If you do end up getting sick this season, remember, there is wisdom in sickness. Symptoms are our body’s way of speaking to us, letting us know that, “hey, something isn’t right here and I need extra support.” Don’t cover them up with OTC pills and syrups; give your body the nutritional and kindness boot it’s asking for. No one can offer a magic pill as an “instant cure-all,” but here are five tips to lesson your sick time and alleviate the discomfort.
- Rest: We feel tired when we’re sick because our immune system is working overtime. It’s similar to running the AC in your car; your car may not have as much power with the AC on because this system within a system is working hard to do its job. So, give your body the rest it needs and don't step on the accelerator! This frees up energy for the immune system. A day on the couch could save you from a lingering sore throat or cough.
- Fasting: If you aren’t hungry, don’t force the food… Short fasts can actually strengthen the immune system because they free up energy that would otherwise go to the digestive system to digest food. It is important to supply easily digestible nutrients though, so the immune system has the materials it needs to do its job. This is where fresh juice, broth, and simple cooked foods come in. Make fresh juice in a Vitamix or invest in a cheap juicer (watch video here). You can usually find juicers for a good deal on Craig’s List. Or, borrow one from a friend. Bieler Broth is a traditional easy-to-make vegetable broth (recipe by Lily Calfee) perfect for a sick day or for detoxing. Make bone broth with what’s left over after cooking a whole chicken. Simple cooked foods like baked squash, or steamed cauliflower or apples provide a little more sustenance. I love a steamed apple or pear with coconut milk; quick to make, easy to digest, and satisfying (recipe below).
- Supplements: Pretty straight forward…
- Vitamin C 500-1,000 mg 3X per day
- Vitamin D3 10,000 I.U.s per day (Get levels tested!)
- Probiotic 25 million CFU per day, if not already taking a one
- Zinc picolinate 30 mg 1X per day
- Magnesium; I like the Natural Calm packets. Drink one per day.
- Tonics and hot beverages: Herbal teas, such as Echinacea, elderberry, and calendula are always a good idea. But did you ever think of making tea with garlic and fresh ginger or raw apple cider vinegar? These are common grocery store items that make a powerful anti-viral tonic. Raw cider vinegar helps the body become more alkaline, making an uninhabitable environment for bacteria. (See recipes below.)
- Sweat it out! Raising the body temperature and promoting sweating turns on the oven and helps kill off the bad guys. Spend some time in a sauna or take a hot bath. Remember to hydrate before, during, and after as you can lose a lot of electrolytes through sweating. Coconut water, Natural Calm, or fresh homemade juice with celery will do the trick.
Steamed Apple with Coconut Milk
- 1 organic apple, such as Braburn or Fuji, sliced and cored
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 3 TBS full-fat coconut milk
Garlic Ginger Lemon Honey tea
- 8-10 oz filtered water
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼” chunk fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin (can me omitted if you don’t have any on hand)
- ½ TBS lemon or myer lemon
- ½ tsp raw unfiltered honey (less if using myer lemon)
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
- 8-10 oz filtered water
- 1 TBS raw apple cider vinegar, such as Bragg’s
- 1 tsp raw unfiltered honey