Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Round Up – Sally Cronin

I began this series 10 weeks ago with the aim of offering some strategies to increasing our resilience to disease. Not just Covid-19 but any opportunistic pathogen who feels we might make a good host.

Since then the world has struggled to return to normal, with varying success and a great deal of uncertainty. However, it is becoming clear that the experts can not find a consensus on what will happen next, whether the virus will fizzle out, or come back as a second wave or an annual event.

The fact that the supermarkets have erected permanent perspex barriers for cashiers and service industries such as hairdressing have done the same, seems to indicate that we will need to take precautions to stay infection free for some considerable time to come.

I believe that we need to take responsibility for our own health where possible, and since the majority of modern disease is lifestyle related offers plenty of scope!

What has not changed is our role in what comes next.

Our bodies may have genetic tendencies towards some specific diseases. But the vast majority of health issues are lifestyle related and involve our own decisions about what we eat and drink, how much exercise we take, and what harmful contaminants we ingest or inhale.

I am not guiltless as far as this is concerned and I was 42 years old before I starting taking back control of my body and its health. Twenty-five years on I hope that the changes I made to my diet and lifestyle at that point was enough. At 330lbs with high Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar levels, and high levels of the most unhealthy Low Density Cholesterol, I was told I would be lucky to reach 45 years old.

And if that had been today, it would have put me smack bang in the middle of the most vulnerable to the infection.

As more and more analysis is done on the pandemic and those that were infected and tragically died; risk factors have been more clearly defined. Obesity is very high up on that list.

With any respiratory infection being severely overweight is a risk. When I weighed 330lbs 25 years ago, I could not lie on my back because the weight of the fat on my chest and stomach restricted the movement of my lungs. Just walking made me extremely out of breath, and I was not getting sufficient oxygen into my system.

Other risk factors.

This leads directly into the identified key risk factors for all ages during the pandemic which include obesity, underlying health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory diseases such as COPD and heart conditions. Being deficient in Vitamin D for example has also been included in this list although there has been some doubt raised recently. However, Vitamin D is a very important element of our general health and that of our immune system, and as such it plays a vital role in limiting our susceptibility to infections.

The most at risk members of our society are those over 65 years old, not just because they are more likely to have underlying health issues, but because the human body as it ages goes through some fundamental changes in structure and function.

For example, we are more likely to become less active and our lungs, which are the organs most impacted by a respiratory virus, stiffen and do not have the flexibility to work effectively enough to get rid of the infection.

There is also a likelihood of a suppressed immune system and that can be the result of a deficiency of essential nutrients. This happens when a person begins to eat less due to lack of activity and appetite, but also due to a less efficient digestive system.

More older people have dental issues and opt for foods that are easier to eat and are missing components such as fibre.

Stomach acid may be less and therefore food is not in the right format when it passes into the intestines to have nutrients extracted and passed into the bloodstream.

There is also a severe risk of Vitamin D deficiency in older members of our society who are less active and particularly those who are in care homes who have restricted access to the outside. This risk however, is not limited to the older generation as scientists have identified a high percentage of Covid – 19 patients are deficient in the vitamin.

The majority of men and women over 65 are also on a cocktail of prescribed medication that have side effects such as blood pressure pills, other heart medications and Statins for cholesterol. And whilst you should not stop taking any drugs that have been prescribed for you by your doctor, there is an opportunity that working with them, you could reduce your need for them over time.

One of the key issues facing us as we get older is inflammation within the body and is a result of our own immune system going into overdrive resulting in arthritis, myocarditis – inflammation in the heart resulting in breathing problems, inflammation in the small vessels in the lungs, water retention and in the kidneys resulting in high blood pressure. Inflammation in  the brain is also a cause of memory loss and dementia.

Issues that I covered in Project 101 – Resilience.

The posts encouraged small changes over a period of time to improve both function and resilience of the body so that should you catch a virus, including Covid-19 you are better equipped to fight off the infection.

To back up the posts I created pages of the relevant series such as weight loss that you can read in full should you wish to find out more. This includes the entire Size Matters the Sequel series of 17 Chapters that I have put into one page that you can bookmark and read at your leisure. I also created other pages that I hope will make them easier to access for reference.

Among the topics I covered:

  • Weight loss and some hacks that helped me lose over 150lbs
  • Inflammation in the body and brain one of the leading causes of disease
  • Lung function improvement and how to breathe.
  • Immune system boosting
  • Vitamin D and its vital role in keeping our bodies safe.
  • Exercise – keeping moving and the body functioning.
  • Flexibility – not just in body but in mind.
  • Blood Pressure – we need it to pump blood around our bodies, but too high and it can be dangerous.
  • Type II Diabetes and Pre-diabetes – risk factors that are simple to reverse
  • The Brain – The control centre of the body and it needs to be treated with respect.
  • Stress and its impact on weight and major organs such as the heart.
  • Acidity and Alkalinity in the body and how are creating the perfect environment for pathogens.
  • Candida Albicans

The hopeful outcome of the series.

I cannot promise that if you lose weight, improve your blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes, address inflammation in your body and great a better acidity/alkaline balance in your body that you won’t catch Covid-19… but I do hope it might give you a fighting chance in avoiding serious complications.

If you missed the posts and the pages here is a list that you can dip into at your leisure. I will be putting them together at some point as a book but I hope you will find useful in the meantime.

The Posts.

  1. The start of the project, my story and weight loss part one.
  2. Improving lung function, Weight loss hack – The Power of One
  3. Weight Loss Hack No 2 – Improving lung function No 2,
  4. Chronic Inflammation and the Immune System
  5. Sleep Part One – Weight Loss, Heart function and Immune System
  6. #Sleep Strategies and Music Therapy
  7. Flexibility – An Apple a Day
  8. How much do you get for your 1500 calories
  9. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part One
  10. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Two
  11. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Three
  12. Vitamin D Deficiency Part One
  13. Vitamin D Deficiency Part Two – Getting Sufficient
  14. The importance of a healthy gut (part one)
  15. The importance of a healthy gut (part two) #Candida
  16. The importance of a healthy gut (part three) #Candida

The Pages

Thanks for all the support during the series and I hope that you have found useful. As always your feedback is much appreciated.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020




48 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Round Up – Sally Cronin

  1. I take heart from your own experiences. I have many of the at-risk factors and will make a more concerted effort now. Thanks so much, Sally, for sharing your knowledge like this. x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As always I’m glued to anything about health and weight. Ten years ago I was ill and it was then I became interested in nutrition. I spent weeks – months even – researching all kinds of food until I decided what to eat – and what not to! I do indulge in chocolate sometimes – and I love white wine. I really believe that it’s a question of retraining your taste buds.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Sally! This is a good list and great information. A fellow writer suggestions John Campbell, a researcher from England, who reports verifiable information on Covid-19. It is so hard to sift through the plethora of sensationalism out there.

    I’d like to include Elderberry syrup in the mix. It can be found in drugstores in the US. I don’t know about other countries. When I made it for us we did not get the flu. We moved out of the country and so I stopped making it. Fortunately our bouts with Covid-19 did not require hospitalization.

    I am leaving the post that includes how to make it here. The syrup is tasty although not good for diabetics as written. There is no need to sign up for anything. Take care everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for adding that…and an excellent source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants.. the syrup has been used for generations and comes with a great deal of handed down knowledge and experience. Not as used as much here in Ireland but you can buy elderberry tea and I drink that with a teaspoon of manuka honey during the winter months.. Glad that your experience with Covid-19 did not require hospital treatment.. thanks again. Sally


  4. Congrats on your journey to get healthy. I believe in a healthy diet amd exercise. I fight problems with inflammation and my immune system but believe doing so keeps away all the medications I might need from a doctor so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a fantastic and informative series Sal, apropos for our times for sure. I fight the scale daily lol. Literally, when I’m pissed off, I kick it. When G goes on, he starts laughing when he has to dig it out from wherever I kicked it too lmao. Seriously, I eat like a bird, I should weigh 100 pounds, but not getting out enough and sitting all day at computer, although I do get up every 20 minutes to do something, it’s not the same. I got back into Pilates which has helped my motivation with Youtube videos for discipline lol. But my hip has acted up for the last 2 weeks (from sitting) and I can’t even do that. So 5 pounds has found me, and on me, it feels like 50. It’s been way too hot to walk also these past 2 weeks. Summer is normally when I go to the gym treadmill, but that’s closed. Oye! ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for having the bravery to tell your story, Sally. As someone who has battled his weight his entire life, we can take inspiration and learn from others. I’ve been dedicated to my diet and exercise for the last four years, and I’m below 200 pounds for the first time since high school. Hard work for sure, but I don’t ever want to go back. Sorry, I got s*** to do. The mind and body are powerful tools when working in conjunction.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A great series and one which has been very helpful…I am guilty of eating too many of the cakes I have been making and have gained a few pounds so I need to get out and increase my steps and walk more…Pressed for tomorrow 🙂 xxx…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Round Up – Sally Cronin | Retired? No one told me!

  9. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health with Sally Cronin - Project Resilience 101 #Health

  10. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 26th July – August 1st 2020 – Positive news, #Author Spotlight, Music, Short stories, Guest Bloggers, Health, Humour and Book Reviews | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  11. Excellent advice Sally and as we age its so easy not to be as active as we once were… I’d like to think my diet is a pretty healthy one 6 days out of the 7 🙂 and I do take some good supplements So well done you in taking control of your life back in your forties Sally…
    And for changing your life around to share now what you share with your readers…
    Many thanks again Sally 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A wealth of information here, Sally. Thank you. Like Norah, I will digest it slowly. 🙂 You are brave to share your story and I commend you for the steps you took and becoming a health nutrionist advisor yourself. ❤ Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for the informative post. The encouragement to live a healthy lifestyle is something many need on a daily basis. My 40s were the most unhealthy years of my life. It seems many women with children live unhealthy during this decade.Some never recover and continue to spiral downward. However, as someone who had always been active, I was angry at myself for not taking better care of my body. Now, I’m fitter than I was at 49, and every day I’m outside. I’ve never had a healthy condition (save the sprained knee from sliding on ice with a goat pulling me in the opposite direction), so I’ve done something right. Still, I’m always looking for ways to improve. Since I discovered the magic of zinc, Vitamin D and Selenium in 2014, I haven’t been sick. I haven’t even had a cold. My philosophy is: I take care of my immune system and it takes care of me. No mask, gloves or hand sanitizer will do a better job.

    Liked by 1 person

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

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