I have been reading a new book this past week… one that I got from the library. As soon as I saw the title, I was intrigued… Boosting Your Immunity for Dummies. Published in 2013, so I knew the information would be current and not outdated.
I have been a fan of these Dummies books since they first began publishing them many years ago. They are laid out so that they are easily read, and usually make great reference materials… Sailing for Dummies has been part of our boat library for years!
Why am I interested in boosting my immunity?
After I ran my first half marathon last Mother’s Day I started on a mission to find out what was causing swelling in my ankles and feet. Through the course of many doctors visits and blood tests, it turns out that I have low levels of proteins in my blood which allows the veins to leak fluid into my tissues causing the edema. (I am on a wait list to see a hematologist) I also have a slightly low white blood cell count. White blood cells are the ones that fight disease and infections so I am conscious of doing everything I can to avoid illness and remain healthy.
I am not a fanatic, but I do wash my hands a lot. I wash the fresh fruits and veggies I bring home from the market before I use them, and I try to be aware when out in public to not touch my face, or put my fingers in my mouth!
So… that is why this book appealed to me. If I can do something to actually boost my immunity, I want to see what it is and give it a try!
I won’t bore you with all of the science, that I have to admit I find fascinating, but does make The Captain’s eyes glaze over a bit when I talk to him about it… but I will say that the nutritional advice given in this book pretty much echoes the nutritional advice in It Starts With Food and The Paleo Diet, and Practically Paleo. The culprits that cause inflammation and problems are: grains, dairy products, legumes, and sugar.
There is a lot of information about the things that we should be eating to support our immune systems and a group of Super Foods and what each one does for us. I was happy to find that most of these things are already in my diet throughout the week… fruit, veggies, nuts, herbs and spices – a few in particular, such as the spice tumeric, and dark chocolate were a (pleasant) surprise to me. Who wouldn’t like to have dark chocolate prescribed for their health?
The authors also discuss various detoxes and the reasons for and against… and they outline how to go about doing a mild cleanse that uses real food instead of potions and powders. I have read this chapter several times and decided to give it a try.
It is pretty similar to the Whole30 Program with a few more restrictions - They suggest that your only beverages should be water and green tea. This scares me a little as I am a huge fan of coffee… and normally wouldn’t even think of trying anything that asks me to eliminate it, so I am going to make a bit of a compromise here. I just may have a few sips of coffee here and there to keep the raging headaches away… will see how that goes.
Otherwise, I am on board completely and the foods suggested and allowed are all ones I am happy to eat!
And just as a reminder to myself.. I am not eating nuts, nut butters, or any dried fruit this week, even the naturally dried organic figs that I have been loving so much lately.
And, just in time… I was given a 90-day sample of Epicor to try out. It is a dietary supplement that is designed to boost the immune system and I will be taking that along with my regular supplements.
So, I am excited to start today. I have done a bit of preparation… the fridge is stocked with fresh vegetables, and the fruit bowl on the counter is full… I have frozen berries and a huge store of green tea!
The Captain bought me the largest head of cauliflower I have ever seen cause cruciferous veggies are on the list... and he also picked up a bag full of of fresh limes…
so each morning I will have lime and water instead of the lemon and water that I normally would have… along with my Epicor. Apparently limes "contain antiviral properties which trigger the productions of white blood cells".
Last night I washed and dried a bunch of kale, and massaged some oil, lemon juice and smashed garlic cloves into it, and will use that for salads over the next few days.
I am not a health professional, and I am not suggesting that anyone else try a food detox or even follow a Paleo or Primal diet. I am doing this for myself and writing about it for my own reference and my own interest in tracking and analysis.