December 21, 2005

 

Holiday Thrivers, Boost Your Immune System!

I promised that I would supply some more details about what it looks like on a day when I am thriving (not just surviving my sexual abuse and PTSD). My "A Day Of Thriving" poem, which is in the "Meditations" archives of my website, survivorscanthrive.com, talks about eating healthy. We all know this can be a challenge around the holidays. And nobody wants to be sick this time of year (when triggers can already make Christmas a real drag). "I get downstairs for a healthy breakfast~I remember to take my vitamins." These are important ingredients for sexual abuse survivors who want to thrive.

Used to be, the main ingredient for starting my day was coffee. I still drink a cup in the morning, but now I am much more focused on healthy eats. Instead of grabbing a quick donut with my java, I now sit down with a bowl of something like hot cereal or yogurt and granola with fruit added. Another important ingredient I've found is protein. This helps me avoid the carb and/or sugar crash that used to lead me to reach for that second cup of coffee...and the third, and so on. An easy way I've found to add some protein is to throw some pecans or walnuts on top of my cereal.

Vitamin and mineral supplements have also become important to my morning. Of course, I can't replace the personal recommendation you'll get when you consult with your doctor. But, for me personally, I feel my immunity is enhanced by taking vitamins. During the cold and flu season, I take vitamin C regularly. I start taking zinc when I feel a cold coming on.

In addition, I've done some research on antioxidants and other immune boosters. This became necessary for me when I was doing a lot of trauma processing and "body memory" work with my therapist. At that time, I got great relief from troubling PTSD symptoms, but noticed I was getting sick all the time with colds and the flu. I've always liked vitamin E. It really seems to save my dry skin during the winter months. Now, I always remember to take it for its antioxidant properties as well. Read about them at The National Institute of Health: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamine.asp. I've also added vitamin A and selenium which you can read about here: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamina.asp and here: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/selenium.asp.

I've saved the best for last. My favorite supplement is Omega-3 fatty acids. A lot of research is going into these fish oils lately. The EPA fatty acids have started to be linked with a reduction in depression. Yes, you heard me! The research is showing that this fish oil is helping relieve depression! Now, again, I am no doctor. I would never try to tell a survivor to go off her anti-depressant medication. You'll need to discuss this with your doctor. But, for me, Omega-3 supplements are working wonders. I've been off antidepressants for about two years now--only supplementing with Omega-3--and I have had no major depression relapses. I even got through the death of my dog with healthy grieving instead of depression.

My personal favorite product is called "ProEPA" and is made by Nordic Naturals: www.nordicnaturals.com. I like their product because it is less fishy tasting, with lemon added. Some of the other products I tried gave me terrible "fishy" acid indigestion. I also like Nordic Naturals because they appear to be environmentally responsible--only taking fish from areas that are not overfished. I like that. I take two of their gel capsules in the morning with my breakfast and lots of water. I try to avoid taking my supplements during the time I am drinking my morning cup of coffee.

I wish you peace, health and happiness this holiday season. I know how stressful the holidays can be, even for non-survivors. Please take care of yourself and try not to get too caught up in holiday expectations and family obligations. If you are to thrive, you must think of your own needs and remember to apply a little self-care--give yourself a little gift of love!

Copyright 2005 by Marj McCabe. All Rights Reserved.

Comments:
Great post! And yes, all these things are important. Thanks for the reminder.
 
Kinda hard to remember this time of year, isn't it...that is unless you are like me and my son who keep getting the stomach flu. As soon as we are well again, we're going for that flu shot like my husband got! ;P
 
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