How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season [Episode #433]
Today’s solocast topic is: How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
I get a lot of questions this time of year about staying healthy during cold and flu season, so I wanted to dedicate a podcast to this topic! I’m going to share with you specific foods to eat to boost your immunity, and other lifestyle practices to avoid getting sick, or getting you on the road to recovery if you’re already under the weather.
Staying healthy is about so much more than what we’re putting inside our bodies – like food or medicine – it also has to do with our minds and spirits. We need to take care of ourselves all around to avoid sickness and recover quickly!
By making small changes to your diet and lifestyle, you’ll be better protected against the nasty cold and flu germs that are so pervasive this season. Stay healthy, Beauty!
Topics Covered In How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
#1. Why we get sick, especially this time of year
#2. Four specific types of foods to keep you healthy
#3. Six tips lifestyle tips to avoid catching the flu or a cold
#4. My thoughts on the flu shot
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Kimberly Snyder: Hi Beauties. Welcome back to our Monday solocast, where today, in keeping with what is going on seasonally and all the questions we’re getting, our topic is How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season. This is a big topic because none of us, of course, wants to get the flu. We want to stay energized, we want to enjoy our time every day, and we all know that it is no fun being slowed down, sitting in bed having the flu or having a drippy nose or cough all day.
Kimberly Snyder: We’re going to cover a lot of different aspects of staying our most strong this season, which has a lot to do with, of course, what we’re eating, but also our entire lifestyle, how we’re approaching our day-to-day choices, both from an energetic standpoint, a sleep perspective, a food perspective as I’ve mentioned, and even in an emotional perspective. Stress has a huge impact on our physical bodies and can actually really impair immunity as well, which we’re going to get into today.
Fan Of The Week
Kimberly Snyder: Before we dive in, I want to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week, and his or her name is al35353535. Love the name. He or she writes, “I love Solluna and Kimberly Snyder. Her perspective and guidance is amazing. It has changed the way I approach eating and living. Listen to her podcast and use her supplements.” Well, L35353535, thank you so much for being part of our community. Thank you so much for leaving your review. It is such an amazing way to support the show, and from the bottom of my heart I appreciate you and I thank you so much. Sending you a huge virtual hug.
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Kimberly Snyder: Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as the fan of the week and for me to read your beautiful words, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes, which is super easy. It’s free, it’s fast, and it’s just a great way to support the show. I thank you very much in advance. While you’re at it, you can just hit the subscribe button and that way you don’t miss any of the interview podcasts, which are Mondays, or our Q and A podcasts which are on Thursday.
Kimberly Snyder: All that being said, let’s roll right into our topic today, which is about staying really healthy and keeping our vitality up, keeping our energy up. Right now, depending where you live in the country, in the world, there’s probably quite a bit of wind, there is a lot of cold temperatures, maybe there’s been snow, maybe there’s ice and frost. This is the of the year where obviously our bodies can get a big hit. Even here in California where I live, and I’m not trying to have a pity party of course because I know it’s actually quite mild compared to life right now for a lot of you. Believe me, I know because I used to live in New York City for years and I actually grew up in Connecticut, so I know what it’s like to have those East coast winters that seem to go on and to go on. That’s why it’s really important right now that we take a moment to really think about practices to support our body, to keep our immunity up, which is just it’s our energy.
Kimberly Snyder: When our bodies start to feel down and we start to get those little sniffles and those coughs and we start to feel like we’re dragging, it really affects our mood, it affects our emotions, it affects our minds, it affects our relationships, it affects our creativity. It can affect our work. It can affect everything, because everything is so closely connected. That’s why here at Solluna we always talk about our four cornerstones for true beauty, for living our best, most beautiful lives. Food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. Because for a lot of us, we start with food and we dial in our food, but that’s really not enough.
Kimberly Snyder: We need to look at all aspects of our lifestyle, because it’s just become more and more clear to me as time goes on that if we don’t have healthy emotions, if we have a lot of stress, if we have a lot of drama, as I was mentioning earlier, I think as I go more and more deeper into this work and I’ve worked with so many clients and so many people, I think this is a particularly vulnerable aspect of the lifestyle that we often ignore and this can be a big missing piece. When we dial in our emotional wellbeing, our mental health, it can really help with inflammation, bloating, gut health, balancing our IBS, our acne, our immunity even, our endocrine system, hormones. I’m really, really passionate about talking pretty much about every topic now that we get into from this perspective of a much more holistic, wider view, which I think is where the power is to be had.
Why we get sick, especially this time of year
Kimberly Snyder: First, to start off, I want to also get into some stats here. We are in the midst of cold and flu season, which will probably rage on unfortunately for the next few months. In the United States alone, over 200,000 people a year are hospitalized for the flu, which is pretty crazy because obviously this is very disruptive to our lives. It affects our work, our ability to be there for our kids, our families, our passions, whatever we want to accomplish in life. It’s just a huge, huge downer. When we are inside more, which is this time of year, we’re stuck in a lot of environments where there is no open windows, there’s no ventilation, circulation of air is very minimal for a lot of us unfortunately that work in offices or, yeah, just spend time in boardrooms and conference rooms and hotel rooms for travel. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of germs and viruses that that get circulated.
Kimberly Snyder: This is something I talked about all the way back, all the way back in 2011 with The Beauty Detox Solution. This idea, this whole germ theory, warfare, germ warfare theory, whatever it was exactly. I can’t even remember now off the top of my head, but it was this idea that germs are the enemy and we have to blast away all germs, they’re the ones that are going to get us. Now we realize that that’s impossible to do. We are going to be exposed to germs. There’s going to be your sick coworker probably coughing in your face sometimes, or not everybody washes their hands after they go to the bathroom, which is pretty nasty, but doorknobs are just gross unfortunately all around, surface tops. Things you don’t even think about, like handles of the grocery store carts and menus, are the breeding grounds for germs.
Kimberly Snyder: I say this not to scare you, but more to say, hey, we can’t control all that, but one of the most powerful things we can do is to control our inner terrain. The stronger we make our microbiome and really, really continue to take our probiotics, one of the most powerful things you can do, especially right now. Get your gut in shape, which is where the vast majority of your immunity is built. The healthy, very complex mix of bacteria in your gut is going to keep you strong and fortified the season. I don’t want you to be freaked out about the germs, but more of course you take precaution and if someone’s coughing on the subway, I try to move away. I’m like, “Let me go over here.”
Kimberly Snyder: Bubby’s school, the parents keep kids home, but I mean, they all pretty much have runny noses and coughs. So that’s why it’s important, I always give Bubby his probiotics every day. I open up the capsule of the SBO probiotics and I make like a little banana sandwich. Two little pieces of banana is the fastest, easiest way for him to take it and I put it about a third of a capsule in there and he eats it. It’s really great because I know, again, I can’t control every kid, I can’t control every situation he’s in, but I can give him his probiotics, which is really protection. We’re doing what we can do.
Kimberly Snyder: Now, another thing that affects our immunity is the days are so short as you know. The light is less and less. There’s less sunlight, plus we’re inside. For all these different reasons, it means that we have less exposure to the sun, natural exposure on our limbs, on our bodies. So we are naturally getting less vitamin D this time of year, which is an important vitamin, which is really a hormone, that in lack leads to a compromised immune system. That’s another reason that we’re so susceptible this time of year, is just that less, less amount of sun exposure.
Four specific types of foods to keep you healthy
Kimberly Snyder: Let’s talk about practices and foods we can do. Let’s talk about foods first, and then we’ll get into the other cornerstones actually, because there’s a quite a lot that we can do here with food, which is our first Solluna cornerstone. There’s a lot of great choices we can make this time of year, really good positive choices to put ourselves in the best possible position for staying strong and healthy against all the coughing people and your neighbor, and even your boyfriend or your friend getting the flu, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to get it.
Kimberly Snyder: First is foods that are high in zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral. It’s a mineral that’s really been shown to be great for hair. I’ve written about this before as far as pumpkin seeds were really fantastic seed with certain Native Americans that had really beautiful, shiny, strong hair. This mineral is also shown, has been proven to give your immune system an extra boost. This can help prevent illness, or if you are sick, this can help you get over that hump faster. You can incorporate foods that are good sources of zinc. As I mentioned, the first one that comes to mind for me is always pumpkin seeds, which I love and sometimes I forget about them. You know how you kind of have your little rotation? But I do love them, I think they’re fantastic. I like to make nut pates out of them. I like to put them in salad. So if you’ve forgotten about pumpkin seeds, as I admit I sort of have lately, then I would encourage you to pick some up next time you’re at the store.
Kimberly Snyder: Also sesame seeds, which is of course the base of tahini. You could make some tahini-based salad dressings. Lentils are a great source, as is dark chocolate. Now, if we did another excuse to have chocolate, here’s one. As I mentioned tahinis are great for salad dressing. Make yourself a lentil veggie soup, which we make every week in my house, and of course just snack on some dark chocolate or add some cacao to your power protein smoothie or make yourself a almond milk hot chocolate. These are some great ways to work that in.
Kimberly Snyder: Now, the next food group, which is something that probably comes to mind for you already when we talk about immunity and preventing colds and flu, is foods high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is such an amazing miracle nutrient that is … Again, here’s where all those connections come in. It is one of the most amazing, powerful nutrients for your skin. It’s one of the best ways to maintain youthful, beautiful, supple skin that is smooth and firm and healthy looking. That’s one of the reasons we put so much attention, one of our Solluna skincare products is out very, very powerful stabilized Feel Good Vitamin C Serum, which has ASC2P, a stabilized form of vitamin C, just as an aside.
Kimberly Snyder: We want to put it on our skin and we want to ingest it. When we ingest it, we know that it is a wonderful source for keeping up our immune system. I, personally, have never been a fan of Emergen-C packets or those gummies that are boasting having high vitamin C. Maybe that’s okay in an emergency, but I just think vitamin C is … And it’s great, don’t get me wrong. I love powders and I think that powders are very powerful way to get plants and to get certain foods in that are not easy to source. But when it comes to vitamin C, you don’t need all the artificial colorings and flavorings and the candy and all that stuff. You can get it very easily from whole foods.
Kimberly Snyder: I mean, there’s tons of vitamin C, for instance if you drink the Glowing Green smoothie. Boom, right there, just from the raw greens and the fruit and the lemon juice. You’re getting a power-packed punch every morning if you still continue to have your Glowing Green smoothie. I will say I know right now it’s very cold, so you may say to me, “Oh, I don’t really want a cold smoothie in the morning,” and I would just say start with your hot water with lemon, let the smoothie sit out a little bit so it’s closer to room temperature. I certainly don’t want any icy drinks or smoothies right now myself, but I find that if it’s warmed up a little bit more then it’s lot more palatable and a lot easier to ingest.
Kimberly Snyder: Some other foods that are high in vitamin C, I mean, pretty much all the greens and all the fruit, everything that’s in season right now. Things like pears and apples. I still continue to make the power protein smoothie with acai, which is in my freezer. Acai is a fantastic source of vitamin C. I’m a huge mango-obsessed person, which is a huge amount of vitamin C. There’s mangoes that are always around your grocery store, they come into season at different times. I’m a huge, huge fan of mangoes. And again, just having fresh greens. Now, vitamin C, it can be heat sensitive. What I do when I make a soup or stew is that I just wilt the greens in at the very end so that way I don’t feel like I’m blasting away all the vitamins. That’s something I definitely recommend.
Kimberly Snyder: The next food group is ones that contains carotinoids. I absolutely love saying that word, carotinoids, it’s such a fun word. This is a type of pigment found in plants that are a type of antioxidant basically that helps reduce oxidative stress. This is going to protect us, it’s going to protect us down to the cellular level against disease and sickness. These are protective compounds. You can imagine these wonderful veggies, like whenever I hear carotinoid I immediately think of carrots of course, because the similarity in the letters.
Kimberly Snyder: I eat a ton of carrots, you guys. We a lot of carrots in our house. I pack them in Bubby’s lunch all the time. I get the little baby carrots and then I either get the loose carrots, so I can pick out the ones I like, or I get bunches of rainbow carrots or just fresh carrots with the tops because I like to eat the tops. I put them in my GGS. Great source of vitamin A and iron. Carrots are just a staple in my house. I put them in soups, I snack on them raw, I slice them up and salads. I just think carrots are one of those foods that you should always have in your fridge. Tomatoes, squash, kale, spinach, these are other fantastic foods that are high in carotinoids.
Kimberly Snyder: The next food group that I want you to focus on are some really medicinal spices that have this power to protect you and to boost your health and wellbeing. Now, I’ve been fascinated with spices since I started studying Ayurveda. Before that, it was more for me about different flavor. I remember doing Outward Bound when I was, I think I was 17 years old. I begged my parents to go. I loved being outside. So I did this big camping crazy. There’s a solo, and I always say if I didn’t do that trip, I probably wouldn’t have been backpacking around the world for three years. But anyways, I remember we had very, very bland food and very monotonous. We are crackers and rice and beans a lot of nights. There was a spice bag that would go around. It was the first time that I had cumin, and I very quickly became obsessed with cumin. I think I had in past lives, I probably lived in India because I had such an affinity for India and all things Indian.
Kimberly Snyder: But anyways, spices weren’t a huge part of my life until … That was when I first had cumin. Then more recently learning more about spices and understanding that they’re considered medicine and Ayurvedic medicine really. They’re food and they’re medicine. I have a lot of respect for them. They’re part of the medicinal culture, these ancient traditions. When I was in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago, when I was actually pregnant with Bubby, I loved going to the farms, these beautiful places where I could see the cinnamon trees and the black pepper trees and actually learn from people that were really, really passionate. The farmers there would talk about the medicinal aspects of spices.
Kimberly Snyder: Spices have the ability to really warm up your body and to boost circulation and speed up your metabolism. Spices like black pepper, for instance, and cinnamon are not only warming, but they can help clear mucus and congestion from the body. I always say to use … Dr. Jay as well, my Ayurvedic teacher, always says to try to always use black pepper, very, very fresh, freshly ground. That way the oils don’t get rancid, so you get all that beautiful benefit. With cinnamon, it’s great for diabetics, it’s great for our metabolizing sugar in the body, and there’s research for that.
Kimberly Snyder: It’s also great this time of year if you’re having more sweets than usual, just with the fact that it’s cold and you’re inside. You may be eating more comfort foods and that’s okay. Cinnamon’s a great tea to keep around. You can just have sticks, as well as ground cinnamon, which are the two ways that I like to have cinnamon in my kitchen.
Kimberly Snyder: Then echinacea is another spice that’s great for boosting your immune system and helping to relieve even sore throats. Echinacea has been very popular now for probably a couple of decades, so that’s something that you can seek out. Cayenne pepper, when we do an immunity shot, we used to do it at Glow, my old juice bar, and now we do it at my newish juice bar, which is at the Four Seasons. It’s not that new anymore, it’s been there for like two years. But it’s the classic lemon, ginger, cayenne pepper, which helps to again blast out mucous. It tends to warm the body, and warming the body helps to protect it against bacterial infections and just keep it nice and strong and protected. A little pinch of cayenne pepper to your hot water with lemon in the morning is something you may try, or to your salad dressing, or sprinkling on top of your sweet potatoes or whatever you’re eating for dinner.
Six tips lifestyle tips to avoid catching the flu or a cold
Kimberly Snyder: Now, it’s also important … Let’s move into our body cornerstone here. Okay, water is like a crossover because it’s not exactly food but it’s kind of between food and our body cornerstone. It’s so important, you guys, this time of year to stay super hydrated. Sometimes we focus on water more in the summer because we get sweaty and it’s hot, and we’re playing sports or we’re outside or we’re hiking or doing all these things, but heaters are going in the winter and it can be very dehydrating. We need more liquid to actually flush the toxins out of our body and out of our system to prevent the cold and the flu germs from taking hold. I can’t stress how important it is to drink water, hot water with lemon, coconut water. Just stay really, really hydrated. You should be urinating quite often and your urine should not be yellow. It should be quite clear. You want to self-monitor that way, and that’s a really important way, you guys, to really protect against the flu this year, and colds.
Kimberly Snyder: From a body perspective, I think it’s important that we continue to move and exercise. For me, my primary form of movement right now is walking. I’ve been doing beach walks for a long time, but now I’ve been doing more mountain nature walks that I moved. I mean, I’m still only 10 minutes from the beach, but where I live, I don’t always like go way down the hill. I like to stay in my neighborhood. There’s amazing walks right from my house so I don’t have to drive. I would encourage you to find a convenient way that you enjoy to move. It could be bundling up and walking around the park, or maybe if you’re in a freezing place like Montreal or something like that, walking around an indoor mall with headphones. You don’t even have to spend money or go in the stores, but it’s a longer place for you to walk around. It could feel really great.
Kimberly Snyder: I’m also doing some yoga right now. You can roll out your mat, you can stay pretty cozy in your house, and just twist your body. The lying down twist and the seated twist to really get your liver and your kidneys squeezed and fortified with all the energy and all the stagnation coming out. To give it that boost is a really powerful way to stay healthy in your body.
Kimberly Snyder: Also, I mentioned this earlier, supplements I say fall into our body cornerstone. The most important one right now, hands down you guys, is to take the SBO probiotics every day. Fortify your gut, give yourself that healthy bacteria every day, keep your immunity up. Now is for sure the time. If you ever Slack, please don’t right now. This is the time to definitely keep it up. Two every day. I take two in the morning so I don’t forget, but you could take one in the morning, one in the afternoon, or two in the afternoon, but just make it part of your routine.
Kimberly Snyder: Now, also in body, sleep. There is such an important connection between sleep and immunity. We know from research that when you are deprived of sleep, your inflammatory cytokines rise while T-cells decrease. This combination really does weaken your immune system and it makes it … Your body is already doing so much, it’s digesting food, it’s thinking, it’s running after your kids, it’s doing household chores and so many things. On top of that, without enough sleep, it’s going to have a very hard time fighting off sickness and illness, which is of course what we want to do right now.
Kimberly Snyder: So make it a priority to get into your evening routine. Try to shut off devices earlier or wear blue light-blocking glasses. Try to find magazines or books that are enjoyable to you instead of TV. I know this can be a hard one if you’re in a real pattern of sitting and watching Netflix at night, but even if you just turn it off half an hour earlier and find another way to chill out, that’s going to do wonders for your sleep, beauty. 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Take the baby steps that you need to do, but remember that it can be a very powerful way to boost your immunity, the better your sleep is going to be.
Kimberly Snyder: Now, let’s shift to the emotional wellbeing. Emotional is our third cornerstone and here is where stress has such an impact on immunity. The American Psychological Association has shown time and time again all the research that chronic stress has a direct correlation with a weakened immune system. This is where we really have to dial in our time and make sure that we are allotting enough ways to decompress and to avoid stressful situations. What I mean by that is … I remember in New York when I would teach yoga and I would teach yoga privates, sometimes I would cut it so close, there was so much stress getting from one appointment to the next. If I had spaced it out more, even gotten there a little bit early and had time, I wouldn’t have felt that raging stress in my body. Sometimes it’s as easy as setting aside more time for your commute, for your drive, for in between appointments. Maybe don’t pack as much in because that already leads to so much stress.
Kimberly Snyder: Now, we talk about processing a lot in the Solluna circle, which if you haven’t checked it out yet that may be something you want to do in 2020. The more we can process and introspect and be aware, the more we can be free of patterns that keep us in stress mode. Like when someone says something and it really triggers us and we really react, if we can get to the bottom of that and be free of it, there’s just one less stressful thing in our lives. Here’s where I think introspection and journaling and having guidance, again, which is what the circle is about, could be really, really powerful. Or also reading supportive books in this area, like The Letting Go Book I love, and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle is another one I recommend. There’s tons and tons of great books in this regard.
Kimberly Snyder: Then our forest cornerstone, which is connected to this, is spiritual growth. Spiritual growth in our definition is about connecting within, where we tune out all the external, all the noise. We find time to go into the breath, into stillness, into meditation. This is where we can really soothe our nervous system. There is a connection between our nervous system and our immune system. When our nervous system gets constantly frazzled, and this is something Ayurveda does talk about quite a lot, when our nervous system is taxed and we are frazzled, our body becomes weaker and weaker and weaker and we tend to get more and more sick. You can even think about it as part of your self-care for preventing illness, to set aside time to meditate and to breathe and to be by yourself. That in turn is definitely going to make a very positive difference in your life, as far as being able to keep yourself strong and healthy and to create less sickness in your life.
My thoughts on the flu shot
Kimberly Snyder: Now, I want to mention a little bit about the flu shot, because I do get some questions about this, as we close out the show. I want to say that of course this is a very personal choice and everybody has to do what feels good for their health and for their family’s health. I personally, I don’t get it every year. I think that it can be a crap shoot as far as they’re choosing the strains and then you’re going and you’re paying for the shot, which may have other components in there that I don’t want in my body and it may or may not work. For me, it’s more about doing everything we just talked about. Keeping my inner health really, really fortified, my immune system, my gut health, eating the right foods, slowing down, sleeping more. For me, that’s the best protection, so that’s what I choose to do. But of course, again, you have to do what feels right for you and your family. I’m not pro, I’m not a flu shot person, I guess is the best way to say it.
Kimberly Snyder: But of course it’s out there and I will say that there’s companies that make a lot of money from all of these vaccines and that’s just a whole other topic. Some people swear by them. Knock on wood, I have never gotten the flu and I have never gotten a flu shot. Again, we all do what’s best, but you can hear my perspective here. I think there’s a lot of lifestyle stuff that we can do, that’s in our hands and that will keep our bodies nice and beautiful and strong.
Kimberly Snyder: Thank you, Beauties, so much for tuning in. I wish you a very healthy and happy winter. I am so grateful for you and I love, love, love to hear from you. Remember, you can ask your questions directly to me at mysolluna.com/askkimberly. We read every question, for sure, and then we group them into topics for the Q and A podcasts, which are on Thursdays. But if there’s anything you’re wondering, if there’s anything I can support you with, please get in touch with me because I’m here for you. That’s why we have our community. I love it and I’m really grateful, and I’m really looking forward to our 2020 together, to grow and connect more and support each other. I can’t tell you how much love I have for you, how much I’m sending out. I hope you can feel it right now in your heart. I will see you back here Thursday for our next Q and A podcast. Till then, beauties, sending you a warm hug, lots of love, and see you very soon.