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How to stay well during the Fall, Winter & Spring months…

September 10, 2010

a simple dry brush

Now that Fall is approaching and Winter will be just around the corner… it’s time to talk about how to stay healthy.

Some of you may get a flu shot… I never do, because I am particularly sensitive to medications. Mostly, they just don’t agree with me. I don’t even use the over-the-counter painkillers.

But, I do use a number of alternative means to stay healthy.

First, get thee to a health food store or to a Whole Foods and purchase a long-handled brush with natural bristles. You may use this to assist your lymphatic system, since it needs help, because it does not have a pump, as your cardiovascular and pulmonary systems do.

Then, use Google to search for the “benefits of dry skin brushing.” Don’t read just one link. You’ll find lots of duplication among various links, but sometimes a link may have a different emphasis, or a hint that another link does not have. Using a dry brush before you shower or bathe every day is one of the least expensive things you can do for your overall health. A brush with natural bristles (no plastic or anything synthetic, because they are not good for your skin) will cost between $10 and $15 dollars.

Most places, that’s even cheaper than a flu shot. (If you still wish to get a flu shot, I won’t try to dissuade you. We each know our own body better than anyone else possibly could.) Besides the benefits to your immune system, dry brushing also helps you to wake up and get the blood circulating to  your skin. It also makes your skin softer, and since your skin is your “third kidney,” keeping it soft means it will be easier for toxins in your system to leave your body through your skin.

Dry brushing is not quite like a cup of coffee… more like a cup of tea.

Always, always remember to work from your extremities toward your heart… in order not to put any strain on your blood vessels. Of course, you can just brush down your back. It’s worth noting, too, that lymph fluid moves toward your heart before it leaves your body.  There are lots of lymph nodes under your arms, in the neck and in your thighs, too, of all places. I also brush the bottoms of my feet, just because I like the way it feels; my feet are sometimes a bit stiff in the morning. 

Take as much time as you like. A few minutes each day is probably enough, but if you still get sick, you might wish to do this twice a day. Just consider the extra hot water to be cheaper — in many ways — than antibiotics, especially when you consider what antibiotics do to your digestive system. (That will be a topic for a future post.) Of  course, if you have a bacterial infection, you will need a course of antibiotcs, followed by some yogurt with probiotics to restore the flora in your digestive tract.

Over time, dry brushing is also supposed to help minimize or eliminate cellulite… that is not an overnight process, but it is worth remembering.

Next, consider buying some powdered Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 in drops. I take a 1/4 tsp of the Vitamin C and 5,000 IU of the Vitamin D3 in a small glass of water. It’s only mildly tart. We all know the benefits of Vitamin C, but Vitamin D3’s benefits are less well-known. It is a wonderful aid to your immune system, can help you to prevent certain kinds of cancer, AND it can help you to keep from getting the flu. Both the method and the dose were recommended to me by an orthopedic surgeon, because women need more D than men do, and if we take enough D, we need less calcium. Those of us who live in the northern climes need Vitamin D even more, becauses we get little or no sun during the fall, winter and spring months… and Vitamin D is such an important factor in keeping well.

You might prefer to take the C in a chewable form and the D in a capsule, but that doesn’t work for me. The fillers upset my stomach. Besides, these forms are far cheaper and given the cost of health care insurance, who among us does not wish to save a little money where we can? Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask your doctor to check the levels of Vitamin D in your blood before you begin to take it.

Both of these vitamins are easily available at a Vitamin Shoppe or at many health food stores. So is the dry brush.

Finally, make a big pot of vegetable soup on the weekend and eat it during the week. Breakfast, lunch or dinner… it does not matter. Just eat it. There is nothing better for you during the fall/winter months than homemade vegetable soup, and if you can get local or regional vegetables (preferably organic), you’re way ahead of the game. Root vegetables are an excellent source of fiber and of vitamins and trace minerals, as well as other nutrients. Trace minerals are often overlooked when we think about the nutrients we need every day. And eating meals made with water and broth or stock also helps us to keep from becoming dehydrated… yes, even in the winter.

I make my soup with vegetable stock or broth, since I live with a vegetarian, but it’s fairly simple to add some protein to a serving, if you would prefer. Sometimes, I’ll add a little bit of chicken before I heat it up. When I add sardines — to make a poor woman’s chowder — I add them afterward, so that they don’t permeate the air flow at work or at home.

Next post, I’ll explain all about how to make soup. The most important thing to know is that you must allow the vegetables to sweat.

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