It’s Cold Season! Arrrgh! What Can You Do?

Oh, the dreaded common cold. There are lots of natural ways to keep your body and immune system strong throughout the year. Things like nutrition/foods, lifestyle, and habits.

 

But, getting sick is still a possibility.  I’m living this RIGHT NOW! Everyone around me was sick in December and I did fantastic at following tips 1-5 below to help keep my immune system strong and then… I had 3 consecutive terrible sleeps where I was woken up multiple times (for multiple reasons) and that is likely what did me in.  Something my clients know about me is that I know how much proper sleep affects all aspects of our wellbeing and keeping the common cold at bay is definitely one of them. I’ve been following tips 6 & 7 for the past week and this cold is definitely on its way out!  WooHoo!

 

I wanted to share with you my best tips to help you prevent getting sick, and how to recover quickly… naturally.

 

Plus, I have a recipe for a natural cough remedy, free of drug store medications.

 

I’m Sick.  What Can I Do (Naturally)?

 

Getting a common cold doesn’t have to be so… common. There are things you can do naturally to make getting sick less likely.

 

But, if you do happen to get sick, there are things you can also do to help support your body to fight it off.

 

Good hand hygiene and overall healthy habits can reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. And good nutrition can help your immune system fight off a cold quicker. Imagine your germ-fighting immune cells all hungry and tired, versus them being nourished and full of energy.

 

And that’s what this post is all about.

 

First I’ll give you some tips to reduce your risk of getting sick in the first place. Then, I’ll let you in on some of my strategies to recover from that cold you may still get from time to time.

 

Natural tips to reduce your risk of sickness

 

Here are some great ideas to incorporate into your daily life to reduce your risk of getting sick.

1 – Wash your hands. A lot. Your hands can trap and transport all kinds of microbes that cause sickness. And I’m not just talking about colds here, but lots of different germs.

 

NOTE: Antibacterial soap is not recommended! Not only is it no more effective than regular soap and water, but it can contribute to antibiotic resistance.

 

2 – Get enough nutrients. I know this is way oversimplified, but I would be remiss to exclude it. Every cell in your body, including your immune cells, need enough of all the essential nutrients. The more nutrition you have, the better and stronger you will be, especially with vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin A-rich foods include carrots, sweet potato, and organ meats. Vitamin C-rich foods include bell peppers and citrus. Vitamin E-rich foods include nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.

 

3 – Probiotic foods. Helping our health-promoting gut microbes with more of their probiotic friends is in order here to help keep the immune system strong. Try 1-2 servings/day of fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, and kombucha.

 

4 – Prebiotic foods. Feeding those friendly gut microbes their favourite foods can help them to grow and flourish. They love fibrous foods like onions, asparagus, berries, bananas, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and seeds. Aim for 2-3 servings/day.

 

5 – Get enough sleep. Did you know that our immune system cycles with our circadian system? When we sleep our immune cells produce antibodies to fight infections. Try to get at least 7 hours every single night, even when you’re feeling great.

 

 

Natural tips to recover from that sickness

 

When you do get an infection, not only do you need more nutrients to fight it off, but your body also has a harder time absorbing and using the nutrients you take in. Sometimes this is because of reduced hunger, sometimes due to gastrointestinal reasons. Either way, nourishing your body is even more important. When you do get sick, make sure you are implementing tips 1-5 plus the tips below that are crucial for getting over a common cold.

 

6 – Drink lots of fluids. Being sick can be dehydrating. Fluids like water, chicken soup, and green tea are warm, hydrating comfort drinks. Chicken soup is a source of electrolytes, especially if homemade from a real chicken with lots of vegetables. Green tea has been shown to boost some of our immune cells, and this can help to better fight off the invading germ.

 

7 – Rest and recover. When your body is fighting an infection, it’s busy working hard for your health. Give it a break and relax while you’re feeling under the weather.

 

Conclusion

 

There are lots of things we can do to stay healthy and reduce infections naturally. Washing your hands is a proven way to reduce your risk. And staying healthy in all other ways helps a lot. Getting enough nutrition, eating probiotic and prebiotic foods, and getting enough sleep are key year round.

 

If you do get sick, keep up all of your good habits above, and make sure to add some warm, healthy fluids, and extra rest.

 

What do you do when you get sick? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Throat soothing): Honey Lemon Ginger Cough Drops

½ cup honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp freshly grated ginger root

Instructions

Put ingredients into a small saucepan.

 

Stir frequently until it becomes foamy. Be careful because the honey can burn easily.

 

Remove from heat and continue to stir until the foam reduces.

 

Put the saucepan back on the heat.

 

Repeat this until a candy thermometer reads 300F.

 

Drop a bit into a glass of ice water. If the mixture forms a hard, crunchy ball, it’s ready! If not, keep stirring and heating for another minute or two and try with the ice water again.

 

Once a hard ball forms from a drop into the ice water, let the saucepan cool until the foam has reduced.

 

Drizzle the candy into a candy mold or onto oiled parchment paper.

 

Let cool at room temperature until the cough drops are hard.

 

Pop out of the mold or break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Tip: You can sprinkle them with vitamin C powder to keep them from sticking together.

 

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References:

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/what-to-eat-when-sick

 

https://www.thepaleomom.com/natural-approaches-to-cold-flu-season/

 

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-the-common-cold-with-probiotics/

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dExiRwh-DQ

 

http://www.who.int/gpsc/clean_hands_protection/en/

Can’t Meditate? Here’s 9 Other Options to Help Lessen Stress

I know! Meditation is the secret sauce to take your wellness up to the status of the elite gurus. It’s the “be all, end all” for the health of your entire mind-body-spirit. It’s the absolute must-do that is the only path to beating the infamous health-buster called “stress.”  Don’t get me wrong; practicing meditation is an excellent approach to optimizing your health and overall well-being.  I totally agree with how much you can benefit from a meditation practice… I am a yoga teacher after all!  Meditation is great for relieving and dealing with stress, and all of the issues that come along with it. But it’s not the only way to get there.

 

The whole purpose of meditating is to calm the mind and emotions and relax our physical body too. And there is always more than one way to get there.

 

Let’s talk about some of the other things to try if meditation is not exactly your thing.

 

Journaling

 

Spending some time every day writing out your thoughts can help to relieve stress. You can use journaling to list the things you’re grateful for, this is known as gratitude journaling. You can use it as a “brain dump” to get all of your thoughts and ideas out of your head to soothe your mind. You can use “ever since” journaling to describe your life after you reach your goals.

 

Reading

 

It’s one thing to read to learn something that you have to learn, or to advance your knowledge. And, you can also read for pure pleasure. To get caught up in a story and just relax.

 

Colouring

 

Adult colouring books are all the rage! Not *that* kind of adult, but colouring pages with lots of detail and tiny areas to colour in. Something that can take you hours. You can always opt for something simple, like kids colouring pages too. The idea is the same. Repeated movements and focusing on the art you’re creating can help to clear your mind.

 

Knitting or crocheting (or other crafts)

 

Knitting, crocheting or other yarn activities are a great way to de-stress; this is a skill that comes in all levels from beginner to advanced. You can choose a quick little rectangular scarf to make, or a detailed sweater. You can choose the pattern, size, and yarn. Once you get into the flow of these skills, they’re great to do when you’re feeling stressed. Not only can they relax your mind to focus on your work, but you can end up warming yourself or others with the products you create.

 

Gentle exercise

Gently moving your body is another great way to de-stress. Activities that are slower and less intensive are ideal. Things like walking, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can all be great ways to relax your mind and improve your strength and balance at the same time.

 

Sleep in or take a nap

 

A common cause of increased stress hormones is lack of sleep. Too little sleep and too much stress go hand-in-hand. So, getting enough good quality sleep is important to help you break free from stress without having to meditate.

 

Pamper Yourself 

 

Maybe you love getting massages or mani/pedi’s? Maybe you love a long bath or lighting candles? Perhaps you can add your favourite relaxing music to the mix for a pampering evening? Spending some time to pamper yourself regularly is great for your mind, body, and spirit.

 

Spend time in nature

 

You don’t have to head away for vacation to relax in nature. While a calm beautiful beach or cabin in the woods may be amazing, you don’t have to go that far. Even spending time on the grass at your local park or playground, or walking on a wooded trail in your neighbourhood can do the trick.

 

Make time for people and pets you love

 

It’s so important to spend time with family, friends, and pets whom you love. New research is coming out about the health issues related to loneliness. Reach out and plan to hang out with your besties, or even offer to take your neighbour’s dog for a walk in the park.

 

Conclusion

 

Stress reduction is the goal. How you do it, be it meditation or otherwise, is not that important. What’s important is that you find what works for you.

 

Try journaling, reading, colouring, knitting/crocheting, gentle exercise, sleep, pampering yourself, spending time in nature, and making time for people and pets you love.

 

Have other great ideas? Let me know what helps you de-stress in the comments below.

 

Recipe (calming): Lavender Essential Oil

Instructions to inhale directly:

 

Add up to 6 drops of undiluted essential oil to a handkerchief/tissue and inhale occasionally. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Instruction for steam inhalation:

Add 3 – 12 drops of undiluted essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Inhale slowly and deeply for 5 – 10 minutes. Use up to 3 times per day.

 

Tip: Lavender isn’t the only calming essential oil. You can also use angelica, balsam, benzoin, bitter orange, cedarwood, celery, chamomile, cornmint, cumin, curry, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, laurel, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, palmarosa, parsley, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosewood, sage, sandalwood, scotch pine, spearmint, star anise, sweet basil, sweet orange, thyme, or ylang ylang.

 

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References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/getting-control-stress

 

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-power-and-prevalence-of-loneliness-2017011310977

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/do-essential-oils-work/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=aromatherap&lang=eng

Feeling the Burn… Eating, Activity, & Heartburn

Heartburn – Can I Help it with Foods and Lifestyle?

 

The odds are that you or someone you know experiences heartburn. Around half of North American adults experience it at least once per month. Somewhere between 10-20% have it at least once per week!Heartburn, also known as reflux, occurs when the strong acid in your stomach creeps up into your esophagus.

 

It can feel like a burning sensation; hence the name “heartburn.” Other common symptoms include bloating, burping, difficulty swallowing, or a sore throat. Often there is a bitter or sour taste as well.Don’t get me wrong, stomach acid is good! Stomach acid is essential for good health and optimal digestion.

 

We need the acid in our stomach to protect us against harmful microbes (i.e. bacteria) that lurk in our food and drinks. Stomach acid also helps us break down our food, and digest nutrients. But we need that acid to stay in the stomach, and not get up to our esophagus!

 

Stomach acid doesn’t usually burn the stomach itself; this is because the stomach is protected by a layer of mucus.

 

But your esophagus doesn’t have that same protection. It has a valve that is supposed to prevent things from going the wrong way (i.e. keep food, drink, and acid down; not allow it back up). And when your esophagus is exposed to stomach acid too often, it can cause the infamous burning, inflammation, and other potential issues.

 

I’m going to share a bunch of tips that may help you overcome your heartburn symptoms naturally.Of course, if symptoms last for a long time, or get worse, it’s probably a good idea to see your doctor.

 

Tip #1 – Foods to eat (and avoid)


You may notice that when you eat or drink certain things, you get heartburn soon afterward. These triggers may be different for everyone; but often include onions, garlic, chocolate, citrus, tomato, mint, spicy foods, greasy foods, coffee, carbonated drinks, or alcohol. If any of these affect you, reduce them or even try cutting them out to see if it makes a difference.

 

Heartburn might also result from a sneaky food intolerance. Try eliminating grains, dairy, and processed foods for a few weeks and see if that helps.

Now, you may be wondering: “If I eliminate these foods/drinks, then what can I put in their place?”

 

Try increasing fiber intake. Yes, this means more whole, unprocessed foods, especially veggies! In fact, potatoes may be a great addition to meals if you suffer from heartburn. Try getting at least five servings of veggies every day.

 

Tip #2 – How and when to eat

Eat slowly. Use meal times to release stress. Chew your food very well. Don’t eat meals that are too big.

And don’t eat too close to bedtime. You want to avoid lying down with a full stomach. We’re talking finishing eating 2-3 hours before lying down, so schedule your dinner or snack with this in mind.

Tip #3 – Lifestyle techniques

 

Sometimes strenuous exercise can make heartburn symptoms worse. If this happens to you, then focus on low-intensity exercises like walking and cycling.

 

If symptoms come on as you’re lying down to sleep, try adding a pillow or two so your head is a bit higher than your stomach.

 

Another interesting tip is to try sleeping on your left side. Lying on your left side works because the valve that prevents the acid from “leaking” into your esophagus is located on the right side of the stomach. So, when you’re lying on your left, the acid is away from that valve.

 

Conclusion

 

Heartburn is a very common condition where stomach acid creeps up into the esophagus (where it’s not supposed to be).

 

If you suffer from symptoms of heartburn, there are many things you can do. There are foods and drinks to avoid and veggies to increase. You can eat slower, chew more thoroughly, and don’t lie down within 2-3 hours of eating. Also, try low-intensity exercise and sleeping on your left side.

 

Try these simple, natural strategies. They can help prevent or relieve heartburn symptoms for you.

 

Recipe (Not Too Greasy or Spicy): Baked Potatoes

Serves 4

1 small bag of mini potatoes

4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

 

Scrub potatoes and boil them until they’re soft. How long will depend on their size, so check them by feeling how easily they’re penetrated with a fork or knife.

 

Drain the water and toss the potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Place in a roasting dish at 425F for about 15 minutes.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Don’t have mini potatoes? Use large potatoes or sweet potatoes and chop them to the size of mini potatoes.

 

 

 

References:

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/get-rid-acid-reflux/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/heartburn-reflux-gerd

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/heartburn-acid-reflux-remedies/

Finding Stability… with my blood sugar!

How Do I Keep My Blood Sugar Stable?

 

Oh, the words “blood sugar.”

 

Does it conjure up visions of restrictive eating, diabetes medications, or insulin injections?

 

Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.

 

The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.

 

This fluctuation is the natural balance between things that increase it; and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugars or starches (“carbs”), then your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood. When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body keeps blood sugar levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin allows excess sugar to get it out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy Continue reading “Finding Stability… with my blood sugar!”

Burnt-Out-Mom Syndrome and Adrenal Fatigue

Let’s face it, life can get super busy more often than not.  We’ve got a lot on our plates most of the time and can end up feeling like we are barely able to balance it all.  Fatigue, cravings, inability to sleep, and mood swings are REAL!

And common.

 

Adrenal fatigue is thought to be one of the (many) health issues that can be attributed to our high-stress lifestyles.

 

However, because there is no widely accepted definitive test for adrenal fatigue, it’s still quite controversial.

 

Let’s dive into what we know about adrenal fatigue, and learn some ways to deal with it, including a non-food recipe (at the bottom). Continue reading “Burnt-Out-Mom Syndrome and Adrenal Fatigue”

Is Your Mindset Messing You Up?

The Momma Stress Mess: How It Messes With Your Health

 

We all have some level of stress, right? (Every mom everywhere puts her hand up… lol!)

 

It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).

 

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.

 

Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.

 

It’s the chronic stress that’s a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. Continue reading “Is Your Mindset Messing You Up?”

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