Boost your Immune System: Eating Healthy

Veronica working from home

Flu season might be severe this year, according to the medical community. So how to avoid getting it?

There’s no cure right now for the flu and the best way to fight it off is to increase your resistance. And that means eating healthy to boost your immunity.

I’ve built my little Green Drink and Cleanse/Detox empire over the last decade in part by telling people what to eat. A big reason why I created my Making Cleansing Easier Cookbook along with all the other Healthy Eating Resources you get when you’re on a Green Drink Plan is because when I first started Chef V, I was asked the question so many times, “Hey Veronica, what should I eat?”

More than anything, you need to keep eating healthy. When you’re stuck at home and bored, you start eating more.

Don’t buy what you don’t normally eat. Don’t stock up on cookies and chips and snacks but stick to healthy choices. If you don’t eat junk food normally you shouldn’t be eating it now.

Time to clean your body

While some people are going the snack route, a surprising number of people are saying - some of my friends have the flu - “this is the time to do a 21 day detox – its getting colder, I don’t want to eat a bunch of crap, so why don’t I have Chef V deliver a 21 Day Challenge to me for 3 weeks and make a huge change in my health.”

I think that’s sort of genius, and we’ve not advertised it, but so many people have been ordering a Detox or Cleanse from us.

Right now is a great time to cleanse – people are cleansing their houses, cleaning their surroundings, and it all fits together – cleansing to nourish your body and boost immunity. Plus you get everything you need for a 3 week Detox delivered to your door.

#1: Give Intermittent Fasting A Try

One of the reasons my hubby, Brandon, and I have kept the weight off is that we are doubling down on intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting not only works for weight loss, it makes your mind sharper and may even support your immune system and prevent infection as this study suggests.

I’m not saying that if you do intermittent fasting, you won’t get the flu. But it’s interesting that some immunologists are exploring its protective effects. How intermittent fasting supports the immune system is the same way it can help you prevent weight gain while working from home.

You see, when you don’t eat anything for 16 hours—the best way to do intermittent fasting is to limit your calorie-intake window to 8 hours a day, i.e. 12 noon to 8 p.m.; Brandon and I shoot for a 17-hour fast most of the time—your body starts repairing itself. Digestion takes a ton of energy. By giving your digestive system a rest, your body can focus on fixing itself. This process is known as autophagy.

Technically, autophagy does not directly contribute to weight loss. But by making your metabolism more efficient, fasting can lead to weight loss. And the great thing about intermittent fasting is that if you feel like snacking while working from home, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. As long as you’re eating during your 8-hour window, snack away.

For info on how to do intermittent fasting and its benefits, read this.

green drink

#2: Lose Weight Working At Home By Eating More!

If you work a normal 8 or 9 to 5 day, your first main meal will be at around noon. Actually, before your first meal of the day, I recommend drinking some water with trace minerals to keep your energy up first thing in the morning. You can also have green tea or unsweetened black coffee if you must have your caffeine fix. Then, between 11:30 to noon, break your fast with Organic Green Drink.

By having 8 to 16 oz of Green Drink, you’ll gently awaken your digestive system and flood your cells with high-nutrient-density leafy greens.

After having your Green Drink, wait about 15-30 minutes, then go to town. Have at it. Eat all you want until your belly is full but not too stuffed. By eating a large meal, you’ll eliminate the temptation for frequent snacking. Like I said, snacking during your 8-hour eating window isn’t a nutrition faux-pas. But in general, it’s good to give your insulin-secreting pancreas a rest in between meals as well as your other digestive organs.

If you eat your first main meal at noon, I recommend having your second large meal early in the evening like at 5 or 6. Your last meal can then be a light but satisfying one like yogurt with nuts and berries.

Many people make the mistake of not eating enough at their main meals. This is what leads to over snacking in between meals and late-night snacking, which is terrible for your metabolism. Eating too often prevents your gut bacteria from being able to be swept down from the small intestine into the large intestine (colon). See my article on SIBO for more on this subject.


#3: Are You Hungry Or Just Bored?

True hunger is when you’ve gone 16 hours or longer without food. If your stomach is sending signals to your brain while you’re working that you’re hungry, don’t listen to the message right away.

Your brain—and belly—could be the victim of a false signal. This is especially true if it’s only been two or three hours since you last ate. If your last meal was large enough and contained the correct ratio of macronutrients (a little bit of healthy fats like avocado, and sufficient protein and low-starch carbs like quinoa and veggies), then you shouldn’t need to eat more food.

You can satisfy your sweet tooth after a meal by having a large handful of berries and a tiny piece of dark chocolate. This is why I emphasized eating a big meal above.

But if you’re accustomed to snacking every couple hours, it’s probably not true hunger you’re experiencing. What’s likely happening is that the yeast in your gut loves feasting on the sugars in your small intestine, from the crackers and other carb-heavy snacks. And after the yeast digests your yummy snack, it will tell your brain to feed it some more. After all, your brain and gut operate in a continuous feedback loop (no pun intended).

If you feed your gut low-sugar, low-starch foods, the yeast in your gut won’t proliferate; it will be kept in check by your friendly bacteria. And that means your belly—when properly nourished—won’t send your brain a signal to snack yet again.

#4: Sleep, Exercise, and Stress

One of the most powerful weapons in your immune-boosting arsenal has to be one of the easiest – sleep! Not getting enough sleep can ruin your immune system. (If you have difficulty sleeping, a blended juice cleanse might be just what you need!)

Exercise, even in small amounts, is also great for keeping your immune system ready to go. Not only will exercise support a stronger immune system, but it can help you keep your weight low – and as we mentioned, high weight is an immune system risk.

One of the most important things is, of course, to simply not stress out too much about it. It might seem counterintuitive, but worrying too much about your immune system can… weaken your immune system. The mind and body are connected, so stress on one will affect the other. It sounds crazy, but stress is never good for your health in any way.

Veronica and Coco