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The Health Chat - October 2019

pumpkin pie and pumpkins on a table

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It’s October and that means we are heading into the holiday season and along with it comes cold and flu season. But is cold and flu season really a thing? In other words, is it really the time of year that germs are more present and spreading around more frequently? I call BS. Let me explain why…

Did you know that one of the biggest things that can weaken our immune system, the part of our body responsible for fighting off germs, is sugar? In fact, when you eat sugar, you curb specific immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria for at least a few hours. Now consider how much more sugar we all eat during the holiday season. It starts with trick or treating for loads of candy at Halloween. We then move into Thanksgiving and Christmas with all the pies, cakes, and cookies. Valentines Day…yep, candy, candy, candy. Then we wrap things up with Easter and all of its candy-filled eggs and baskets. Are we stressing the immune system? I’d say so.

On top of all the sugar, we don’t go outside as much due to the cold weather and decrease in sunlight. This can also have a big impact on the immune system. Why is this? Well, our best source of vitamin D is natural sunlight, which we don’t get enough of in the fall and winter months. Did you know that insufficient levels of vitamin D increase our risk of infectious disease by weakening our innate immune system?

Finally, it seems that during the fall and winter months, we all get a little heavy-handed with hand sanitizers. I know you’re asking how this could possibly be a problem. After all, you’re protecting yourself against the spread of germs, right? Well, the problem is, overdoing the hand sanitizer can also disrupt your own microbiome found not only in your gut but also on your skin. Think of your microbiome as the good guy bacteria that actually protects you against the bad guy germs and diseases.

Now you’re probably wondering what can I do to keep my family and myself healthy during the fall and winter months? Here a couple of easy steps you can take based on the information above:

Limit the amount of sugar you allow in your house. This is the easiest way to ensure you do not overdo it. Not to say that you shouldn’t partake in the holiday treats, but maybe have one cookie instead of a whole plate full. Next, get outside when you can. Take your dog for a walk, or go sledding, skiing, or snowshoeing. Also take a supplement of vitamin D from October through May. Finally, be smart and wash your hands of course, especially after you’ve used the restroom, but maybe, just maybe decrease the hand sanitizer use. Here’s hoping you all have a happy healthy fall, winter, and holiday season. Maybe now we can all agree to stop calling it cold and flu season!!

Photo of Dr. BrookeAs I always say, nobody knows what it’s like to live in your body better than you do and your body will tell you what it needs if you take the time to listen. Health is comprised of so many things- staying hydrated is just one of them, but it’s so simple to do. So start drinking more water today, you may be surprised at how much better you feel!

In health & happiness,
Dr Brooke

Are you looking to meet with Dr Brooke outside your typical adjustment appointment? Do you have questions related to your wellness care that you’d like to address in more detail? Contact us and we can set up a dedicated appointment for you. (a fee does apply)

Product Highlight- Elderberry Gummies & Syrup

The berries and flowers of elderberry are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost your immune system. They can help tame inflammation, lessen stress, and help protect your heart, too. Some experts recommend elderberry to help prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms. In our store, we sell elderberry in gummy and locally made syrup form.

Delicious Recipes

large bin of pumpkinsStuffed Roasted Pumpkin – Don’t knock it until you try it!

  • 1 large pumpkin (5-1/2 to 6 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar


  1. Wash pumpkin; cut a 6-in. circle around top stem. Remove top and set aside; discard seeds and loose fibers from inside. Place pumpkin in a large Dutch oven. Fill with boiling water to a depth of 6 in.; add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is almost tender but holds its shape. Carefully remove and drain well; pat dry.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain well. Cool slightly; place in a large bowl. Add rice, tomato sauce, ham, eggs, garlic, oregano, pepper, vinegar, and remaining salt.
  3. Place pumpkin in a shallow sturdy baking pan. Firmly pack the beef mixture into pumpkin; replace top. Leaving pan uncovered, bake at 350° for 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the top; if desired, use a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the top of the meat. Slice pumpkin into wedges

Book Recommendation

Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever – Kelly Leveque
Celebrity favorite health and wellness consultant Kelly LeVeque shares her secrets for losing weight, attuning ourselves to our bodies’ needs, and freeing ourselves from food drama in this essential wellness guide, which includes 88 delectable recipes!

folding chairs in a meeting room

Upcoming Events

October 16 @ 12:15pm: Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System
November 13 @ 12:15pm: Stress Management

More events at Southboro Wellness Here

Exterior photo of our building

Store Hours

M, W, Th: 10am to 6pm
Tues: 10am to 2pm
Fri: 10am to 5pm
Sat: 10am to 1pm

Phone: 508-353-0483
(We are located between Red Barn & Sperrys on Route 9 West)

You’ve got this! Keep moving forward and don’t give up. Your body has an amazing ability to heal itself when it’s treated well, but remember healing takes time. We are here to support you on your road to health and wellbeing.

No question is too small, stop by the store or reach out via email/phone anytime.

Be well,
The Brooke Stillwell Chiropractic team

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