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The flu shot and another approach to immunity


Productivity is one of those elusive concepts of expectations based on automation. Google defines it as "the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input." It can be measured on itself to test theory of implementing strategy to a desired effect. 

Assuming all things remain equal (except for the thing YOU adjusted for).

It means that, damn it, those flu bugs better be consistent so we can catch the specific strain that we can immunise against so we can create an effective strategy to catch it before it catches us - and throws our employees out to waste.

We know that's not possible to do right? Might have something to do with that bloke Murphy.

The general idea behind vaccinations is one of homeopathy which determines that if you give the host a small amount of the bug, it will create antibodies prepared for if a bug gets to you.

What if you could make your host stronger so the bug found it really hard to get in there in the first place? Fear is placed in the minds of people, giving the idea that bugs are accidental and anyone, ANYONE, can just catch them by chance. We are all susceptible.

The ayurvedic biology

In Ayurveda, immunity is the final result of the creation of all tissues layers. Each tissue layer has its own little digestive power to transform the food substance (chyle) digested by the liver into it's various organ components. We also consider the body systems as NOT being separate - to us they are a holistic framework where one system has it's own production, excess and feed into the next level. When all levels are strong, it is difficult to penetrate.

To us, genetic predisposition means a weak area, one that requires extra attention, an area you can't slacken off. Epigenetics has confirmed what we already know, that your environment plays a major factor in a genetic predisposition from following through. With the right diet and lifestyle choices you don't have to be the victim of shitty genes, within reason.

There is an English adage 'water off a duck's back', which is great analogy for how we view immunity. What get's to you? If you are miffed by small things, someone cutting you off in traffic, or not getting the right kind of praise at work, or your kid asking too many questions - to us that's low immunity. You are easily bothered.

Those with low immunity are affected.  The idea is to affect others - meaning your good mood supercedes their shitty one. You hold court in the room - your presence is felt and others will be moved by you. I'm sure you have had the experience of someone entering a room with the kind of presence that makes people turn their heads - good or bad - they made you turn.

This is a practical way of assessing whether you might need to get busy building yourself up.


The digestive porthole

This is our home site in Ayurveda - everything begins in the digestive system. How to break down daily change, whether it is food or life in general. If you can't break it down, then it remains undigested and turns to toxins. Toxins create congestion in channels where body information can't flow right.

The biggest disconnect I see out there in the wellbeing world is selling the product without helping the client to understand whether their digestive system works. There are digestive aids but those are bandaids in times of distress rather than a proactive approach. And it relies on the client taking care of the issues at the very first sniff of digestive upset. Most folks don't want to bother their GP for what seems like a minor thing. 

We consider it the beginning of the disease journey and if you can look at it then, then it becomes very easy to resolve. A bit of gas, or slight burning or feeling way too full after a meal - get on it. If you can train yourself to resolve a digestive issue at that point you are in a great position for immune health.


Where do the bugs go?

To ensure we can get rid of the bus, alongside a strong digestive system,  the elimination system must also be working. Bowel movements, urine, sweat (and menstruation) should all be flowing in a healthy way. Some people wear anti-perspirants which we do not encourage in Ayurveda. At the armpit, where the lymph nodes' function is to remove body waste, the anti-perspirants cause congestion. Excess sweat might be an internal heat issue and should be looked at not suppressed. Not going to the toilet because you're too busy or you don't have time in the morning because you've rushed out the door is not ideal. Making daily time to eliminate is very important in removing toxins on a daily basis so they don't accumulate and cause the body to inflame in order to release them.

Before we move over into the "sick" season, be sure your elimination is healthy.


The equinox change of pace

Spring and Autumn are two grace seasons that help us to prepare for what I call the "bold" seasons of Summer and Winter. Over the bold seasons we accumulate heat or cold, respectively and they need to be released 2 weeks either side of the equinox (around 21st March/21st September). 

You can do a cleanse supervised by a qualified practitioner that can watch you during the time. (Please do not cleanse alone unless you know what you're doing. Cleanses are not fool proof!). Also in Ayurveda we would construct a cleanse according to your body type and the strength of it. Weak persons should never cleanse - they need to build. 

Here is a simple "Change of Pace" routine on your own. Choose a week and do one or more of the following. The suggestions are simple, safe and will get you on track. (If you have deeper issues then contact a professional for personalised care).

  • Clean out your space. Congested space leads to a congested mind state that will find it hard to want to change. Clean out your kitchen cupboards of old spices / wash the fridge / donate stuff you no longer need. Make space.
  • Reduce caffeine - start on a Saturday so you have 2 days to adjust/recover. Caffeine is terrible on the digestive system, especially coffee. It also creates a trigger for elimination and makes your own triggers lazy over time.
  • No alcohol (which is a super sweet) or other sugary delights. Some of us in Ayurveda did not quit sugar instead we eat raw cane sugar and very moderately in a balanced diet, however, taking time to neutralise your taste buds, through a no sugar period,  is a good thing to do at least twice/year.
  • Drink digestive teas. There's tons about. Find one you like and sip on it during the week.
  • Wake up early and go to bed early - waking up early, before sunrise, puts you in the lighter time of the night which helps the elimination function. You should be eliminating 20 mins after arising. Some warm water with lemon is ok if you need a boost.
  • Eat simple foods. We eat kitchari (mix of moog dahl, basmati rice and spices) but anything simple is fine, any kind of easy to digest food that you don't mind eating a lot of. Try not eat raw fruit, which is cold and raw and difficult to digest. Compotes are excellent since they are cooked. Avoid bread and pasta - dense grains. Whole grains are good. Spice your food well and don't eat too much.
  • Take time to rest. Rest brings stuff to the surface to be eliminated. Always being busy is a form of suppression/avoidance. Be still and let the bad feelings have their say. If you're eliminating well then you have the ability to let go but you can't let go if you don't let them surface.

Avoiding the flu is about preparation at the transition seasons. Mark in your calendars twice a year, middle of March and September, to take the time to simplify your diet and lifestyle. The point is to allow the toxins to rise to the surface and ensure your system is eliminating any accumulation. You can take this procedure a step further by consulting with an Ayurvedic practitioner or Pancha Karma centre for a more in depth clean.


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