This week, I continue with my goal that honors the holistic aspect of being a naturopathic doctor. During this time of crisis, I am determined to provide my readers with resources and inspiration to enhance resiliency and strength during these trying times.
In this article, I give a brief update on the power of our noses for promoting host defense. I discuss how this relates to using essential oils and quality air filtration to ensure clean air for overall wellness. Next, I provide commentary on nourishing our bodies with immune-supporting foods, without compromising our sanity, soul, or stigmatizing. Finally, I have listed recent scientific updates and medical news on the current crisis pulled from my own daily readings. I am hoping this will allow you to decrease your fear of missing out (FOMO) and allow you to spend time resetting your brain to more calm.
Essential Oils for Respiratory Health from the Nose-Down & the Importance of Clean Air
Last week, I focused on empowering our health and promoting our sense of wellbeing using my favorite naturopathic medicine natural healing tool, essential oils. I explained how certain oils can support immune defense through guarding the nasal passages via their antioxidant properties. I also highlighted other ways these secondary metabolites support overall respiratory health. Finally, I listed several ways that inhaling purified air, through diffusing and air filtration, is an important part of breathing easier and staying well.
This week, I explored new research on these aspects that were emphasized recently in science news. Click here to read my findings on my Healing, Health, and Wellness for the Mind, Body, and Spirit blog.
Illness Doesn’t Discriminate- Easing Up on Diet Culture Pressure While Allowing Nourishment
As a naturopathic doctor, I am a big subscriber to food as medicine. In fact, in previous posts I have touted how personalized diets and certain nutrients can impact mental, emotional, and physical health. I also have discussed how genetic variations in individuals can impact how they respond to nutrition and that addressing this can be one part of the puzzle to optimizing hormonal balance and overall wellness.
Foods can be medicine for the immune system as well. In fact, this post dives into the science and evidence from in vitro, vivo, and human studies of the top twenty spices and foods for our defense and repair system. If you are a chocolate lover like me, you will be happy to learn that it is listed as number two. No surprise there, as cocoa has some pretty impressive effects on our body’s immune response.
That being said, I have been very concerned recently with the latest trend to promote “healthy eating” and weight loss in the midst of a pandemic. Some highly respected experts have even been food shaming. They are touting dietary measures in order to lose weight to increase resiliency and immune support. Whereas food can be used to provide our bodies with nourishment and promote health, this is not the case with dieting and weight loss. I find this very upsetting.
Frustrated, I posted the following blurb on my new Instagram account this week (Yes, I finally joined!):
“Illness or health doesn’t discriminate, up to a point. Nurturing practices are important for everyone. I am a bit disturbed at the obsessive focus on weight management when we know association is not causative and that adding more stress and stigma can compromise immune function. Yes, eating nurturing foods is important for health, but let’s also look at the impact of socioeconomics, stigma, social connection, and other lifestyle practices. Maybe we can decide to focus on what brings us joy and how to connect to fill the hole of feeling inadequate, rather than obsessing over diet and body weight/shame during a pandemic. (Link)
Please see more on healthism and the dangers of causation for association and health stigma on health outcomes. (Link)”
Panic-demic and Lonely-Demic- The Cure isn’t a Diet
Food is one aspect of being healthy, but at times when some cannot even afford a piece of dark chocolate, they can rest, move their bodies, and promote resilience with doing things they enjoy.
Right now, we are in a panic-demic and lonely-demic. The obsessive focus on body size and counting macronutrients at a time when people are scared, lonely, and economically in shambles is harmful, yet also understandable. It is something that we can supposedly control. It is easier to focus on what to eat than to look deeper into our fears and courageously move through them.
Promoting dieting, idealized body size, and orthorexia practices are actually health-demoting. Isolating ourselves by using dietary practices to “find our food tribes” and food shaming is creating more disconnection in an already vulnerable world where people are desperate for contact. (source)
Yes, lifestyle and diet have massive amounts of research on overall wellness, resiliency, and promoting host defense. I am not arguing that.
There are many things we can do to enhance our wellness and feel empowered. These include nurturing practices, immune supporting foods, staying virtually connected, resting, and using essential oils to clean the air.
Now is a time to focus on who we want to be when this ends, which it will, eventually.
We will be changed. Our choice is how.
We are all being forced to look at how we have been living and, to be morbid, how we want to be remembered when we die. Using food as medicine can fuel us to stay healthy and live our passion, but it doesn’t need to be everyone’s sole passion.
Bronnie Ware states:
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.
These five themes included:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Notice in the top five no materialistic or superficial wants and desires were expressed.
Let’s come out of this a more understanding, accepting, and loving nation.
We got this. Life is precious. We are learning what it means to be human.
Please comment below.
New Resources and Updates on the Current Crisis
For the previous few weeks I have been providing updated information and resources on the current pandemic at the end of my articles. Along with the main resources located on the CDC and WHO website, I have been scouring through research and various sources daily. Some of the material is from international medical journals and integrative medicine communities.
Below are some of the features from the past week. The topics include integrative medicine news, emerging therapies, controversies, testing information and caveats, and the practice of medicine in times of uncertainty.
I am hoping you find this helpful. By providing the highlights, my wish is that it decreases your FOMO and need to stay glued to the daily news and gives your brain some time to reset to calm.
Integrative Medicine Updates
- Is Vitamin C an unsung hero for immune resiliency? (source, source)
- This video describes the work of five critical care specialists who are treating coronavirus patients at academic centers and other major hospitals across the United States using a controversial protocol. (Watch 13-minute video now)
- Clinical trial for treatments containing omega-3 fatty acids initiated
- In a retrospective multicentre study of 212 confirmed cases, vitamin D status was found to be significantly associated with clinical outcomes
- The functional medicine primer on testing
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first diagnostic test with a home collection option
- Abbott’s test poses safety issues, lab workers say
- OIG announces audit plan for test kits
- A new test, through wastewater?!
- New device helps docs assess skin symptoms of virus
Other News & Updates
- Evidence mounts for greater prevalence, coding for “probable” as well as confirmed cases increases fatality numbers (source)
- Most patients placed on ventilators died, New York study shows, adding fuel to ventilator debate
- New NIH current guidelines, insufficient evidence makes recommendations for or against therapies hard to ascertain.
- Coronavirus has mutated into at least 30 different strains, Chinese study finds (more scientific explanation and implications here.)
- A few reassuring studies that ACEI/ARBs linked with survival in hypertensive, Chinese COVID-19 patients and from some observational studies
- Pandemic and firearm sales in the United States: Will an epidemic of suicide follow?
- RECOVERY trial rolled out across the UK
- FDA warns against hydroxychloroquine use outside of hospital
- World leaders launch plan to speed up drugs, United States stays away
- YouTube bans “misinformation” about virus joining Facebook and Google
- Immunity Passports? WHO says not so fast
- Key nose cells identified as likely virus entry points
- Viral genetic networks: Lineage of origins
- The federal department of Health and Human Services began distributing a second wave of money from the $100 billion
- Nationally-run psychiatrist-hotline offers “emotional PPE” to docs
- CMS sets phased-in path to resume elective procedures
- The hot, sunny weather debate and less infectivity gets more fuel
- New model predicts course, resolution and eventual good news
- Sweden update, may reach herd immunity soon
- A physician and epidemiologist discusses lockdown methods (15-minute video)
Dr. Sarah’s Message: I’m Still Here for You
I am continuing to provide phone consults and support for clients during the virus. Learn more here.
My Disclaimer About Immune and Wellness Balancing Measures
The above suggestions are for overall health only.
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
For additional safety and medical information, visit my essential oils database. It includes a full category on how to use essential oils safely and potential drug interactions that can occur.
Please be extra cautious and be sure to check with your doctor if you have a seizure disorder. The Epilepsy Society of the UK lists certain essential oils implicated for their antiseizure effect as well as those that have stimulating properties.
If you and/or your physician are interested in consulting with me to assist with supporting the integration of essential oils safely into a therapeutic protocol, essential oils consultations are available.