• Dr. Sue Overkamp DO

Happening Now, Fall

It’s Fall and that means—

Time to protect and nurture your lungs!

How would you do that?

Despite Halloween and other seasonal events, keep refined sugar out of your diet or at least to a minimum.


Refined sugar reduces your body’s ability to immediately fight infection by as much as 5 hours. That means while you’re eating your candied apples and candy corn, the viruses that are spread by droplet and other means, especially respiratory viruses, are marching right into your system. For a time, your body can do little about it until it can rebound from dealing with the sugar. Unless you then eat more sugar. In which case your body is even more compromised for longer.

Why does sugar weaken my immune system?

The reasons are complex. Let’s put it this way: when you eat refined or processed sugar you must divert precious resources toward keeping your blood sugar from getting too high and away from proper immune function.

Where is processed sugar in my diet?

The bad news is that if you eat SAD—the Standard American Diet—it’s everywhere. Read labels and look for words that end in -ose, like dextrose, sucrose, and worst of all, high fructose corn syrup or HFCS. If you eat out, you are almost certain to be consuming not one but several sources of refined sugars in one meal. Limit or eliminate foods containing these sugars. Also eliminate or limit foods containing flour, like white flour, wheat flour, rice flour and other flours that are primarily composed of simple starches. Because—you guessed it!—these starches are simply long chains of sugars that are easily broken off and dumped quickly into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar (blood glucose) to skyrocket.

Why is that a bad thing?

Our bodies are designed to function at their best on foods that are carbohydrate poor and nutrient dense. If we eat foods high in carbs, we stress the ability of the pancreas to function well. Instead of putting out the enzymes needed to digest healthy food, the pancreas has to save our lives every time we put refined carbs into our mouths. The pancreas has to dump lots of insulin into our bloodstream to keep our blood sugar from getting too high. After a while—usually years—of doing this, often the pancreas loses its ability to make enough insulin. We call this Type 2 Diabetes, which is epidemic in our country.

What ever happened to protecting the lungs?

Whew! That must have seemed like quite a detour, but it’s good to understand how interconnected this all is. Yes, what you put in your mouth affects your lungs.

What should I be eating to fend off winter illnesses?

Eat slow-cooked foods cooked at low temperatures, like soups and stews. Make them yourself, and don’t add sugar to them or products that contain added sugar. Cook with fresh, seasonal foods. Learn how to use herbs in cooking for wonderful flavor. Check out Michelle Tam’s cookbooks and website to learn how to cook many different kinds of nourishing foods with high yumminess.

Knowing I’m going to be exposed to respiratory viruses on a daily basis, I take 1000 mg. Vitamin C and a shot of elderberry juice every morning. Use only plain elderberry juice. Other elderberry preparations typically have sugar added, and we’re trying to stay away from sugar. River Hills Harvest makes wonderful elderberry juice, and it’s available at Natural Health and Home, 526 Bailey Road, next door to my clinic. If I feel myself starting to get sick, I do the same every hour for 4-8 hrs., which is about how long it takes me to kick the virus.

Some other ways to protect your lung this fall and winter:

Gan Mao tea

Liposomal Vitamin C

Sheng Mai

Lobelia inflata extract


Stay hydrated


Venison Stew

1 1/2 to 2 pounds venison, cubed

1/4 c. olive oil

1 lb. carrots, cut up

1 lb. root veggies (parsnips, rutabagas, potatoes, turnips) cut up

1 onion, diced

water to cover


cayenne pepper

2 T. arrowroot or tapioca


other vegetables

chopped parsley

chopped celery



Brown the cubed venison in olive oil.

Toward the end of the browning, add the onions and saute them at least until clear.

Add root veggies, carrots and any long-cooking vegetables and then water to cover.

Simmer until vegetables are done.

To thicken stew:

  1. Take about 2 cups of stew minus the meat and blend it. Stir back into the stew.

  2. Take out about 1/2 cup of the broth and use a wire whip to throughly mix in the arrowroot powder, then slowly add back to the stew while stirring. Or blend the tapioca granules into powder in a dry blender and stir into the stew.

  3. You may do both, especially for people who like a thick, hearty stew.

Serve with apple-buckwheat muffins

2 cups of whole organic white buckwheat groats, blended into a coarse flour

1/2 t. salt

2 t. aluminum-free baking powder


Blend dry ingredients.

2 c. water

2 eggs

1/3 c. extra virgin coconut oil

Mix wet ingredients, then add to dry. Stir. Add 2 c. apple leavings. This is the material left over from juicing fresh apples. Or you can use 1 c. applesauce. You can also add small apple chunks to the batter.

Fill muffin tin. Make 1 dozen large, hearty muffins.

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