Most of us don’t live inside of sterile bubbles for the duration of our lives, so it’s pretty inevitable that we’ll come up against bacterias and viruses that cause sickness.
That’s why one of the best things you can do to stay in command of your health is to support your immune system on a regular basis.
To maintain an activate and healthy immune response, we suggest a two step, 8-10 week process so that your body can safely acclimate to the protocol.
Step one: detox. Your cells do their best when they’re clear of toxic agents, so we always suggest a simple, slow 4-5 week body detox before you jump into immune stimulation—you don’t want to over work your body or cause it to fight against itself.
Step two: stimulate your immune system. This is another slow and steady process. You’ll be reintroducing foods in your typical diet along with some immune boosting supplements that will help you fight bacteria better.
STEP 1: DETOX
Remember to take this slowly, your body is always working to eliminate toxicities so this protocol is really just a way to slim down your diet and lifestyle to help your body remove stored toxins.
In many cases, our bodies store toxins in our fat cells, so while you should follow the below dietary and lifestyle guidelines, you know how you should and shouldn’t feel. You may find that you’re a bit tired or moving slower than normal, this is typical during detox, especially if you also see that you’re losing a bit of weight, but if you start to feel dizzy or sick, visit your doctor.
Here are a few signs of toxicity in the body. You may experience one, none, or many of these, we still suggest taking your body through the immune boosting journey:
- White tongue
- Bad breath
- Low luminosity in your eyes (the sclera, or white part of your eye, appears yellowish and/or brownish)
- Bad smell in both your urine and bowel movements
- Overall sluggishness
- Frequent infections
- Lack of mental clarity
- Disconnection from your spiritual practice or purpose
Detox Starts in the Gut
Our detox starts with the gut because disease starts in the gut—it’s our first line of defense because Most immune cells adhere actively to the intestinal membranes (remember? We talked about that in our Mucous Membranes article), because that’s our first line of defense.
So we’ll start by cleaning up your diet and giving your stressed cells a break.
Your Detox Diet
For 4-5 weeks, you’re basically going to follow a whole foods diet with a few extra steps.
Start your morning with warm (not hot) water with lemon juice. Add a teaspoon of honey to your lemon water to help soothe digestion and get the vital healing properties of the honey into your system, our functional honey with digestive herbs is best suited for this first step.
A wonderful breakfast would be organic, boiled oats (try getting certified gluten free if you can), and adding ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, berries and a little bit of butter for your fat (ghee would be a perfect addition here).
For snacks throughout the day try fruits (especially organic berries), carrots, or celery sticks. And a couple of cups organic juices with ingredients like apple, carrot, ginger, celery, parsley, and lemon.
And for lunch and dinner you’ll want to stick with soups. Organic veggie soups are the best—we love the soup recipe archive from Wellness Mama. Soups are great during a detox because they’re hydrating, warming, full of minerals, and easy to digest.
Try to fast in the evening. If you have a very strong and/or accelerated metabolism and have hypoglycemic tendencies, have a small portion of vegetable soup. It is best is to leave your stomach empty during the night (for 10-12 hrs, called a micro-fast). So that your body has time to rest, digest fully, and get into deep detox mode.
Water is your main drink of choice and it’s going to be your best friend in this detox. Focus on drinking about a half gallon per day (it sounds more daunting than it is, trust me). It will help flush out the toxins along with giving your kidneys some love.
Seems pretty easy right? That’s because it is. We’re fans of the gentle detox because there are a lot aggressive programs that can actually throw your body into overdrive and make you sick. We’re here to help stimulate your immune system for longevity, not force it into hyperspeed.
Besides, this is the hardest part: For these four to five weeks, you’ll want to completely avoid processed foods and refined sugar—this includes soda, coffee, alcohol, dairy, wheat, and fried foods. If you have a hard time regulating your body temperature, you may also want to reduce raw foods and stick to the soups for most of your meals.
To Help Your Body Eliminate Toxins More Effectively
If following the diet is all you have in you on your detox journey, that’s perfectly fine. For these few weeks, be strict (but equally gentle) with yourself about your diet. If you find that you feel great and have a bit of extra wiggle room, try adding a few of these to your detox plan. Whatever you can add here, will be helpful for the next step of this process.
1—Take one tablespoon of Herbal Extract - Bitter Elixir Detox before breakfast and lunch. It helps you digest and eliminate toxins by helping activate GI enzymes, reduce inflammation and cultivate an adequate but balanced microbiota.
2—Take 20 drops of Herbal Extract - Hepa Vital after meals, which helps you detox and protects your liver—a vital energy organ.
3―Take a probiotic—you can do this with probiotic supplements or with fermented foods like real ginger beer, kombucha, kimchi, artisanal pickles, etc. This adds good gut flora to your stomach and increases the efficiency of your digestion, which means hello to more energy from food and goodbye to that heavy, sluggish feeling you get after big meals.
4—Sweat for 20 minutes every day through exercise and, if possible, with a steam bath.
5—Get enough sleep. If you need help achieving deep, restful sleep, a cup of our Soothing Sleep Tea before bedtime may help.
STEP 2: STIMULATE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
After your first 4-5 weeks, you’re going to be feeling great. It takes about 30 days to make or break a habit, so you’ll be drinking water, eating healthy snacks, and totally off the refined sugar.
But you’re only halfway done. You can spend another 4-5 weeks on this, or longer if you love how it feels.
A Few Things to Keep Doing
If you added anything from the above list while you were detoxing, great job. You’ll keep doing a lot of those things now with products geared towards immune stimulation.
If you didn’t add them during your detox phase, don’t worry—just add one thing at a time until you’re there!
1—Continue start your morning with warm (not hot) water with lemon juice. If you love adding our honeys to your water, try switching to the Revitalizing Recovery Honey for a super boost.
2—Just before your meals try adding 20-30 drops of Herbal Extract - Defense to warm water (with lemon if you like!). The echinacea and angelica stimulate the immune system, keeping it alert and efficient.
3—Take a probiotic. If you didn’t do it before, it’s time to do it now. Probiotics are great defense tools for your body. They break down harmful flora in your gut and help support the immune system.
4—Exercise is a vital part of stimulating your immune system because it gets your blood pumping, which nourishes your cells.
5—Sleep. Getting really great sleep is important because sleep is when your body heals, including your immune system. It boosts the system’s ability to function, just like it helps clear your brain fog after a long day.
6—The water. Keep drinking lots of water every day. You’re made up of about 70% water, so replenishing it is the best way to maintain health.
It’s time to start slowly reintroducing the foods in your typical diet. Yes, that means you can eat more than oatmeal for breakfast and soup for lunch and dinner! Slowly add back in your organic wheat products, dairy, and raw foods.
For each type of ingredient that you’re adding back into your diet, give it a couple of trial days before adding in another new ingredient. This way, you’ll know what you changed and be able to pinpoint troublesome ingredients for your health.
Of course, here is where we’ll tell you that to maintain your health, it’s best that you continue to avoid processed foods and refined sugars and maintain very low consumption of coffee, alcohol, and fried foods.
Although it’s not necessary to continue fasting through the night, work to avoid late dinners—or if you must have one, avoid animal protein and fats because they take a long time to digest and you don’t want to be digesting food while you sleep.
For Extra Protection
If you’d like to add even more immune boosting and modulation to your routine, you can always find more.
1—Protect cell membranes with omega-3 fatty acids. Take one tablespoon of organic, cold-pressed flaxseed oil in carrot juice or omega-3 oil supplements from sustainable sources (wild salmon or krill is preferred).
2—Take Mushrooms. No, I’m not talking about those psychedelic creepers (that’s a different kind of boost), I’m talking about things like Reishi, Chaga, and Turkey Tail. These are adaptogenic friends that help modulate and strengthen your deep immune response. Be careful taking deep immune herbs when you’re ill because it can drive the sickness deeper and be sure that your supplements come from actual fruiting mushrooms, companies like Real Mushrooms are great for that.
3—Check your tongue and eyes every morning. It feels silly at first, but you’ll be able to recognize trouble before occurs in no time.
4—Learn your smell. Smell is our most integrated sense, especially where sickness is a factor. Learn your smell (and the smell of your partner or close friends when you hug them) and you’ll start to notice subtle changes in the scent when a sickness is coming on.