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What’s Robbing YOUR Immune System?


By Christy Begien,  Christy’s Non Toxic Lifestyle

Is it possible that we can be exercising, taking supplements, eating pretty healthy, constantly washing our hands and STILL getting sick? All around me people are sick. I hear people asking “How is it that I’m doing all the right things and I’m still getting sick?” What’s up with that?

We depend on our immune systems to keep us healthy. But then, maybe we’re doing (or not doing) things that make our immune systems struggle to keep us healthy.  Our choices impact our quality of life, especially as we roll into a time of year with colder weather, food and lifestyle changes as we prepare for the holidays.

I know where my “immune system robbers” are, do you? Read on for more info and suggestions to help us all make better choices and give our immune systems a leg up!

  • Did you know that our gut wall houses 70% of the cells that make up our immune system?
  • Digestive issues can cause allergies, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, mood disorders, dementia and even cancer?
  • When you add junk food, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, acid blocking drugs, other medications and steroids,  you can end up with a gut that can’t perform optimally.
Want More Info and Suggestions/Tips?

Maureen West, a local Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner wrote a wonderful educational piece on gut health as a guest blogger for me last year. To read this post, click here.

Refined White Sugar

With all good intentions, let’s say you start your day with some low-fat yogurt, then eat a healthy salad with ranch dressing for lunch, and have a granola bar for an afternoon snack. By the time you reach dinner you’ve already consumed enough sugar to impact your immune system in a big way.

  • Researchers are now predicting that in the coming years they will learn that the effects of refined sugar on the body may be as harmful as tobacco.
  • Another study shows that one, yes ONE teaspoon of refined sugar has been shown to depress the immune system for up to 4 hours!
  • Studies also show that low-fat yogurt contains more sugar than ice cream; and many dressings made with mayonnaise contain high fructose corn syrup (which mimics refined sugar) and a regular size granola bar can contain more sugar than a block of sugar. (Sarah Wilson-“I Quit Sugar”)

Want More Info and Suggestions/Tips?

Here’s a list of 22 popular health bars ranked by sugar content. Click here for the list! If you missed my post on boosting your immune system, click here.

While it’s a serious challenge to totally eliminate all refined sugar from our diets, I love Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook, with 108 Sugar-Free Recipes! I also like her tips for sweetener alternatives. She believes in food that tastes great in addition to being healthy. Sarah also includes lots of easy to read information and a complete eight-week refined sugar detox program. What’s not to like here? Click the book’s link to order from Amazon.


We hear about stress all the time but do we really “get” how damaging it is to our immune system? Perhaps we all need to get more serious about habitual stress “management” practices for our health and ourselves.

  • More and more studies are showing a mind-body connection, especially when it comes to stress.
  • Stress affects every one in every age group who deal with loneliness, depression and overloaded lives.
  • Stress and a depressed immune system can cause heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and other physical ailments.
Want More Info and Suggestions/Tips?

Here’s a link to my post on stress. Click here.


Did you know that:

  • Chronic allergies can make it hard for your immune system to bounce back?
  • A constant runny nose triggers the immune system to respond to a harmless allergen. And when it’s constantly doing that, it isn’t performing optimally.

Solutions: Want More Info?

To combat fall allergies, click here. And for spring allergies, click here.


Studies show not getting enough sleep can really impact one’s immune system. With the daylight savings change just around the corner, I talk to people who struggle for a week or two when making this adjustment. And then there are those who deal with chronic insomnia. Not good.

  • Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
  • According to Harvard Medical School, for people with hypertension, one night without enough sleep can cause elevated blood pressure all through the next day.
  • Sleep deprivation can also cause: cognitive dysfunction, memory problems, depression, weight gain and accidents.
Want More Info and Suggestions/Tips?

For some great sleep strategies, click here.

Being Too Clean

We’ve all being reading and hearing about the fact that our too clean environments are actually working against us.

  • We need to be exposed to some dirt and bacteria in our lives so that our immune systems can function properly.
  • It’s good to wash with soap and water but let’s be aware not to overdo it with the anti-bacterial cleaning products out there.
  • Young children in particular need to be exposed to some dirt ad bacteria so that their immune systems can develop the proper antibodies to fight them off.
Want More Info and Suggestions/Tips?

Click here for some great information!

Okay, so let’s all keep up our good habits of washing hands frequently and avoiding those who are sick. And let’s all commit to not letting these 6 top “robbers” negatively drain our immune systems! I may even go the distance and really quit all sugar one of these days!

Christy is a Colorado native who returned to Denver five years ago after living on the East Coast for 25 years. She’s a 10-year breast cancer survivor and researcher, passionate about finding new, everyday, simple changes one can make to stay healthy. She’s lived single motherhood, is currently happily married and has worked full-time over the years. She also loves family time, her treasured friendships, photography, reading, gardening, cooking, volunteering and travel. She is certified in Feng Shui and recently completed Reiki level I training. You can learn more about Christy on her website: Christy’s Non Toxic Lifestyle.


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