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Using food as medicine for longevity

Marie Ruggles: Clinical nutritionist


We are what we eat.  So goes the proverbial saying.  But to what extent does the food on our plate determine the quality of our health now and for the rest of our lives?  Marie Ruggles is a clinical nutritionist and the author of Optimize Your Immune System: Create Health and Resilience with a Kitchen Pharmacy. In this LLAMA podcast interview we explore what it means to use the kitchen pantry to promote robust health. From whole foods to superfoods, supplements to sunlight, Marie shares natural wellness strategies and practical options for vibrant longevity. 

Connect with Marie: Website | Blog | Book: Optimize Your Immune System | Facebook | Instagram

Read a transcript | Photo: Susan Elise Shiebler Photography© 

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  • This episode is brought to you in association with Clinique La Prairie, the award-winning spa-clinic – and pioneering health and wellness destination – nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland. Combining preventative medicine with bespoke lifestyle and nutrition plans, Clinique La Prairie offers a holistic approach to living fuller, healthier and longer lives.

“It starts at home when you wake up. What am I going to eat? Am I going to connect with people? Am I going to get fresh air and activity? This is where the power is. It’s when you take personal responsibility.”

Marie Ruggles

Topics covered in this interview include

  • What it means to utilize a kitchen pharmacy
  • Drilling down into the science to determine what to eat next
  • Arthritis and diabetes – how diet can help keep symptoms at bay.
  • Preventing or delaying disease by taking action early in life
  • The personal challenges to inspired Marie’s deep dive into nutrition
  • Taking back the power to determine your own health
  • What is the immune system?  Do you ever think about it? 
  • Avoiding the dreaded ABCs of aging – arthritis, brain drain and cancer
  • Feeding the immune system so it can protect us from getting sick
  • Vitamin D – why we need it and how to get it
  • Being proactive about our health and adopting a health mindset
  • Vitamin C and its anti-viral effects
  • The epidemic of processed foods
  • Measuring inflammation in the body
  • The power of sleep
  • The power of mushrooms
  • Keeping bones strong and why it is so much more than calcium
  • Doing something nice for someone else every day
  • Why we need to go back to hugging is offering listeners to LLAMA a 10% discount on its range of products – NAD boosters, Sirtuin activators, senolytics and more.Use the code LLAMA at checkout. Any health queries can be answered by emailing the team at

Affiliation disclosure: This podcast receives a small commission when you use the code LLAMA for purchases at – it helps to cover production costs and ensures that our interviews remain free for all to listen. 

This interview with Marie Ruggles was recorded on February 16, 2022 and transcribed using Sonix AI. Please check against audio recording for absolute accuracy.

Marie Ruggles: [00:00:02] It starts at home when you wake up. What am I going to eat? Am I going to connect with people? Am I going to get fresh air and activity? This is where the power is. It’s when you take personal responsibility.

Peter Bowes: [00:00:21] Hello again and welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. I’m Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity.

SPONSOR MESSAGE: [00:00:31] This episode is brought to you in association with Clinique La Prairie, the award winning spa clinic and pioneering health and wellness destination nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva in Montrose, Switzerland. Combining preventative medicine with bespoke lifestyle and nutrition plans, Clinique La Prairie offers a holistic approach to living fuller, healthier and longer lives.

Peter Bowes: [00:00:55] Now after a pandemic lasting more than two years and likely lingering with us in some form for much longer, I think we’ve all become much more aware of our own bodies, our frailties, perhaps underlying conditions if we have them. How many of us have taken some extra vitamin C because we think it might help us get through these difficult times? The goal is to optimize our immune system. But what might come as a surprise to many is the vast variety of ways that we can achieve that goal. My guest today is Marie Ruggles, author of and here’s that phrase again Optimize your Immune system, Create Health and Resilience with a Kitchen Pharmacy. Marie, welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.

Marie Ruggles: [00:01:43] Hey Peter, thanks for having me. I’m so excited to be here to share this information with you and your listeners.

Peter Bowes: [00:01:50] Well, thank you. It’s a great pleasure to speak to you. A kitchen pharmacy. So you’re talking about using food as medicine?

Marie Ruggles: [00:01:57] Yes. This is all about a food as medicine approach. And the kitchen pharmacy is actually something that you may have right next to your dinner plates for easy access for when you need to bring on reinforcements. And, you know, when you have been exposed to someone who’s sick or you feel like something is coming on, there’s no time to think about what you need or to shop because immediate action is actually the secret sauce to warding off viruses.

Peter Bowes: [00:02:29] Interesting. And that’s what we’re going to dive into in some detail. Before we do that. You are a nutritionist. You’re a certified diabetes educator. Just tell me a little bit about your own journey, your own education and career that’s led you to this point and this specialization in the work that you do.

Marie Ruggles: [00:02:47] Sure. I started my career in research at Columbia University where I went to school, and as much as I loved doing that, I felt compelled to actually get out in the public and drill down the science into simple action steps. So what should you eat at your next meal? Because most people aren’t reading research studies. They just want to know, what can I do today at breakfast? And so eventually I entered into public health, education and chronic disease management. Currently, in my telehealth private practice, I function, I specialize in arthritis and diabetes and those are two really key areas of what you can do now to age gracefully, because it’s all about being proactive. I had myself early onset arthritis, which has been in remission for 20 years and it’s all about lifestyle and what I eat and a couple of targeted supplements. And it’s the same with diabetes. There’s really no need for the suffering, the inconveniences and, you know, the constant medical attention needed because you didn’t know how to take care of your body. There’s just so much you can do to keep all of that in check. And I’m all about either preventing or delaying, and I don’t want to oversell this. We might all get something at some point, but for me, you know, why get arthritis? You know, in midlife when I can push it off to when I’m 80, you know, because if you get it in midlife, that means it’s getting worse in your forties, fifties and sixties, and you’re debilitated when you’re in your seventies. So it’s all about, you know, we have the science and, you know, let’s do this now. You know, let’s stay out of the nursing homes. Basically, let’s not suffer if we don’t have to. And it’s very doable.

Peter Bowes: [00:05:04] Well, you’ve just really encapsulated the overriding message of this podcast, and that is it is all about healthspan. It’s about extending those healthy years, physically and mentally that we have. Inevitably, we are perhaps all going to get something and we will all eventually die. But if we can push that back as as long as possible by using clever preventative techniques, well, I think that can be to the good of everyone. And it’s interesting from your perspective that you say you are talking from very personal experience. It’s not just your education that’s prepared you for this. You’ve you’ve lived this, haven’t you?

Marie Ruggles: [00:05:41] Yes. And I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like a personal challenge to really get you to do a deep dove into this and say, you know, if you are proactive. What can I do? And what I learned is my main message is that health begins when your feet hit the floor in the morning. Through this podcast, all the wonderful people that you’ve interviewed, you’re learning to take back your power. Because once you outsource your health care to someone else, you’re going down a rabbit hole. It starts at home when you wake up. What am I going to eat? Am I going to connect with people? Am I going to get fresh air and activity? This is where the power is. It’s when you take personal responsibility. And I’m not saying don’t use the medical system, but it starts with you.

Peter Bowes: [00:06:39] So your book is Optimize, Your Immune System. And I think that’s a good place to start, isn’t it? Maybe if you could describe to us what is the immune system and how does it work?

Marie Ruggles: [00:06:50] The immune system, I like to compare to an umbrella insurance policy, like the type that you would get for your home that covers you. It gives you extra coverage for your house and all the stuff you own. Well, your immune system is an umbrella health insurance policy covering you from head to toe. And it’s so important. Do you ever think about your immune system?

Peter Bowes: [00:07:20] On a day to day basis? No, I don’t think about my immune system. I think people are aware that we have something called the immune system and it’s to do with preventing us from getting sick.

Marie Ruggles: [00:07:30] Right. It’s sort of this vague thing that we have, but it’s really, you know, it encompasses the entire body and we need to pay attention to it and care for it on a daily basis. One is for the more recent antiviral protection, but also to avoid the dreaded ABCs of aging, arthritis, brain drain and cancer. And the responsibility for this lies in the immune system. Most of us have cancer cells circulating in our bodies every day, but we don’t know about it because our immune system is on surveillance. 24/7 taking them down. Our immune system is also responsible for repair much of what’s done at night, maintenance and repair. And that’s why sleep is so important, because that’s the time where the immune system is cleaning out house or commonly known now as detoxing, repairing cells. And taking down foreign invaders and old cells that don’t serve us well. So the immune system is really head to toe and it’s made up of predominantly cells that are on guard for us.

Peter Bowes: [00:08:59] And I think what’s interesting about what you’ve just said is that in effect, the immune system is working behind the scenes in the background most of the time without us being aware of it. It is repelling potential diseases, but we are not aware of that.

Marie Ruggles: [00:09:14] Right. It’s actually working as we’re sitting here speaking. And the great news and this is really interesting is that the immune cells turn over every 100 days. So they’re turning over right now. And at your next meal, you have the opportunity to feed your immune system in a way to help it launch new and better cells, that is, anti aging medicine at its best and it’s free.

Peter Bowes: [00:09:45] So that was going to be my next question for all the immune system is there and most of the time were not aware of it. What we are doing constantly through our behavior and especially through what we eat, we are nurturing that immune system and taking care of its health so that it can look after our health.

Marie Ruggles: [00:10:04] Exactly. And the immune system needs to be fed. One of the most interesting things I learned in research is that there are actually six critical nutrients that the immune cell needs. The immune cells has have these parking spots. So they’re sort of like these entry ways on the outer layer of the cell that we call membranes. And these spots kind of have like those reserved parking signs up, except they’re labeled vitamin D, A, D, C, selenium, magnesium and zinc. And in order what this tells us is that in order for your immune system to work at full throttle, it needs those nutrients on a regular basis. And then, of course, all of this is based on a whole foods diet, which will sort of cover a lot of other nutrient gaps now of these nutrients, Vitamin D has recently received a lot of attention because we know that it prevents helps to prevent respiratory infections. Or if you get one, it decreases the severity. And there’s a lot to go into. On my website, I actually have a free download on vitamin D and it tells you how to speak to your doctor about getting testing and what your number should be, which is around 60 ng/mL. But there’s also a calculator in there. So when you get your lab work, you can just plug your number in and it tells you what dose of vitamin D three you need every day to get up to the optimal blood level. And then I recommend a few products that I like.

Peter Bowes: [00:11:54] And are most people. Do you think deficient in vitamin D?

Marie Ruggles: [00:11:58] Yes. Especially those who, you know, have a winter climate for an extended period of time, the ideal being around 60. It’s not unusual for me to see people in my practice coming in at 16, 23 and vitamin D also affects the mood. It’s important to really look at that right away and start getting the dosing up there, but it’s for the average person in a winter climate, virtually impossible to maintain that level without supplementing somewhere between 2 to 5000 international units a day of D3. And, you know, it’s so easy to get tested. You don’t need to make a medical appointment. Your practitioner can just electronically send over a request to your local lab. So it’s real simple and you just need to say, hey, I’m proactive, I’m on top of my health. And this is one of the things that I’m watching.

Peter Bowes: [00:13:01] Not many people are proactive, though, are they? Is that one of the issues that perhaps if we thought about our own health and took action and made the kind of calls that you’ve just referred to, saying, look, I need to check my levels of certain vitamins. But most people don’t do that, do they?

Marie Ruggles: [00:13:18] Probably people who are on this podcast are proactive.

Peter Bowes: [00:13:23] But I hope so, yeah.

Marie Ruggles: [00:13:25] I think the average person does not have this mindset and it is sort of a new mindset because it’s not what most of us were brought up with. And I encourage everybody to really adapt a new mindset. And that relates to, you know, what I said earlier about, you know, taking responsibility, personal responsibility for your wellness. You can I’ve worked in you know the conventional medical system for many years. And I can tell you, you do not want to rely on that system for preventive health. That’s not what it’s set up to do.

Peter Bowes: [00:14:05] Well, it’s interesting to me, because I’ve had so many conversations along those lines that the conventional health systems are treating diseases, are not preventing diseases. I mean, it could be put as simply as that, couldn’t it?

Marie Ruggles: [00:14:17] Yeah. Yeah. But the good news is, is that we can do this. There’s, you know, just some education and then some simple steps you can take at home and you’ll feel better. Now, it’s not just about prevention. It will affect your mood now, your energy, how your skin looks, how you feel about yourself. So there are upfront dividends as well as you know, that that sort of long term payoff.

Peter Bowes: [00:14:46] Let’s just quickly talk about vitamin and vitamin C, which I mentioned in my introduction that I think a lot of people have been taking perhaps more vitamin C supplements over the last couple of years than perhaps they previously did. If indeed they ever use that supplement in the thinking that it might help them or at least prevent them from from getting the COVID virus. Is that true?

Marie Ruggles: [00:15:10] Yeah. Vitamin C is actually an antiviral. You can the researchers actually call it a strong antiviral. If you look at the studies and there are many physicians who are using vitamin C intravenously to treat COVID. And one of the fascinating things about Vitamin C is that we used to make it, but humans, because of a hiccup in our DNA, no longer make vitamin C, but most animals still make it. And when an animal gets sick, their body starts to mass produce vitamin C until the infection is cleared. So most likely that’s exactly what our bodies would be doing if we didn’t have this problem, which, you know, we no longer make vitamin C. So typically, you know, in the strategy that I outlined for preventive health, especially viral prevention in phase two, that’s exposure. You’ve been socializing with someone who’s sick or babysitting or in the car, taking care of a family member. That’s exposure. And with vitamin C, you can just start taking 200 milligrams at each meal and at bedtime to start at that point to neutralizing a virus. Because exposure means potentially a virus has entered your body and it’s replicating, but you feel fine because you only get sick when there’s mass replication. And if somehow you miss this point, then you’re in phase three, which means you’re not sick, but you feel like something’s coming on. Could you remember those telltale signs of you’re just saying, Oh, boy. Hmm. Well, you can take action at that point, too. And with the vitamin C is one of the supplements I recommend at that point. But then you would want to increase it to say 500 milligrams every 2 hours, and you can’t take vitamin C once in the day and expect it to work all day because your body uses what it needs and we urinate out the rest. So you want to take it throughout the day and especially at bedtime, because that’s when we do our healing.

Peter Bowes: [00:17:36] And just to be clear, I mentioned COVID. I’m not suggesting certainly that this is any substitute for the vaccination. This is an extra tool in the box.

Marie Ruggles: [00:17:47] Right. This is your home toolbox that you might combined with additional medical advice that you’re getting.

Peter Bowes: [00:17:56] Now, in your book, you write, Every bite of food will either nourish your cells or damage them. Now, common sense tells me that a plate of greens and vegetables and fruits well they’re going to do the nourishing the damage – junk foods?

Marie Ruggles: [00:18:14] Yeah, it’s really the epidemic of processed foods. Those foods that are kind of pre prepared for us. They don’t really require actual cooking. And then, of course, that outright packaged food that we snack on, for example, so that all is not food that our body recognizes and it causes inflammation. And inflammation is at the root of aging early and of most diseases. So all of those foods contribute to what we call low grade inflammation. It’s not something that you feel, but you can measure it. And that’s another thing you could ask your practitioner to put on your lap slip is an hs-CRP and that’s a measure of your overall inflammation, and it should be less than 0.5. So that’s the sort of like the downside of the processed foods. But having, say, a deep green leafy vegetable either in a salad or cooked every day is something that’s going to fortify and strengthen your immune system. And you want to be strengthening your immune system on a daily basis with adequate sleep, exercise, mood management, probiotics, a colorful variety of vegetables. You know, having the right amount of protein, even foods with magnesium like nuts and seeds are super important. And whole foods, grass fed meat, if you’re eating meat, not the other kind, because the other kind, you know, comes with a dose of antibiotics. So that’s not good to be taking every day. All of these create resilience so well armed immune system that’s going to work better for you when you know more aggressive viruses are going to continue entering into our communities. That’s just a given. And so, you know, today is the time to really start building immune resilience.

Peter Bowes: [00:20:32] Now, you’ve mentioned sleep a number of times. People often ask me, based on all of the interviews that I do for this podcast, what I think the most important interventions are in our lifestyle to promote good health and and healthspan diet, exercise or the other interventions, whether it’s nutraceuticals or extra extreme exercise. And I always say top of my list is sleep because I feel that if I’m not restoring my body, I can’t achieve the other goals. I don’t tend to eat well. The next day, if I haven’t slept well, I can’t exercise to full capacity. It all comes back to getting a good night’s sleep. And from what you’ve been saying, that also applies to nurturing our immune system.

Marie Ruggles: [00:21:20] Yeah, and that’s very well backed up by research. Thousands of studies on the importance of sleep. And I like that term that you use nourishing because that’s exactly what happens when you’re sleeping. And people often ask me how much sleep should I get? And I like to say the amount that’s right for your body, because we’re all different. I like to get a lot of sleep, like what might be considered more than others, like eight or nine hours. But some people do well with six, six and a half. So it’s the amount that’s right for your body and lifestyle. And the immune system actually uses a tremendous amount of energy. That’s why when it amps up the activity, when we are getting sick, we get tired, right? You get tired. That is your body saying stop all unnecessary activity because I need to invest that energy into the immune system and you can do everything that I recommend in my strategy. And if you don’t stop the excess activity, it’s not going to work as well. And I’ve learned that the hard way. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like something was coming on and I said, Oh, I got things to do. Today’s my day for the gym, you know? And I always paid for it. So even though I teach this, I’ve been teaching winter wellness workshops for years. It took me a long time to embrace that. But the immune system, you’re robbing the immune system of energy when you don’t cut back. But that’s also true of the long term anti aging strategy, is that on a daily basis, your immune system needs rest and restoration to work full speed ahead. So yeah, it’s super important.

Peter Bowes: [00:23:22] And that explains quite simply really why after a period of sleep loss, of extreme work, of studying, a student overnight missing those vital hours, that is the period of time that we get sick. I mean, there’s no surprise there that after an immense amount of exertion, whether it’s physical or mental and loss of sleep. It’s the next few days that we’re most vulnerable.

Marie Ruggles: [00:23:46] Yes, as a matter of fact, there are a couple of studies on athletes who, after an extreme bout of training, are more likely to come down with an illness. And then in my book, I talk a lot about superfoods in these athletes studies. They gave them nutritional yeast, which is one of my great antiviral superfoods. And just like a teaspoon or two a day drastically reduced the occurrence of infections post intense training and a couple of other great superfoods are elderberries. I was introduced to elderberries as a jam or syrup, but now it comes in a lot of different forms like gummies, and that’s a wonderful daily shield of protection, especially if you’re working and you’re around a lot of people during a time when something is circulating in the community and mushrooms, I think of mushrooms as medicine, as food. So in the beginning we spoke as food, as of food as medicine. But I mushrooms have such a robust body of research on their immune supporting properties that now I think of them as medicine that we also happen to enjoy in our food. So I recommend having mushrooms twice a week, cook once, make enough for leftovers and then there you go. They’re absolutely amazing for everything.

Peter Bowes: [00:25:18] I’ve heard that so many times. And I just wish I liked mushrooms. I can’t stand mushrooms. I can’t stand the smell of mushrooms. I can’t stand the taste of mushrooms. So I guess I’ve got to find some sort of substitute for them.

Marie Ruggles: [00:25:33] Yes. There’s actually a company I really like called Natura Health Products, and they make a product called Mushroom Synergy.

Peter Bowes: [00:25:40] Ah, right.

Marie Ruggles: [00:25:41] And you’re not alone. But it’s a fantastic blend of a number of mushrooms that are very well supported by research. So you could do that. You could take a scoop of a mushroom powder and throw it into your smoothie so it’s okay if you don’t like them. Although I have to say, two of my kids learned to actually love mushrooms, they went from where you are now to loving mushrooms. And I’ll share a secret with you. You can make mushroom bacon by just cooking mushrooms. Don’t put anything in the pot. Maybe a little salt and pepper until they’re crispy.

Peter Bowes: [00:26:19] That sounds quite tasty. I should try that.

Marie Ruggles: [00:26:21] It changes the flavor, profile and the texture.

Peter Bowes: [00:26:25] I think a big part of it is texture, isn’t it? With mushrooms?

Marie Ruggles: [00:26:28] I think it is with a lot of people. Yeah.

Peter Bowes: [00:26:30] So let me ask you this. In terms of sleep, you’ve explained how sleep is important to nourish the immune system. Of course, a lot of people have problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. So how can food and the selection of foods that perhaps we’re eating later in the day, how can food help us get the sleep that we need to nurture the immune system?

Marie Ruggles: [00:26:53] Honestly, I, know people have spoken about this a lot and I, I’ve never really seen a strong effect from food. I work a lot with essential oils. I’ve been using essential oils for about 20 years in my practice, and I can tell you that that is a very simple way to help get yourself to sleep and enhance your sleep. Just use a calming blend or a lavender at bedtime. You can just put a dot on each wrist or like the upper chest. One thing that does help some people is camomile tea. You can make like a small cup like, say, four ounces because you don’t want to have to get up to go to the bathroom. That defeats the purpose of getting better sleep. But if you take like five ounces of water and put two camomile tea bags in, that can be very soothing and relaxing.

Peter Bowes: [00:27:55] Any truth that bananas are helpful? I think eating a banana is my last, you know, substituting dessert for a banana, which is probably quite a healthy thing to do, I think. I don’t know whether there’s any evidence there, but I think that actually helps me to sleep.

Marie Ruggles: [00:28:09] It does help you?

Peter Bowes: [00:28:10] I think so.Yeah.

Marie Ruggles: [00:28:12] It helps you. Then I would say, you know, go for it because we’re all different. And so there might be something about the bananas. I just wouldn’t have too much because bananas have a lot of sugar and when you’re going to lie down, you’re not metabolizing that sugar. So that’s one of the things that leads to inflammation. But if a small banana or even a half of a small banana helps you to sleep, then maybe for you that’s a good thing.

Peter Bowes: [00:28:38] And I mean, it’s interesting you would say about sugar, because I’ve been looking a lot recently into time restricted eating where whereby I stop eating the regime is generally try to stop by 7 p.m. or at least 3 hours before going to bed. And I’ve been experimenting with that quite a lot and it’s absolutely right. Too much sugar. If I then sort of creep into eating between seven and eight or even eight and nine eating a dessert, which is probably what most people gravitate towards at that time of night, that is potentially catastrophic for that middle of the night. Not necessarily getting to sleep, but waking up at 2 or 3 a.m., I guess. A glass of wine can have the same effect.

Marie Ruggles: [00:29:20] Yeah. Yeah. And so that’s an example of what not to have. Yeah. And the, you know, the time limited eating. There’s a lot of great research on that, showing a lot of benefits. So it’s wonderful to do.

Peter Bowes: [00:29:35] Let me more broadly ask you about your own longevity aspirations. This is a podcast about human longevity and aspiring to a great healthspan, not so obsessed with lifespan, but healthspan, which we talked about earlier. What are your based on everything that you understand, all your research and years of wisdom in this area, how do you live your life every day with your own longevity in mind?

Marie Ruggles: [00:30:01] You know, I think the more mature years can be a very special time. You’ve learned a lot. You’ve accomplished certain things, perhaps, that you’ve set out to do earlier on. And I think this is a time of life where you can really give back to others and you need to be be healthy in order to walk in your purpose. So that’s one piece of sort of like my obsession with, you know, preventive health and aging. Well, the other piece, because I’ve worked in conventional medicine, I have seen firsthand the suffering of people. And it’s, I believe for most people, so not necessary. I work with people who, you know, because my specialty is diabetes. I see people who have not really done the core work. And their life consists of going to dialysis on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and seeing health care practitioners on Tuesday and Thursday. And it’s just not the road that I want to go down, I’ve seen. It’s almost part of our culture and people think it’s normal. And I’m here to tell you, Peter, I think you know this. That’s not normal,

Peter Bowes: [00:31:34] Right. 

Marie Ruggles: [00:31:35] It’s not. And whenever I say hear somebody say, oh, you know, this aches, but I’m just getting old, I say, no, it doesn’t have to be that way. So I have certain things that I do every day. And just from a food standpoint, eating green, leafy vegetables, they’re good for the bones. You know, horses weigh thousands of pounds. What do they eat to build those bones? Hay, Hay starts out as green grass. It’s a green, leafy vegetable. And keeping your bones strong is one way to stay out of the nursing home. Because once you break that hip, you know you’re going down that road. So I highly recommend taking care of your bones. And, you know, it’s so much more than calcium. I try to get out in the sun every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I have a friend who lives upstate New York and last year she told me she walks when it’s four degrees out. Now, my friend, she’s a little bit on the frail side. She’s a cancer survivor and yet she bundles up and she gets out there. So I said, I can probably go out when it’s 30 degrees, you know, 25. I started doing that. And I have to tell you, there’s nothing more refreshing than walking when it’s really cold out. So I try and get some sunshine. If you can’t do that, it’s not right for everybody. Just make sure you get by and know a window where you can experience some sunshine or you can enjoy the sky. And then connecting with people. I don’t get to do this every day, but I try and do something nice for somebody else every day just because it makes you feel good. Those are a couple of things. And, you know, mood effects, not only inflammation level, but your immune system, as a matter of fact, on a personal level. When I think about when I have gotten sick or when I’m most vulnerable to getting sick is when I’m in a state of distress. Now, the stress is part of life. When things happen, people we love get hurt. I’m talking about chronic distress. The research is solid on this. It will completely derail your immune system.

Peter Bowes: [00:34:00] And I think that will resonate with a lot of people. And certainly emotions and immunity is something that you write about extensively in this book, will not go into it deeply now. But it is a fascinating section of your book, how your emotions and that aspect of your wellbeing can affect your health. I just want to touch on one other subject just quickly. You also write in the book about our behaviors that spread viruses. Essentially, you know, the party behavior, the hugging, kissing, shaking hands. It almost described to me life pre-pandemic, kind of an alien concept, now that we would behave like that. I’m wondering what aspects of our new style of behavior you think are going to stick with us? So the thought of going to a party and hugging and kissing and embracing people, we just don’t instinctively do that now. Do you think that is going to come back…?

Marie Ruggles: [00:34:52] Oh, yeah, we need to embrace people. It probably supports the immune system. We need to connect, look at people in the eye, touch, embrace. Yeah. So we need to do that in phase two of my strategy that I talk about, it’s just, you know, if you know you’re going to a party in December and something, you know, circulating, that’s potential exposure, you use the same spoon someone else used for the serving the baked ziti, and then you scratch your nose. Well, you’ve now given entry to a virus and people are at the party because they might be spreading, but they’re not at mass viral replication. So they feel fine. But this is just something that I think people should learn. You know, I’ve been out oh, there was some coworkers who came in who were sick. That’s exposure. And that’s the time to act. And by the way, a lot of viruses set up initially and the nose and the throat. So if I’m out like now, if I’m out or if I have exposure, I have a nose spray in my pocketbook, I have a nasal spray that actually contains Elderberry. And I just use that because I say this virus is not even going to have a chance. If I’ve been exposed, that’s fine. I’m still going to go out and hug people because I know I have the tools and in my book I list actually specific brand names of tools that I like to have all the time in my kitchen pharmacy. So I come home and I take a few things and I know I’m covered. So yes, I hope we go back to hugging, but we also do need to know how to protect ourselves.

Peter Bowes: [00:36:43] That’s a good thought. Your book is a mine of of really interesting information for anyone who wants to find out more about your work. I’ll put all the details into the show notes for this episode. Marie, really fascinating to talk to you. Thank you very much indeed.

Marie Ruggles: [00:36:59] Thank you, Peter. It’s been wonderful to be here and to, you know, join in your mission, which is is really so important to spread the word and keep people healthy so they truly can walk in their purpose and feel well and just be happy and spread the word. It’s all science based. None of this is just made up. I’ve been following the research for years. Just start in small steps. It’s okay to do that and work up from there.

Peter Bowes: [00:37:32] Following the science, following the research is all important. Marie Ruggles, thank you very much indeed.

Marie Ruggles: [00:37:38] Thank you.

Peter Bowes: [00:37:38] And if you’d like to take a look at Marie’s book, Optimize Your Immune System: Create Health and Resilience with a Kitchen Pharmacy. As I say, details in the show notes of this episode at the Live Long and Master Aging website. That’s that’s – The LLAMA podcast is a HealthSpan Media Production. In social media you’ll find us @LLAMAPodcast. You can contact me @peterbowes.  If you’d like to rate and review us we would very much welcome that at Apple Podcasts or your platform of choice. We’re also at Audible Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, Pandora Podcasts, Google Podcasts to name a few. No paywalls, no subscription tiers. We are free for all to listen. Wherever you find us, do take care and thank you for listening.

The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, shares ideas but does not offer medical advice.  If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.

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