More than 4 years have passed since I can last remember being sick, and by sick I mean something like the common cold, the flu, or strep throat. I’m talking about fevers, chills, nausea, congestion, severe coughing, body aching, can’t get out of bed kind of illness. I know this needs to be more than a self congratulatory article, so how will you benefit from my accomplishment? Well, this is also an opportunity for you to do the same. Allow me to briefly explain how my immune system successfully defended me against all invading microorganisms for more than 50 consecutive full moons.
What do you believe?
Let’s start with the most obvious implication of my results; it is absolutely possible to go 4 years without getting a major illness. That statement alone stands in defiance of our common societal belief that getting sick every year, typically during winter, is inevitable for the human population. I’m here to ask you, is it inevitable? This reminds me of the book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind where Deepak Chopra argues that we have mistakenly accepted the idea that aging and disease should happen around certain ages in our lives. For example, believing that it is normal to lose mobility in our 60s. The reality is we have accepted the lifestyles that allow aging and disease to occur around these ages. As much as I would like to believe that I am special, I don’t think I inherited the DNA for an above average immune system. The only thing that separates me from the rest of the sneezing and coughing herd is my belief that being sick is not inevitable. That and the diet and lifestyle that allowed me to reach this milestone.
The Secret revealed
So are you ready to know the secret to my success? What type of exotic Amazonian herb I add to my smoothies every morning? Unfortunately there is no magic pill that I can share with you here. In fact, you might be surprised to learn all the things that I don’t do. I don’t get my recommended annual flu vaccine. I don’t buy anti bacterial soaps. I don’t take a multi vitamin. I definitely don’t use pharmaceuticals. I actually avoid supplements most of the time. Sure, there are times when the body needs a supplemental boost for specific conditions, but you’re not going to find a shelf full of expensive white plastic bottles in my cabinet. Maybe a few bags of plant based powders that I use to make the occasional decoction or infusion, but no pill popping here. The supplement industry profits from the belief that we can buy our way to health, but I support the opposite perspective. Good health results from subtraction and not addition. Remove the television, consumerism, processed food, chemicals, sugar, busy schedules, stress, and distractions from your life and what remains is peaceful, clean and healthy living.
You might not know based on the titles of my articles for the past 2 years, but this blog was originally focused on the traditional system of medicine from India known as Ayurveda. Despite the recent shift in my attention from the Himalayas to the Andes, Ayurveda continues to be the foundation for my health and deserves much credit for my 50 moon streak. Diet is the core of Ayurveda, and more specifically Ayurveda teaches us that efficient digestion is essential to healthy living. After all, if you can’t digest your food then you can’t extract the energy and nutrients needed to function at an optimal level. The spices made famous by Indian cuisine do much more than add flavor to your meal, they also improve digestion along with many other health benefits. This is why we say that “food is medicine”. In addition to guidance on diet Ayurveda also provides us with a daily routine for maintaining balance in the body, including how to cleanse the body, how to care for the skin, etc. I should also mention there are an abundance of teas and herbal formulas available to choose from in Ayurveda. I’m a big supporter of plant based medicines and I do use some herbs in moderation, but once again, supplements are not the secret to my success.
I do have a small confession to make about a unique step I have taken that may have contributed to my success. I participated in a poison frog therapy session known as Kambo during my exploration of Peru more than 2 years ago. In case you don’t know, inserting frog poison into the bloodstream is thought to produce some health benefits including, reduced depression, detoxification (counter intuitive), and… a strengthened immune system. Because of this unique property I do believe the Kambo played an important role in avoiding illness. I hesitate to give all the credit to Kambo because it occurred half way through my current health streak so I must have been doing something right before heading to Peru. I should also mention that Kambo doesn’t make you invincible considering I did experience a couple minor illnesses along the way. Both times I experienced some tiredness, running nose and a bit of sneezing, but nothing I would define as a major illness. I am certain that both incidents were caused by high levels of stress at the time.
“My hands were numb, and my feet were lead, I drank a cup of herbal brew, then the sweetness in the air combined with the lightness in my head”
-Lyrics from Spirit Voices, performed by Paul Simon
Sacred plant medicine
In addition to Kambo, during my visit to Peru I also worked with sacred plant medicines, commonly known as psychedelics, for the purposes of self improvement, emotional healing, and to treat a mysterious food sensitivity. These sacred plant medicines such as Ayahuasca or Huachuma (San Pedro) are particularly effective at treating conditions that modern doctors are unable to treat due to a poor understanding of the psycho somatic connection. While modern medicine focuses on physical solutions to physical symptoms these plants focus on the root cause of physical symptoms which is often some form of emotional trauma. These plants are especially helpful for improving or eliminating difficult to treat conditions, but they also help us on a more subtle level by showing us where changes are needed for better overall health. For example, we may learn that it is necessary to integrate new behaviors into our lifestyle that include a clean diet, plenty of rest, frequent exercise, time in nature, and building healthy relationships. Like Kambo therapy, the plants do not deserve all the credit for my 50 moon streak, but they certainly were a factor in clearing mental and emotional toxicity that can cause stress and frequent illness.
I’ve taken some very unconventional medicines these past few years such as Kambo and Ayahuasca, and I have definitely benefitted from all of them, but I understand they are quite exotic and not always accessible for the average person. I also follow a paleo diet, use float tanks, hike in wilderness, and more. What I’m saying is that there are many modalities that can help you avoid seasonal illness, let’s not forget about yoga, meditation, traditional Chinese medicine, massage, and on and on. Choose those that are available in your area and those you feel drawn to. Above all, the conclusion I want to leave you with is that I attribute the majority of my success to a proper diet and consistent daily routine. Immerse yourself in these modalities. The best results come from practicing healthy thoughts and actions every moment of your life as much as possible, and enjoying it rather than viewing it as a chore. Best to you on your 50 moon journey.