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Cold & Flu Season Survival Guide

It’s that time of year when people start getting sick.  AKA: Cold and Flu season.  So, Jonathan and I put on a pot of tea and broke down his Cold and Flu Season Field Guide!  A quick and effective way to stay healthy through the holidays and beyond.


Tanner Martty:  First question, what lifestyle practices are important for keeping immune function high and guarding against exposure?


Jonathan Velazquez: Great question!  So, the very first thing we want do is get plenty of rest. That's the first and foremost priority for the immune system. You need 7 or 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.  Dim the lights, shut down your screens and any type of electronic devices at least an hour before bed to ensure quality rest. 


Another simple but important habit is to wash your hands, all the time, to keep germs and bacteria from transferring to you through rubbing your eyes, your mouth and nose.  Those are two basic and effectives ways to help the immune system.


TM: How do changes in season and temperature play a part in making us more susceptible to infection?


JV: Here’s a great example.  People tend to take hot showers in the morning, especially now that it’s getting colder.  They take a hot shower and leave the house shortly after.  Now all the pores in the body are completely dilated.  Meaning they’re open to all sorts of bacteria, viruses, environmental toxins and other harmful materials.  On top of that, the colder weather means your body really has to work to regulate optimal temperature.   That’s the that's really the big thing that's happening here and most people don’t realize it.   


A cool trick is to finish your shower with water as cold as possible. We just spent the whole shower dilating the pores, opening them up.   A cold-water finish constricts and tightens those pores and it's like a protective shield going out in the day.


In regard to seasonal cold and flu hazards?   Kids at school, particularly around the holidays, is something to be mindful about.  All these kids interacting, expose themselves and their families to new bacteria and germs coming around this time of year.  So, give your kids some extra TLC, with good food and lots of rest to keep the family healthy.     


TM: What should Northerners be aware of when it comes to nutrition? For example, should we think about eating seasonally? Is there a meal you can recommend a special cold season juice recipe?


JV:  People ask me all the time about what kind of diet they have year-round when eating seasonally is much more effective.  This means, when it's very hot in the summer eat lighter; much less animal products and way more fruits. In the winter, (when we tax the constitution) add root veggies, like squash, potato, purple potatoes and yams.   A great choice is butternut squash.


One of my favorite things to make in the winter is a garlic, lentil stew with butternut squash

The garlic helps the immune system, you get substance with the butternut squash, and protein from the lentils.


For a seasonal juice, one of the strongest things you can take for this time of the year is oregano.  What better way to get it than juicing it fresh?  Make a juice with a celery and carrot base and put a little bit of fresh oregano.  You could add one or two cloves of fresh garlic, lemon, cilantro as it’s loaded with vitamin C and the one or two red or black radishes for good measure to really break up the mucus in the lungs.  That's a fantastic juice to keep you strong in the winter!



TM: Are there any seasonal detoxes you recommend?


JV: Breaking up the mucus throughout the body is going to be key here because that's what allows the immune system to travel faster and get to places where it has difficulty accessing if they body is all gunked up.


The 5-day bowel detox we do is a great way to start that process.  But you can go even deeper and do a full seasonal detox, perhaps starting sometime in January as a winter solstice detox. That's a great idea especially if you set the stage with some nice constitutional foods all throughout the winter.  Now you’re taking a lot of the mucus and stagnation out of the body so that the immune system is prime and keeping you strong.


TM: What exactly is the “winter solstice” detox?


JV: It’s a combination of a few protocols we discussed with a few great additions.  Overall, we’re working on the bowel, the liver and the kidney but we can bring in other things to really focus on the immune system.  Definitely the juice that I just mentioned.  We can also bring in Dr. Schuze's Echinacea (ECH) formula to really stimulate the immune system production; more T-cells, more white blood cells, more interleukin and interferon and we can also up our vitamin C intake with Dr. Schulze's whole food vitamin C or Quicksilver liposomal vitamin C.  These powerful steps working in synergy really makes this a true winter solstice detox.



TM: What are the essential herbs you should be taking at this time of the season and the “oh no” ones you should have ready in case of disaster?


JV: Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty here!   This is a great opportunity to differentiate between herbs you can take long term versus the ones that you want to keep as an “ace up the sleeve” in case you get sick.  The herb that you want to take consistently to keep the immune system strong is echinacea.  Dr. Schulze's Echinacea formula (ECH) is fantastic.  Garlic is awesome at any opportunity in any which way, shape or form.  Chewing raw garlic, cooking with garlic, juicing garlic, anyway you can get it in your system during the season is fantastic. Same thing goes for cilantro, because of the vitamin C content.  Add ginger, habanero and oregano to your cooking.  Any type of cayenne is going to really help move the blood.  Having a foundational supplement with a lot of different herbs is really important.  That’s why I always recommend Dr. Schulze’s Superfood Plus as it helps your immune system in a number of different ways. Last but not least I recommend, astragalus from Chinese medicine.  It's amazing for the immune system and for longevity.


Let’s say we have a “code red” and you feel like the wall broken down.  Something is starting to really take over and make you feel bad.  These herbs are designed for those situations, however, keep in mind nothing can replace getting good rest and decreasing stress.    


My “ace up the sleeve” is oregano oil.  It’s the most powerful thing I use when everything else has been failing me usually because I have really high stress and poor rest. Essential oil of myrrh (as in the biblical referenced gold, frankincense and myrrh.)  Myrrh is a powerful antiviral agent, especially for oral health issues.


One of the secret weapons you want to keep in the medicine cabinet for when things really getting tough is Goldenseal.  It’s very important you don't want to take goldenseal longer than seven to nine days because long term use will strip B vitamins from the body.  But used correctly, goldenseal can do magic for the body.


The last thing I’d recommend are the Life Extension Zinc Lozenges we have at the gym, which are a very specific tool for when you feel something coming on and you absolutely can’t risk getting a full-blown cold.  The key to the way these lozenges work is that you have to take them immediately upon feeling something coming on and then continue to take them every 3-4 hours until you feel no more signs or symptoms and that when you take them you have to keep them in your mouth until they completely dissolve. 


TM: Okay, you hinted that you may have a few black belt techniques for immune function. Hit us up with that knowledge!


JV: I want to end with the most important thing I can tell anybody about our immune system and keeping it strong. 


People don’t realize the power of the mind and the impact our thoughts have on our immune system.  Every single immune cell has the ability to “hear our thoughts.”  What I mean is that, physiologically, your brain creates neuropeptides from your thoughts and your immune cells have receptor sites for them.  They “listen” to signals from the brain.


Understand that the conversations you have with yourself greatly affects your immune system.  Thoughts like: “I feel like I'm getting sick” or “I’m definitely coming down with something

are completely improper conversations to have with yourself.  The better conversation is “something's trying to get in, something is trying to make me sick” then consciously flip it to, “but I'm not going to let it!”


Now you’re actively telling your immune system, it's time to get serious.  It sounds ridiculous to “talk to your immune system” but it’s extremely powerful.  Mental resilience and a projection of optimal health is as important as taking the right supplements and eating the proper foods.


Boost your positive thinking even farther with deep belly breathing and meditation. Visualize your immune system getting stronger.  Google what a white blood cell looks like and see them multiplying in your mind. This is the strongest thing I can tell to do in order to stay healthy not just for this season, but for your entire life!


TM: Good stuff, Jon!   Thanks for the time, the tea and the insights! Always a pleasure and an education to chat with you;  looking forward to next time. 

Northerners, there you have it!  All you need to stay sneeze and sniffle free this winter. 


Be strong, move beautifully





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