I don’t know about you, but we’ve been battling the nasties floating around L.A. getting everyone sick. This week I was EXTRA vigilant to get my rest, eat more veggies and do the things I’m about to tell you about…
Be honest, moms…we don’t have the luxury of taking sick days. And when we do get horribly sick, we still have to muster up any energy and mental cohesiveness we can find, load up on OTC cold & flu meds (when possible) and plunge straight back into Mommy World! So what do we do when our kids inevitably bring home those nasty colds??
Well, Ben Franklin was right…
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I believe that wholeheartedly! Before I share my personal strategy for staying well (and getting well more quickly when I do get sick), I should tell you that I used to catch every cold virus floating around, and was sick every 1-2 months. No exaggeration. This, however, was before incorporating these five simple things into my regular routine. So what in the world am I doing that has changed my health so much? Read on, sisters…
1. Matcha green tea with lemon juice and raw honey
What: This wonderful concoction combines three undeniably powerful ingredients that are fantastic on their own, but particularly effective when combined. I could go on and on about matcha green tea, but for now I offer a summary of its incredible benefits.
Why: Matcha is chockfull of antioxidants — 17 times that of wild blueberries, and 60 times that of spinach. Its anti-carcinogenic properties make it a potent cancer preventer, and all those yummy antioxidants combat inflammation, oxidation and aging. Matcha is also known to significantly lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol), increase the body’s fat burning during AND after exercise (hello!), detoxify the body, improve mind function and concentration, and boost energy without giving you the coffee jitters or caffeine crash. Shoot, just drinking matcha every day is a huge health benefit, but that’s just one part of our special little drink. Add lemon juice to your warm matcha tea, and you now have a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, citric acid, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Lemon juice in warm water helps reduce pain and inflammation, helps strengthen and cleanse your liver, helps balance your pH levels, and aids digestion. So now, what could possibly sweeten the deal? Raw honey! Adding honey to your warm tea further helps digestion and detox the body, and gives you yet another source of antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that boost your immune system.
How: This drink is best taken in the morning, about 30 minutes prior to eating breakfast, if possible. Basically, give it a chance to get to work cleansing before having your digestive system break down your breakfast. Combine 3-4oz hot water (not boiling) and 1/3 tsp of powdered matcha; stir or use bamboo whisk until well blended. Then stir in 1 tsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp honey. Exact amounts can be tweaked to your liking, but this is just the way I make it.
What: Probiotic supplements and/or probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha tea.
Why: Let’s be honest. If you even partially partake in the traditional American diet, your digestive system has experienced nutritional assault. From constipation, bloating and gas to UTIs and yeast infections, the gut plays a bigger role than many realize. An intestinal system in poor condition is prime breeding ground for illness. Since 70% of our immune system is in our gut, it only makes sense we do what we can to help the good guys in there flourish and force out the bad guys. Think of your gut as the bouncer at a club, working to keep less-than-desirable folks from joining and ruining your awesome party.
How: Ideally, consume something rich in probiotics daily, such as one or more servings of the above listed items. If you can’t manage to do this daily, at least commit to increasing your probiotic intake during stressful times, after having been treated with antibiotics, or when you’re feeling under the weather.
3. Oil Pulling
What: Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual in which you swish oil in your mouth to literally pull bacteria from your mouth. It’s really no surprise that our mouths have thousands of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other toxins lurking around, and candida and streptococcus are particularly common residents. While you could use many kinds of oils such as sesame oil or sunflower oil, my personal favorite is coconut oil because of its many health benefits. One of the fatty acids in coconut oil — lauric acid– is proven to be antimicrobial, meaning it can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Why: Simply put, oil pulling reduces the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth. The process is also claimed to whiten your teeth, make your breath fresher and improve overall health. So, why not?
How: Ideally in the mornings, put about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth. If a tablespoon is too much as a newbie, start with a teaspoon at room temperature (melted), which will make it easier to get accustomed to, and work your way up to a tablespoon. Swish the oil around your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Take a shower, do your hair, watch your favorite show; whatever will help pass the time to your liking! Then spit out the mouthful of bacteria-infested oil in the garbage, please, and never in the sink or shower, as it could cause plumbing problems when it hardens. Last, rinse out the remaining oil from your mouth and brush as usual. Please keep in mind, if you can only handle ten minutes, and/or can only do it at night, it’s still very worthwhile. Consistency in some form will help loads.
4. Less Sugar Consumption
What: Pastries, cakes, candy, cookies, high sugar sodas and coffees, etc.
Why: Let’s get real about this, people. Sugar is one of the worst things you can put in your body for many reasons, aside from the obvious affect on the size your waist line. As far as the immune system is concerned, many people are surprised to learn that eating or drinking sugary foods and drinks causes a significant drop in the ability of white blood cells to fight off bacteria, and this effect lasts for several hours after consumption.
How: This one is simple, though not necessarily easy if you are in the habit of downing a coffee cake and a frappuccino for breakfast. Consider cutting out foods that are high in sugar, particularly processed foods, and substitute with colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m not saying you should go cold turkey on this, unless that’s your style and it’s successful long-term for you. However, it is feasible for anyone to take small, gradual steps toward better health.
What: As you probably already know, America doesn’t get enough sleep, resulting in numerous problems such as poor concentration and memory, difficulty driving, weight gain, and the development of chronic diseases. We can add suppressed immune system to that list, too.
Why: Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep or good quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus or bacteria, and it can also affect how quickly you recover after getting sick. The function of infection-fighting cells and antibodies suffers when you don’t get enough sleep.
How: The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night, although some people function better with a little more or less. As difficult as it can be in our society, making sleep more of a priority is a must. There are understandably times and circumstances in which we honestly can’t get enough sleep that we just have to survive through. For the most part, however, there are things we can do to ensure a good night’s rest, like setting earlier cut-off times for TV, social media and other visually and mentally stimulating activities.
With these five habits, you’ll be a little more prepared for whatever cold and flu season throws at you. Moreover, in the event you do catch the inescapable virus that creeps up on you as your kid is finally getting well again, these habits are also handy for recovering quickly from that nasty cold. In an upcoming post, I’ll be sharing more of my family’s personal get-healthy-quick tricks we use when we get sick. 🙂
Stay healthy, stay sexy!
Til next time,