flu shot or not?

flu shot or not?

I never questioned my mother as to why I had to be vaccinated. There was this and that to prevent this and that;  I did not look forward to them. Vaccines are a huge subject, and flu shots are among the latest kids on the bloc. The haunting question remains: do we really need them?

Going into my 55th birthday, I still get colds every once in a while. I used to think, when I was younger and not so much into “health” that having a cold was a sign of weakness, something to bury deep into my body and to never show up again, I mean never!!!…  I was not going to let that cold put me down! And I pushed and pushed toward a long and slow recovery, exhausting my immune system.

I would get sick again, of course going through the same process of not listening to the warnings. Eventually, going that road, you might consider a flu shot, as your body’s resistance gets exhausted, or you might take some other drugs and cold medicines to do the same thing, bury the cold deep into your body to never resurface again. Don’t we like to do that with all diseases, finding the miracle drug or the miracle cure;

Yet, while we are accustomed to take all kinds of drugs, we see that more and more people are dying of  diseases, cancers, heart attacks, flu etc… And we are becoming weaker, more dependent everyday on the new pills and vaccines that will solve all problems, so we do not have to change our ways!!!…

From birth, a lot of us  are taught not to express our emotions, our feelings. We keep  them inside well hidden and every time they show up, we bury them a little deeper, looking at it as a sign of weakness, shame.

Later on, we continue doing the same thing, accumulating layers and layers of repressed felling that will eventually define who we are. We treat sickness and disease the same way, burying and burying till they get us buried, never fully alive, never showing any sign of weakness.

We have learned through psychoanalysis that repressed fillings must come to the surface, be expressed fully before we can hope to live a normal happy life.

Energetically, Chinese Mededicine has treated diseases using the clever method of yin and yang, contraction and expansion to understand diseases, and the flu is not an exception…

Getting a cold is nothing more than an expression of the body wanting to clear itself of accumulated toxins, mucous, and excesses of all kinds. If we are in tune with our body and have a good strong immune system, we will facilitate this process by helping the phlegm to move upward  and out of the body.

From that perspective, resting is the first order of things, allowing the immune system to do its thing.  Then, we need to avoid foods that keep the energy down and stuck

So, for helping our body to heal from a cold, we need to avoid heavy foods like fried foods, grains or oils;  avoid drying foods like breads and crakers, mucous forming like dairy or refined sugar; contracting like very salt; cold like salads and raw.

We need to favor foods that are light, moistening and get the energy moving upward like miso soup (light on the miso!)  with vegetable broth and scallions, steamed greens. We might even do a short fast to help the process with plenty of herbal tea. We need to eat light, using pungent vegetables like onions, scallions, daikons, ginger….all the ones that open your nose. Mustard plaster on the chest is an old folk remedy for cough.

Fall fruit like apples and pears are also good. Cook them whole or make a juice from cooking the fruit. The commercial juices are usually too concentrated and sugary, so if you use the, cut them with 1/2 water.

You might also help with simple medicine like kuzu drinks, ginger bath, and chinese herbs to strengthen your immune system… But I will let Liliane tell you more about that.

soooo!… flu shots or not? well it all depends on  you, what kind of health you wish to achieve (both mental and physical).

I have made my choice. I no longer regard a cold as a sign of weakness but an opportunity to expand my awareness, clear my body of accumulated flegm, recharge and hopefully learn a thing or two about my buried emotions; and I know that the flu shot is not the solution.  I choose health over disease, expression over repression, liberty over dependence…..



-1 cup diced daikon (and carrots, optional)

-2 cups of water

-1 tsp of wakame

-1 or 2 tsp of miso ( I like a combo of white and rice miso, but feel free to experiment with others)

*Place the veggies, wakame and water in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer 10- 15 mn or till the vegetables are tender.s

Use some of the hot broth to dissolve the miso. Add back into the pot( do not bring back to a boil to make sure you keep the enzymes alive.

serve hot and sprinkle some scallions.

* You can add some ginger to that, or strain the vegetables and just drink the broth…


place a whole ripe pear (washed) in a pot of boiling water or in a steam basket over boiling water.  Do not get the skin off  (they should preferably be organic and local). Let them cook till they are soft but not falling apart ( 10 to 15 mn). Check with the tip of a knife, it should be tender to the touch. Let cool just enough so that it does not burn your tongue and enjoy!! it should be sweet, soft and soothing to the throat and inflamed lungs and bronchi.

Be well and bon appetit!


Flu shot or no Flu Shot?…that is the question

This is a loaded question. We live more and more in fear of disease and viruses.

In the end, it is a personal choice and I do hope that the government or the general state of health lets it be a personal choice.

There have been, in my opinion, some very troubling questions and associations between neurological disorders (Guillaim Barre Syndrome) and vaccines. It does not help that vaccine pharmaceutical companies are seeking to be exempt from lawsuits. What do we know at this point about the effects of vaccines year after year? we also know that, very often, the flu strains change so that the vaccines might not be effective. I remember the dismay of my mother a couple of years ago when she got the flu instead of her flu shot.

On the other hand, people have such weakened immune systems and some viruses are so virulent (Avian Flu), that it is easy to understand the fear, especially among elderly people, for those living or working in confined spaces like schools, prisons or nursing homes.

However, no matter what our choice is, wouldn’t it make sense to first find out why our systems are so weakened, why there is more and more resistance to antibiotics and new strains of viruses appearing? The danger with repeated vaccinations is that our immune systems get weaker and weaker and that we might get even more exposed to a different type of virus. Vaccination is not a guarantee that we will not get sick. Already, there are many questions about what the side effects of vaccines and, as time goes on, we might discover like we often do, ten years or twenty years later that the road taken is not a safe one.

Our immune system is directly related to the quality of our blood, to the oxygenation of our lungs and, therefore to our food and lifestyle. We need to strengthen our lung system, take care of our elimination so that toxins do not get trapped in our body.

The easy part is that the “culprits”, when it comes to disease, are always the same: dairy products (especially for lung), sugar, fried foods and meat that create fat, “Damp” conditions and excess mucous.

Brisk walks in the crisp autumn air are a great way to get our blood moving and get rid of excess.

In the fall, we need to do what the trees are doing: get rid of what is unnecessary, take more time for rest and meditation, go inward and center our energy. Good warm soups, good light spices like ginger and aromatic herbs to open our nose and help us breathe (aromatherapy is great in the fall! nothing like peppermint essential oil to clear a foggy head!)

There are many classes and events about health around town. There is a monthly macrobiotic potluck to help you discover and appreciate healthy food. There are also plenty of Chinese Medicine practitioners (I am one of them) and various modalitites to guide you on the way to health, recommend healing foods and herbal remedies for your condition and immune system, clear those nagging sinus problems and allergies that indicate a compromised immune system.

Fall is a great time to study and deepen your knowledge of your own body.

Vaccine or no vaccine…we need to take charge of our health. Nobody can do it for us. We need to listen to our bodies and help strengthen ourselves.

About Changing Seasons

Changing Seasons Personal Chef service offered by Chef Didier Cuzange. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offered by Dr. Liliane Papin. Serving Western North Carolina in the Asheville, NC area. Blog posts about vegan cooking, acupuncture & macrobiotics.

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