11 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Modern healthcare has a twisted understanding of how the body stays healthy. Many of our Western medical advice involves things that actually weaken the immune system and/ or destroy health in the long run. The body wants to be healthy, it wants to thrive; ensuring you do requires supporting the immune system and letting the body do its thing. We will always be exposed to bacteria and viruses, but a strong resilient immune system will enable you to navigate flu season without a problem. As we’re wrapping up 2018 I’ve been sick a total of zero times this year, so I thought it would be a good time to highlight the main ways to stay healthy in 2019!

11 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

1. Stop Drinking Tap Water

I genuinely believe that this is the most important trick to avoiding illness, and one of the top 3 (along side ditching hormonal birth control, and coffee) that most profoundly impacted my heath journey. Tap water is full of poison, ranging from neurotoxic metals to pharmaceuticals (like traces of birth control and anti-antipsychotic medications), but the easiest way to understand how detrimental it is to our health is to look at chlorine. Chlorine is added to tap water to prevent parasitic infection: it kills bacteria. The problem is that chlorine kills all bacteria, irrelevant of if it is harmful or helpful to our health. Consuming tap water daily means you’re bombing your gut with bacteria killing chlorine, and effectively wiping out the very thing that protects your immune system, helps your absorb your food, and stay healthy.

What to do instead: my journey with water has transformed drastically over the years, but any step you take in the direction away from tap water is a good move. You can opt for a simple stand-alone filter (like Berkey with the fluoride attachment), or a whole-house system (like an RO machine). I personally have gone through different filters (even bought the Kangen ionizer), but now I consume only spring water. I get 18L jugs delivered bi-weekly from a local company. You can also check out findaspring.com to locate a spring near you and collect your own wild water.

2. Go Organic

Going organic isn’t some fad of hippy diet, it’s a necessity in our modern times for multiple reasons:

  • Glyphosate is the main constituent of a herbicide/ pesticide called Roundup, that is sweeping the planet and destroying our bodies. Glyphosate is an insidious poison, because not only is it destructive to our health, but it also increases the absorption of other toxins, and also destroys the gut (leaky gut = chronic inflammation and disease).

  • Hybridization is s process by which food has been modified, often to become more resilient to natures forces and easier/ faster to grow and harvest. The problem here is that messing with the nature of food creates food that is unrecognized by the body. Hybrid wheat, for example, generates over a dozen strains of gluten… which is one of the reasons gluten intolerances are popping up left-right-and-centre (not to mention all the glyphosate!)

  • GMOs are a next level modification, but this time it involves actually modifying the DNA. 

  • Pesticides and herbicides: these toxins scare off bugs and animals, they turn food into non-foods. These poisons accumulate in our bodies, tissues, and ultimately our brain.

Eating organic doesn’t have to break the bank, there are ways to shop affordably (get to know the organic scene, and shop at farmers markets; more than ever big chains like Costco are even making organic food more accessible). I urge you to examine your priorities, because it’s easy to say “I can’t afford it”, but are you spending money on alcohol, on new clothes? Examine your priorities, and invest in healthcare now as opposed to sick-care down the line.

  • Always organic: the dirty dozen (you can google it) are the top 12 fruits and veg that are most sprayed at the time; go 100% organic with those.

  • Always organic: animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) should always be organic and pasture raised. Animal products are a condensed nutritional profile based on the life the animal had. If it lived indoors in small quarters with other animals, was fed GMO grain, or injected with antibiotics, your animal products are doing harm not only to the planet but also to your body.

  • Always organic: corn, soy, and wheat are either organic or GMO. Honestly, these three crops are doing nothing for your health (organic, or not) but if you’re going to consume them they need to be organic, no exceptions.


3. Get Outside

Spending time in nature is the ultimate way to stay healthy year round. The sunlight programs our mitochondria, our DNA. It sets our circadian rhythm which enables a deep restful sleep. The nutrients we get from the sun (on bare skin!) go far beyond vitamin D. UV rays heal skin disease and illness in general by restoring mitochondrial health. Being barefoot in the earth balances your ions, grounds you and keeps you balanced. Getting in the dirt feeds our good bacteria. Nature heals. Try and get outside to expose your bare skin and eyes to the morning (UVA rich) sun, and also get in (a shorter) period of time in the midday sun (when the UVB rays are available).

Buried in red sand in Hana, Maui, Hawaii.

Buried in red sand in Hana, Maui, Hawaii.

Getting sunshine at the end of December, in the South of France. It was a bit chilly! But always worth it.

Getting sunshine at the end of December, in the South of France. It was a bit chilly! But always worth it.

4. Get Hot

What does the body do when you catch a virus? You get a fever. Yep, heat is the body natural way of ousting pathogens from the body, and you can pre-empt illness by frequently getting yourself sweaty. The benefits of heat stress go far beyond just getting rid of bugs, heat shock proteins boost cognition, longevity, detoxification, stress relief, promote increased circulation, reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, and weight loss.

Ways: sunbathing, sauna (infrared or Finnish), a hot bath, a sweaty workout (even a long brisk walk all bundled up), spicy food.

Sauna in Lagazuoi, Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy.

Sauna in Lagazuoi, Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy.

5. Get Cold

Being outside in the winter cold doesn’t give you a cold, it actually boosts your immune system the same way getting hot does. Hormetic stress from cold exposure is a great way to boost your resilience and immune system. The real cause of winter flu is being excessively indoors boxed in with germs (another reason to get outside!), alongside excessive sugar consumption.

Ways: cold water exposure (cold shower, ice bath, lake or ocean in autumn/ winter), take a walk in the winter in a t-shirt, try cryotherapy.

Cold plunging in Mystery Lake in November, British Columbia, Canada.

Cold plunging in Mystery Lake in November, British Columbia, Canada.

6. Fast

Fasting is one of the most powerful ways to not only boost, but actually regenerate the immune system. Studies show a 3 day water fast will do it, and the mechanism by which the magic happens is called autophagy (or self-eating). When we stop eating (and drinking anything other than water), the body brilliantly begins to burn the damaged and dysfunctional cells for energy. I’ve gone in depth about the benefits of fasting (with plenty of resources to dive deep) in these two articles:

Even intermittent fasting (eating within a restricted time window) will give you autophagy benefits. Start at 12 hours and optimally increase the fasting window so that you are eating within 6-8 hours window daily.

7. Deep sleep

Not just getting your 7+ hours (yes, 7 as a bare minimum for all humans; listen to THIS for more on that), but more importantly getting enough deep sleep. Getting deep sleep starts long before bed time, and requires not over-caffeinating in the day, exercising too close to bedtime, or exposing yourself to much artificial light after sundown. The time you spend in deep sleep is the truly restorative and regenerative time- and without it you wake up groggy, inflamed, and with a weakened immune system.

8. Say No To Anti-bacterial Soaps and Antibiotic Medications

Anti-bacterial soaps and antibiotics pharmaceutical medications are causing a drug-resistant epidemic. In a nutshell, these soaps and pills kill not only the bad, but also the good- which is very problematic because we need the good bacteria. The good bacteria is like the little army that supports your immune system, so bombing yourself with these pills or soaps just destroys your army. 

What to do instead: Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap for hand + body washing, but never obsessively. You don’t need to scrub yourself down every single day, trust your body’s wisdom. If you think you’re in need of antibiotics, try working with an Ayurvedic or TCM doctor for guidance instead, they will follow the principle of supporting the body and letting it heal itself instead of attacking your own body. A good psychotherapist will also help you address the psychosomatic manifestation of your illness.

9. Probiotics + Prebiotics

If you understand the basic reason why antibiotics and anti-bacterials are bad for you, it’s not a far leap to get the benefits in consuming beneficial bacteria to support the immune system. My favourite way will always be fermented foods (sauerkraut, pickles, kim-chi, kefir, kvass, yogurt) because the dosage is so much higher and more alive than anything you would ever take in a pill. If supplementing with pills, make sure you rotate brands, because there are kajillions of strains across the planet, so if you continue to use the same probiotic brand over and over, you actually end up narrowing your flora spectrum. And don’t forget your prebiotics! Prebiotics are like the soil in which probiotics grow and thrive (their food). Great prebiotic sources are: chicory root, dandelion greens, jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, and green bananas.

10. Say No To Vaccines

This is a controversial topic, but vaccines are not in the cards for anyone who wants to stay healthy in the long run. A build up of heavy metals (like the ones administered into the bloodstream via vaccines) are a one-way ticket to neurodegenerative disease. I urge you to deeply investigate the truth behind vaccines. Start by demystifying the bullshit of the flu shot, which shouldn’t be hard to do because they are ineffective and dangerous. The lies surrounding vaccines get tighter and more elaborate when it comes to childhood vaccines and all-stars like the polio vaccines… but if you’re on a Truth seeking mission, you will unravel the bullshit.

11. Harness The Power of The Mind

Our immune system is inextricably linked to the mind. Need proof? Just look at the placebo effect. Our minds are constantly shaping our reality, and simply thinking “I always get sick during flu season” is enough to lower your immune system. Harness the power of the mind by reprogramming your subconscious with mantras, and really being mindful of your thoughts. If you want to dive deeper, I highly recommend “Mind Over Medicine” by Dr. Lissa Rankin, or dive into the literature about the psychosomatic nature of illness.