It happened every year, after an exhausting 24 hour car ride (driven in the middle of the night so the kids could sleep) we would arrive at grandma's house and eat dozens upon dozens of sugary Christmas cookies. It was my grandma’s sugar cookie recipe and it was a Christmas tradition. We would eat them the whole time we were there. Inevitably, someone in the house would get sick and then it would spread through the grandkids and adults. Sickens during the holidays became a tradition too.We just thought it was because we were all in close proximity to each other and spreading germs. Those cookies were so addictive that we couldn’t stop eating them. My husband told me that one night he was tired and sleepy and not hungry but he still dragged himself to the kitchen and had another sugar cookie. These cookies were covered in sprinkles and they would fall off, so he ate them over the trash can as to not get them on the carpet. Good lord, it was crazy.
Fast forward many years, and I now know why we got sick.
There is a fact that you may not know about your body’s immune system:
EATING ANY KIND OF SUGAR HAS THE POTENTIAL TO REDUCE YOUR BODY’S DEFENSES BY 75% OR MORE FOR FOUR TO SIX HOURS.
This is the reason my family always got sick at Christmas. We had way too much sugar during the holidays and it lowered our immune system’s ability to keep us well. Let’s talk about this in regards to vitamin C. In the 1970’s, Dr. Linus Pauling (one of the greatest researchers in the field of microbiology) discovered that vitamin C helps the body combat the common cold. But what he also found was how sugar can do the opposite.
So it’s not a great idea, and especially if you’re sick, to eat any kind of sugar, because the white blood cells can’t get past the sugar to do their job. So this is why we all got sick every Christmas. Our bodies lost their superpower strength to keep us healthy because we were eating so much sugar and crashing our immune system again and again.
Want to avoid getting sick? In addition to washing your hands frequently and staying warm (mom was right ... bring a sweater; viruses thrive in cold weather) perhaps the best way to prevent illness is to avoid eating excess sugar. Sugar weakens the immune system.
There are certain times of the year when you need to strengthen your inner micro-biome and the holidays is one of those times.
Look at these great holiday inspired ferments: