If you have done everything you can do to stay healthy this fall and you still get sick, it’s okay. Sometimes we just have to give in. It’s a signal that we need to slow down and rev up the self-care.
It’s not the pinnacle of health to never be ill. We have to give our immune system something to work with to make sure it is strong and functioning. The best indicator of our health is how quickly we are able to recover, not that we got sick in the first place.
Whether you get a cold or flu, here are my sure-fire tips to get you better quick!
1. Stop eating sugar, dairy, and wheat immediately
I am not messing around when I say this. Cut all of it out. Not even yogurt. Honey is okay if you are using it to soothe a sore throat. Other than that, you want to be very strict with yourself. Sugar, dairy, and gluten all contribute to phlegm production. Sugar feeds bacteria and infections in the body. Dairy and gluten are gummy and inflammatory. If you want to stop blowing your nose every 10 minutes, cut out ALL three of these things until the phlegm stops. P.s. sugar = alcohol. I know. I'm sorry.
2. Drink warm water like it’s your best friend
Telling my clients to drink more water is the second most groan inducing suggestion. Meditation is obviously the first. You can see me smiling while I’m writing this right? So, no one is in love with water but water is in love with you. I’m talking about room temperature water or even better, slightly boiled warm water. When you have a sore throat, you may be tempted to drink ice water but this too will only increase phlegm in the body. Cold water freezes and you want all this gunk TO MOVE. In order to get the phlegm and the germs and the viruses out, you need to give it some lubrication and get things flowing. Your body is going to be even more dehydrated if you have had a fever. Fill it back to 70%!
3. Rest more than you think you need to
You’re going to get cabin fever and you’re going to want to go out and do something fun at the first sign of feeling better. Don’t push it. Your body has been fighting a hard battle. The last thing you want to do is sideswipe this cautious place of health with a night out. Rest until you feel vital again. Illness is a signal from your body letting you know that you’ve been making it work too hard. If you heed the signal and throw all kinds of healing at it, it will respond. Listen to it. You can handle reading one more book and watching one more movie.
4. Ramp up your nutrition
This is the time for Qi-full foods! You will want to eat lots of brothy soups-particularly chicken! Animal products do have special strengthening properties in Chinese medicine. Bone broths are particularly potent. Bring loads of color into your illness arsenal-kale, pears, ginger, cumin, miso, leeks, cranberries, and black chicken if you are adventurous! Seaweed is particularly good for vaporizing phlegm. Make sure it is organic. Seaweed can be full of heavy metals, gas, and other nasty chemicals. Just because you feel crappy, it is not a time for crap food. Do the opposite and pack your body with good stuff!
5. Don’t forget your supplements!
My three major immune boosting supplements are my multivitamin (I like New Chapter or Rainbow Light), Vitamin D3 (I like Jarrow) and probiotics (I like New Chapter, Klaire or Ultimate Flora). Even with a really healthy diet, it is impossible to get all the nutrition we need from food because of modern farming practices and depleted soil from environmental damage. We all need a daily multi. If you are a person who gets frequent colds, I would suggest getting your blood work checked for anemia or low Vitamin D levels. Adequate Vitamin D has made a giant difference in my immunity since I started taking it. We are talking going from up to three colds a year to one at the most with quick recovery. Probiotics pack a powerful immune boosting punch to your core. A strong, healthy, efficient digestive system is a great indicator of immune health. If you’ve had to take antibiotics for any reason this winter, probiotics are a must to rebuild the healthy bacteria in your gut!