If you live in the Chicagoland area, you are probably feeling the effects of winter's wonder. Winter white has covered all grounds, temperatures dropping and bone chilling winds blowing in every direction. Family and friends down with the flu and you, trying to stay well without getting the germs that linger through and through.

The best line of defense no, not a flu shot but rather continued natural immune building remedies to stay healthy all winter long!

Vitamin D, A Ray of Sunshine - Since the sun doesn't shine much during January and February, its important to get your vitamin D from other sources. A liquid vitamin D supplement is the best bet. It does wonders for the body and the mind. It provides absorption of calcium for strong bones, reduces inflammation, promotes strong immunity and gives you lots of energy. It's nicknamed "The Sunshine Vitamin." So if you're missing that ray of sunshine during the winter months, its likely you may be deficient in Vitamin D. It is estimated that 50% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D.

Eat Organic - Load up on plenty of organic, healthy root veggies, greens and some fruits like apples, or frozen berries which provide many antioxidants to fight pesky winter germs. Replace the sugar laden carbs from holiday past with whole grains and beans. Try the hearty red lentil soup recipe below. It's spicy enough to warm you from the inside. It's filled with nutrients, easy to make and tastes delicious.

Herbal Protections - There are many all-natural herbs that can do wonders for immune health. Keep these on hand for making a protective tea on cold winter nights. Elderberry, Echinacea, and astragalus or ginger are all good options. Cooking with extra garlic, turmeric, and ginger can also boost your immune health.

Relaxation and Exercise - During the winter months the body tends to naturally get a bit sluggish. Make sure you are getting enough exercise balanced with enough rest. Both are important contributors to a healthy immune system. Incorporate some outdoor actives or routine workouts at the gym, take a yoga class. Combine your activities with regular massage treatments for better immune health and detoxification during the colder months. Both Exercise and massage detoxify the body of unwanted germs, increases circulation immunity for good health and both combat the effects of negative stress.

massage has an added benefit It keeps the Winter Blues at Bay. massage creates positive changes in the endocrine system where hormones are formed. Hormones affect mood, desire, depression, alertness, sleep, hunger, sense of touch; the balance of which are very important for the well-being. After receiving bodywork, cortisol levels are decreased (the nasty hormone responsible for stress!), and oxytocin levels are raised (the happy, contentment hormone).

What better way to cheer yourself up than with a massage!

Then there's always the ages old remedies: wash your hands, take extra doses of vitamin C, drink plenty of fresh water for continued hydration (I add a squeeze of fresh lemon for added flavor and to keep my system more alkaline).

These are just a few easy to remember, natural remedies to keep you healthy all winter long. There are many other natural remedies to increase immunity in the winter months. Do your due diligence and investigate alternatives. You definitely don't need a flu shot to stay healthy.

Most important, stay happy. Remember, happiness produces the "feel good" hormones that build healthy immunity, which fight against germs and keep you going strong through every season. Eat your veggies, drink your teas and book your massage appointments. And don't worry, be happy...spring is only 10 weeks away!

Yummy Red Lentil Soup:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 cup butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, cook the onion, ginger, garlic, and fenugreek until onion is tender.

Mix the lentils, squash, and cilantro into the pot. Stir in the water, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Season with curry powder, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until lentils and squash are tender. Enjoy!