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Due to so much talk in the media about viruses and bacteria spreading like wildfires, this seems like a good time to talk about immunity. If the immune system is strong it can fight off most viruses and bacteria. Unfortunately, many people lower their resistance by having too much stress, antibiotics, sugar, coffee, and overall poor diet and lifestyle habits. Here are some simple tips to keep your immune system strong.


Stop popping antibiotics every time you have a cold or swollen glands, sore throat, ear or sinus infection! First, colds and flus are viruses and cannot be harmed by antibiotics, only bacteria can. But, that doesn’t stop doctors from prescribing them. In fact, one of the reasons I got into the field of holistic health was an experience that I had at the emergency room about ten years ago. I had a high fever and could barely move. When the doctor saw me he told me I had some kind of flu virus. He wanted to give me a shot with a week’s worth of antibiotics. I did not know as much about holistic care as I do now, but I did know antibiotics would be useless. I asked him why he wanted to prescribe them to me since they can’t kill viruses, and he told me that is just something that people want. They come in and want some kind of medicine. Did my high fever make me hallucinate this? Sadly no, and here we have one of the biggest problems with the medical system.

Over-medicating with antibiotics actually weakens the immune system. Many people ask me why they got a cold or flu after getting off a course of antibiotics. For one thing, it kills all your  body’s beneficial bacteria. These bacteria (flora) are crucial for fighting off pathogens that enter your system. Your beneficial bacteria also fights yeast, another common complaint associated with antibiotic use. If you do take a course, please take a probiotic (beneficial bacteria) supplement and eat bacteria-rich cultured foods such as miso and sauerkraut as well.

Chronic ear and sinus infections are often caused by underlying food allergies. Try cutting out wheat and especially dairy. Dairy creates mucus and dampness in the body. If you are going to have dairy, make sure it is fermented, such as yogurt, kefir, or cottage cheese. When milk is fermented, bacteria and enzymes are created. This makes it easier to digest, creating less of a load on the body. If you are highly sensitive to these foods, you may need to eliminate them completely.

Lay off the sugar and coffee! Sugar lowers your Natural Killer cells; the super-charged white blood cells that fight off invaders. Coffee causes your adrenal glands to release stress hormones. This leads to a crash-and-burn cycle that leaves the body fatigued and unable to adapt to stress. In this weakened state invaders have no trouble getting into your system.

If you feel sick, don’t be a hero and go to work. Stay home give yourself a chance to rest. Your body will thank you, and so will your co-workers, as now they won’t be sharing your illness.

Try herbs and medicinal mushrooms for immune support. My favorite mushroom blend is Host Defense by Paul Stamets for New Chapter. This blend of 17 mushrooms turns a garden-variety immune system into a super-charged immune system. The mushrooms increase those ever-important Natural Killer cells. This can be used preventively: two per day, or for an acute problem, six per day. Garlic and goldenseal are anti-microbial. Echinacea, zinc, and vitamin C are all food for the immune system. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is a powerful amino acid, and antioxidant which supports liver and immune health. It is especially helpful for thinning mucus. This is a relief when there is too much congestion, as with colds, flu, and sinus infections. 1,000-2,000 mg per day is the recommended dose.

As always, eat a diet rich in unprocessed whole foods. This will give your body all the nutrients it needs to be strong and ready to fight off any invaders that come it’s way.

Here is a recipe for a classic healing food, chicken soup. Instead of noodles, this one is with sweet potato. This meal is packed with nutrients to heal the body and soothe the mind. 

healing veggie chicken soup 

4 lb organic chicken

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 onions, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

6 celery stalks, chopped

1 sweet potato, cut into bite-size chunks

2 cups shitake mushrooms, chopped

5 cloves garlic

1 lemon, juiced

1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

fresh herbs: thyme, oregano, sage and basil, to taste

1 bunch Swiss chard, thinly chopped

optional: cayenne pepper (helps clear lungs)

tip: Cut veggies into 1/2 inch pieces

tip: Tie the fresh herbs and put them in whole 

directions: Rinse chicken and place it in large soup pot and cover with filtered water. Add apple cider vinegar, 1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks and 1 tsp salt. Simmer until chicken is tender and falls off the bone. Take chicken  out of the pot. Strain broth, and then put back in pot. Add to broth the remaining  onion, celery, carrot, shitakes, sweet potato, fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to simmer, until sweet potato and carrots are tender. Stir in chopped chard and fresh parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and put back into the pot. You can cut the chicken up while soup is simmering. 





9 Responses to “We interupt the regulary scheduled blog…..”

  1. Sondra

    About docs and antibiotics. You may forget that the doc was wanting to give you antibiotics because that’s what most people want. Consider that most people don’t have the wisdom you do. They spend their money to go to the doctor and now he or she just says go home you’ll get better in a week. No, they want something for their $. So people are also guiding the medical system. Plus if they get really compromised by their viral infection, antibiotics could prevent a secondary bacterial infection.

    That said, I am not encouraging the unnecessary use of antibiotics, just placing it in the reality of our culture.

    I love the chicken soup recipe. thanks

  2. sho

    Thanks for your feedback, Sondra. I believe that part of the problem is education. If the doctors were educated on preventative medicine, then they could give herbs/aminos etc. like they do in many countries with great results. Even if antibiotics would be helpful for a secondary infection, giving them as prevention does not make sense to me (I’m sure there are exceptions to this). There are so many natural remedies that can heal the body without killing all your beneficial bacteria. It would have been better if that doctor had given me elderberry, a potent anti-viral herb. Personally, I don’t think it matters that “it is what people want”. They want this because they don’t know the dangers of over-medicating, and they believe it will work. A doctor does know better, and needs to be more responsible. I also think the other point-of-view is well represented, and this side of things need to be heard. Enjoy the soup!

  3. monica senter

    once again Sho- a most excellent post! keep them coming. i notice your posts validate things i already know but also give additional info to really drive the point home. thanks!

  4. Tena

    Thanks so much for your wisdom Sho. I love receiving your blog posts and getting the much needed reminders, and recipes!

  5. Marja

    Thanks, Shoshanna! Keep up the great work! I really appreciated your antibiotic story. When I was younger I was given antibiotics nearly every time I got a sore throat. I knew even then– something was off…I would put them in my mouth, then when my mom wasn’t looking, I would spit them out into a tissue which I tossed into the garbage. Hopefully I didn’t do harm to the environment by doing that. I discovered homeopathy when I was 15, and have been relatively antibiotic free since– I turn 50 this year! Homeopathy, lots of chicken soup, rest, and vitamin C have seen me through the years. Appreciate the new chicken soup recipe!

  6. ilya yacobson L.Ac

    Thank you so so much for your precise knowledge and your wisdom. I truly love your site!!!! You are a wealth of health!

  7. sho

    Thanks everyone! I am glad that the blog is enjoyable and educational. That was my goal when I started it.

  8. Star

    Thank you sho, I love that you care so much to educate us and it makes me feel better when i follow your teachings. I am so blessed to feeling better and helping others learn what is good for them.

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