Does holding the pole on the subway seem like a bit more of a liability these days?  Have you been washing your hands every chance you can get?  Or, have you found yourself avoiding colleagues or friends because you heard them complaining about feeling sick?  With all the media buzz on the flu being an especially strong strain this year, it’s hard not to feel a little uneasy.

The good news is the flu, like any other bug, does not randomly choose you and there is a lot you can do to make yourself less inviting as a host.  Your body’s immune system is completely equipped to handle the flu.  Your best approach is to remove barriers that are holding your immune system back from performing at it’s natural best.

Here’s a few things you can do to prevent getting the flu:

  • Eat less raw food.  It’s wintertime and your body is already working hard to keep you warm.  In Chinese Medicine theory, raw foods are “cold” and take extra energy for your body to heat up and break down.  In excess, they can negatively affect your digestion, energy and immunity. Instead of salads and green smoothies, consider soups, stews and steamed veggies as energy saving, “warming” alternatives.  During the winter, I replace green salads at dinnertime with an extra serving of steamed greens like kale, asparagus, green beans or broccoli.


  • Sleep!  It sounds simple but it’s one of the most powerful things you can do to build your body’s resilience.  If getting more hours isn’t an option,sleeping on a regular schedule, including weekends, is a great way to support your health.  Having a regular sleeping rhythm actually helps balance out all of your hormones, which is a nice bonus!


  • Avoid sugar.  Sugar directly inhibits your immune system from doing its job.  It’s in your best interest to cut out candy, soda pop, juice, and any “white” carbohydrates like white rice, pasta and baked goods.  Instead of juice, I like to recommend herbal teas, or sparkling water with a splash of pure juice for flavor.


  • Eat garlic.  Garlic is an incredible anti-viral, anti-bacterial AND anti-fungal.     1 – 2 cloves of raw garlic a day is a great way to prevent or treat the flu.  You’ll want to cut it up and leave it out for 5-10 minutes before eating to allow it’s medicinal elements to activate fully.  You can swallow it raw, add it to salads or add raw garlic onto whole grain toast.   Always eat raw garlic with other foods, and if you find yourself smelling a little too garlicky, you can always buy it in supplement form.


  • Think a little differently.  The mind-body side of things is an amazing place to explore.  Louise Hay, the bestselling author of “You Can Heal Your Life”, put an incredible list together of the mental causes of physical illness and affirmations for each.  She suggests that being vulnerable to the flu is linked to mass beliefs.  In other words, just thinking that it’s flu season and the time to get sick can in-itself increase your chances of getting it.   The affirmation she offers to stave off the flu is:


“I am beyond group beliefs or the calendar.  I am free from all congestion and influence.”

And lastly, if you or someone you love is already in bed with a fever, here is a wonderful healing soup you can make:

5 Element Soup 
16 ounces white daikon
8 to 10 ounces white daikon greens
8 to 10 ounces carrot
8 ounces burdock root
3 to 5 fresh Shitake mushrooms sun-dried.

Add all chopped (unpeeled) veggies to a large pot and cover with 3 times the amount of water as vegetables.  Bring water to a boil, reduce and simmer for 2 hours.  Strain and enjoy.  No need to add any spices.

Take Action Now

Choose at least one thing from the list and make it your priority this week.  Your body will be grateful!

All the best,

Dr. Viv