My Top 8 Ways to Keep Well During The PandemicJulia Woodford January 8, 2021
(Updated Nov. Dec. 21, 2020)
As our healthcare system is stretched to the limit during this COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that we as individuals become more self-reliant. By keeping ourselves well, we can stay out of crowded emergency rooms and doctors’ offices, and be available to help those who need it. So here are my personal recommendations for building immunity, vitality, and resilience in the midst of these turbulent times.
1. Get Your Vitamin D Levels Up
In his “Coronavirus Prevention and Treatment” feature in Vitality magazine, Dr. Zoltan Rona, MD stated: “Vitamin D promotes the production of cathelicidin, a protein with natural antibiotic properties. Cathelicidin kills viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The more vitamin D in the system, the more the body makes this antibiotic.”
Furthermore, Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director, wrote an article for CNN addressing the current state of COVID-19 in the U.S. In the article, he identified ways to increase your personal health resilience: “Of all of the various proposed measures to increase your resistance to infection, regular physical activity and adequate vitamin D levels probably have the most scientific evidence to support them – and can be done safely.” Read the full article here.
Vitamin D supplements manufactured in Canada are widely available in health food stores and online. These high-quality, high-potency supplements can be taken daily with meals, according to the dosages recommended by health experts such as Dr. Rona. I like to take vitamin D3/K2 supplements with meals, at least twice per day.
Or to raise your vitamin D levels using UVB phototherapy, find a clinic that offers sessions, or use the coupon below to order UVB lights online. Here’s more information about UVB phototherapy.
2. Get Outdoors: Solar UV Rays Kill Viruses
Your skin manufactures vitamin D when exposed to solar rays. Sunshine may even help with prevention and recovery from the coronavirus. According to a report in the November 2005 Journal of Virology: “Sunlight or, more specifically, solar UV radiation (UV), acts as the principal natural virucide in the environment. UV radiation kills viruses by chemically modifying their genetic material, DNA and RNA.”
Of course, the current emphasis by public health authorities on social distancing and staying indoors is necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But if you are able to sit out on your balcony or patio, or go for a walk in an isolated field or forest away from people, that is great for sun exposure. Furthermore, fields and forests are oxygen-rich environments; since oxygen has been found to kill viruses and bacteria that’s another good reason to spend time breathing deeply in natural environments.
If you cannot get out in the sunshine and must stay indoors, you could try the next best thing – UVB phototherapy. Invented in Germany and based on research by Nikola Tesla, ultraviolet lights have been traditionally used for treating psoriasis, dermatitis, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). UVB phototherapy has also been found to raise vitamin D levels in the bloodstream significantly while having an antiviral effect.
Some clinics offer UVB phototherapy sessions, such as the Nature Medicine Clinic in St. Catharines, Ont. Alternatively, you can do your own UVB phototherapy at home using a small handheld device or larger floor model made by local company Solarc Systems. (Vitality magazine has arranged for readers to get a 5% discount with the coupon located below.)
Nature Medicine Clinic even uses ultraviolet light specifically to kill viruses and bacteria. This is done by withdrawing blood from the patient, and then passing it through UV light to kill pathogens, and then reintroducing the patient’s blood back into their body. It is apparently popular in Swiss clinics but is relatively unknown here. The clinic, called Nature Medicine, specializes in alternative cancer therapy and treatment of other chronic diseases.
3. Vitamin C to the Rescue
After reading Dr. Rona’s article on Coronavirus Prevention and Treatment, I started taking an average of 3,000 to 5,000 mg of vitamin C daily, spread throughout the day. Sometimes I take it in powder form, and sometimes in liposomal form, to cover all the bases. Kids, on the other hand, could take 500 mg twice a day to boost their immune defences.
According to a recent report by Andrew W. Saul, founder of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, “Vitamin C helps to kill viruses and reduce the symptoms of infection. It’s not a COVID-19 cure, but nothing is. It might just save your life, though, and will definitely reduce the severity of the infection. If someone tells you it’s not proven, consider this:
- Nothing is proven to work against COVID-19, because it is a new virus;
- Vitamin C has worked against every single virus including influenza, pneumonia, and even poliomyelitis.”
IV vitamin C in China: In addition to oral use, vitamin C is now being used in very high doses intravenously to treat coronavirus patients. In his March 3 report, Shanghai Government Officially Recommends Vitamin C for COVID-19, Andrew W. Saul stated: “The government of Shanghai, China has announced its official recommendation that COVID-19 should be treated with high amounts of intravenous vitamin C. Dosage recommendations vary with severity of illness, from 50 to 200 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day to as much as 200 mg/kg/day.”
IV vitamin C in New York: After IV vitamin C had showed such promise in China, it then was adopted by some doctors in U.S. In a March 24 article, the Daily Mail reported that New York hospitals are treating coronavirus patients with high dosages of vitamin C after promising results from China. The article stated: “Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a Long Island-based pulmonologist and critical-care specialist with Northwell Health, shared that he has been immediately giving his intensive-care patients 1,500 milligrams of intravenous vitamin C. Those patients are then re-administered the same doses of this powerful antioxidant three or four times a day, the doctor explained to the New York Post.”
According to Longevity Magazine, Northwell spokesperson Jason Molinet states that vitamin C is being “widely used” to treat COVID-19 patients throughout the system, but the treatment protocols vary from patient to patient “as the clinician decides.” Currently about 700 patients are being treated across the hospital network, but Molinet was not sure exactly how many were getting vitamin C treatments.
The vitamin C treatments are being administered in addition to other medicines such as hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and various other biologicals and blood thinners, according to Weber. New York hospitals have been given federal permission to administer a cocktail of azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine to desperately ill patients on a compassionate care basis.
IV vitamin C in Ontario: Those seeking IV vitamin C in this province will find that clinics are few and far between. Says Dr. Zoltan Rona, “We are open for IV vitamin C but not to any diagnosed COVID patients. That’s for the safety of our staff and their families. For those who wish to prevent the infection, it’s a better idea to go with the oral supplements I detailed in my article. Furthermore, anyone unfortunate enough to be hospitalized for this infection should demand IV vitamin C from their doctors, as per the successful Chinese protocol. It is a proven treatment, the only one at this time that is safe enough to use on most people.”
On the other hand, for prevention and immune boosting purposes, IVC can be useful. For example, Dr. Rona stated: “I have some patients that fly often so they benefit in preventing infections with IV vitamin C as part of their overall health program.”
In addition to infection prevention, IV vitamin C therapy has many health benefits, including “immune boosting for diseases like cancer, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome, and for toxic heavy metal detox (eg. mercury toxicity),” says Dr. Rona. The four clinics that we know of which are making IV vitamin C available to patients as part of an integrative medicine approach to wellness, are:
- Dr. Zoltan Rona, MD, call (905) 764-8700; office at 390 Steeles Ave. W., Unit 19, Thornhill, Ont https://highlevelwellness.ca/
• Markham Integrative Medicine, Dr. John Gannage, MD, (905) 294-2335; office at 300 Main St Markham North, Ont. https://integrative-medicine.ca/
• Chelation and IV Clinic, Dr. Fred Hui, MD, call (705) 721-1969 (3 locations in Toronto and Barrie) http://drhui.com/locations/
• Nature Medicine Clinic, Dr. Michael Prytula, ND, call 1-905-684-4934; office at 296 Welland Ave., St. Catharines, Ont. http://www.naturemedicine.ca/
4. Grow an Easy Kitchen Garden
With long lineups at the grocery store, an unstable food supply, and a shortage of fresh, organic produce, we can easily become malnourished during this pandemic. But there’s a simple solution – sprouting! By growing your own sprouts in your kitchen, you can have a highly nutritious source of fresh greens at your fingertips, every day in your urban garden. Even better, it’s easy and inexpensive.
Tony Hornick, a 91-year-old local entrepreneur, attributes his perfect health to daily consumption of sprouted mung beans. Tony describes the mung bean as a powerful superfood high in amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and proteins – everything needed to stay healthy. Mung bean sprouts also have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in enzymes.
I started adding boiled mung beans to my suppers after I learned of their uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine, including detoxing heavy metals such as mercury and clearing up skin problems. It’s only recently that I’ve also started sprouting them and adding the sprouts to my morning meal, as recommended by Tony.
As a result of his daily sprout consumption, Tony claims to be free of the chronic aches and pains typical of folks in his age group, so he takes these sprouts seriously. (He even believes they can help build immunity to viruses.) Way back when he first discovered these sprouts, Tony was so impressed with their health benefits that he founded the Sprout Growers company in Burlington, Ont., 25 years ago. The company makes easy-to-use sprouting kits available to the public. He is currently offering a kit that includes one sprouter (see photo), plus three pounds of certified organic kosher mung beans for $53 (includes shipping within North America). This kit is adequate to last you for three months if you follow his recommendations.
Vitality has arranged for our readers to receive a $3 discount on the Sprout Grower kit. To get the discount, use the code word “Vital” when you order. To make your order or for more information, visit www.sproutgrower.com or call toll-free 1-800-815-9158. The Hornick sprouting kit is also available in some health food stores across Canada (see website for list of stores).800-815- 800-815-9158
Alternatively, if you want to try sprouting a larger variety of beans and seeds, a local company called Sprout Master offers a range of sprouting supplies. Based in Elmvale, Ont., Sprout Master is a distributor of organic seeds, grains, beans, and sprouting tools. Right now they have a “Sprouting Special” on for $19.95, comprised of: 1) A book on sprouts (how to grow sprouts of many varieties and prepare meals with them); 2) A salad mix (alfalfa, canola, clover, radish, broccoli sprouts); 3) A 1-litre sprouting jar.
(As a side note: According to Charlene and Ty Bollinger, founders of The Truth about Cancer website, “Broccoli sprouts top the list for anti-cancer superfoods. They contain 50 times the cancer-fighting nutrition of mature cruciferous vegetables and are loaded with enzymes for digestion, metabolism, and detoxification. Here’s a great video on how to prepare their popular cancer-fighting recipe – Broccoli Sprouts with Hemp Seed Oil.)
To find out more about Sprout Master’s sprouting supplies, hydrogen peroxide (see below), and other resources, visit: http://www.sproutmaster.com or call toll-free 1-888-333-4456.
5. Find Good Vegetarian Sources of Protein
Protein is critical for keeping the body strong, and the immune system optimized, so be sure to get some each day. Since animal foods are expensive to buy, difficult to store, and involve cruelty to our fellow beings, it’s good to know the alternatives.
At the moment, my favourite vegetarian sources of protein are lentils (17.9 grams per cooked cup), mung beans (14 grams protein per cooked cup), and quinoa (8 to 9 grams of protein per cooked cup). All of them have a long shelf life if stored in a cool, dry place, so even in the event of power outages they can be used as an excellent dietary staple (in a pinch, just add water and cook them over a campfire). And they travel well, so you can easily take them to the cottage for protein-rich country dinners (easier than carrying a side of beef).
To get the party started, try this Quinoa and Lentil Soup by Linda Gabris. Since protein activates yang power, try to eat your heaviest protein meals at breakfast and lunch times, to give you some get up and go. In the evening, it’s better to eat lighter carb meals so you can unwind and get a good sleep.
6. Disinfect Without Chemicals
Another interesting product offered by Sprout Master is 35% food-grade hydrogen peroxide. This is of particular interest now due to the ability of hydrogen peroxide to kill germs and pathogenic microbes such as viruses. I don’t like the chemical hand sanitizers and disinfectants currently in widespread use because they have a toxic impact on the immune system and are not eco-friendly. According to Dr. Zoltan Rona, “Antibacterial soaps contain triclosan and triclocarban, two ingredients recently exposed by the U.S. FDA as being neither safe or effective infection preventers.”
Instead, I carry a small bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide spray in my purse as a DIY hand sanitizer, to squirt on my hands after I leave a store. I also squirt it on my car steering wheel and other surfaces that are suspect. (I also like to squirt colloidal silver up my nose to flush out foreign microbes after I’ve been around groups of people, since it has antiviral properties.)
The conventional hydrogen peroxide available in stores is a 3% solution. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Hydrogen peroxide has the ability to kill or inactivate bacteria, viruses, spores, yeast and fungi… Commercially available 3% hydrogen peroxide is stable and effective for disinfecting a wide variety of surfaces.” That said, what I like about Sprout Master’s 35% version is that it goes a long way. All that’s needed is to follow the instructions to dilute it down to a 3 to 5% solution (for example 3% for spraying on hands, and 5% for spraying on grocery bags, boxes, door handles, etc.).
According to the Sprout Master website: “The makeup of hydrogen peroxide is distilled water with an extra molecule of oxygen attached which formulates H2 + O = H2O2. This H2O2 destroys micro-organisms 5,000 times faster than chlorine. It is effective against all of the bacteria which chlorine can remove, and exceeds chlorine in neutralizing pathogens, viruses, and cysts from protozoa.
Unlike chlorine, H2O2 is environmentally friendly because its waste by-products are only oxygen and water. WARNING: When using 35% hydrogen peroxide, avoid contact with skin, eyes, and clothing. May cause blindness if splashed in eyes. May cause burns and white spots if splashed on skin. Wash thoroughly after handling. A 3% solution of H2O2 is made by adding one ounce of 35% H2O2 to eleven ounces of purified or distilled water.”
I also like the chemical-free hand sanitizers made with essential oil formulas. One great example is the DIY Hand Sanitizer which blends aloe vera with a Naka essential oil formula, widely available in health food stores. And another powerful formula used for housecleaning, hand sanitizing, and air purification is the Thieves formula by Young Living, available through the Young Living website.
7. Try Chanting, Yoga, and Meditation
This period of isolation, when the whole world has slowed down, is an ideal time to recharge your batteries. By cleansing the mind, nourishing the energy field, and reconnecting with our spirituality, we create a powerful energetic cloak around ourselves. After all, the only real defense we have against this or any pathogen is our own immune system. Energy work and deep relaxation strengthens immunity and ignites your electromagnetic field. In turn, a strong energy field increases resistance to passing viruses, bacteria, and other negative influences. Here’s how to do it:
YOGA: There are simple yoga postures you can do in the comfort of your home to relieve pain, clear lungs, and lower anxiety levels. There are lots of yoga videos on YouTube that encourage you to follow along. Here’s an example of Yoga for Beginners to get you started. It only takes a half hour, and can have a powerful impact on your day. Once you learn the basic poses, you can do them anywhere, anytime. And when the pandemic is over, you can find a good yoga teacher to give you more guidance. My favourite is Kripalu Yoga teacher Brigitte Kortright – find out more at http://www.yogapranayamcentre.com/
HEALING MUSIC: To accompany your yoga sessions, turn on some healing music to put yourself in a good head space. I like relaxing with Indian diva music, which can be heard for free on YouTube, but there are hundreds of other choices. Allow the music to wash over you as you begin deep breathing and unwinding.
SINGING AND CHANTING: This is a wonderful way to focus on beautiful sounds that can heal your body and soothe your mind while casting a magical intention around you. One option is to try this daily healing meditation offered by Deva Premal and Miten. Or sing along with this Goddess Protection Chant, which involves the words: “May the arms of the Great Mother ever surround me…”
And if you want to feel the benefits of a chant without singing, check out this video from Devi Sutkam – a chant from the Vedas that invokes the energy of Devi or Shakti. These mantras “remove negativity, problems and obstacles, evil eye, and the influence of black magic. They also help to protect. Just close your eyes, relax, and listen to the mantras – it purifies one’s mind, and meditation happens effortlessly.” I also like this “Mantra to Remove Negative Energy” which can fill your space with loving and compassionate sound.
BREATHING EXERCISES: Over the past few decades, “Iceman” Wim Hof has made a number of extraordinary achievements, including 21 Guinness World Records. Extensive training enables him to control his breathing, heart rate, and blood circulation and to withstand extreme temperatures. His achievements include: Running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle, barefoot only wearing shorts; Swimming underneath ice for 66 meters; Running a full marathon in the Namib Desert without drinking.Wim’s motto is: “What I am capable of, everybody can learn”. With his Wim Hof Method, he teaches people from all over the world, including celebrities and professional athletes, to control their bodies and achieve extraordinary things.
Wim believes that his breathing exercises work to alkalinize the blood and can help people prevent and even overcome infection by the coronavirus. While he teaches in depth courses online, he has also made a video on YouTube with a free breathing class. It’s definitely worth a look, and it might change your life.
SHAKE YOUR BOODY: Or if you really want to get your groove on, turn on some funky music. There’s a good one called “Tourist” by St. Germain that blends soul, funk, and jazz in an irresistable rhythm for shucking and jiving around the house. Another favourite is “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind, & Fire – the ultimate song to help you break a sweat and raise your vibration through the roof, baby!
8. Get Out Into Nature
Walk in it, breathe it in, soak it up. Strolling in the park on a sunny day, inhaling the wild smells of trees and flowers – this kind of forest bathing is what nourishes our human energy field and revitalizes the lungs. In her documentary, Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger describes forest bathing as “immersing yourself in the bath of medicinal aerosols that make up the forest atmosphere; and the benefits are many.”
And while you’re at it, take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the earth. This can ground your energy into the earth’s healing magnetic field, which will reinforce your vitality and resilience.
And according to Dr. Ben Kim, “All evidence points to moderate intensity exercise as supporting immune function and even recovery from respiratory illness. It’s better for your lungs, heart, and overall health to take a brisk walk and do gentle mobility exercises and yoga than it is to do anything that resembles Rocky Balboa running up a snow-capped mountain.” He also cites a study that found “moderate intensity exercise reduces inflammation and improves the immune response to respiratory viral infections”. Find it here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
A friend recently sent me a link to a video video by Eckhart Tolle, which is beautifully relevant to the adverse events unfolding in today’s world. In the video, Eckhart explains how this adversity is an opportunity to explore who we really are, beneath the conscious mind that is cast about on the rough waves of fearful messages from the world. These troubling times, when we are forced to self-isolate, are an invitation to go deeper. He says: “Use this precious time that is here to awaken to a higher level of consciousness. It is an acceleration of awakening. In this present moment there is nothing to fear. Feel your life energy, feel your breathing. This is a time of great opportunity. Use it. Don’t waste it. When the ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has found.”
And remember, from the perspective of the birds and bees, this pandemic is the best thing ever. With all the polluting machinery shutting down, the wild ones can breathe a little easier.
[Editor’s note: This article is not meant to replace the advice of your doctor. Please consult with your personal physician before making any adjustments to your health care routine.]
Julia Woodford founded Vitality Magazine in 1989, and has been its Editor-in-Chief for the past 30 years. Prior to a career in publishing, her studies included Political Economics at York University, Journalism at Ryerson University, and Psychology, PhysEd, and Anthropology at University of Toronto. She remains a lifelong student of herbalism, nutritional medicine, and the healing arts to this day. You can read her columns on the <a href="https://vitalitymagazine.com/">Vitality website</a>. She is also the Show Manager for Whole Life Expo, Canada’s largest showcase of natural health and green living. Learn more at the <a href="https://www.wholelifeexpo.ca/">Expo website</a> In 2018 she received a “Hall of Fame” award from <a href="https://www.nationalnutrition.ca/">National Nutrition</a>. In 2019, she was nominated for a “Person of the Year” award by <a href="https://www.nationalnutrition.ca/">National Nutrition</a>.