So here’s a nugget… One of the benefits of eating mostly plants is getting a kick-ass immune system in return. This is important because our immune system protects us from icky germs, bacteria and viruses.
I hadn’t been sick in nearly 5 years, and then BAM, this week I was hit with a fucker of a head cold. I was tired, achy, my head was full of pressure, I was stuffed up – you know how it goes. A sick day always sounds like a fun, cozy break, until you’re actually sick and then you’re reminded how much being sick sucks and you should probably just take more breaks. Period.
A common question posted in our yummy private Facebook group is: “What can I do to help speed things along when I have a head cold?” My first nugget of advice is to make sure your immune system is bangin’ by eating mostly whole plant foods. This way, not only does the frequency of getting sick lessen, but the duration of being sick will shorten as well. And bonus, the symptoms won’t be as severe.
So bus stop number one is to stay away from animal based foods and processed foods and stick to eating whole plant foods. Limiting alcohol and staying away from sugary drinks is also key.
Now, this works to a certain point, but even the best plant eaters come down with a cold from time to time. Skeezy germs are sneaky little fuckers. So if you find yourself at home, on the couch in the middle of the day, wrapped up in a blanket, watching E.T., with your cat curled up next to you, I have a few things that might help you kick that cold to the curb. Disclaimer: know that these things won’t cure you right away, your body needs time to fight off the skeeze. BUT these are things that will help move the process along and make you feel better while you’re watching E.T. trying to phone home.
I started doing the following things in the following order the morning I felt like shit and ta-da, by the next morning I felt 90% better and ready to get back to work. It’s important to keep in mind that these things helped, but they aren’t magic, they were working hand in hand with my already strong immune system. Having that kick-ass immune system will ultimately determine the length and severity of your cold.
One: Neti Pot
A neti pot is a plastic or ceramic pot that has a long spout. You fill it up with warm purified water and non-iodized sea salt. Then you put the spout at the base of one of your nostrils, one nostril at a time, you hinge from the hips, turn to one side and allow the water to flow through your nasal passages and out your other nostril. #imnotkidding. I’ve done this since I was 11 years old (my mom is one of THOSE moms) and it helps you breathe when nothing else will. It also helps release horrendous looking snot that never would have found its way out so soon. You can find neti pots on Amazon or at your local health food store.
Two: ACV and Salt Gargle
In a small jar with a lid, I pour a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a cup or so of warm water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and I shake it up. After my sexy neti session, I put a small amount of this mixture in my mouth and without swallowing it, I gargle for about a minute. If you have a sore throat, you will feel a noticeable improvement after doing this. You can do this throughout the day.
Three: Oil Pull
Oil pulling is when you put coconut oil in your mouth and chomp / swish it around for 15 – 20 minutes and then spit it out. Oil pulling draws toxins and bacteria out of your mouth, and there’s no better time for bacteria and toxins to jump ship than when you’re sick. I oil pull on a daily basis, but if you’re not there yet, no worries, start when you’re sick and go from there.
Four: Warm Water with Lemon
I pour about 16oz. of warm water into a big cup and add about a tablespoon or so of fresh lemon juice. I sip that bad boy until it’s gone.
Five: Ginger Tea
This is really easy. You take a couple big chunks of ginger (big as in the size of your hand, not your finger) and you peel it and cut it into 5 or 6 big pieces. Place the ginger in a medium-sized pot and fill the pot with water. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for an hour. That will give the ginger enough time to infuse the water. Pour some warm ginger tea in a cup and repeat throughout the day.
Six: Eat Light
It’s important that processed foods and processed sugar don’t touch your pretty lips when you’re sicky sick. That stuff will only bitch slap your immune system, making you feel like shit for way longer than necessary.
Here’s what I ate the day I was down (in this order):
- Green smoothie
- Steel cuts oats with banana
- Green salad and steamed broccoli
- Soba noodles with tofu, green onions and sesame seeds
- 80 oz. of water
This isn’t far off from how I usually eat, it’s just a little more simple.
Seven: Rest, Rest and More Rest
I’m not a nap person or one to relax during the day, but my ass was plopped on the couch last Tuesday, remote in one hand, hot tea in the other and Sweet Pea moderating the situation, keeping me company. I watched movies. I slept. I read. When you don’t feel good and you push yourself, you will only feel like shit for longer, so you may as well take the opportunity and rest up.
Eight: Take a Hot Bath
Nothing like submerging yourself into hot water and relaxing into the warmth. On Tuesday night I ran a bath, added some cinnamon and eucalyptus essential oils and soaked for a good 30 minutes before I got out, put on clean jammies and hopped into bed at 8:30pm (sorry, no pic of this one).
When I woke up at 6am the next morning, I could breath again, everything had dried up (well, not everything), I felt noticeably better, and I was ready for the day. I repeated steps one through six for the rest of the week and by Thursday, my cold had been shown the door and 86’d to the curb (something I would know NOTHING about…ahem).
Okay boo, you don’t have to follow these exact steps, but if you want some relief from your cold and want to stay away from nasty over the counter cold medications, this is a great place to start. And remember, these things alone can’t help you all that much, they only play a supporting role. Your beautiful immune system is the star, and like any diva, it calls the shots.
Today’s recipe is perfect for the summer cold. It’s refreshing, light, and packed with nutrients. I’m not a gazpacho lover but I wanted to get to third base with this gazpacho.
- 3 medium-sized tomatoes (about 470g)
- 1 medium-sized cucumber, cut in half (peel if not organic)
- 1 beet (about 355g / peel if not organic)
- 1 cup water (235ml)
- 1 cup red cabbage, finely chopped (55g)
- 1 medium-sized green or yellow bell pepper, finely diced (110g)
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced (discard root-end and then use entire onion)
- 1 medium-sized carrot, finely diced (85g)
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/3 cup parsley, chopped (10g)
- 6 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters (or smaller)
- 1/3 cup sweet yellow onion, finely diced (70g)
- 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos, seeds removed
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 10 turns black pepper
Place the medium-sized tomatoes, half of the cucumber, beet and water into your blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Chop the other half of the cucumber and add it to the mixing bowl, along with the red cabbage, bell pepper, green onion, carrot, avocado, parsley, cherry tomatoes, sweet onion, jalapenos, balsamic vinegar, dried basil, garlic granules, salt, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and black pepper.
Stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and chill for at least an hour.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with your immune system telling those skeezy germs to go jerk off somewhere else.