Hey there! Did you notice the awesome logo image my son created for me? *insert super goofy proud Mommy smile* It’s still a work in progress but I am so proud and amazed at his artistic talent at 13 years old! Shameless Mommy plug: If you are interested in hiring him to create or draw something for you send me a message! 😉
Anyway…. it’s colder than a polar bear’s butt out here on the East Coast!!! Many of us are barely digging ourselves out of the blizzard or Snowzilla 2016 and in a few days many will start complaining of sore throats, start coughing and sneezing and just feeling like crap. Being the nice person I am I wanted to share with you all a few natural ways to try to stop the cold before it comes or help alleviate some symptoms if you’ve already come down with something.
- Probiotics: Were you aware that up to 80% of your body’s immunity comes from your gut or gastrointestinal system? There are several studies and articles online that support this information such as this one. So with this knowledge in mind I often associate a weak immune system, or a person coming down with a cold, with a person whose gut health may also be weak or not functioning well.
During cold and flu season I ALWAYS take a daily oral probiotic and give one to each of my kids in an effort to prevent getting sick and to help our bodies heal faster if we manage to catch a cold. Which one you ask? Well there are several strains of good bacteria to choose from. However, studies such as this one demonstrated that bacillus coagulans actually enhanced the bodies immune response to viral respiratory infections. You can buy this strain at The Vitamin Shoppe or online. Other studies suggest that another strain of bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus (marketed as Culturelle) could be effective against the cold virus. Since I typically use probiotics on a daily basis to help support gut health and healthy immune function I’m not too picky about my probiotics because quite frankly they can be pricey. So selecting one that is within your price range or that you find on sale is okay. There are chewables and granules for the kids that they will definitely like.
- NO Sugar! I cut out all processed sugar consumption in the house until we feel better. Sugar has a bad stigma attached to it for a reason and it’s said that it feeds the bad bacteria (not exactly what you want when you’re sick). Consuming raw honey is okay as it can help soothe a sore throat and has some antibacterial properties.
- Limit alcohol consumption: I don’t usually drink unless I’m about to go clubbing with my friends (which happens MAYBE once a year- damn old age!) But if you tend to consume alcohol on a daily basis, this would be a good time to try to limit your intake to help your body heal. A tablespoon or so for a hot toddy is fine but that should be the extent of it. This is the time when you want to fill your body with as much REAL FOOD as possible.
- Eat Real Food: Soups such as bone broth or miso soup are excellent ways to nourish the body when sick. Add some brown rice and veggies to the mix and you’ll be back in business in no time! In my house the kids get “tortured” with a diet of fresh fruit, veggies, grains, water and lemon teas. However, fruit juices are not allowed- especially not orange juice. Orange juice contains way too much sugar and is really acidic- which can burn an already sore throat. Further, orange juice is not the best source of vitamin C that advertisers would like you to think it is. You’d be better off eating strawberries, kiwi fruit, or mango. (YUM!!) A great alternative to orange juice is a simple lemon tea.
What you will need to make lemon tea is:
1 thick slice of fresh lemon or the juice of 1/4 lemon
1 tablespoon of raw honey or to taste
Hot water and a mugPlace the lemon and honey in a mug and mull (or mash) the lemon to release the juice. Add hot water, stir and drink! That’s it! Sometimes if I’m feeling really feisty I’ll do the above and add a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger and green tea to a tea basket and let the mixture steep for 2-3 minutes. The ginger and green tea give it an extra antioxidant punch and a bit of zip that’ll warm the chest up.
- No dairy: Dairy tends to cause increased mucous production in some and that is the LAST thing you want when you’re sick! So no cheese, sugary yogurt, or milk until the cold is on its way out the door. There is ONE exception to this rule and that is Keifer. Keifer is a yogurt like drink that contains tons of natural probiotics that your body can use to heal itself. You can get it with little to no sugar AND you can also get it in vegan variety that are based with coconut water (and they are awesome!!!).
- Zinc: Studies have shown that taking zinc can decrease the length of time you are sick by 2-3 days so I incorporate additional zinc to my vitamin regimen. When I’m feeling a cold coming on I take 1 zinc tablet in the morning and 1 in the evening WITH FOOD because it has a tendency of making me nauseous. If I don’t have the tablets or I would rather a lozenge I opt for a Cold EZ zinc lozenge (or generic alternative). Just a warning that the lozenge may cause your tongue to feel funny (furry is the best I can describe it) and some foods to taste a little “off” for a little while. But it’s worth it.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother): This stuff is like the Franks Red Hot Sauce of natural healing. You can put that sh*t on everything! The “mother” found in certain brands, such as Braggs Apple Cider vinegar, contain natural probiotics that can promote gut health and support a stronger immune system. Taking 1-2 tablespoons in a cup of water once a day is sufficient. I personally am the type that likes to rip the band-aid off so I make a shot of 1 tablespoon with a splash of water and chug it like a Patron shot. Woohoo!!! Turn up! Some may find that a bit too harsh but you can always chase it with some water to calm the “burn” in your chest.
- Sleep: As adults we push ourselves to do so much during the course of the day we ignore our body’s signs that are telling us to slow down… until we have no choice. So when you are starting to feel under the weather lay your butt down and get some much-needed sleep! That’s probably the main reason why NyQuil works so well. It knocks you out and makes you sleep! Rest gives your body the opportunity to recharge and renew.
- VapoRub. Yes I know it’s not “natural” so before you start bashing me for the petrolatum in the commercial product I simply used the product name for recognition. I actually make my own DIY vaporub (like a BOSS). The best recipe I have tried so far was this one here and I slather it everywhere! hahaha… I might smell like a 99 year old woman but it makes me feel great. My nasal passages do not feel as dry when I’m sleeping, I don’t cough as much…. it’s like a hug in ointment form! And yes… I go super old school and put it on my feet and put on my fuzzy socks (and the kids too) to tame the cough while sleeping. I don’t know how but it works!
- Natural cough syrup: When my boys have a hacking cough or they say their throat hurts I first have them gargle with warm salt water then I make them a “cough syrup”.To make the syrup you will need:
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
Mix it all together in a bowl and drink it all. It’s great alternative to traditional cough syrups.You don’t have to fight the kids to drink it because it actually tastes good and it works better than most commercial cough suppressants on the market. It’s good for adults too! Just remember that honey should NOT be given to a child under 1 year of age.
Now all parents know that when the kids get sick more than likely Mommy and/or Daddy get sick because kids are disgusting. So when the cold appears to be subsiding open the windows to air out the house then do a deep clean! Change the sheets, disinfect toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide (let it set for 10-15 minutes), then wipe down remotes, game controllers, cell phones, tablets, light switches, and door knobs in an effort to kill the virus lingering on these surfaces. Doing this helps me avert catching the germs my kids love to share with me about 60-70% of the time.
So tell me… What are some of the things you all use to prevent or get rid of a cold quick? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below, like and share the love! Until next time!
NOTE: If you are diabetic or have any sensitivities to any ingredients I recommended above, please consult with your doctor prior to trying them.