Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cory's photography business is officially launched

We travel a lot. This summer alone we went from Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, CA, to the Leavenworth, Washington and lots of stuff in between (like Mt Raineer and Mt St Helens National Parks) before heading back to the Sierras, outside of Bishop again.

And all along the way, on trails, in National Parks, in the wilderness...Cory has his gear and we are cheering him on as he captures the beauty of a moment. Almost every one of these shots the family is near by chanting, "Go daddy go!"...and along the way we have all learned better how to first notice and then savor sunsets that light up the sky, leaves turning hues of reds and yellows, flowers bursting in color, and majestic mountain peaks glowing in the twilight.

To be able to capture an image like these, we are at the location for 1 to 2 hours, sometimes more. And many of these photos are after as many as 12 visits to the same location over 3 years of trying before the perfect lighting and conditions finally happen. Patience to the Nth degree.

Come enjoy his collection at his new on line gallery -

Sneak Peaks of what you'll find if you stop on in:

First morning on our anniversary trip this last summer - Dusy Basin - just over Bishop Pass on our 60 mile route through Evolution Basin on the John Muir Trail and Sequoia Kings National Park.

These types of images range from 9 to 36 images stitched together to create the full image. There's no way to capture the detail and vastness of God's creation with one shot - the pros have all the tricks, eye for composition, patience and equipment to make this happen so that we can all enjoy the beauty of a moment frozen in time forever. Cory is a purist and will never add things that weren't there or use PhotoShop in anyway to change what was really happening.

These pictures are authentic reflections of God's handiwork.

He has an entire collection dedicated to the oceans and waterways:

You'll find panoramics that can be blown up huge or remain smaller:

You'll find pictures that stir peace and joy:

New photos being added weekly.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A post for all moms

Go check out Bo's post about raising her son. It is so amazingly written that I think I just might print it out, stuff it in my son's scrapbook, and keep it forever.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bright eyes, Richard Simmons, and sweet thoughts

What my life is full of these days as I teach full time (FULL TIME!!! if I would have been able to see what future posts on my blog would say a year ago, I'd never have imagined reading that I was working FULL TIME!!!) is

  • Bright eyes full of pride on a student that just "got" it
  • Sweet comments about sending love notes to Jesus from a 1st grader drawing a picture about John 14:7 (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength) (and this student happened to be my very own princess)
  • 60 kids in unity with praise hands in the air during a rehearsal for our Christmas musical
  • 5 high school boys gathered around my computer You Tubing for Christian Spanish Praise music
  • Folders full of hopeful lesson plans
  • Listening to a student tell me after music class how "his heart is full of emotions - not on the outside, but on the inside...It feels GOOD! Like Christmas morning!"
  • Blowing kisses to my son as I cruise by his classroom
  • Early morning, daily staff meetings; 8 different classes to prep for; a Christmas musical to organize with 120 singers, 20 actors, choreography, and tons of solos; and 170 students to learn names of
  • Sweating all day long like Richard Simmons himself as I teach high energy choreography to 120 students that circle through my music classroom throughout the week

But, I still run just as much as I ever have. Got in a gorgeous 7 mile run through Shevlin Park - lots of trails, hills, and sunlit golden leaved trees. I smiled the entire run with my God and I.

I still play barefoot in my garden. Harvested 50 plus pounds of potatoes yesterday and half that in carrots. Potatoes are a must to eat organically as they are basically poisonous otherwise, but organic taters are so expensive. We are stocked for months now!

Made some yummy zucchini/banana honey and agave sweetened cookies yesterday, cooked down 10 pounds of tomatoes into a delicious sauce, and did laundry.

Somehow doing chores at home is just refreshing when you are gone all day. Somehow doing chores all day at home when there is nothing else to look forward to doing was not as could adding a full time job make home chores fun? I don't know how, but it has. I just like the variety I suppose. And this year, I do my chores with 3 hard working partners, all with their own jobs turning what used to take me a couple of days into a little over an hour and we are done.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CBS Reveals that Swine Flu Cases Seriously Overestimated

Dr. Mercola Interviews Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccine Information Center

Please watch this video to break through tons of misinformation out there. Annual vaccinations of the flu shot from cradle to the grave is what CDC is recommending. There is this assumption that we are to never have any experience with the flu - but if you have a population that has lived it's life with these temporary immunities to the flu (the shot only creates a temporary immunity) then you have set up a situation where a population is extremely susceptible to a true catastrophic pandemic of the flu as they have not allowed their bodies to go through the natural progression of getting sick, fighting a virus on it's own, and getting strong and healthy again, on it's own. Instead, we become vaccine dependent which is nowhere close to as effective as having a strong immune system.

Infections are predicted to peak in late October (now) and by the end of the year it's estimated that 63 percent of the U.S. population will have been infected with H1N1 swine flu.

What does this mean? By the end of the year the majority of the U.S. population will have likely acquired natural immunity.

Natural immunity is what you gain when you recover from influenza and natural immunity is what is protecting older Americans, who have recovered from exposure to H1N1 strains of influenza in the past and are therefore less susceptible today.

This new revelation, coupled with CBS News' finding that swine flu cases are already being greatly overestimated ... and the fact that vaccines do not offer long-term immunity anyway ... and the questionable motives behind CDC's massive vaccination campaign ... puts an entirely different slant on the swine flu "epidemic," don't you think?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on their main flu Web site that flu activity is increasing in the United States, with most states reporting "widespread influenza activity."

The CDC goes on to say, and I quote:

"So far, most flu is 2009 H1N1 flu (sometimes called "swine flu")."

But wait stop the presses.

A three-month-long investigation by CBS News, released earlier this week that included state-by-state test results, revealed some very different facts. The CBS study found that H1N1 flu cases are NOT as prevalent as feared. A CBS article even states:

"If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed" 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn't have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn't have flu at all."

Obviously CBS News and the CDC are completely contradicting each other. So who is right?

Well, CBS reports that in late July 2009 the CDC advised states to STOP testing for H1N1 flu, and they also stopped counting individual cases.

Their rationale for this, according to CBS News, was that it was a waste of resources to test for H1N1 flu because it was already confirmed as an epidemic.

So just like that virtually every person who visited their physician with flu-like symptoms since late July was assumed to have H1N1, with no testing necessary because, after all, there's an epidemic.

It's interesting to note that at the same time as the CDC decided the H1N1 epidemic warranted no further testing for cases due to its epidemic status, Finnish health authorities actually downgraded the threat of swine flu.

In late July the health ministry and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in Finland actually removed swine flu from a list of diseases considered dangerous to the public because the majority of cases recovered without medication or hospital care!

And, as the CDC continues to use fear to motivate and control Americans with their worst-case swine flu scenarios, they say nothing of the experience of those in the southern hemisphere, which just finished their flu season and found it was not as bad as expected.

CBS News Finds H1N1 Tests "Overwhelmingly Negative"

Before beginning their investigation, CBS News asked the CDC for state-by-state test results prior to their halting of testing and tracking. The CDC did not initially respond so CBS went to all 50 states directly, asking for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July.

What did they find? CBS reported:

"The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico."

As you can see from this CBS News graphic, not only are most cases of suspected flu-like illnesses not H1N1, they're not even the flu but more likely some type of cold or upper respiratory infection!

Where is the CDC Getting Their Data?

Given CBS News' findings that most cases of flu-like illnesses are neither H1N1 nor the flu, it begs the question: Why is the CDC reporting that most flu in the United States is in fact H1N1?

Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccine Information Center who I spoke with in the interview above, was a consumer representative on the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee in 2003, and she asked the head of the influenza branch of the CDC how much of the flu-like illness that occurs in America every year is actually due to the flu.

The answer was about 20 percent, which corresponds more closely with the CBS News data from 2009.

According to the CBS News study, when you come down with chills, fever, cough, runny nose, malaise and all those other "flu-like" symptoms, the illness is likely caused by influenza at most 17 percent of the time and as little as 3 percent! The other 83 to 97 percent of the time it's caused by other viruses or bacteria.

So remember that not every illness that appears to be the flu actually is the flu. In fact, most of the time it's not.

Curiously, the CDC still advises those who were told they had 2009 H1N1 (and therefore should be immune to getting it again) to get vaccinated unless they had lab confirmation.

Is the CDC Purposely Misinforming the Public to Sell More Flu and H1N1 Vaccines?

Conflicts of interest are rampant in the vaccination infrastructure. The same people who are regulating and promoting vaccines are also evaluating vaccine safety.

For instance, Dr. Paul Offit of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia earned at least $29 million as part of a $182-million sale by the hospital of its worldwide royalty interest in the Merck Rotateq vaccine. He also formerly sat on the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to help create the market for rotavirus vaccine

This type of conflict of interest has been going on for some time.

In August 1999, the Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into Federal vaccine policy. During the investigation the Committee extensively reviewed financial disclosure forms and related documents and interviewed key officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC.

It was revealed that many individuals on two key advisory committees had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines. These individuals were even granted waivers allowing them to fully participate in discussions about vaccine licensing and recommendations for children, despite the fact that federal law states members of advisory committees are required to disclose such ties and recuse themselves from such discussions and decisions.

Further, the investigation revealed that the FDA's and CDC's conflict of interest rules were not strongly enforced while the rules themselves were weak. Specific problems noted by the Committee included:

* The CDC routinely granted waivers from conflict of interest rules to many members of its advisory committee.
* Those CDC advisory committee members who were not allowed to vote on certain recommendations due to financial conflicts of interest were still allowed to actively participate in committee deliberations and advocate specific positions.
* The Chairman of the CDC's advisory committee owned 600 shares of stock in Merck, a pharmaceutical company with an active vaccine division.
* Members of the CDC's advisory committee often left key details out of their financial disclosure statements, and were not required to provide the missing information by CDC ethics officials.

And, when the FDA and CDC approved the controversial rotavirus vaccine in 1998 and 1999, the Committee's report said:

* 3 out of the 5 FDA advisory committee members who voted to approve the rotavirus vaccine in December 1997 had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.
* 4 out of the 8 CDC advisory committee members who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine.

The rotavirus vaccine was pulled from the market one year after approval, after it was found to cause severe bowel obstructions.

Given their sordid history, can the CDC really be trusted, even today? Do you think that much has changed in just one decade?

Is the H1N1 Vaccine Really Safe as the CDC Says it Is?

CDC officials are screaming that H1N1 is so different from the seasonal influenza strains that have circulated in the past few decades that a national alarm must be sounded and everyone needs to be so afraid that we all should get vaccinated to prevent a deadly pandemic.

Yet, they say the new H1N1 vaccine is safe based on vaccines for that very same flu strain from which it is so different. They write on their Web site "the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines are expected to have similar safety profiles as seasonal flu vaccines ..."

Another contradiction.

While symptoms of H1N1 flu and seasonal flu are virtually identical, the H1N1 vaccine is showing signs of being quite different from the seasonal flu shot.

Although both are produced using antiquated 50-year-old technology that involves injecting the virus into eggs and allowing it to grow, the virus being used to produce the swine flu vaccine has been found to reproduce much more slowly in eggs than the ordinary flu virus.

And according to a separate CBS News report, the U.S. government is now funding newer unprecedented technologies to speed up vaccine production, including one that involves growing the virus inside animal cells and another that involves flu proteins grown inside insect cells.

The risks of these, and the current fast-tracked swine flu vaccine, are truly unknown at this time.

There is NO Incentive for the CDC or Vaccine Manufacturers to Care About Safety

You may think that the CDC and the vaccine manufacturers must be concerned about safety, as if they released a dangerous vaccine and promoted it to the American public, imagine the lawsuits they would face.

This is actually no longer reality as the U.S. government has granted vaccine makers total legal immunity from any lawsuits that result from the new swine flu vaccine.

In fact, drug manufacturers got a major boost in protection and were granted unprecedented powers to experiment on the population with the passing of the 2006 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (the PREP Act).

This law allows the DHHS Secretary to invoke almost complete immunity from liability for manufacturers of vaccines and drugs used to combat a declared public health emergency, which the "swine flu pandemic" qualifies as.

The PREP Act removes your right to a trial jury unless you can provide clear evidence of willful misconduct that resulted in death or serious physical injury. But that's not all. First you must apply for and be granted permission to sue by the DHHS Secretary.

The most problematic aspect of the PREP Act is that it removes all financial incentive to make a safe product.

In fact, vaccine makers now have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct!

As long as they can prove they "didn't know" of any problem, they will not be liable for damages. Hence it's in their best interest to know as little as possible about the adverse reactions it might cause.

It seems unimaginable, but you and your children are now being enlisted as an unpaid human trial subjects for experimental, fast-tracked vaccines like the swine flu vaccine.

Recent national polls have revealed that 30 percent to 50 percent in many communities are not planning to get a swine flu shot ... but there are many who are still ready to stand in line.


But I wanted to share one final detail, and that is a new study just released by Purdue University researchers and published in the journal Eurosurveillance.

The researchers found that at this point in time any vaccinations that are given in the United States will likely have little effect on the number of infections. The researchers state:

"The model predicts that there will be a significant wave in autumn, with 63% of the population being infected, and that this wave will peak so early that the planned CDC vaccination campaign will likely not have a large effect on the total number of people ultimately infected by the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus."

In other words, infections are predicted to peak in late October (now) and by the end of the year it's estimated that 63 percent of the U.S. population will have been infected with H1N1 swine flu.

What does this mean? By the end of the year the majority of the U.S. population will have likely acquired natural immunity.

Natural immunity is what you gain when you recover from influenza and natural immunity is what is protecting older Americans, who have recovered from exposure to H1N1 strains of influenza in the past and are therefore less susceptible today.

This new revelation, coupled with CBS News' finding that swine flu cases are already being greatly overestimated ... and the fact that vaccines do not offer long-term immunity anyway ... and the questionable motives behind CDC's massive vaccination campaign ... puts an entirely different slant on the swine flu "epidemic," don't you think?

If you are still concerned about the swine flu, you should know that it is relatively easy to improve your immune response to fight this infection. If 99.9% of the people are not having any serious complications from H1N1, it would seem perfectly rational to believe that minor lifestyle changes could have dramatic effects on fighting this infection, and none of these involve taking potentially dangerous and unproven vaccine interventions.

Simple Measures That Can Help You Fight Illness

* Vitamin D has been well documented to increase the production of over 200 anti microbial peptides that fight infection.
* Eliminate sugar from your diet as that will impair your immune response
* Get plenty of rest
* Exercise appropriately

Friday, October 16, 2009

In a moment....

.... you can accidentally push delete and suddenly every picture you took in 2009 is gone. It doesn't matter that you have not printed any pictures yet and have no way to ever see those 28,000 pictures pushed delete, they are gone.

This was how our school year started. I was blissfully reading a book on the couch, sipping some tea, relaxed and happy until I heard the strangest gutteral noise come from my Renaissance man that I have ever heard. I came running. Something disastrous happened, I just never would have imagined what.

There is nothing like the moments right after you realize that everything is truly gone that memorializes 2009. Birthday parties, holidays, vacations, school all flashed before my eyes and I just started to laugh. I was too shocked to cry.

We called a dear friend from church - now renamed our computer doctor - and he has spent the last 6 weeks working on seeing if he could recover these pictures. Hundreds of dollars later, weeks of work, and lots of waiting....he is sitting in the studio right now loading all our pictures back into our computer. It's still a massive mess as recoveries like this are never neat - some pictures are gone forever while others are duplicated hundreds of times. It's a pile to sort through - where there once was 26,000 pictures, neatly filed away in monthly folders there is now 110,000 pictures in one giant random mess.

But I don't care - I get to remember, through pictures, what my little gal looked like on her 6th birthday and what soccer stud looked like scoring his umpteenth goal.

Feeling light and happy. Such a close call makes me realize how precious pictures are to all of us. They help us remember this amazing thing we call life. Without them, it's just a blur...but with them, moments are captured, memories preserved, and our stories memorialized.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Swine flu H1N1 vaccine is dangerous!

Watch this video from Fox News....

Crazy stuff.

My chiropractic doctor yesterday explained to me that those that are getting the vaccine are actually getting the live virus. THis method of using a live virus hasn't been used since the Polio vaccine which proved to be disatrous then. So, folks that are vaccinated are actually sheading the live virus for about a week - putting the rest of us at higher risk of getting it.

They have learned through studying the trends of this virus that only 50% of those exposed to it are getting sick - so half of the people that get exposed have bodies that quickly respond, make the antibodies to kill the virus and they don't even get sick.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Locals - go check out the newest coffee house in town! Green plow is here

One of my dearest friends -met her the first week we moved here- has gone for her long time dream with her husband and opened their coffee house. It's heart is ministry - the "living room of our town". It seeks to create a meeting place for good coffee, good conversation, good community connections, and maybe even for seeing who Jesus is through the folks that work there, the events that happen there, and the conversations that spring up there.

It's Christianity in action.

And, it truly is the yummiest coffee on the planet. Pat is perfecting his roasting skills and weekly roasts the coffee making for the freshest cup of coffee I have ever had - no bitter aftertast, just smooth and perfect.

While I work all day loving on the students I get to teach, please take a moment and meet a friend at GreenPlow coffee! Tell them I sent you!

Open hours:
Monday-Thursday 6am-8pm
Friday 6am-9pm
Saturday 7am-9pm

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Feeling like a squirrel and loving it

It's harvest time!! Gathering and processing, cooking, steaming, freezing, canning, bagging. All so that we can eat fresh, homegrown, organic veggies and fruit all winter.

Our freezer is packed though and we have a 1/4 of a cow coming any day now from an organic farm near our home - it'll make it's home in our freezer next to 50 pounds of tomatoes (or more!), AND 360 pounds of organic peaches and well as bags of pesto, shredded zucchini, squash and spinach puree, and bell peppers. Not sure how it's all going to fit...

Still in the ground awaiting their lucky moment to meet the family are 2 yummy varieties of potatoes (German Butterlings and a buttery fingerling), carrots, beets, and the rest of our onions.

Above ground we have 4 different types of lettuces, swiss chard, collard greens, and kale as well as broccoli, rhubarb, and acorn squash.

But this weekend, we were seeing red. About 200 pounds of tomatoes - half red and ready - were harvested last weekend and on this rainy, slushy day after an invigorating 5 mile run, we spent the day blanching, peeling, and cooking down the yummiest looking puree. To our tomato blend we added oregano and basil and onions from our herb patch...the whole concoction grown in our back yard. I LOVE IT!! We'll can it later today.

For weeks we have often had lunches and dinners that were totally acquired locally - goat cheese I made from our sweet friend's goat milk we get each week and sun-dried tomatoes (from our garden), on a huge salad or an egg omelet with eggs from our friend's goat farm, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, onions and herbs from our garden. Or our favorite - fresh tomatoes on top of an olive oil brushed pizza crust with our homemade goat cheese and tons of garden veggies to top it off. The best pizza I truly have ever had - and I grew up eating Chicago pizza, living in the burbs of the windy city.

So my little princess sprout said today, "It's so fun to store up food for winter! Mommy, are the stores closing this winter?"

Friday, October 2, 2009

What to do about the Swine Flu

We are doing pretty much everything listed in this article so I thought it'd be a perfect thing to share on this blog. Lots of great ideas in here.
Summer is over and the question I am being asked most frequently in my practice is, "what do I do about Swine flu?" My patients are wondering whether or not they should get vaccinated and the simple answer I give most of the time is ..NO!

From what you may have read, you might think that the swine flu vaccine is the answer to swine flu. Unfortunately this is not true and until we know that the vaccine is safe, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to most of my patients.

From the outset, let me say, I am not anti all vaccinations, rather I am pro vaccine safety and freedom of choice.

This is why am I not recommending the swine flu vaccine

1) At this stage, for the most part the swine flu seems benign.

Over a million people in the US have already come down with swine flu, many of them without even knowing that they had it. The vast majority of people who get the swine flu recover after a week or so of high fever, aches, and respiratory distress. It's not pleasant, but except in rare circumstances, it is not fatal. Most people who've been infected by swine flu think so little of it, they believe they just had a really bad cold or a regular flu. So unless the swine flu evolves to a much more virulent form, there's no need for mass vaccination.

2) We don't know if the vaccine will be effective.

Vaccines are only useful against the specific viral strain that was available at the time of their manufacture. But influenza viruses mutate quickly, and as the WHO has already said, the real concern with H1N1 swine flu is that it will combine with seasonal flu in the Fall, creating a new strain that will of course be immune to all available vaccines.

3) We don't know if the vaccine is safe.

The FDA has authorized an expedited approval process for the swine flu vaccine but we don't know yet if it is safe. Even GlaxoSmithKline, one of the vaccine manufacturers has said, "The total population studied in clinical trials will be limited, due to the need to provide the vaccine to governments as quickly as possible. Additional studies will therefore be required and conducted after the vaccine is made available."

In other words, the only thing that is safe, is to say that no one knows. Since it's never been used before and they have not had time to conduct any sufficient human testing, by getting vaccinated you are being a human guinea pig.

4) Vaccine manufacturers have been insulated from liability by the government.

The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has granted legal immunity not only to the makers of the 2 drugs being used to treat swine flu, Tamiflu and Relenza, but also to the swine flu vaccine makers, for damages due to their use against swine flu. By effectively manipulating the legal system, the Pharmaceutical Industry through their powerful lobbyists have acquired almost complete and total insulation from any liability for their vaccines and adjuvants, which are additives added to generate a stronger immune response. It is believed that it is these adjuvants which often cause the problems. The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu was in 1976. Thousands filed claims for side effects such as paralysis caused by the vaccine and a number of people died. I am sure that the researchers know more now than they did last time and no one can say for certain that bad things will happen again or that you will suffer dire consequences if you get vaccinated. But this time you have no legal recourse even though this vaccine involves new factors, which makes it therefore experimental and unpredictable.

By shielding the manufacturers from any responsibility for any harm caused, the pharmaceutical firms have no financial incentive to make the safest product. In fact, they have a negative incentive to test it for safety, because if they are aware of problems, then they could potentially be held liable for willful misconduct.

Instead I advise my patients to build up and strengthen their immune systems to prevent viral infections.

Here are my top 10 recommendations:

1) Optimize your vit D level

Adequate levels of Vitamin D are essential for our immune systems to function optimally. Unfortunately there are no significant dietary sources of Vitamin D, most of our intake comes from exposure to sunlight. If you live far from the equator, you simply don't get enough sun through Fall and Winter to make all the vitamin D you need. So unless you supplement during this period, your innate immunity will be compromised. Vitamin D plays such a crucial role in so many aspects of your body's functioning, that supplementing with it makes sense whether you decide to get the flu shot or not.

We know that influenza always gets worse during the winter months. Now there is good evidence to suggest that this is because as sunlight hours lessen during the winter, the people living in the northern hemisphere become vitamin D deficient and are susceptible to influenza infections of all kinds. Here's a great article available at NIH pertaining to this topic.

There is also some evidence that supplementation with a sufficient amount of vitamin D can help to prevent the onset of a flu or cold.

The current recommendations from the Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine: from 200 to 600 IU/day depending on one's age, are way too low. These values were originally chosen because they were found to prevent osteomalacia (bone softening) and rickets. It is now recognized that vitamin D has many additional physiological functions, for which these levels are totally inadequate. A number of scientists are therefore calling for the Food and Nutrition Board in the U.S. and its counterparts abroad to reassess their current recommendations.

To optimize your vit D levels, you will need to

  • Take at least 2,000 IU of a Vitamin D3 supplement daily.
  • Get your 25 hydroxy Vitamin D level checked by your doctor (if that is not an option, you can self test your level with ZRT labs)

Although the current normal range is between 20 and 50ng/ml, this is much too low for optimal health. You want your level to be between 50 and 70ng/ml. This is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu!! It may require a number of months taking 5,000 to 10,000 IU of Vit D3 daily (especially during winter) under a doctor's supervision, to optimize your blood level. Monitor your 25 hydroxy vitamin D status every 3 months until you are in the optimal range, then cut back to a maintenance dose of at least 2,000 IU a day.

2) Get adequate sleep, this is an indispensable requirement for a strong immune system.

3) Get adequate exercise, this keeps you robust.

4) Take actions to lower your stress levels

Do breathing exercises, meditate, practice yoga, spend time doing something that makes you happy. Feeling spent, overwhelmed, and/or mentally run down has a causal relationship to your physical health.

5) Wash your hands frequently but not excessively

It decreases your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap because of the risk of creating resistant bacteria. Rather use a simple chemical-free soap.

6) Avoid sugar and processed foods as they decrease your immune function dramatically.

7) Eat phytonutrient rich meals (lots of colorful salads and dark greens)

8) Eat lots of garlic, it works as a broad spectrum antibiotic.

9) Take a probiotic daily (look for one with 10-20 billion organisms).

A strong immune system relies heavily on having a strong foundation in the gut.

10) Keep a supply of antiviral herbal supplements on hand.

As opposed to antiviral drugs, antiviral herbs do not cause resistant strains because they are multifaceted and contain literally thousands of different medicinal compounds. Thus they are able to attack viruses with a full spectrum of synergistic substances. Andrographis, Olive leaf extract, Grapefruit seed extract and Elderberry extract, all have antiviral properties. Use one or a combination of some of them as a prophylactic measure, for ex.whenever you travel (airports) or enter a potentially compromised environment such as a large office, auditorium, stadium, theater etc.

And if you really want to go all out, here are 4 more tips:

11) Take 1-2 grams of fish oils daily, its beneficial for immune function.

12) Take 2 grams of Vitamin C daily, yes it does help.

13) Stock your home pharmacy with an immune building formula.

Look for one that contains Cordyceps and Astragulus. Take it throughout the flu season.

14) Keep homeopathic Oscillococcinum on hand

Take it at the earliest sign of a cold or flu. Early intervention is essential. If you are exposed to someone with the flu directly, you can take one dose twice a day for two days. You can also take one vial once a week throughout the winter, and two or three times a week during flu season, as a preventative measure.

Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC a center whose emphasis is on preventive health care and patient education. His personal blend of Western and Eastern Medicine combined with the many other complimentary modalities he has studied, has helped thousands of people recover their energy and zest for life. He is the author of the recent SPENT: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again (2009) and Total Renewal; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).