We trust Donna Gates M.Ed., ABAAHP of Body Ecology implicitly when it comes to our health — gut health, especially. As one of our long-time health contributors, Gates, like so many of our other friends in wellness, offered to share insights to help us all optimize our immunity in this important time.
Donna’s legacy includes coining the phrase “inner ecosystem” to describe the still undiscovered network of microbes in our gut, now called the “microbiome.” The connection between our gut and immune systems is now one of the most important health studies of our time. Her advice below provides useful guidance to help us ward off viruses and keep our body’s in tip-top shape right now…
I’ve been on a mission for the past 30 years to change the way the world eats. And I’ve worked with hundreds of thousands of people helping them treat a multitude of issues that throw off their inner ecology. Viruses, being antibiotic resistant, have always been tricky. Whether that be Epstein Barr, Herpes, Flu, Covid-19, they’re opportunistic, and if given the opportunity to pounce, they will. So how are they given the opportunity to wreak havoc? An acidic environment with an immune system that is compromised.
Alkalizing the body, lowering inflammation and focusing on creating a robust immune system, are hands down the best ways to close the door on an opportunistic virus like Covid-19. Let’s go over how to do that.
Donna Gate’s Antiviral Nutrition Protocol
Think of a virus as a dragon. The virus is fire breathing (inflammation), living in a cave, and he’s not a problem until something eggs him on (ie. acidity, inflammation, compromised immune system). As you may already know, 70% of immunity is in the gut. Therefore, you have to alkalize, get specific minerals in through your diet and begin to build a thriving immune system to put the dragon back in the cave. Also remember, raw food has a cooling nature toward the heat of a virus, which is good. Anything cool of course, does the same thing.
Fermented foods. There is nothing like what Mother Nature can provide through fermented foods. I suggest making your own fermented foods, which will be much more potent than what you get at the grocery store. And you can eat spoonfuls with every meal.
Beets are a great vegetable to ferment since they’re high in nitric oxide, which kill pathogens in the body. I like to add the peel of lemon, lime or orange too for Quercetin (the white layer below the peel) – once fermented, you get rid of the oxalates, but gain a nice fruit flavor.
You can also do a combination of fennel, onion, apples and red cabbage.
lead bacteria Put these vegetables and fruits in a jar together with a starter full of “leaders” in good bacteria. According to a third party study, the bacteria count in our starter is so high in order to withstand the harsh conditions of the intestinal tract. The primary probiotic ‘plantarum’ is in our starter; it’s a ‘lead’ bacteria. The bacteria have to have direction – and wow does it lead! With plantarum, all types of the bacteria just grow so well. Also, very few antibiotics can harm plantarum.
Whether you pick the vegetables from your own garden or get them from a market or grocery store, they have their own microbiome. So basically there’s no way we can get a better probiotic than something from Mother Nature. Human beings will never be able to create the diversity of bacteria that Mother Nature can provide for us.
Probiotic drinks are another great option – all you need is 2-3 ounces a day.
Kimchi is also a favorite fermented food of mine. There can be hundreds of strains of plantarum in kimchi!
Plant Based Protein One of my absolute favorite meals to have, which I like to call a delicious bowl of health, is Miso (fermented soybean) soup. As long as you choose unpasteurized, fermented and non-GMO miso, you will be getting the benefits of live friendly microflora for the health of your inner ecosystem. The benefits of this type of miso are numerous from immune strengthening, helping maintain nutritional balance, being full of nutrients, beneficial bacteria and enzymes, being high in antioxidants and protection against free radicals.
You can include many mineral-rich sea vegetables like kombu or wakame in your miso soup that have their own amazing benefits including assisting mineral deficiencies, detoxification and helping control the growth of pathogenic bacteria. If you don’t like the taste of sea vegetables, there are pill forms that contains everything you need all in one.
Shiitake mushrooms or any sort of medicinal mushrooms make a great addition to the health bowl too. These mushrooms contain special structural sugars called beta-glucans. These beta-glucans help the body fight off infection. In fact, I love to recruit the help of multiple mushrooms like a blend of 12 mushrooms by Jing Herbs which is now in powder form, so you can either include in the soup, or mix with warm water and drink. Each mushroom stimulates different branches of the immune system and addresses unique patterns of exhaustion and low energy, which may make us more susceptible to infection.
I don’t recommend animal protein at this time since it can promote viral infections by making the body acidic (so no chicken, steak, fish or even bone broth). Normally, however, I do recommend an 80% plant based diet that includes 20% animal protein. But since the idea is to make the body alkaline, we should remove the acidity.
If you just want to decrease your animal protein intake, which means you would reduce your intake of the amino acid arginine, it’s a must to balance it with Lysine and Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is the cofactor to make Lysine work more effectively.
Nuts and seeds can also be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet, but if you want to veer away from a virus or already have one, decreasing your intake of arginine and increasing your intake of lysine can help your body heal. Seeds and nuts can be great sources of plant-based protein and have valuable nutrients, especially for people eating mostly raw foods and vegetarian diets. But some components of seeds and nuts boost immunity, while other components can actually lower your body’s resistance to viral infections. These can be the foods that feed viruses.
The oils from nuts and seeds though like avocado, olive oil, borage, flaxseed (not chia though, it’s high in oxalates) are fine.
If you’d like a shake that tastes more like a dessert, we have a fermented probiotic protein shake with bacillus and all the most important amino acids.
Dairy. Milk kefir can be, in my opinion, a miraculous healer. I’ve seen it over the past 25 years. I always suggest getting the milk from an A2 cow, and then you can ferment with a kefir starter. I’m often asked about the difference between using yogurt and kefir. Both kefir and yogurt are cultured milk products, but they contain different types of beneficial bacteria. Yogurt contains transient beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria that reside there, but kefir can actually colonize the entire intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt can’t match. Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt and also contains beneficial yeasts which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. Kefir can also be ready to eat 18 hours after you make it.
No grains or grain-like seeds. Surprise, surprise, grains are more acidic! Normally, I recommend certain grain-like seeds for their gut healing properties, but because the goal here is to try to reduce acidity, it may be a good idea to omit or at the very least have sparingly.
Lifestyle Adaptations Tips to Help
Viruses can’t grow in heat. So even though I mentioned how raw foods and cooling foods are good toward reducing the heat of the virus, utilizing devices like a biomat, joovv light or an infrared sauna attempt to reduce inflammation, support the lymph system and enhance circulation for healing and pain.
This is of course a time of high stress, worry and fear. And you’re doing what you can do right now to take control of the situation. Researchers at Ohio State University found that bacteria living in your inner ecosystem can detect stress hormones. We release stress hormones like cortisol in response to both chronic and immediate stress. When the body is under stress, certain bacteria have the tendency to grow out of control. We don’t want that to happen now.
I understand that reducing stress is easier said than done. For example, I get that you want to wipe down every single item that you bought at the grocery store — yet the probability is very low that the coronavirus is transmitted through the food you buy. Stress unfortunately lowers immunity, so I just recommend that you are mindful of it and try whenever possible to try to squeeze in even 5-10 minutes of meditation or other stress-relieving activities.
Quick tip: Normally, I wash all of my raw food with apple cider vinegar and water, which removes bacteria and pathogenic bacteria.
Supplements to Assist Bringing Down the Virus
Nutrition may be a key factor here, but sometimes we need a little extra help from supplements – especially if you have symptoms of, or have, a virus. I’m not telling you to take all of these at once, nor am I telling you to veer from a plan that you have set up with your practitioner based on your health. The principle of uniqueness (one size doesn’t fit all) applies even though research indicates certain benefits, so consult with your doctor before trying something new.
Glutathione. The master antioxidant of the body, glutathione, has gained much attention as having a multitude of health benefits including blocking certain viruses. For some, not all, liposomal glutathione has the best bio-availability if it’s not given intravenously.
Quercetin. You know the white stuff underneath the peel of a grapefruit? Well, that’s quercetin. This flavonoid antioxidant has been proven to reduce viral activity and intracellular replication as well as lung inflammation. The dosage needed in high doses – about 5000 MG divided up throughout the day. This is not good during pregnancy however.
Vitamin D + Vitamin A. Vitamin D has long been known as a vital vitamin that plays a major role in regulating the immune system. Vitamin A also plays a huge role in immunity, and reducing morbidity and mortality in various infectious diseases. Both vitamins Vitamins A and D should be taken together. Glutathione and Vitamin A together are also vital for the lungs (something required for a virus like COVID-19 as a respiratory infection).
Zinc, Selenium, Ancient Earth Minerals or Pic-Mins by Thorne. All of these are anti-viral and promote nutritional balance which is needed to help the body keep up immunity. The zinc in the minerals is an essential nutrient that is also needed for vitamin A to absorb!
Berberine or Chromium. If you have blood sugar issues, Chromium is a great supplement to use to control blood sugar. Berberine is also well known for having anti-diabetic properties, lowering blood sugar levels as a first line of defense.
Viragraphis by Xymogen. Viragraphis features three herbs – andrographis, licorice root, and indigowoad – that have been used traditionally for immune support and stimulation. I like this formula for how it can support cytokine balance as well as respiratory function.
Nitric oxide. Nitric oxide and glutathione combine together to create a new substance that is essential for healthy lungs (good for these types of respiratory viruses). Fermented beets are a good form of NO as well as spirulina and arugula.
Iron also feeds viruses so try to stay off of it if possible.
You don’t want blood sugar to be out of control at this time – it will just feed the virus. So please be aware of your sugar intake whether that be through carbs or the natural sugar of fruit. Also, stay away from acidic fruits during this time unless you’re super sensitive to oxalates.
Have symptoms, or are diagnosed with Covid-19?
Follow all of the nutritional guidelines, but the most important thing to do is stop and rest. DO NOT PUSH ON. Your body needs all the energy it can get to fight this.
+ Have you ever heard the saying ‘feed a cold, starve the flu’? The idea is that the fever will stop quicker if you fast. Time restricted fasting, something where you’re eating within a 6-8 window and getting a long fast in, may be useful.
+ One of the first things you should do to quickly alkalize the body is to mix apple cider vinegar (1 tbs) and water (12 oz) – you can even put a few drops of stevia in if it tastes too tart.
+ Enemas are one of the best ways to release toxins from the body. Get an enema bucket (by Vitality Medical) – have one for everyone in the family and then throw out after using!
Giving You The Tools You Need
In summary, whatever your situation is now, I want you to remember that there is so much power in prevention. That’s how you gain control over your own body and avoid the danger of viruses. We don’t know if there will be a second wave of Covid-19, so the importance of keeping the immune system at optimal levels is just so vital. I can’t stress that enough.
Once the curve is flattened a bit and life begins to change once again, I would highly recommend you get genetic testing done in order to reveal what would work best in regards to your food and lifestyle choices so the wrong genes don’t get expressed, leading to what could be a virus or particular disease.
Remember, the right beneficial bacteria from fermented foods stimulates your immune system to fight off viral infection. By eating fermented foods each day, it will support your inner ecology and strengthen your immune system to better filter air, food, and beverages on a daily basis.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.
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