SARS & Such ... & Your Best Defense
The flu bug is out - some people catch it, others don’t. SARS is in the air - some people are affected, others are not. Some people succumbed to the diseases of the middle ages while others survived and even took care of the sick. Amazingly few people ask the question why the bug hit them while avoiding others, usually putting it down to the luck factor. Yet “if there is one white crow, there can be many!” Trusting in this truth, we may do ourselves a huge favor by looking at what makes up the difference in these people who go unharmed.
Certain groups in our society focus on fighting the problem, finding yet another drug, vaccine, flu shot... or could we say, they are shooting the messenger? Why not learning from those who already go through life without sniffling and sneezing like their colleagues and neighbors? I believe that if actually $$$ were spent on that kind of research we would come up with at least one common factor in all these people: a strong and healthy immune system.
I am convinced that our bodies are designed to resist and protect us from any virus or external toxin. However, they can only do so if given the proper care. The optimum functioning of our immune system can't simply be switched on when needed. It only has the reserves it needs to fight disease if we look after it, at least take care of the basics: get enough sleep, exercise frequently, avoid foods that are highly processed and low in nutrients, drink plenty of clean water. We also need to be aware that stress can compromise our immune system and diminish its main function. This is to put up a constant defense against invaders like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites as well as constantly checking on the body’s internal cell environment.
Thinking of the effects of stress on immune function and health we need to keep in mind that there are two kinds of stress: distress and positive stress. A new project at work could be perceived as overwhelming and frustrating, thereby causing distress and impaired immune function. At the same time, the identical situation could be seen as an exciting challenge and inspiration, a joyful part of one’s life purpose, thus actually enhancing immunity. One key factor certainly is our reaction to stress. We could be stressed out and depressed or inspired and fired up. Is our tendency to look at the glass as half full or half empty? Our immune system likes us to have a positive mental attitude.
We also have a choice as to what we fill the glass with. The most important drink all through the day is energy-giving water. However, it’s life-saving and immune-boosting attributes are often underestimated and neglected. Instead, people choose immune-suppressing drinks: caffeine, alcohol, soda pops, which in addition to taxing our immune system leech calcium from our bones.
Setting the table for strong or weak immunity we need to look at what we put on our plates. Are we feeding ourselves with immune-boosting, highly nutritious, organic foods? Or are we giving in to nutrient-deficient SAD-Standard American Diet-junk, conveniently boxed stuff with a shelf life of years that does not really deserve to be called “food”? Research has shown that not even rats can survive on some of those items for long .
Looking at what else a lot of people put into their mouth drugs come to mind, both recreational and medical, as well as cigarettes. Studies have shown that the combination of alcohol and nicotine suppresses immunity at a level that neither could do on its own!
Sugar suppresses the immune system BIG time. It causes sugar highs, followed by the sugar blues. Because of its addictive nature, once hooked, the cravings are hard to conquer. Sugar, apple pie and ice cream shoot up white blood cell count for hours, slowing down the cells’ active and effective involvement in fighting disease. The more sugar we eat, the more we compromise our immunity. Giving in to our sweet tooth, we simultaneously feed the silent killer: candida.
Actually, according to Dr Paul Kutchacoff’s studies, any cooked, enzyme-deficient food increases white blood cell count whereas eating raw, enzyme-rich foods doesn’t show such increase. This suggests that the body is borrowing enzymes from the immune system to assist in the digestion of enzyme-void foods. Thus, the integrity and effectiveness of the immune system, our main line of defense, is sacrificed. Accordingly, if it is called into action each time we eat a meal, it cannot perform its more important functions such as patrolling the body for viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. Our front-line soldiers, meant to fight illnesses such as SARS, are unavailable.
There is an opportunity embedded in every problem. We are never given more than we can handle - or as I received in an email: "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it."
Based on these, what I believe are, universal truths, we could choose a different approach as far as SARS & Such are concerned. From now on we can decide to accept SARS as a messenger and interpret it as Seeking Awareness for a Robust System. In order to achieve the best possible robust system, there are resources that can help the immune system function at top efficiency, beyond sleeping enough, drinking water, eating right, exercising, and finding ways to reduce stress.
From my point of view we can look at two categories to support immunity: Do’s and Don’ts. Some things weaken our body energies, so we would benefit from avoiding them. Other things strengthen our bodies, so we’d better integrate more of those into our daily routines. The following list is by no means complete. However, it can be a step in the right direction. Others could be to start reading product labels and just shopping in the outer aisles of supermarkets.
I believe it is our spiritual responsibility to take care of our bodies in the best possible way, to honor them as temples of our souls. This automatically results in integrating Spirit-Mind-Body and doing everything possible to strengthen our immune systems. From my point of view, a healthy, vibrant body full of life energy and strong immunity is our very best defense against whatever is out there.
By Rica Gerhardt
First published in Tone Magazine, May 2003
Understanding Health & Healing