Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why I’m not getting a flu shot

My office gives free flu shots each year, and encourages all employees to get one. The last two years, I got one. This year I have decided not to.

My paleo journey has caused me to think more critically about a lot of things, including conventional medical wisdom. I did some research this year when my company sent out the annual flu shot email. There are some strong opinions around vaccinations, both pro and con. Generally I think I fall in the pro category, but not for the flu.

Based on the research I read, the flu shot will at best reduce my risk from 4% to 1%. Given the lack of long term studies about the side effects of the flu shot (especially since the strains vary each year), I have decided it is not worth it for me.

Here is the most complete summary of the facts that I could find, courtesy of Chris Kresser:

Do your research and make your own choice – but be sure it’s a proactive choice instead of just your default action.

Added information (edited 9/30/13):
In response to this criticism of Chris Kresser’s post that I linked to above, I also wanted to share that I reviewed this Cochrane Library Review of all the studies as well when I was making my decision.


Rainbow Sherbet Magnesium Smoothie

A lot of folks in the paleo community choose to supplement with magnesium. Generally the paleo lifestyle avoids supplements in favor of real, whole food sources for nutrients, but the soil where our food is grown is often so lacking in magnesium that it can be difficult to get a healthy amount from food alone. Magnesium is also crucial to allow us to absorb the calcium from the food we eat, and as a woman that’s especially important to me. I like to take 1-2 teaspoons of Natural Calm (my magnesium supplement of choice) at night right before bed; I find that it helps me sleep better, especially after really tough workouts that might leave me a bit sore. Normally I just dissolve the Natural Calm in hot water and drink it straight, but the other night I felt adventurous and came up with this delicious idea that ended up tasting just like the sherbet ice cream I loved as a kid from that ice cream shop with 31 flavors. (They never really had 31 flavors though, and I always thought that was weird.)

1 heaping teaspoon of Raspberry Lemon flavor Natural Calm
3 tablespoons of hot water
1/4 to 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries
1/4 cup of frozen (or fresh) pineapple chunks
1/2 cup of coconut milk (can)
1/2 cup or less of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1. Combine Natural Calm and the hot water in your blender until dissolved. I usually just swirl it around until it’s done fizzing.
2. Add remaining ingredients to the blender. You may want to start with less almond milk and adjust based on your desired texture.
3. Blend and serve!