during infection & while recovering
“There’s no specific diet for those with COVID,” says Nate Wardle, spokesman for California’s Department of Health. “Boosting your immune system is always a good thing, and certain foods help with that.”
I neither support nor endorse the above statement. I post it here to illustrate that people without an understanding from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or a scientific approach to nutrition should not make misleading claims. (I do invite anyone to discuss health issues.) What are “certain foods”?
Let’s start by examining “boosting your immune system.” This catchy phrase is over-used and misleading in many ways. Yes, our immune system serves an important role in keeping us protected and prepared against adverse changes to health, but there is no short-term pill to boost the immune system. A powerful immune system creates, stores, and distributes the white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses that enter the body, especially during cold and flu season.
The first rule is that an uncompromised body reliably provides a healthy immune response. The foremost benefit to the immune response is to obtain a sufficient number of hours of sleep: A toddler needs a minimum of 15 hours of sleep a day, a child needs at least 12 hours, a teen needs 10 hours, and an adult needs 7 hours. Amounts of sleep even 60 minutes less than these guidelines sabotage having a healthy immune response, even though some people tell me how little they sleep yet how well they feel.
Once you adapt the first rule above, you can start adding smart food choices, beneficial lifestyle changes, and personal care practices that can enhance your immune system’s readiness. I’ll let you use the term “boosting” for long-term self-care and healthy foods consumed over a long period of time, but “boosting” is still a misleading term. You cannot super-charge your immune system by consuming juices or a daily vitamin supplement, despite the misleading claims made in marketing products that allegedly enhance the immune response. Besides, a “super-boosted” immune response is what kills people who contract Covid-19; some die because they experience a Cytokine-storm.
The immune system includes white blood cells and the organs and tissues of the lymph system, such as the thymus, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes, lymph vessels, and bone marrow, but immune cells are especially significant in your bowel! Gut health is important. Nourish the spleen, the skin, and your mind if you are serious about preparing or restoring your immune protection.
The mammalian intestinal tract is our largest immune reservoir: 25 feet long. It is loaded with trillions of microbes, which are collectively known as the microbiota. That’s where you need to pay attention!
Bacteria and viruses have a sweet tooth! It’s no coincidence when these microorganisms attack the human organism to make us ill, for example when they give us pneumonia or flu. The great majority, around 80%, of these bacteria and viruses seek out the sugars on the surface of our cells.
Humans have three types of immunity: innate, adaptive, and passive. The innate immune system is your child’s rapid response system. It patrols your child’s body and is the first to respond when it finds an invader. It is an inherited capability and is active from the moment of birth. When exposed to invasive bacteria or viruses, the cells of this immune system surround and engulf the invader. The invader is killed inside the immune system cells. These cells are called phagocytes.
The acquired immune system, with help from the innate system, produces cells (antibodies) to protect the body from a specific invader. These antibodies are developed by cells called B-lymphocytes after the body’s exposure to the invader. The antibodies stay in your child’s body. It can take several days for antibodies to develop. But after the first exposure, the immune system will recognize the invader and defend against it. The acquired immune system changes throughout your child’s life. Immunizations train your child’s immune system to make antibodies to protect the child from harmful diseases.
The conclusion is simple: To prevent Covid-19 or recover from any virus complication, you need to follow strict lifestyle changes:
• Avoid foods that are strenuous on the digestive tract, and reduce the consumption of foods that aid bacterial or viral multiplication and mutation.
• Consume no sugar, no dairy, and no preserved or cured meats.
• Reduce salt intake but add spices and fresh herbs.
• Cook all your greens; eat no raw broccoli or kale.
• Do not consume juices from which the fiber has been removed (e.g., through using a juicer).
• Forget about counting calories. (Read and share the blog below.)
• Consume honey, which is good for you, but consume no artificial sugars, Stevia included.
It is baffling how most nutritionists promote the consumption of yogurt as if the probiotics contained in it were healthy. Your body doesn’t need probiotics. You already have healthy bacteria in your gut.
I wrote a whole blog about dairy products and how difficult they are on the human digestive tract and why milk, yogurt, and soft cheese are NOT ideal choices when trying to prevent or to recover from Covid. However, the dairy industry is huge, so you are being bombarded with advertisements that claim that milk and dairy products are healthy, that aged cheese and butter are OK.
Let’s get to the lifestyle changes that you must adapt when coping with Covid-19 infection, even if you exhibit no symptoms or are in recovery from Covid-19:
• Cut out all sugars. Bacteria need sugar to thrive (as does cancer)!
• Avoid eating ripe bananas, as well as most sweet fruits.
• Cut down on breads, pasta, and nightshades: no eggplants, tomatoes, or yams. However, sweet potatoes (often confused with yams in the U.S.) are healthy for Covid patients.
• Make sure that you sleep enough. Turn off your cell phone, computer, or TV at least one hour before you go to bed.
• Drink plenty of liquids. Although you think you drink enough fluids, you probably don’t.
• Do not consume alcohol.
• The only vitamins or other supplements that you need are high amounts of Vitamin D and zinc.
• Keep your metabolism going by remaining active. Walk while on the phone, exercise strenuously, stand more than you sit, move your body whenever you have a chance, tiptoe, stretch in all directions, and roll your head and limbs.
• Keep your metabolism going by eating little snacks every hour: a few almonds, walnuts, veggie sticks, sunflower seeds, or berries. Make sure that you chew all your food thoroughly.
• Eat fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi (live culture), and pickled vegetables (know your source) have been shown by current researchto benefit your gut to fight off Covid-19. However, the kombucha for sale in most stores is not a healthy beverage that I would recommend consuming as part of a daily health routine. Again, know your source! I have friends who drink kombucha combos produced by Coca-Cola who believe that doing so will produce a miraculous benefit.
• Eat regularly. Breakfast should be high in protein: beans, meat, fish, and eggs. Lunch should consist of food combinations that are easy to digest; do not mix dairy, fruit, and meat. Avoid heavy dinners, and eat dinners early. Drink fluids in between meals rather than during meals.
• Look at the foods that you consume. Most labels’ lists of ingredients are misleading. Everything that lasts beyond a natural expiration date will contain preservatives or sugars.
• Invite family members and friends to tag along on your journey with you. Remember: this journey is not forever; it is an attempt to get you up to par and maybe even into better shape than you were before Covid.
• I’m not going to list what not to eat. That should be clear to you. Anything packaged, premade, in containers, or that has microwave cooking instructions is probably not going to help you.
• Avoid protein powders and anything labeled as “keto” or “keto-friendly.” Keto is not a food; it’s a label hijacked by food producers that claim that their unnatural food celluloid combinations are healthy.
• If you consume 420 in any way other than smoking, your diet needs a few adjustments . If you smoke or vape; STOP that first!!
Lastly, I will respond to your personalized inquiries and help you to create an individualized diet program. Please remember that I receive hundreds of responses to each blog post, so if you’re merely curious, you will clip time and effort away from someone serious who could benefit from my guidance.
TCM chef Raphael