For eatingGreen stuff. Kale is the new black. It’s high in fiber, vitamin A and calcium. Add it to a smoothie, or make some kale chips. Pull washed kale leaves off stems and tear into bitesized pieces. In a bowl, massage well with olive oil then lay them out on baking sheets [not too close, they'll just steam. 1 large bunch needs 2 sheets], sprinkle with a little salt and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until crisp and nearly translucent. Crunch, yum, healthy.
Not a fan? Try protein and vitamin C rich brussel sprouts. Michael Symon has some fantastic Thanksgiving recipes.
Garlic. Eat, don’t supplement, this anti-viral immune powerhouse. Gelcaps demand breath mints, too, but without the worth-it-ness of a delicious meal. Raid your autumn harvest garlic stockpile or head out to your favorite italian joint. Roasted garlic, still in the skin with a little olive oil and salt is incredible, and the spicy, sharp flavor melts into a smooth, almost sweet, spreadable paste.
Just cut the heads in half across the cloves [fat-ways], make a crumpled little foil stand for each half in a loaf pan, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over top. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until tender. Here’s another option, leaving the heads whole and using a muffin pan.
Pink grapefruit. Lycopene and vitamin C boost immunity. Grapefruit also keeps skin looking smooth and vital while the sun takes its many-months leave. Here’s an interesting option, but if you want to kill many birds with one stone, er, meal, try this one. Good fats, protein, greens and vitamin C…the perfect lunch.
For poppingVitamin D. Oh, how we miss that sun. Once winter hits in Cleveland, vitamin D hits the road. Fortified milk won’t cut it, folks. Michael Roizen recommends vitamin D as part of natural flu prevention. An adult maintenance dose is at least 2000 IU daily, 1000 IU for kids. But consider 5000 – 10,000 IU for 30 days to front load immunity.
Probiotics. Overall health starts in our gut, where up to 80% of our immune system lives and works…or doesn’t. Good probiotics will offer at least 3 – 4 billion CFU in multiple strains. Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces boulardii are the most effective for intestinal upset issues.
For healingOscillococcinum. It’s happening. You are officially getting the flu. Quick! Take this remedy. Oscillo is most effective when symptoms first start, like headache, chills and fatigue. Whole Foods has multipacks…every family member can stash one away.
Gelsemium. Oh, no. It’s on now. This classic flu remedy is nicknamed the 7 dwarfs remedy, along with some poetic license. Choose this if you are sneezy, dull, down, drowsy, droopy, dopey, and dizzy. Drooping eyelids? Can’t even get up? Take a dose and pop in your favorite John Hughes movie. You’ll be feeling better soon.
Rhus-tox. Now for something completely different. This was my flu two winters ago. Achy, tired and irritable, but completely wired and restless. No motivation or focus, but absolutely amped and needing to move around. One dose and I was back to normal. As normal as I get, anyway.
For avoidingAntibacterial soap. This seems like a good enough idea…using potent germ killing soap to kill off bacteria and viruses. But the recommendation against anti-bac soaps have been around awhile. Their use only encourages those germs to mutate and change, to evolve into more effective germs. As with the overuse of antibiotics, we end up with superbugs.
The best bet is a long, careful scrubbing with plenty of regular ‘ol soap and fairly hot water. One great smelling, middle of the road option is a line of Thieves oil products. Thieves oil has more than just an interesting name…it was quite literally what thieves would coat their skin in to avoid infection while robbing plague victims. In less macabre use today, it smells like cloves and rosemary and doesn’t dry out the skin like many antibacs do. Incidentally, the drying effect of antibacs creates microcracks in the skin which, ironically, leaves it ripe for infection.
Sugar. Yummy and comforting, sugar is also a great inflamer, and encourages the nasty bugs to grow faster. Moderation when you are feeling well, please, and avoidance when you are falling ill or just beginning to recover. When your tissues are already irritated, swollen or otherwise compromised, sugar will only make it worse and it will take longer to recover. You’ll feel crappier in the meantime, too, especially with a head cold, sinus infection or any kind of mucus-event.
Along with sugar, dairy should be avoided when you are ill. Sad, I know. But the extra sugars plus milk’s tendency to aggravate mucus will only add to the misery. So if a cafe mocha is your staple comfort, you might want to switch to a therapeutic hot tea, at least for a few days.
Stress. It’s really all about susceptibility. You don’t take care of yourself [see all that great advice, above!], you leave yourself more susceptible…and you get sick. You take great care of yourself, but still get sick and don’t give yourself enough time to recover…and you stay sick. The holidays are coming up fast. Overscheduling, lack of sleep and emotional overextension are serious stressors that must be managed to have any hope against the Cleveland Crud.
Want to know more?So eat well, supplement wisely [and minimally] and call me if you end up with a cold or flu that won’t budge. In the meantime, read about remedies to deal with the coughs that will inevitably befall many of us.
If there is anything that you rely on for winter time health and comfort, let me know in the comments!