Health Column: Surviving a zombie apocalypse
INTEGRATE YOUR HEALTH
Free Press Health Columnist
Monday, Nov. 10
“Cleanse & Detox”
Monday, Nov. 24
6 p.m. at the IMC
RSVP to 970-245-6011
Imagine the world, as we know it, has ended. A bokor sorcerer has brought forth zombies … lots of mangy, filthy, smelly, hungry, zombies… The ensuing catastrophe has wiped out all the services we rely upon, and you wake to find no electricity, lights, phones, or heat. Other than gasoline in your tank, there is no more fuel, thus no transportation. Looted grocery stores are empty. Even the water to your tap is dry.
The first and most important resource is your attitude, having the will to survive. Under the circumstances, consider a little motivational theme music that you might sing to inspire your fellow comrades. Let’s say… “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, or maybe “Stayin’ Alive” courtesy of the BeeGees. Now you’ve got the survival mojo going.
The most pressing items on your to-do list are food and water. Unless you like organ meats, you are out of luck. So you and a gang of neighbors head out to scrounge. Carrots would be a good find, since they help with night vision. Or maybe garlic, although zombies might not recoil like vampires. In our mostly rural area, you should find orchards, gardens, and the occasional wild critter. Fresh, whole foods and wild game — so far, so good.
With any luck, you’ll make it to the river for water. The infectious diseases that you’ll get from the water typically take days to weeks to cause illness, so you’ll be OK for a while. Maybe you planned ahead and have a water filter.
Hopefully, you’ve been exercising, especially the aerobic, cardiovascular type since you’ll need to run from zombies. Strength training will come in handy as well as you might need to dig a survival shelter or climb a tree to escape the horde.
Infectious diseases are going to be rampant, what with the zombie remains, unclean water, and no sewage systems. Maybe you can rustle up a bar of soap or you may already have some alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your camping supplies. If you have a N95 face mask that would be mighty convenient, but most will have to make do with a piece of cloth or bandana to filter out the scourge. Only the few, the lucky, will have the rare Tyvek personal protection suit. Of course that will just make them a slow moving target for the zombies, so maybe that’s not as desirable.
Burning tires, wood scraps and refuse will also fill the air with plumes of noxious smoke, along with toxins in the unclean water, so your detoxification systems will be on overload. To counter this you’ll need to forage for foods that help you detox. Fasting is a good way to mobilize toxins so you’ll have that covered. The raw, plant-based foods you’ll be forced to mostly eat will provide the high fiber your gut needs to stay clear, which is step one in detox. In support of the second part of healthy detox, look for liver loving foods such as greens, cruciferous and root veggies.
Stress will kill more people than zombies, so consider how to support your adrenal gland and the output of the stress hormone, cortisol. Acutely, high cortisol will help save your life by increasing blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, and arousal. That will be good to combat the zombies.
In the long run though, the chronic elevation of cortisol will not help you, leading to breakdown of muscle and impaired output of other hormones such as thyroid and testosterone. This will give the zombies an advantage! If you survive long enough, it will eventually lead to accumulation of fat around the midsection, insulin resistance, artery disease, brittle bones, and more.
If you’re able to escape the zombies, and find food, water and shelter, then you should rest in order to allow your adrenal gland time to recuperate. Getting plenty of sleep will help, as well as focused relaxation. Consider the singing advice again — music helps lower cortisol. Meditate and forget about the zombies at least long enough to let your system recharge. If you can rest the adrenals, you’ll be better prepared to fight another day.
SERIOUSLY NOW …
OK, so the zombie apocalypse isn’t likely to happen soon, although it is election season … But seriously, for a real survival situation, plan ahead! Anyone can stock up on a few items that can make a life or death difference in times of need. Have a supply of food and water or the means to filter water. Don’t forget personal hygiene supplies. Consider a backup power supply and some fuel. (Have you thought about how you would stay warm, and do you have lighting when the power goes out?)
In an emergency, communication lines could be gone so a two-way personal radio system is a good idea. Self-defense may be necessary as well, so consider what you need to defend yourself and your loved ones. Think about a first-aid kit as well as tools and supplies. You might also investigate putting together a “bug-out” bag of supplies to grab in case you needed to urgently leave your home.
For now, focus on what it takes to be well and stay well. Have the right attitude to make good choices, eat healthy, drink plenty of pure water, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, manage stress, avoid toxins, and support your detox systems. Seek knowledgeable advice on nutritional supplements for which there is evidence of safety and efficacy, and get help with hormone deficiencies or imbalances. If you prepare, and you are well, you’ll be ready, and that’s not spooky.
GJ Free Press health columnist Scott Rollins, M.D., is board certified with the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia and other complex medical conditions. He is founder and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (www.imcwc.com) and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www.bellezzalaser.com). Call 970-245-6911 for appointments or more information.
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