Monday, December 31, 2012

5 Tips for Beating Winter Illnesses

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!  How is it already the last day of the year?!  It doesn't seem possible to me, but I am sure I have said that in the past, and will continue to do so in the future!  We had a lovely Christmas holiday, unfortunately, Christmas night I started to get sick...and then Jack was sick...and then Emma too.  Somehow Matt managed to avoid it completely.  I thought that sharing what we do when we are sick might help some of you as well!


Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):  We take this at the first sign of a cold, although the more research I do, the more I am thinking we should be taking it everyday regardless of whether we feel sick or not.  Apple Cider Vinegar has some amazing health properties.  It is high in Potassium which is important for blood pressure, heart, liver and kidneys, and also it is an electrolyte in the body that helps with regulating fluid levels.  ACV helps in balancing the pH levels in your body.  I never really thought about my body being too acidic before, but eating a diet much the same as the Standard American Diet (SAD) will cause your pH level to be too acidic.  And an acidic body is a breeding ground for illnesses.  ACV also helps to remove toxins from your body.  To take ACV mix 2 tsp of vinegar in 8 oz of water - add honey to taste.  Or if you are like me, just pour yourself a little ACV shooter!


Raw Honey:  There are so many benefits to raw honey, especially if you can get it from your neighborhood.  Raw honey helps to sooth sore throats, and is one of the "medicines" my kids request the most when they don't feel well.  Perhaps the sweet factor is part of it!  If you are able to find a raw honey that is very local to you, and you also suffer from allergies, this will sometimes help lessen the pain during allergy season.  The reason being that you are ingesting some of the pollen that you are allergic too, which in turn helps you build up your immunity to that pollen.  Please remember to not give honey to a child under the age of 1.



Raw Garlic:  Oh the wonders of garlic.  Garlic is good for the heart, and helps to boost the immune system by enhancing immune cell activity.  It also can be used as antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial agents.  This is why, besides eating it, we also use garlic oil for earaches.  Many ear infections will go away on their own if we allow them the time, but the pain associated with an ear infection, or even a severe head cold, is sometimes too much to handle.  So we put a couple drops of garlic oil in each ear when there is pain.  It has worked well for us.  Some ideas for incorporating raw garlic into your diet (if you can't stomach eating a raw clove - which most people cannot do!), hummus or white bean dip for raw veggies, fresh tomatoes and crushed garlic over pasta, in salad dressing (with ACV!), and guacamole (my personal favorite).  Using it in cooking is also beneficial, but when chopping garlic wait 15 minutes after chopping before putting it on to cook.  This allows a chemical reaction to take place which produces allicin and this compound is what exhibits anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.


Tea:  As soon as anyone is sick in my house, we seem to always start drinking tea.  Now, I have written before how much I love coffee...I mean, I really love coffee!  However, when I am sick, I have no taste for it, and instead turn to tea.  Interestingly enough, I never seem to get a caffeine headache when I have these periods of no coffee and being sick.  Now, I don't have a whole lot of information to share on wonderful homemade teas from herbs I have grown myself - although I do hope to get there some day!  Instead, I stick with what I know.  One of my favorite teas is Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat.  It soothes my throat better than anything I know.  We also will make ginger tea from freshly grated ginger for upset stomachs, and chamomile tea at bedtime.  Also, any type of decaf tea with a little honey goes a long way to getting my kids to stay hydrated when they are sick.


Rest:  Seems like an obvious one, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, I think in our society, even when we are sick, we are expected to go, go, go.  You are expected to be at work, you are expected to continue with your obligations, having a cold shouldn't stop you.  But, if we take a little bit of time to be still, sit, read, de-stress; whatever is ailing you will most likely leave that much sooner.  Now, I understand as a mama it is next to impossible to be able to sit and rest, but when we are all sick, it is ok to not get the laundry folded as soon as it is done drying, and it is ok to not mop your floor and instead opt for a movie with your kids.  Rest is definitely something we shouldn't give up, just because we have x, y, or z on our agenda.

These are some of the ways that we try to get healthy when we are sick.  And in fact, these are things we try to do when we are well too!  Having a body that is healthy and working is so important.  While I can't imagine never having another cold, I like to know that I am lessening the time with that cold, and potentially staving off something that is worse.

What do  you do when you are sick?  Do you have any tips on staying healthy in the first place?

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor, or even a medical professional.  I am sharing what works for my family and not trying to give medical advice.  You should check with your own Doctor and make your own decisions for what is right for your family!

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12 comments:

  1. We do elderberry syrup. It seems to help a lot.

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who's honey has crystallized this winter! ;-)

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    1. My kids actually prefer it like this! I'm not entirely sure why, maybe because it is more like a candy that way :-) It makes cooking with it a bit more difficult though...

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  2. Such a great post! I do most of the things you mentioned when I feel a cold coming on. I might look for that throat coat tea - seems like it would be perfect when my husband gets a sore throat. I like to steep ginger root in hot water then add lemon juice, honey, and ACV. It seems to clear me right up when I'm not feeling well. I love doing things the natural way!

    I also loved the tip about waiting 15 minutes after chopping garlic before putting it on to cook. I've never heard that! I use garlic ALL the time. Nearly all of my dishes start with onion and garlic.

    Visiting via Clever Chicks Blog Hop and now following you on GFC! Happy New Year! :)

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  3. Great post! I want to get that throat coat. I think a diet heavy in vitamin c and real food (veggies, fruits, beans). That all seems to help!

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  4. I think because I don't venture out much, and wash my hands religiously, I haven't had a cold for a couple of years. Knock on wood!

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  5. I agree with the ACV being good for you. My mother is 92 and she has a cup of hot water with ACV and honey EVERY morning. Sure hasn't hurt her. Hope all are well now. Deborah

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  6. Warm, steamy baths with epsom salt and essential oil soak - works wonders for loosening phlegm and relaxing a body tired from fighting sickness all day.

    Also the old stand-bys - plenty of rest, water, fresh fruits and veggies (for their micronutrient content).

    And chicken soup.

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  7. Great info! What have you noticed with the administration of the apple cider vinegar? I'm wondering if it might be good for a type of chelating. How does taking it affect your body?

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  8. One quick question - how does consuming an acid (Apple Cider Vinegar) make your body less acidic? That would make you more acidic.

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    1. This is a great question Katie! It is a common misconception that just because a food (ACV, lemons, oranges) is acidic on the outside of your body, it makes your body more acidic. But, the acidity level of your body is determined by the amount of acids produced from your stomach to digest it. So even though Apple Cider Vinegar is an acid, your stomach doesn't produce barely any acid to digest it making it alkalizing on your body. Foods that would be considered as acidic in your body would be meats, dairy, white breads, processed foods. This isn't to say other vinegars aren't acidic on your body, as I understand it Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is the exception. Here is an article to help explain better http://healthybliss.net/alkalize-your-ph-how-alkaline-acid-balance-affects-your-health/

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  9. Re Garlic, I like to eat a sliced raw clove on some homemade buttered bread. Just slice it real thin and have yourself a garlic sandwich..so yummy. My parents eat a clove of garlic everyday...can't remember the last time they had a cold. If you can't stomach the clove by itself, my dad eats it with a spoonfull of sourcream. Says it totally minimizes the sharpness of it and goes down easy! :)

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else

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  10. Great post! We do freshely minced garlic, ginger and honey washed down with water or lemon water. For coughs we do a thyme tea. I have blog posts on both of those if you want to check them out;) We also take vitamin C during colds to help shorten the duration.

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