At the moment, with COVID-19 sweeping the globe, it seems everyone is looking for a way to boost their immune system, but the framework of permaculture would tell us that whatever we do has to be based on some greater network effect to be truly effective. How can we value the edge and get the most to and from our bodies- from source to sink?
The following suggestions come from my own health journey and have proven indispensable over the course of my life. While they have helped me, they may not help you, yet I do see them as fairly universal. Diet is an extremely personal choice and how you handle your health is to. Bill Mollisons book Fermentation and Human Nutrition was a pivotal background book to this movement, which is why I include this page in this publication.
1. Gut health: like the soil food web, the body needs healthy gut flora. Without healthy gut flora you cant absorb essential minerals and nutrients. Fermented foods are essential in the healing process and the care for these symbiotic microbes is paramount to health.
2. Get dirty: Through this you will get exercise, anti depressant microbes from the soil, and minerals leaching into skin. To create is also a beneficial growth point because nature is such a teacher and observation hinges through creative human interaction with nature. Don’t just walk through nature, be with nature through creation. Be producers not jsut consumers.
3. Eat seasonal and local: follow the rhythms that your ancestors did in whatever country and climate you live. Yes you can get any vegetable or fruit at any moment and you can choose wisely to eat seasonally. The more you grow your own, the more you develop a relationship with this.
4. Cook with herbs and spices: traditional cooking was laden with these and its a way to bring flavor without compromising the health aspect of eating. Medicinal qualities come through whether its thyme in Italian cooking or ginger in Asian dishes. Grow an herb garden, grow an herb planter box in a windowsill, or plant herbs with your guilds.
5. If you are going to eat grain, soak them first: This essentially is a form of fermentation as the organic chemistry within the seed holding it stable is not so good for us. Wash these compounds away to bring the food alive and more nutritious.
6. Go organic and read labels: the toxicity of pesticides, colorings, gmo’s, and preservatives is damaging beyond belief. Pesticides imbalance systems that regulate like your nervous and endocrine system. Also they destroy gut health.
7. Have a story behind your food: attend farmers markets or seek direct purchases rather than retail outlets as you get to know your producers and food processors. Most of us producers live somewhat secluded farm lives and are happy to talk to others.
8. Do a parasite cleanse: parasites plague human health and while we think we have sanitary conditions always, we don’t. Buy a medicinal herb tincture that is anti parasitic that contains at least black walnut, wormwood, and cloves. Do that for one full moonth, full moon to full moon. These are powerful medicines and contact a naturapth first if need be.
9. Lean on medicinal herbs: if you can opt for these instead of pharmaceuticals, do it please. While modern medicine is a blessing in many ways, it also falls short on holistic health. Medicinal herbs allow us to connect to nature in this time old tradition and improve our health.
10. Mental health: look its a real thing and we can no longer ignore it. Our physical and mental health are very intertwined. Cultivate practices that allow for expression, calmness, fun, playfulness, stillness, and more. Lay off drugs and alcohol to deal with anxiety and instead develop mindfulness/exercise practices that work for you.
11. Drop the sugar and white and fluffy: the quick fix of simple carbohydrates, in the end, wears on the body. Eat whole grains, food with fiber, and kick the sugar addiction. These sugars feed microbes that aren’t healthy for you inside your gut and destabilize your immunity through poor blood sugar regulation.
12. Drink clean water: tap water is full of toxins normally and the chlorine has damaging effects on your gut health. Search for spring water and at least drink well-filtered water. If drinking bottled water, make sure its spring water.
13. Fasting: the best way to press reset on your health once you have implemented many of the steps above, is to fast or commit to time-restricted eating. A true fast for at least three days can help your body clear pre-cancerous senescent cells but can take a short term toll on your immune system. Time-restricted eating is much easier and sustainable, giving yourself an eating window each day (say 12 on-12 off or 8 on -16 off) so that your body has time to rest from digestion. Plus, it has been shown to greatly improve sleep quality!