How to Beat Winter Germies
Earlier this winter, my entire family (husband, daughter, dad, and infant) were all struck down with the devil cold from Hell. Interestingly, only my mother and I were spared. Mom had some suspicious “allergies” around that time and I only had just the edges of the unholy Hellbeast. This is particularly stunning, given the fact that she and I were covered in sick mucus from dawn til dusk for nearly three weeks.
My mom is in her late fifties and she’s fit as all f*ck. She works out, practices yoga, gets outside, limits salt and high GI foods. Seriously, the lady is kind of a health saint. She also has a seriously championed immunological system due to twenty years of working with children.
Me, however…I’m another kettle of fish altogether. I have a healthy lifestyle…now. But it’s a fairly recent development for me. I learned the hard way about a pound of prevention by spending nearly every winter of my late-twenties getting incapacitatingly ill. (Remember that time I got mono the winter I was 28?)
When it came to devil-cold though, I was hella proactive to the point where it was almost like an experiment. This is due, at least, in part to the fact that I am nursing my son and can’t take any good cold drugs. (as opposed to you thinking that I’m particularly virtuous. I’m not).
Here are some tips to prevent cold and flu from striking you down this winter:
Ah, green juice. It makes me feel so good. In fact, I’m drinking one right now! Rarely a day goes by when I don’t chug one. It gets me greens without fibre (I get lots of fibre in my diet in other ways), reduces inflammation. Vitamins! Antioxidants! It tastes so yummy. My hubs got me a dope new Breville juicer for Christmas and I’m fully obsessed with it. You can juice with a blender and strain out the pulp if you’re not down to shell out for another appliance on your counter-top. I cook the pulp into spaghetti sauces and bake it into muffins to reduce waste and get another shot of veg into our lives.
My recipe is hella simple:
(Sometimes we add celery, ginger, parsley. If it’s green and we have it, it usually makes its way in.)
Lay off the Bad Stuff
I eat as much shit as the next person. There are very few things to which I say, “Oh, I never eat that,” because I find that way of thinking to be limiting and claustrophobic for me. Also, it makes me more likely to rebel and binge on 7-11 hot dogs with pump cheese when no one else is around.
I’ve learned, however, that there is a time and a place for indulgence, and when you’re fighting germies it is not that time. Give your bod a chance to fight the germies and not an inflamed gut caused by tons of processed food or red meat.
Bone broth needs a sexier name. It’s got so much goodness and a decidedly un-sexy name. Sorry, vegans. There is no equivalent that I’m aware of for you. The theory behind bone broth is that you boil the ever-loving f*ck out of a chicken carcass (I boil mine for around forty eight hours). You add whatever you have handy – onions, carrots, celery, kale, plus medicinal herbs like rosemary, sage, garlic and ginger. Leave the skins on the onions and garlic to get that rich colour. Every few hours, go at it with a potato masher. Pick the bones out after a few days and sip away. It’s cozy and delicious and hydrating and kicks cold bugs in the balls.
If you’re not getting everything that you need from your food, supplements can be mighty useful. In terms of fighting bugs, take garlic, ginger and oregano oil in concentrated amounts if you can stand burping up pasta-taste all day. Otherwise, I increase my Vitamin C and D intake when I’m fighting sickies and stick with my normal regimen of probiotic, omegas, folic, B complex, and Ca/Mg
Sleep is king. If you don’t sleep, you can’t heal. We all know the terrible effects of long-term sleep deprivation (you’ve seen the Infographic, right?). For those of us who are parents, chances are we’re experiencing those delightful effects in our own body as we speak.
Whatever you can do to grab a few extra zzz’s, I implore you to do it. Sleep in the trenches if you must. Trade off and take shifts with your partner. Send the kids to the grands. If all else fails, throw some money at the problem, hire a sitter and put in some ear plugs for at least four hours.
That being said, I’m a practical lady with two people-kids and two (sometimes three) fur-kids. If meditating or having a bath or working out are more attainable for you than actual sleep, do one of those. It will be better than ploughing through your day.
In fact, lets make meditation its own point.
Envision perfect health. Release your tensions. Don’t give your bod more cortisol to fight than necessary.
I’m pretty new to the oils game* so I won’t pretend to be an expert at all. I was really lucky that a dear friend of mine is a doTerra rep (if you want me to hook you up with her, just drop me a note). She stopped by with her essential oils medical kit when everyone in the house was sick. That shit has been in our baths, on the soles of our feet, our backs, chests, and in a diffuser pretty steadily since then. It smells delish and has great medicinal properties.
* Learn from my mistakes. Don’t put cinnamon oil directly in your bath water. Cinnamon oil = full body burns.
Our bodies are constantly trying to talk to us. If yours’ is saying, “I have a cold, I feel like ass” then chances are you’ve been overdoing it and you need to chill. Easier said than done, believe me, I know. But so, so essential. If you don’t take care of your body now, the whispers become shouts. This is not judgement. Just a plea from someone who wants you to feel well.
Clean up your thoughts
Stinkin’ Thinkin’ has never kept the doctor away. If you’re in a negative headspace, please try to clean up your thoughts. Have a laugh. Play with your kids. Take a mental health day (say you have diarrhea. No one questions diarrhea.)
This is not what I mean, FYI. Do not become the “I cannot get sick” woman. This is ego-based. Talk to your body kindly.
Let it Go
Sorry if you’re singing the song. What I mean by this is that sometimes, we get struck down in spite of our best intentions. Our family is on cold, round two and I’m not coming out as successful this time.
If this happens to you, snuggle in and rest. Don’t beat yourself up.
Accept it, heal, and move on.
I’ll try if you will.
Wishing you a cold-free winter,