Coronavirus: The Other Half of the Equation | Ornish Lifestyle Medicine – Dr. Dean Ornish

To avoid getting sick, most of the focus so far has been on preventing exposure to the coronavirus, which, of course, is very important—staying at home, social distancing, hand washing, gloves, masks, disinfecting, etc.

But very little has been written about the other half of the equation: how to enhance your immune system so that if you are exposed, you can reduce the chances of getting sick—or at least mitigate the intensity of the disease and thus reduce the death rate.

The four aspects of our lifestyle medicine program—eat well, move more, stress less, love more—have been proven to reverse a wide variety of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, early-stage prostate cancer, and hypertension. They also enhance immune function.

Here are some relevant studies:

1. Love More:

Spreading fear and loathing about the coronavirus may, ironically, increase the risk of getting sick. Fear can be self-fulfilling to the extent that it does suppress immune function and makes someone more likely to get the very disease they’re most afraid of.

Also, staying at home and social distancing help prevent transmission of the virus, but feeling lonely can be harmful to your health. Study after study have shown that people who are lonely and isolated are 3-10 times more likely to get sick and die prematurely of virtually all causes when compared to those who have a strong sense of love and community.

Fortunately, there are many things we can do to enhance our immune function to help protect us. While it’s important to stay at home, wash your hands, disinfect, etc., it’s also wise to spend more time socializing with family members who are living with you as well using video or just audio technologies like Zoom or the phone to virtually spend time with friends and family in other places.

For example, Sheldon Cohen did a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which he dripped rhinovirus (which causes the common cold) in the noses of volunteers. (I don’t know how he persuaded people to volunteer and got this approved by the human studies committee….) All of them became infected, but not everyone developed the signs and symptoms of a cold.

Those that had only 1-3 social ties—defined as a phone call or visit from a friend every two weeks—were 4.2 times more likely to develop a cold than those with 6 or more social ties during that time. (Now, just visit friends virtually rather than in person.)

2. Stress Less:

In an earlier study, Cohen dripped five types of respiratory viruses (rhinovirus type 2, 9, or 14, respiratory syncytial virus, or coronavirus type 229E, a less deadly form than the current coronavirus) into volunteers. The rates of both respiratory infection and clinical colds increased significantly in a dose-response manner with increases in the degree of psychological stress. Infection rates ranged from approximately 74 percent to approximately 90 percent, according to levels of psychological stress, and the incidence of clinical colds ranged from approximately 27 percent to 47 percent.

In other words, stress suppressed their immune function. Because of this, the more stressed they felt, the more likely they were to get infected and sick.
And in a more recent study, he found that those who he infected with rhinoviruses who had positive emotions such as happy, pleased, and relaxed had a 2.9 times lower risk of developing a cold than those who did not in a dose-response fashion.

In other words, feeling happy and peaceful enhances your immune system.

In contrast, when you’re depressed, your immune system is depressed as well. In a different study by Margaret Chesney and others, men who were HIV positive (i.e., all had evidence of being infected with the HIV virus) and were depressed were significantly more likely to develop AIDS and die from it than those who were not depressed.

3. Eat Well:

Numerous studies have clearly shown that a healthful whole foods plant-based diet enhances your immune function. There are thousands of substances in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and soy products that are protective against infections.

4. Move More:

Many studies have shown a clear, inverse relationship between moderate exercise and risk of a wide variety of illnesses, including infectious diseases. It enhances immune regulation. Just walking 15-30 minutes/day makes a big difference in your immune function.

So, I put all of this together to say that it does make very good sense to be mindful of reducing risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus by staying at home, social distancing, hand washing, gloves, masks, disinfecting, etc.) without becoming afraid or depressed. And to spend more time virtually in loving relationships with friends and family; eating well; moving more; and stressing less.

In short, enhancing our immune system can help us to be less “influenced” by the influenza virus.

Finding meaning in situations, especially bad ones, also helps enhance our immune system. With all the tragedy of the coronavirus, is there anything meaningful that comes from it?

First, for those of us who work too much, being at home and being told not to go to work or to travel gives everyone a valid rationale to spend more time with our friends and family, both in-person with those you live with and also virtually with others. No FOMO if everything is cancelled. You don’t have to give an excuse at work to stay home.

Also, having a common enemy can help heal some of the wounds that divide our country. These are profoundly human issues that affect everyone in all states, both red and blue.

It reminds me a little of the classic science fiction movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which an intelligent alien comes to Earth to warn everyone of the importance of living peacefully. He caused all mechanical and electrical machines to stop for an hour to get everyone’s attention. Our world this week is also stopping—for much more than an hour—and it’s getting everyone’s attention as well.

And, finally, having so much less traffic and manufacturing is also giving the Earth a chance to breathe and heal, at least temporarily. A literal breather.

Source: Coronavirus: The Other Half of the Equation | Ornish Lifestyle Medicine

Staying Healthy with Tai Chi & Healing Sounds – FREE daily exercise

Our Free videos:

Our normal YouTube Channel has been stolen and we are working to get it back. 

In the meantime, we are putting as many of our videos as we can on Our Vibrant Health and Happiness YouTube Channel  

Normally we have over 100 FREE videos to watch and/or participate with on our YouTube Channel. We hope to have all the videos available again ASAP. shares a FREE daily exercise for Staying Healthy, especially for those stuck at home. The easy flowing individual Tai Chi movements can help calm the mind while circulating Chi (the vital Life Force) throughout the body. Please share this video. You can also find over 30 free practice videos with instructions on our YouTube Channel –

And for those who have Amazon or YouTube on their television, search “Don Fiore Tai Chi.”

Sending prayers for the health of all people. Stay positive because that is helpful for the immune system.

YouTube channel for

Drugs Vs. Food For Autoimmune – Brooke Goldner, M.D.

Question from recent Q&A – “Isn’t it bad to strengthen your immune system when you have autoimmune disease? I thought that was why we have to take immunosuppressant medication.” Medications can suppress your immune system – which can be life-saving when you are severely ill from autoimmune disease, but also leaves you susceptable to infections. The #GoodbyeLupusProtocol uses nutrition to suppress the inflammatory immune response and strengthen the anti-inflammatory immune response, so you can get your health back and not need those medicines any longer. Caution: Please do not change, taper or stop medications without consulting your prescribing doctor, this can be dangerous for your health. Work on getting healthy so you don’t need them anymore and let your doctor taper you when you are ready!

For coronavirus info and updates:

Next free classes are coming soon.…

For more info:

► Subscribe to My Channel: ►Where to follow and listen to Dr. G:


►FREE healing recipes and support:




►To learn more about rapid recovery or make an appointment with Dr. G go to

►6 Week Rapid Recovery Group:

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at UAMS Starting this Month!

Be ready to be TRANSFORMED!

MBSR Classes will be offered beginning Spring of 2020!  Open to the Public and the Community.

Learn how to develop the practical skills and techniques that can help you cultivate positivity, inner strength and peace, which can be useful in times of difficulty, stress, illness and pain.

We offer the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program that was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the 1979. MBSR is the gold-standard  and one of the most research-validated mindfulness intervention in the scientific literature. The UAMS MBSR Program is an intensive eight-week, nine-session training in mindfulness awareness. Classes meet weekly for about two hours and for an all-day session towards the end of the course. The all-day session allows participants to immerse themselves more deeply in the practices of mindfulness meditation and mindful movement. The MBSR program will enable participants to systematically deploy these tools as well as to mindfully explore healthier relationships with the day-to-day challenges and demands of life. We offer a peaceful, safe and supportive learning environment for all program participants. Our classes are designed to be experiential and the didactic instructions are achieved through the following:

  • Guided mindfulness meditation practices
  • Gentle stretching and mindful movement exercises
  • Group dialogue and discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
  • Mentored instructions on MBSR meditation practices
  • Printed and digital materials and resources, such as workbooks, MP3 files, among others.

UAMS MBSR Course Overview Drop-in/Web Sessions

If you are interested in learning more about the UAMS MBSR Course and would like to talk to someone about this opportunity, please attend any of the MBSR Overview Drop-in Sessions, or you can call into the Sessions using the conference details below.

The MBSR Overview Sessions will be held at the UAMS College of Public Health (Rahn Building room G230), 220 Campus Drive Little Rock, AR 72205. Parking is available at Parking Deck #2 across the Rahn Building. For directions, please go to this link.

  • Date/Times/Location in UAMS Campus:
    – March 10, 2020 from 11:30am to 12:30pm (Room RAHN G230)
    – March 17, 2020 from 11:30am to 12:30pm (Room RAHN G230)
  • Web/Conference Call: (TBD)

SPRING 2020 Schedule

  • Orientation: Wednesday, April 1, 2020; 5:30 to 7:00 pm (Room IDW 115A)
  • Classes 1 through 8: Every Wednesday, April 8 to May 27, 2020;  5:30 to 8:00 pm (Room IDW 115A)
  • All-day Class and Retreat: Saturday, May 23, 2020; 8:00 am to 3:30 pm (Room IDW 115A)

FALL 2020 Schedule

  • Orientation: Tuesday, September 29, 2020; 5:30 to 7:00 pm (Room IDW 115A)
  • Classes 1 through 8: Every Tuesday, October 6 to November 24, 2020;  5:30 to 8:00 pm (Room IDW 115A)
  • All-day Class and Retreat: Saturday, November 21, 2020; 8:00 am to 3:30 pm (Room IDW 115A)

VENUE: All classes will be held at the UAMS I. Dodd Wilson Education Building (IDW) in UAMS, 116 Hooper Drive Little Rock, AR 72205. Get Parking and Directions Information

To REGISTER for the MBSR Course, or if you have questions, please email Dr. Pele Yu at

Course Registration Fees and Scholarship Information

Orientation Class Overview

Attending the Orientation Class is necessary part of the MBSR Program (up to 1.5 hours). During Orientation, you will be able to meet the course instructor and the other program participants. You will also learn about what Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is and you will have the opportunity to clarify aspects of the program and to explore further whether this program is a good fit for you. More importantly, you will have the opportunity to experience some of the mindfulness tools that can be learned during the class. This is also the time for you to confirm your enrollment, registration and reserve your spot in the program.

All-Day Class/Retreat Overview

The UAMS MBSR Program includes an All-Day Class, or a Retreat (up to 7.5 hours), usually on a weekend towards the end of the course. During the All Day Class, the participants will be able to apply the tools learned during the regular classes in a Retreat-style and format. The activities during the Retreat is designed to assist the participants in firmly and effectively establishing the use of mindfulness across multiple situations in their lives as well as preparing them to leverage mindful practices beyond the MBSR program. Lunch will be offered during the All Day Class.

Example Course Outline

    • This session gives an overview of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences MBSR Program.
    • Meet your classmates, instructor, and review logistics and expectations for the course.
  • WEEK 1
    • Learn the theoretical underpinnings of mind-body medicine and its utility in daily  living
    • Introduction to Present Moment awareness through guided mindful eating, mindful breathing, and the body-scan exercises.
  • WEEK 2
    • Understanding how we respond to stressful scenarios and learn how apply the body-scan technique to cultivate self-awareness of how we react to stressful situations.
    • Bringing awareness to how perceive the present-moment and how we view/perceive the world around us; learning the possibility of changing the way we perceive and respond to difficulties and challenges will impact the short- and long-term effects of stress on our mind and body.
  • WEEK 3
    • Learn about other mindfulness practices such as mindful hatha yoga, sitting meditation, and walking meditation.
    • Time to share your experiences with formal practice and integrating mindfulness into your day-to-day living. Learn to connect with pleasant moments found in daily life.
  • WEEK 4
    • Learn to cultivate curiosity and open awareness to the full range of experience, and allow for the ability to develop attention regulation and flexibility.
    • Development the ability to concentrate and systematically expand your field of awareness.
  • WEEK 5
    • Being familiar with the foundations of mindfulness, students will learn about techniques that can be applied to specific challenges to cultivating mindful practices.
    • Learn about Loving Kindness Meditation
  • WEEK 6
    • Focusing on mindfulness strategies to enhance inner resources that can lead to Resilience or “stress hardiness”, which is the ability to return to equilibrium after stressful situations.
    • Learn about the fundamentals of interpersonal mindfulness, cultivating the awareness and presence during situations where communication is often laced with strong emotions.
    • This is an all-day silent retreat allowing experience of a longer-form and deeper meditation practice.
    • Allow the participants the opportunity to put into practice all the skills learned in a supportive community environment.
  • WEEK 7
    • Learn how to integrate Mindfulness in daily life through ones own experience
    • Learn how to maintain the discipline and flexibility of daily practice as circumstances change over the course of your life.
  • WEEK 8
    • Learn how to carry the momentum forward, acknowledging ones progress and be able to develop sustainable mindfulness practices after the program.
    • Learn about the resources that are available to support your evolving practice

Source: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program in Arkansas

14-Day NEURO PLAN Jump Start – An Introduction to Total Brain and Body Rejuvenation from the Sherzais

Empower yourself to take charge and boost your brain health!


In just 5 minutes a day, for 2 weeks, users will focus on changing basic habits dealing with nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep restoration and cognitive capacity. During the course, participants are motivated to keep these positive lifestyle changes.

Your Instructors

Team Sherzai

Team Sherzai

A unique husband and wife team on the cutting edge of brain science, Dr. Dean and Dr. Ayesha Sherzai are dedicated to educating people on the simple steps to long-term health and wellness through their work as Directors of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University Medical Center, with patients, as well as through online writing, videos, and books.

NEURO PLAN Academy’s brain health program teaches you the best whole food recipes, exercises, and mindfulness techniques to improve your overall wellness

Go here to see FAQ and to enroll: 14-Day NEURO PLAN Jump Start

Blue and You Fitness Challenge 2020! – Get Healthy UAMS

The Blue & You Fitness Challenge is here! The Challenge provides UAMS with an opportunity to rally together for fitness and compete against other teams of our size. The Blue & You Fitness Challenge is a three-month (March 1 – May 31) contest. The Challenge aims to prove you can…

Continue reading here: Blue and You Fitness Challenge 2020! – Get Healthy UAMS

(I was thrilled to find this a few minutes ago while Googling around. A UAMS employee borrowed some yoga mats from Ottenheimer Fitness Center yesterday to use for their first department yoga class to be led by a fellow employee who’s also a yoga practitioner. Thanks to her, I found out about UAMS’ involvement with the Blue & You Fitness Challenge – yet another encouraging activity in which they are participating.)

The Eagle Has Flown!

Our Plant Strong Club monthly meeting took place last night, Monday, March 2, and I believe it’s safe to say a good time was had by all. We opened with an excellent time of sharing by my dear friend and yoga instructor since 1999, Pam Peters. You may watch that here on YouTube.

After Q & A and drawings for a pass for 10-days of free classes at West Little Rock Yoga and a free class pass at the Floating Lotus Yoga Studio, we watched this video interview: Michael Klaper, M.D., Vegan Diet Truths and Myths interviewed by Dr. Nick Delgado on YouTube, and discussed it and other WFPB-related topics afterward.

Please review a copy of the email invitation for more information and links to other local resources. Details will be forthcoming regarding Dr. Klaper’s visit to UAMS, Little Rock, on April 1. Mark your calendar now for the public presentation at 6 PM, Reynolds Institute, UAMS, Jo Ellen Ford Auditorium.

Copies of three emails were also attached regarding Vito and Vera going live with their “innovative plant-based cuisine,” Stephanie Spencer’s upcoming classes “Plant-Based Wellness for Beginners,” and Dr. Maryelle Vonlanthen’s Healthy Nugget updates as follows:

Dear Healthy Nuggetters, 

You may wonder why I have not yet sent out announcements for this month’s classes.  Very simply put, I needed to take a break and sharpen my vision for our 2020 goals.  

So the plan and direction for the future are as follow: 

1.  We will continue to have lunch/dinner meetings and talks.  Based on the group’s feedback we can have some on Friday evenings and some Saturday at lunch, alternating to make sure everyone gets to participate. A delicious plant based meal will be served courtesy of Bernadette and I will provide thought provoking topic presentations to encourage and support your journeys to health. 

2.  The cooking classes as we have presented will no longer be offered. Instead Bernadette and I will be offering one on one classes in your homes. This way the class will be hands on with us helping you prepare delicious dishes. This will also help you stock your pantry with necessary ingredients to facilitate future meal preps. What we cook will depend on what you want to learn, specifically for you. 

3.  Finally I would like to spend more time working with you one on one to coach, support and assist you in making impactful changes to your diets which will bring you to health.  This will allow me to address the specific situations and challenges each of you are facing and together we can overcome these barriers.   Those interested can schedule a session by Emailing me. 

Our final “regular” cooking class will be in March (date to be announced) along with a Saturday Lunch.  I welcome your questions and comments. I look forward to sharpening our vision for health to 20/20 ! and most importantly my greatest joy as your coach is to see your health improve and you living a full, active and exciting long life. 

Happy Eating ! 


You may request to be added to Maryelle’s email list for future updates by emailing her at this address: Also note that we have several of her presentations posted under Past Presentations.

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