I wasn't feeling so hot last week. A little cold had me all scratchy throat, sexy voice, not so sexy phlegmy. Timing could not have been worse either - it was the night before Valentine's Day and just a couple of days before a holiday weekend and trip away with dear friends.
What did I do?
I went into hard core wellness mode and, I kid you not, less than 36 hours later, I was back to life.
Here I'm documenting exactly what I did. That's not to say these specific things are exactly what will work for you. Every body's different and what works for me may not work for you.
The big take away: Slow down and give yourself some serious TLC, whatever that looks like for you.
Here's what really helped me:
- sipping on hot water with ginger root, lemon and honey (recipe below)
- taking a hot bath with epsom salt + lavender and eucalyptus essential oils (recipe below)
- eating soup and drinking smoothies (recipes in the links below)
- taking extra vitamin C and zinc
- sleeping - getting in bed early
Here's a little more on why I think each of these are so beneficial, especially when feeling under the weather. And I'll tell you specifically how you can make/do each.
Side note: this is the first time I've been sick in I don't know how long.
(Knock on wood.)
I credit it mostly to the way I eat 80-90% of the time - home cooked, plant-based meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week. Pretty much exactly like the food in Dinner in 10 - my online cooking class + 4-week meal plan in one. You could say it's like a wellness insurance policy. Because I believe when you invest in how you eat, it pays off in fewer sick days, more energy and more life to live. Check it out here. And give it a test drive with my FREE 3-Day Meal Plan.
Ginger + Lemon Tea
I love this drink, sick or not. It's so comforting to me - it's what I've been starting my day with every morning since it's been so cold. Ginger is naturally warming. It creates heat, like other hot spices. You've probably noticed this if you've ever eaten something spicy and started sweating. What's unique about ginger is it contains gingerol - a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound that supports the body's natural healing process. Also the way it warms the body helps to promote blood flow and detoxification - all important steps that help you get well faster.
Lemon is helpful for supporting detox too. It's alkalizing (sort of ironic because lemon is so acidic), which is important for healing, and the juices stimulate and support the liver to it's job - also super important for detox (noticing a trend here?).
Honey has it's own healing properties and has been used medicinally for centuries. It coats and feels really good on a sore throat, too.
1-2" piece ginger root
2 cups hot water
1 tsp honey
Slice ginger root thin and rinse (you don't have to peel, but you can if you like) and place ginger at the bottom of a mug. Pour hot water over ginger and let sit to steep about 5 minutes. This will let the water cool a bit too, then squeeze in the wedge of lemon. Add a squirt (about 1 tsp) of honey.
Detox Epsom Salt Bath
An epsom salt bath is a great way to help your body relax and release toxins. Sweat is one of the most prodcutive ways to get toxins out of the body. And here you don't have to run 3 miles to get a good one going. You can sit, relax and sweat away. You'll burn calories too - about the same amount as a 30 minute walk, according to a recent study.
2 cups epsom salt
6-8 drops lavender essential oil
3-4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
1-2 tbsp ground ginger (optional, for added heat - ie. makes you sweat even more)
Fill tub with warm-hot water - to the temperature that you prefer. Add epsom salt and essential oils. Soak 20-30 minutes.
Favorite Recipes for When You're Sick
- Homemade Vegetable Broth
- Curried Cauliflower Soup
- Green Lentil Dahl
- Curried Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup
- Chicken and Vegetable Soup
- Broccoli Soup
- Green Gingered Pear Warm Smoothie
Get Plenty of Vitamin C + Zinc
As I mentioned up top I take extra vitamin C and zinc to help kick a cold fast. These are supplements I already take on a regular basis - though, you know, not always consistently. So I had them on hand and I made sure to get them in.
Side note on supplements: Last week I posted in my Instagram stories about the probiotic I ordered from Amazon that came with a broken seal. I sent the product back and got a full refund. It was a reminder though to be extra careful when ordering supplements online. There's a lot of funny stuff going on out there with product tampering and counterfeit supplements. I usually check to make sure the seller is the same as the maker of the product. If it's not I don't buy it. In this case the seller was a different company, a third party.
In both of the links I included here the maker of the product is the one selling it, though I still encourage you to double check this if you are going purchase them through these links. I've found they can change - I think that's what happened with my probiotic. Unfortunately it's now just one of those things you have to keep your guard up and watch out for anything fishy.
Of course, you can get both of these easily from a variety of foods too. Citrus is most famously linked with vitamin C but other vegetables and fruits like red bell pepper, broccoli and strawberries also contain a significant dose. As for zinc - pumpkin seeds, spinach, legumes (like chickpeas, black beans and lentils), nuts (particularly cashews), red meat and poultry, are all good sources.
And, of course, Sleep
Whenever I'm not feeling well, and especially in this case, I put myself to bed early. Even if I'm not going right to sleep, I'll still get in bed and read or just relax and before I know it my eyes are feeling heavy. The Epsom salt bath helps me get to sleep too. I always have the best nights of sleep after a bath.
Sleep - especially between the hours of 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. - is when our bodies go into repair and restore mode. It's critical for detoxification, healing and regeneration.
The Big Take Away
I know why I got sick. I'm trying to do way too much right now. Work's really busy getting ready for everything to come - more on that soon. And then there's the rest of life. Right now I'm finding it really had to balance it all.
So I took that little speed bump last week for what it was - a glaring message to slow down.
And I'll say, as awful as it is to feel, well awful, it really makes me appreciate feeling good. And in the end I find I have a little more to give in how I take care of myself.
Eventually time passes and I'll take that feeling good for granted again. It happens, I'm human. Hopefully some new habits stick, though.
What Works For You?
I'd love to hear - what are the things you do when you don't feel well? Any cold or flu remedies that have worked in the past? Or things you've heard about and are curious about? Share them with us down below in the comments. I think we can all use all the help getting and staying well that we can!
P.S. This is the first time I've been sick in I don't know how long (knock on wood!). I credit it mostly to the way I eat 80-90% of the time - home cooked, plant-based meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week. Pretty much exactly like the food in Dinner in 10 - my online cooking class + 4-week meal plan in one. You could say it's like a wellness insurance policy, because I believe the more you invest in how you eat, it pays off in fewer sick days, more energy and more life to live. Check it out here. And give it a test drive with my FREE 3-Day Meal Plan.
P.P.S. Note: Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links through which I have the opportunity to receive a small commission of sales. All commissions are used to help fund this blog. Thank you for your support!
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.