Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Building Immunity

I've been doing a little reading about ways to build immunity and things to avoid as well, made easier by some of the comments you left guiding me in the right direction. I haven't talked in detail about my children's health issues, but I will share that my daughter started life (and toddlerhood) with a very compromised immune system. She's taken antibiotics more than half the days of her life because of medical issues from birth. That takes a toll on a body. She and I tend to get sick at the same time; usually she is sick first, then I am caring for her/losing sleep and stressed and a week later I get whatever she had. The other kids don't get sick nearly as often... it just seems that way when there are a lot of kids!

So, we're focused lately on eating more fresh fruits and veggies (which is a challenge for my sweet girl, but she is trying hard!). We have a chart in the kitchen where she writes down the names of all the fruits and veggies she tries and whether they are a "yes", a "no" or a "maybe." And since taste buds change, we revisit the maybe's frequently. I got her some new, better multivitamins today (Animal Parade) and some immune support supplements for us both (Black Elderberry Syrup and another supplement I never heard of before called Sinupret). We're both using saline nasal rinse and tonight for dinner I cooked up several things that are supposed to be good for the immune system: black beans with onions, garlic, peppers, homemade chicken stock, and oregano. We ate it over brown rice and it was very good. I also bought several kinds of fresh berries to have for dessert.

I would really like to be healthy enough and have the energy to focus on weight loss *and* health. I am pretty sure if I wait for that to happen, I will just end up fatter, so I am doing what I can to eat good wholesome foods in smaller amounts so that maybe the weight will come off even while I am not feeling well. We'll see. I do find it interesting that in the first 8 months I was strictly on Medifast, I did not get sick once. Not once. And when I started messing around going off plan, I started getting sick occasionally... just colds and such. Makes me wonder what, exactly, I was eating that supported my immune system so well or what, exactly, I added back in that lowered my immune system.


Karen said...

Wheat , sugar, dairy, soy, legumes, and other grains. One or a combo could be inflammatory for some people.

The Paleo Solution is a great place to start -IMO. So is the Primal Blueprint. By doing a 30 day paleo or a 21 day sugar detox ( balanced bites) you can add food back in 1 at a time 72 hrs apart to see how you do with it.

Another option, go back to MF, stay strict OP and transition to Primal /Paleo at the end. Medifast allowed me to get my head straight for maintenance and to figure out I had a gluten problem in the first place.

Once I realized I could not have gluten and read the Refuse to Regain book I realized that I could eat Primal/ Paleo, feel great, and maintain my weight loss 72 pounds. Perfect trifecta.

Good luck. Everyone is different. What triggers one person will not trigger another. Key is to develop your own plan and rules to live by.

Safe travels and Sarah Fragoso has an excellent book for kids called Paleo Pals. Has a good story and some recipe too. I'd recommend it if you are cutting back on grains or going gluten free with your kids.

Take care and feel better soon. Keep trying and you'll stumble upon the answers. Karen P

Anonymous said...

For me personally, as well as my mother and husband, not eating meat has equaled out to barely ever getting sick, amongst many other positives (good blood pressure, clear skin, etc)

When I did eat meat as a child, I never ate a lot of it and it was never a really big deal like it was in other families. Vegetables, beans, and grains were always more of a focus.

My mother does still eat fish and some poultry on occasion, is going to be turning 60, and looks like she's in her 40s with little to no health issues. I hope I age as well as her!

Just something to think about.


Anonymous said...

I am a lot like you. Got into the Medifast fatigue and keep trying to find a diet that works for me. I feel just horrible so I am just going back to MF and visit that Paleo Solution that everyone keeps raving about!

Hugs to you,

Allison said...

My four year old son has seen an allergist since he was two. And he said that it's important to treat allergies (like spots on his skin, or draining sinuses) becuase those things can lead to greater infection (the skin becoming infected or the sinuses becoming troublesome enough that an antibiotic is required).
Have you considered that some of the foods you introduced after 8 months on strict Medifast cause an allergic reaction or something similar in your system, which then left you open for sickness and/or infection? This isn't a medical opinion (I'm definitely no doctor) but it seems like a common sense explanation to me.

Lyn said...


yes, I have wondered. I cannot quite figure it out. I was eating lots of meats/fish, veggies, fats, eggs, and dairy on Medifast plus *some* sugar, gluten, whey, bits of fruit, etc in the Medifast meals. Back to basics while I try and find the answer.

Anonymous said...

you're probably all over this already, but I/my family has had very good results from taking daily probiotics. buy from a pharmacist or good health food store, keep in fridge, etc...In fact, as soon as we start coming down with something, I will go "splurge" on a bottle and everybody starts hitting the good bugs real hard...
best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the probiotics. After going through chemo & with years of antibiotics for various ailments, taking probiotic supplements (not just eating yogurt) has helped immensely.

Also, there's some evidence for eating naturally fermented foods to build the immune system. Bubbies sauerkraut is good (I don't like most sauerkrauts), and the Bubbies dill pickles are too but very garlicky. In the refrigerated section.