Hi, I’m Amalia

I am a 500 hour Certified Yoga Teacher and Holistic Health Coach

How to NOT get sick this Winter

December 7, 2022

Many moons ago, I worked for a year as an assistant teacher in a Pre-K. While I adored working with the kids, I was constantly sick that entire year. I mean, CONSTANTLY. It would start out as a cold and then turn into a sinus infection and then an asthma exacerbation (I have mild asthma that is triggered by colds). I was constantly on an antibiotic, totally out of sick days and very, very tired.

That year really taught me just how important health really is and how you don’t truly learn it’s value until you’re down in the dumps. I set out on a quest to improve my immune health. I did tons of research and lifestyle changes until I finally started to feel vibrant again and getting sick became only a mild, once-in-a-while cold that barely slowed me down. Now that my daughter is in Pre-school (germ factory!), I am dedicated more than ever to maintaining not only my health, but the health of my family as a whole.

Here are my 5 top tips for staying healthy this cold and flu season:

1) Chaga Mushroom and Oil of Oregano

Chaga is known in Japan as the “Diamond of the Forest”. It is rich in B vitamins, anti-aging, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc and it has an incredible effect on your immune system. Oil of Oregano is a concentrated essential oil derived from the herb Oregano. Yes, the same one you shake onto your pizza! Oil of Oregano is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is also loaded with antioxidants! It is also anti-inflammatory due to Carvacrol, one of its key components. Oil of Oregano has been used to treat digestive disorders such as leaky gut and has even been proven to lower cholesterol!

So the really cool part is that both Chaga and Oil of Oregano work together synergistically to amp up your immune system. You can take them separately or take this awesome supplement that I take that combines them, ChagaMax by North American Herb & Spice. I take this several times a day if I feel a cold coming on or even if I know that I’ve been exposed. During the winter, I take one a day just for prevention. Even if you still do end up getting a cold, ChagaMax will shorten the duration and the severity of it. Another cool side effect of it is that it gives you a little boost in energy, due to the Chaga component. This supplement has been awesome for me and I can’t recommend it enough. It does tend to run out of stock during the wintertime due to high demand, so grab it when it is available.

2) Yoga

Ok, of course the yoga teacher is going to tell you to go do yoga but hear me out – one of the lovely things about yoga is that you can get benefits from it even by just doing 10 minutes a day. Really! While I would encourage you to do a longer practice whenever you can and ideally at least once a week – 10 minutes will most definitely be beneficial. Yoga is incredible for detoxifying the system and promoting circulation. Twists such as Ardha Matsyandrasana are especially wonderful for detoxifying your system and even a simple Downward Dog is excellent for your circulatory and respiratory system. If you are really too tired, even just lying down for 10 minutes of Viparita Karani, (otherwise known as legs up the wall pose) is beneficial!

3) Neti Pots

For me, the discovery of Neti Pots was a revelation. I have very tricky sinuses and I am prone to sinus infections. I cut the amount of colds and viruses that I was coming down with in half just from the Neti Pot alone! An invention of Ayurvedic medicine, Neti Pots are little pots (they look like tiny tea pots) that you use to clean your nasal passages, using warm, purified water and a saline solution (or even just sea salt). If you suffer from allergies, Neti Pots will become your best friend!

It takes a little practice to get used to just how to position your head while cleansing, but practice a bit and it becomes second nature, just like brushing your teeth. Just tilt your head to one side as you hold the tip of the pot to one nostril and allow the warm water to flow out of the opposite nostril. It might sound funny but when you think of the amount of fumes and toxins in the air that we are exposed to each day, it makes good sense to clean this out! In no time, you will become addicted to how refreshed you feel with clean nostrils and your ability to take deep breaths in through your nose. There are many different Neti Pots on the market and I think all are pretty similar depending on your needs. I have been using this very simple lightweight one for years. It also travels really well! 

4) Collagen

I have an entire post about collagen because I am such a fan of it! Aside from its many benefits for skin, hair and nails, collagen reduces inflammation throughout the body. as well promoting optimum functioning for your gut. Your gut is responsible not only for good digestion but for your immune health, energy levels and mood as well! There are many brands of collagen available but I personally take this one by Vital Proteins because their quality and sourcing is impeccable. Collagen powder is easily added to smoothies or even coffee because it dissolves quickly and with no detectable taste – just a bit of extra creaminess!

In the cold winter months, another way to get your collagen intake is through consuming bone broth, either by itself or as the base for a home cooked soup. Please note, there is a big difference between bone broth and chicken or beef stock! Bone broth has a high collagen content due to the long cooking time of high quality (ideally grassfed or organic) bones on the stovetop. Bone broth is inexpensive and easy to make at home. If you’re pinched for time and would like to buy it, I highly recommend the Kettle & Fire brand as it is great quality and also tastes really good!

5) Check your Vitamin D levels

Ooh this is a big one. 42% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. This is huge number and quite alarming. Often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D can be obtained naturally from sunlight. However, as many people work from 9-5 each day in an office or live in cold climates where there is very little sun for several months of the year, obtaining Vitamin D naturally can be challenging. Even more challenging – due to the risk of skin cancer from the thinning of the ozone layer, many of us wear sunscreen when we do go outdoors. However, sunscreen actually can cut the skin’s Vitamin D production by 99 percent! While I would never advise anyone to spend hours in the sun without sunscreen, there is a definite benefit to spending just 15 minutes in the midday sun without sunblock. 15 minutes is the recommend amount of time to absorb Vitamin D through natural sunlight and it is a short enough period that it does not expose you to sun damage. There are a few food sources of Vitamin D as well, such as salmon (wild if possible), tuna and mackerel.

I do however, absolutely recommend supplementation as well, as it is increasingly difficult to reach optimal Vitamin D levels naturally. I personally take this Omega-3 supplement with D3 by Nordic Naturals, with great effect. I like that I am able to take my Omega-3s (also very important for immune health!) and my Vitamin D in one supplement. If you would like to take a supplement that is only D (D3 is the recommended form to absorb Vitamin D in a supplement), I have also used this one in the past with great results. 

I cannot stress enough the importance of Vitamin D. It is called a vitamin, however it is actually a critical hormone. It is a crucial element of your immune system, not to mention metabolism, energy levels, fertility (for both men and women!) and even mood as well. There is a direct link between Vitamin D deficiency and disease and research is now showing that an estimated 75% of cancers could be prevented by adequate Vitamin D levels. Many women (including me!) have had trouble becoming pregnant until raising their Vitamin D levels. It is also important to note that many of the lab result measurements for adequate levels are out of date and that the ideal number to reach is actually around 60-70. A level of 25 may show as “adequate” by some test measurements but it is quite far from optimal! I personally feel best when my levels are at least at 50 and I am constantly striving to get that number higher.

I hope you’ll try some of these ideas to strengthen your immune system this winter! Let me know in the comments how it’s going for you :)

*Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products that I personally use and love. 

Want to do yoga with me? If you live in Miami, please feel free to get in touch for private yoga sessions. Live elsewhere? I also offer sessions online, as well as Holistic Health Coaching.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Recent