I can’t remember when I had my last flu shot. Probably fifteen or twenty years ago. Does that explain why I had a bout with the swine flu in November of 2009? Since I never went to the doctor, I’m not sure if it was the swine flu, although an RN told me after the fact that my reported symptoms would suggest that it was.
So why did I get the swine flu in 2009 and would I have gotten it had I taken the flu shot? The answer to both questions is the same: I have no idea. But what I do know is that flu and colds simply haven’t been a problem for me since I began strengthening my immune system by eating at the 4Leaf level—deriving over 80% of my daily calories from whole, plant-based foods, still in nature’s package.
Before I began eating a near-optimal diet in 2002, I would typically have colds (or flu) about three or four times per year. And, like everyone else, I would get some throat lozenges, a bottle of cold medicine and would sometimes visit a physician to get some kind of medication for the fever.
Nowadays, when I occasionally feel a cold coming on (typically less than one a year), I simply get some rest, drink plenty of liquids, eat lots of fruits and veggies and not worry a bit about the fever. And, it’s usually gone in a few days.
My conclusion about flu shots. For me, it’s a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And what I have doing since 2002 seems to be working fine for me. I also know that all drugs are toxic—containing ingredients that our body does not need. I just learned while researching for this blog that the typical flu shot contains some formaldehyde, mercury and aluminum—all of which my body most certainly does not need.
My bottom line is that I have chosen to follow the advice of the plant-based savvy medical doctors featured in Chapter One of our book. As Dr. Joel Fuhrman says in the article cited below:
The most effective artillery we have to protect ourselves against the potential damaging effects of influenza and other infectious disease is nutritional excellence. Micronutrients—meaning vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals—fuel various clever host defense mechanisms…
Does that mean one should never get a flu shot? No, it’s not that simple. For more information, read on and check out the various links provided below.
What do the experts say?
It all depends on who you ask. When it comes to almost any medical condition that I might experience, my first conversation will always be with a medical doctor who truly “gets it” about food and how our food choices are responsible for over 80% of our diseases. I may later visit a specialist, but I will always start with the generalist that knows about the power of plant-based nutrition. Sadly, there aren’t that many of them.
But that scarcity of enlightened physicians is beginning to resolve itself as more people become interested in eating a health-promoting diet. With the mayor of Chicago now providing incentives for all of the city’s employees, and with other mayors hopefully following his lead, there may soon be a swelling demand for more plant-based savvy medical doctors. Take a look at what Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Dr. John McDougall have to say.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Here is an excerpt from an excellent 2005 piece by Dr. Joel Fuhrman that that includes a great deal of information about flu in general. Toward the end of the article, he provided specific information about flu shots and flu treatments, such as Tamiflu.
Flu vaccines have benefits and risks too. If you read about the flu vaccine in the information supplied by the manufacturer you will learn it contains formaldehyde and 25 micrograms of thimersol (mercury) per dose, used as a preservative. The injection of even this small amount of mercury repeatedly year after year from multiple vaccines can cause neurotoxicity (brain damage). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Public Health Service have issued a joint statement calling for the removal of mercury from vaccines. Chronic low dose mercury exposures may cause subtle neurological abnormalities that rear their head later in life.
Considering all the vaccines that children get already, adding the flu to the mix and giving it each year, is something I am not ready to recommend in healthy children, fed a nutritionally sound diet. That does not mean I would not recommend it to an elderly person or one with a reason for compromised immune function. Full article: Six Steps to Protect Your Family from Avian Flu
Dr. John McDougall. Of all the plant-based savvy medical doctors that I know, Dr. McDougall is one of the best at providing reliable medical advice over a broad spectrum of ailments. He throughly investigates everything he recommends and provides detailed references if you’d like to do your own research. Here is an expert from his November 2006 Newsletter (See link below for the full article):
I am often asked whether or not I recommend getting a “flu” shot. I have changed my opinion on this many times over my thirty-five years of medical practice and I reserve the right to change my opinion again in the future. As a young doctor in the late 1970s, I ran a general practice during a time when an epidemic of swine flu was predicted—but that viral infection never occurred. However, two of my patients developed permanent paralysis below the waist after immunization with the swine flu vaccine, and some people believe that was not a coincidence. This left me no longer recommending flu shots.
Where do I now stand? For several years I personally did get a flu shot, but the last two I have not. I now recommend that people who are old and frail err on the side of getting their annual flu shot, because complications, such as pneumonia, from a bout of influenza could easily be fatal. I worry that many people believe the flu shot will protect them from getting a very deadly viral disease known as avian (bird) flu—this is not true. I also think it is long overdue for the pharmaceutical companies to start making safer vaccines, without the aluminum and mercury. Full article: Research Fails to Support Flu Shots Value.
My new MD Help Page. Want to speak to a “plant-based savvy” medical doctor before making the decision about flu shots for you and your family? Sadly, 95% of our medical doctors are not aware of the power of plant-based nutrition to prevent or reverse many chronic diseases.
If you’d like professional help in planning your flu strategy with a medical doctor who truly “gets it” about food, you may wish to visit our MD Help page and schedule a telephone consultation with one of the MDs listed there.
For your convenience, here are links to a few of my source articles that you might find helpful:
- Getting the flu shot? Think twice. Examiner article (Peggy Kraus) November 2011
- Phytochemicals essential for immune function (Another Kraus article referenced in the first article)
- Flu and Nutrition: Dr. Fuhrman Responds to Comments
- Kathy Freston: Flu Season: Factory Farming Could Cause A …
- The Flu Vaccine: What You Need to Know
As for vaccines and immunizations in general, you might find this 2-minute video from Dr. John McDougall helpful.
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation