Yesterday, my mom and brother went to Costco to buy basic stuff, like toilet paper, and believe it or not, they were sold out. I had heard about people stocking up on toilet paper and in some cases people literally fighting over it; but it’s hard to believe until one actually sees it. By now you most likely know about this new virus making the world go crazy. There is no cure, it is spreading quickly, and the media is scaring people. It honestly reminds me of the “non-logical” decisions the media and people make in the movies. You know when we ask during the movie, “why would they do that?” I’m not going to lie, it is very concerning knowing that there is a new virus infecting people and some people are dying from this. I am not superman, I can be infected just like anyone else and so can my children; but I’m not going crazy, stocking up on toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and causing mayhem. If we were quarantined, the water is not going to get shut down. We can still drink water out of the faucet. If you run out of toilet paper, there is always soap and water. There are people who have the virus, they are walking around us, and they have no idea that they have it. How will you prevent getting exposed if you make contact with someone like that? The experts are saying most of us are going to get exposed to this virus sooner or later. Let the scientists, the CDC and the Public Health Department focus on how we’re going to stop this virus.
We should be focusing on what we can control, like taking the preventative measures the CDC is telling us to do, doing things as a community and not hoarding stuff, and we can take it a step further and take care of our health and do what we can to strengthen our immune system.
For those people who cannot strengthen their immune system because of some health issue, do your best. I would try to figure out a way to strengthen my immune system no matter what the doctors tell me. My mom went through chemo and radiation due to breast cancer and I've been helping her strengthen her immune system. I have always said I cannot guarantee that I will never get sick, but it has still been years without me getting sick and I am still doing what I can to stay as healthy as possible so that I can add on more years of being healthy.
Below are six things I have been doing for years--besides washing my hands and wiping my butt--to take care of my health and keep my immune system as strong as I possibly can.
1. Eat more plant-based foods. I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I will go days without eating animal products. Fruits and veggies have tons of nutrients, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help strengthen our immune system.
Again, this does not mean one has to stop eating animal foods, unless you want to, but it does mean that the majority of the food on your plate should be plant-based. If you have allergies to plant-based foods, look for the ones you are not allergic to. If you are not sure of what to eat, there are many articles, nutritionists, dietitians, and professionals who would be happy to help you. Or you can ask me too.
2. Drink plenty of water. The rule of thumb is to drink half your weight (measured in pounds) in ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, then you would drink 80 ounces of water per day. There really is no exact amount, but I use it as a baseline for me. You can always add electrolytes to your water too.
Proper hydration will help your organs function properly, it helps flush out toxins, it helps your digestive system, it helps carry oxygen throughout your body, moderate body temperature and other things. All of these help your immune system.
3. Try to get plenty of sleep. This is a tough one for me, especially when my little ones keep us up at night. If we don’t sleep, we add stress to our body, our hormones get out of whack, and our bodies work over time. Our bodies repair when we sleep.
4. Stay active and sweat daily. We have a system in our bodies called the lymphatic system. This is our first line of defense against disease. It does this by filtering out the “bad” stuff in our blood and organs--it is a bit more complicated than this but I’ll keep it simple. This system does not have a heart, (pump), to move the lymphatic fluid up through our body. The only way this happens is through our movements. This is why I like to exercise in the morning; it gets my juices moving to help filter out and flush out the “bad” stuff.
I train a lot because I train for events like triathlons and marathons. You only need a few minutes a day to get your heart pumping and break a sweat. The more consistent you are, the more you’ll be able to do, and the more you’ll actually enjoy it. Again, if you do not know how to exercise, you can always research or ask a professional, like me.
5. I take high quality supplements that my body will truly absorb. Supplements can enhance a healthy diet. I take my digestive enzymes, probiotics, protease, greens, aminos, multi-vitamins and essential fatty acids daily. There are other specific supplements that I take for my sports, but the first ones mentioned I take them for my health and to help boost my immune system.
6. Listen to my body. There are times when I see people eat and eat and eat and eat. I hear them say, “I’m so stuffed,” yet, they keep eating. There are times when our body tells us it is time to shut down, but we stay up late, barely get any sleep, and the next day we’re tired and don’t feel very well.
As an athlete, I have to pay attention to my body. I have to know when to push and when it is time to back off. Thanks to my training, I have learned to apply this concept to my everyday life. It is not that difficult and it doesn’t take time to pay attention to what your body is telling you at this very moment.
That is what I do. What will you do to better your health and strengthen your immune system? You can always copy what I do. There are no guarantees in life, except for death and taxes. I hope this virus is contained soon, but according to the experts, they believe most of us will be exposed. If my family and I do get exposed to this virus, I hope our immune system is strong enough to fight it off. The only thing we can do is focus on what we can control; and we can control what we put in our bodies, how we treat ourselves, and how we treat others. Is toilet paper going to protect someone from this virus? I highly doubt it. Hopefully the next time I go to the store there will be some toilet paper and I won’t feel weird thinking that people are looking at me like I’m crazy because I’m buying toilet paper.
If you’d like to see toilet paper on the store shelves again, please share this.