Let’s face it, all life comes from the sun. The sun, our galaxy’s special star, is a mega-giant nuclear reactor burning hydrogen and gasses to create all the life energy on Earth. When our planet is tilting toward the sun we enjoy summer and the world comes alive. All plants respond by springing forth into life and, through photosynthesis, convert the sun’s rays into oxygen and energy. During these warm months we enjoy the energy of summer, the longer days and the fertility of life all around us.
. . . Then winter comes . . . and the earth tilts away from the sun, resulting in smaller amounts of energy received and a period of hibernation. The leaves fall off, the temperature falls and most animals either hibernate or migrate.
From an evolutionary perspective, humans are no different. Since the beginning of time, those of us that lived in the far north or south had to find ways to survive the winter. We would store food and fatten ourselves up in the fall, then we would use up these reserves during the winter until the world would once again come alive.
The problem in today’s world is that we don’t rest during the winter months, and most people have no nutritional reserves from which to pull. When our nutritional reserves are depleted, we naturally slow down. Our brains slow down and many of us feel negative emotions like anger, sadness and depression. Then our metabolism slows down and we gain weight. Then our movement slows down and we accumulate metabolic acids, which make us inflamed.
Sadly, this has become iconic in today’s hard-wired culture of “busy-ness”, and we don’t slow down in the winter like we metabolically should. This has become so acute in our society that we have what’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and today, the third Monday in January, has even been dubbed “Blue Monday,” which is statistically the saddest day of the year.
To not only survive this winter, but to THRIVE, we need a winning strategy.
Three Keys to Avoiding Seasonal Affective Disorder
#1 – Vitamin D
The first thing we need to address is Vitamin D, which is literally liquid sun. Our main source of Vitamin D is – you guessed it – the sun. The Vitamin D in the sun’s rays is then chemically altered, with the help of cholesterol, to be absorbed by the blood stream and put to good use.
Our second primary source of Vitamin D is eating healthy animals that are wild or grass-fed, as they’re also absorbing Vitamin D from the sun the same way we are.
Without enough Vitamin D, you can’t absorb the amounts of calcium or phosphorous necessary for whole body health, your hormonal system can’t work and your immune system is hopelessly impaired. Vitamin D helps protect your body from osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and a host of other disease; but according to government statistics, at least 40% of Americans are deficient.
Studies associate Low Vitamin D with:
- At least 16 different types of cancer
- Depression and a host of mental illnesses
- Osteoporosis and osteopenia
- Weight gain and obesity
- Autoimmune diseases
- High blood pressure
- Birth defects
- Chronic fatigue
- Fibromyalgia and chronic pain
- Skin diseases like acne, psoriasis and excess
I could go on and literally name nearly every disease in the book, because our bodies need the right fats to function for so many reasons. It’s essential to have enough of this fat-soluble vitamin to help regulate minerals in the body. In fact, it’s impossible to properly absorb and utilize minerals without sufficient fats. Our hormone system, nervous system, immune system and vascular system all depend on it.
How Much do we need?
Most studies show you want to get your Vitamin D levels between 50-100 ng/ml. This means that most of us who are deficient need be taking at least 10,000 IUs per day through the winter. The body uses at least 4,000 IUs daily just being alive. If you’re feeling SAD, it’s best to at least double what the body needs. Clearly, however, the best way to determine Vitamin D levels is getting a blood test.
Be warned: Do NOT just head over to your family doctor or the nearest drug store and pick up Vitamin D off the shelf. According to Dr. Mercola, “Drisdol is a synthetic form of vitamin D2—made by irradiating fungus and plant matter—and is the form of vitamin D typically prescribed by doctors.”3
This is not what you want in your body. Make sure you get Vitamin D that is emulsified in fat for absorbability, like the Vitamin D found in our online store.
Ye be warned.
#2 – Exercise
Our cells eat and poop just like us – that’s just a fact of life. They eat vitamins, minerals and oxygen, and poop out metabolic acids that need to be removed. Exercise is essential for this system to work.
First, exercise makes us breathe heavier and our heart pump harder, which helps saturate our bodies with oxygen. The movement of our chest and limbs is literally pumping our lymphatic system.
Without this movement and then the natural expelling of acids through our lungs and kidneys, we become acidic. This acid makes us inflamed and lowers the oxygen concentrations in our body. As we become more highly acidic we feel worse in every possible way, especially in terms of our mental health.
The studies are VERY clear: Walking 30 minutes per day has a significant effect on depression.1 One study even showed that walking just 30 minutes three times per week can lower depression by as much as 50%.2
Weston A. Price, a world-renowned dentist who traveled the world in the 1920s and 30s to study traditional cultures and their diets, included ‘sedentary lifestyle’ as a “disease of modern commerce.” For example: nowadays we can flip out our iPhone and Chinese food’s delivered to the door 30 minutes later. No preparation required. No need to walk to the barn and milk the cow, or go dig up a potato, or hunt down a wild hog.
Today, it’s the drive-thru window.
We are not meant to sit all day. Our bodies are designed to move. Sitting is the new smoking and it’s destructive. If you want to be healthy, just MOVE. I like to tell my patients, “Movement is life. Only upon death does movement stop.” I don’t need to tell you this – you already know it. Time and again, studies prove that healthy people move, and unhealthy people don’t.
I’m a fan of movement trackers. Want to feel good? Take 10,000 steps per day. Don’t stop till you get there. The more you move, the more you infuse oxygen and happiness to every cell of your body :).
#3 – Avoid Sugar
Sugar is the most destructive substance on Earth, while ironically being totally socially acceptable. If most parents knew what sugar was doing to their children they would never feed it to their kids.
Sugar is a magnet: It grabs all the oxygen, nutrition and minerals in your body and literally pulls them out. It shuts off your “feel-full” hormone (leptin) and your fat-burning hormone called glucagon.
If you put a glass of Coke or Pepsi into 10 gallons of water, the pH will drop from 7.8 (alkaline) to 4.6 (acid) immediately. Now compare that to our blood: The blood’s pH stands consistently at 7.2. If the pH swings a couple of points either way, death is certain. However, even if you drink 10 Cokes a day, the four to five liters of blood in our body must be maintained at 7.2. How does the body do this?
The blood’s pH never changes because the body sacrifices every other tissue. A can of Coke doesn’t kill us immediately because our body literally sacrifices minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and other alkaline minerals like chromium in order to buffer sugar’s effects.
Thus, we have the ANTI-nutrient aspect of sugar.
The huge problem here is that these sacrificial minerals are essential for cellular function, relaxation, brain chemistry, bone health and much, MUCH more. Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling stated that every disease can be connected to a mineral deficiency. And sugar is the great robber of minerals.
A 10-year study on 264,000 people that was posted on mercola.com showed that those who drank 4 glasses of soda per day had a 30% higher risk of depression compared to those who did not.
While we’ve focused on soda in this piece, it’s the same for all refined sugar; you cannot achieve optimal health and avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder if you are consuming more than a small amount.
Our approach at Whole Body Health is to get people off all sugar for up to three weeks to “reset” their bodies. We call this the DNA Reset, and it’s a powerful way to reset your health, kick the sugar addiction, pull yourself out of Seasonal Affective Disorder and take back your health.
Winter Blues Relief Kit
Want to really get ahead of the eight ball on Seasonal Affective Disorder? Get our Winter Blues Relief Kit, available TODAY at 20% off! This is a one-of-a-kind supplement kit that’s guaranteed to boost your mood, increase your energy, and knock your winter blues right on their ass.
Want a few more tips on avoiding Seasonal Affective Disorder? Check out my recent appearance on our local station, WKYC: “How to Ward Off the Winter Blues”.