunshine.