This week you get a mixed blog- Exercise, the Flu and Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


Study Shows That Exercise and Meditation Can Beat  Colds and Flu

A small study compared the preventive effects of moderate exercise and mindful meditation on the severity of respiratory infections, such as cold and flu, during a winter season in Wisconsin.

The researchers found that those participants who started a daily exercise routine had fewer bouts of respiratory infections and missed fewer days of work.

The investigators also found that those doing mindfulness meditation, which focuses on paying attention to your body and emotions, were more protected against illness than those that did not.

The results showed a 40 to 50 percent reduction in respiratory infections.

Flu vaccines  protects at a level of 50 to 60 percent and only for a few strains of flu virus.

The flu virus is associated with about 36,000 deaths and half a million hospitalizations in the United States every year. In addition, illnesses caused by other viruses, such as the one responsible for the common cold, are to blame for 40 million days of missed work and school every year.

SOURCES: July/August 2012, Annals of Family Medicine


I think it would be safe to extrapolate the data from this study and suggest that exercise and meditation could alter the course and severity of other diseases affecting the immune system, such as: Asthma, allergies, auto-immune diseases, diabetes, Lupus and  hay fever to name a few.

The study did not consider diet and sleep. Based on my experience,  following an anti-inflammatory diet and getting adequate sleep are also key factors in maintaining a strong immune system.

It’s  important to consider that exercise is dose dependent, meaning  too much exercise can adversely affect one’s immune system.


The flu vaccine contains the following excipients:

  • Aluminum salts
  • Antibiotics
  • Egg
  • Formaldehyde
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and 2-phenoxyethanol
  • Thimerosal,  a mercury-containing preservative

Side effects of the flu vaccine injection can include:

  • mild soreness, redness, and swelling where the shot was given
  • fever
  • aches
  • runny nose, nasal congestion or cough
  • fever
  • headache and muscle aches
  • wheezing
  • abdominal pain or occasional vomiting or diarrhea

More severe, but very rare side effects include:

  • life-threatening allergic reaction
Last I checked,  neither exercise nor meditation had any of the above additives or side effects… (OK maybe mild soreness)



Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies  (Dairy Free/Gluten Free)

  • 2 cups  almond meal (Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 Spectrum organic vegetable shortening (vegan palm oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (70%)
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Stir together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry
  4. Form 1 inch balls and press onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

(Adapted from 

My wife, Stephanie (, introduced our family to this cookie recipe. Visit her website for more heathy meal ideas and treats.



About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin