NUTRITION: HOW A HEALTH PRACTITIONER GLOWS THROUGH THE DARK DAYS OF WINTER.
We are now getting into the depths of winter! How is everyone feeling?
The chill doesn't seem to be going anywhere, it could snow at any moment, your skin is drier, hot baths become your best friend, and going out just seems harder and harder...
To top it off cold + flu season is in full swing! This is the time of year where people get hit, as there are lots of bugs and viruses going around, and we're more susceptible to their furry. Hello weakened Immunity!
This is usually attributed to: not being as active as we once were (morning workouts, walking to work, talking walks after dinner have all gone out the window), we tend to eat more comfort foods, hello post holiday blues, and it still isn't light when we wake up, so we're not as happy as we are during the warmer months, and the all important Vitamin D deficiency just to name a few...When are guards go down, and our bodies have been experiencing a little less sleep, more stress, anxiety, worry and more processed food, this creates a breeding ground where you're almost welcoming in the invaders, they loooove when our bodies are weak, and they take advantage of it in every way. Such a violation!
Last week I shared my ultimate healing recipe, because out of the blue I got hit with a cold. Looking back now, I can definitely attribute it to two things: wacky weather in the norther hemisphere, and my new wake up time at 5am which commenced on the 3rd of the January! See the thing is I have no problem with the 5am wake up, I actually love it, because we've been going to bed around 8:45 - 9ish almost every night. BUT for some reason I've been waking up anywhere between 3AM - 4:30AM unable to go back to sleeeeeep. Some mornings, I *think* I manage to catch a few more winks of sleep, but for the most part I'm up. My mind starts going, I have to go to the bathroom, and I'm just waiting for the alarm to go off, thinking of my lack of sleep. Therefore adjusting to this new routine, has definitely brought a little bit of sleep deprivation to my life, and left a gap for a virus to sneak in.
What I'm so grateful for though, is that I know exactly what to do, and I've learned many tips, tricks, and tools through healing from my Lyme Disease, having weakened immunity (yet not getting sick!), and understanding what the body needs. So today I wanted to share some super simple, and effective tools to help you get through these next 6-8 weeks of darkness. I'm with you every step of the way //
- WATER, copious amounts. At the first sign of any form of sickness - sore throat, itchiness, headache, congestion, drink anywhere from 3-4 Liters of water to drown out the virus. Hydrate your body so well, that you start flushing out the toxins from your cells. In turn you will be frequenting the bathroom often which is good, your kidneys will be flushing, and you will start to feel so much better! Essentially don't give the bugs a chance.
- Along with the water, we want to incorporate movement into our bodies. Our lymphatic system is where our toxins build up (Which is why we get Swollen Glands aka giant lymph nodes) when you're sick, you can feel your glands, and that is literally lymph fluid, full of toxins. What is the only thing that moves our lymph systems, MOVEMENT itself. The more stagnant we are, the worse we feel! I know this might sound a little contradictory, as you're told to rest. And while I do believe in resting, I do believe getting a good walk, mild sweat, or doing your favorite workout will help to flush the toxins from your system. DO NOT do this if you're experiencing more flu like symptoms, as in nausea, stomach bugs, high fever. When you have a severe flu, the best thing to do is go between your bed, and a hot epsom salt bath. SWEAT it out, but in a different form.
- Run to the nearest grocery store and stock your cart with the most immunity busting foods: Strawberries, Red peppers, broccoli, grapefruits, oranges, asparagus, cucumbers and leafy greens! These are the richest sources of Vitamin C you will find anywhere. When I don't feel well, I will usually eat raw during the day, have a big green juice, and then just munch on fruit and vegetables throughout the day, including avocado, to keep my energy up, while giving my body a break from combined meals, and will make a massive, broth based soup for a early dinner.
- Listen to your body! Often times you don't illicit your usual hunger signals, as our appetite decreases. Why? Because are bodies are so intelligent. It knows that it needs all of its energy to fight off the invaders, and if it uses all of its energy for digestion (your most energy taxing system) it won't have enough fight in it, to battle the bug. So listen to what your body needs. If all you want is liquids, fruits and vegetables, stick with that. If all you can stomach is brown rice and sweet potato, eat that. I believe when you tune into your gut, it will tell you what it wants, even when things are compromised.
- Vitamin D - If you have liquid Vitamin D3 at home, take a few doses of it! Don't be shy. Vitamin D helps regulate everything from our immunity to our hormones, and when we don't get enough sunshine, or if we are stressed, overworked, suffering from sleep deprivation, or feeling a little more blue, our D levels can sink quite low. Even if you aren't sick, I truly believe it's important to supplement with this vitamin. (*** Source out a Health Practitioner if you are unsure, as I don't want to prescribe you something, without knowing your health history***)
- Ginger, lemon, honey and water. Your best friends!!! Boil hot water, grate fresh ginger into a cup, squeeze half a lemon, add a pinch of honey, and pour the hot water into a tea pot and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Drink these concoction any moment you can or realistically 3 X a day.
- Herbal Tea. Rooibos (very rich in zinc which boosts immunity), Hibiscus (super high in Vitamin C and Zinc), White tea (highest level of antioxidants, as it's the most pure), Green Tea ( reduces inflammation) and Chamomile (aids in relaxation, sleep and has a calming effect). I sip multiple cups throughout the day. Also helps with your water intake.
- Drink green juice if you can get your hands on it! I make it at home, or purchase it from a local juicery in Toronto. Source out your city for cold-pressed, organic juiceries and treat yourself to a few juices, think of it like medicine in a bottle. It's just as powerful as any pill :)
- Epsom Salt baths - These are my favorite! The magnesium in epsom salts will help you sweat out your virus, relax your muscles, allow for a deeper and more restful sleep, and take care of any aches or pains in your body. When I'm sick I add anywhere from 3-4 cups in my bath (on regular nights, I use just 1 cup). What I do is combine a lot of the above while I'm in the bath, I have a mason jar of water beside me, a green juice, and a cup of tea, along with my book. I emerge from the bath about a hour later, feeling so. much. better!
- Decline Invitations out - I know it can be hard sometimes! But if you're under the weather, and feel pressure to go out, unless it's 100% mandatory, you can set back your healing time a few days. Especially if you have a few beverages and stay out past 10pm (your most rejuvenating, healing and restorative sleep happens between 10pm-2am!!!). This is the best time to say NO, as you absolutely have a reason to stay in! Don't feel guilty, and relish in the self care time.
- Be ok with being sick! It sucks when you're in the thick of it (we all know how it feels), but try not to view it as the be all and end all. Our bodies have to get sick every now and then, so they know how to fight off BIG invaders. It keeps our white blood cells healthy, functioning and strong. If we don't ever get sick, our bodies won't know how to fight, when our body it is true need of quick healing. Take this time to give your body so much love. It's crazy that often times I hear people say, who get sick often, that they only time they truly take care of their bodies is once they have already fallen sick! Make sure you're taking care of your body, not just when your sick, but on a regular basis, so you aren't hit with a virus, every time a office bug goes around. We should be strong enough to fight off most, and should only really be getting a cold once -twice a year. If it's more than that, your bod might be lacking in some key vitamins and minerals, and there might be deeper lifestyle issues at play.
I don't wish sickness upon anyone, but it's the flow and rhythm of life. It's something we have to embrace, and it teaches us how precious our health truly is! When the cold or flu finally lifts, how amazing does it feel?
My hope and wish for you is that you feel that way 99% of the time. We all deserve optimal health.
I hope this finds you cold + flu free, but if you're fighting something off try incorporating a few of the above tools, as they will bring you closer to getting your glow back.
LOVE & LIGHT,