Resistance is not futile – here are eleven ways to fight colds and flu.

Autumn and winter is when I fanatically pursue ways to keep from getting sick.

Here are some of the things I’ve tried, many of which are part of my regular routine. You can resist the cold and flu bugs being passed around this winter.

Get enough rest – this is the number one way to stay healthy. You’re body needs to repair and recover from the day and to fight anything you may have been exposed to. Getting run down by burning the candle at both ends is one way that weakens you and prevents your immune system from working. If you don’t have the option of getting sufficient sleep every night, focus on getting more sleep at the first sniffle. And at this time of the year, being in cozy in your bed isn’t a hardship!

Wash your hands with soap – apparently your biggest risk is hands being infected from surfaces and then touching your eyes and your nose. Wash your hands thoroughly in the washroom and get into the habit of not touching your nose and eyes. I know for myself, every time I get on a crowded subway car I immediately want to touch my nose. But I resist so that I avoid giving viruses and easy in [and avoid looking gross!]

Drink a lot of water – this will not only help keep you hydrated and healthy, allowing waste to be carried out of your cells, but if you do happen to be getting sick and there is mucous developing, you won’t feel as awful and stuffed up. For women, the average intake is about 2L and for men, it’s about 3L.

Eat a healthy diet – getting the right nutrients though brightly coloured veggies, good quality starches and grains as well as ample protein is going to give your immune system the building blocks to fight infections and illness. Exposing yourself to the highs and lows of sugar or caffeine crashes can put your body under stress and open you up to attack.

Get your C – there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that vitamin C works to prevent or reduce colds but millions of people take it and find it works. There are a number of ways you can take it. The fizzy liquid form: Emergen-C or EnerC are two brands with 1000 mg of vitamin C. The EsterC is more readily absorbed and usually easier on the stomach. Of course it  comes with a bigger price tag but with supplements, you get what you pay for.

Garlic – this one people shy away from but a crushed clove of garlic will blast anything away. My favorite and least challenging way to take it is to crush the garlic, spoon it in and chase it with Pyramid Ferments Gut Shots which is a sauerkraut brine. It seems to neutralize the garlic aftertaste. You’ll want to do this before bed so that you don’t stink up your workplace.

Oil of Oregano – another super effective cold blaster. It very strong tasting and takes some time to get used to.

Echinacea and/or ginseng – I put these together because it’s the combo sold in Cold F/X. It’s not a cheap product but it’s effective. If you’re looking to save a couple of dollars, you can buy a bottle of Siberian Ginseng from the health store as well.

Zinc lozenges – great to dealing with a cough. Another supplement that is not scientifically proven but it couldn’t hurt.

Nasal irrigation – you can use saline spray in your nose or sniff in some warm salt water out of your hand. It clears your nasal passages of dried mucous and keeps your sinuses moist – which is key in keeping viruses from invading. You can also use medicated nasal spray which is a steroid that constricts you’re the blood vessels in your nasal passages. There was a research study that suggested that using medicated nasal spray is effective in preventing colds from flourishing. But it’s one study. And my in my personal experiment, I got a nosebleed after the third spray and tossed it.

Drink chicken broth – why wait to get sick to enjoy the benefits of chicken broth when you are sick? Chicken broth sipped with your lunch or as the main course in a soup can give you the immune boost that you need when fighting the cold.

Even if you end up succumbing to your cold or flu, by taking some of these can help minimize your symptoms so that you’re back on the squat rack quicker.

Continue reading “Resistance is not futile – here are eleven ways to fight colds and flu.”

Advertisements

Don’t ignore your body’s warning signs.

20141211_070612_resizedI had my aura captured in this photo a couple of weeks ago. In the accompanying booklet, it said that I’d have a rush of creative energy very soon. It also indicated that while I don’t seem stressed out, I’m wearing down my batteries and that I have an excess of Yang (active masculine) energy. This made sense to me because I’ve spent the past ten years working towards aggressive goals, overcoming losses and building the life I have today.

So I kept this information in the back of my mind. I later read “Take Charge of your Life” by William Glasser which is about internal control psychology. In the book, he talks about how creative our bodies are in creating illnesses in response to things in life that we are ignoring. He proposes that most dis-eases are the result of our immune systems and bodies coping with the situations our minds put ourselves in.

I’ve had Lupus for about 20 years and this resonated with me. Autoimmune dis-eases are not caused by an external pathogen, they are generated by our own immune systems being “creative” in attacking healthy tissue. Essentially my body is fighting an illness that doesn’t exist. And to a certain extent, I try to control problems in life that don’t exist through being hyper-vigilant and over-planning everything.  Continue reading “Don’t ignore your body’s warning signs.”

Don’t set fitness goals based on distorted truths.

lies college professor tell usWhen embarking upon a healthy lifestyle or working on getting fitter, we look to fitness gurus and advice online to guide us. Little do we realize that a lot of our common beliefs are totally inaccurate and are based on untruths perpetuated by the mainstream diet and fitness industry.

For instance, almost every woman wants to lose weight. Even if it’s three pounds. Where did we learn that we all need to lose weight? Why is it taboo to say – “I’m happy with my body and I want to eat healthy”. Start accepting yourself today as you are. Toss out the scale and focus on being healthy. Feeling good and being fit enough to do the things you want is what is really important. Love yourself today and release yourself from torturingv yourself over a number on the scale. You’re better off focusing on healthy day-to-day activities than a result that is ambiguous at best.

Another misconception is that people who are fit deprive themselves.Vegetables and fruit contribute to a healthy body and if given a chance, taste good.  But a glass of wine or a hot dog at the ball game isn’t out of the question. It’s just not a regular thing, it’s a treat. When you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you start to realize how certain foods nourish you and make you feel your best. It’s not about deprivation, it’s about acknowledging that certain things are better for you than others. It’s like saving for a trip instead of spending every pay cheque. Once you experience the benefit of of saving your money, you realize that there is a reward worth waiting for. Same thing for a pice of cake or a delicious meal. And you will enjoy every bite of it.

A lot of women pour over Oxygen magazine wishing they looked like a fitness model. The truth is, female fitness models aren’t healthy. To get photo shoot ready, fitness models need to drastically cut calories and water intake. Their six packs are the result of ultra low body fat and dehydration. They miss several periods because their bodies are responding to the stress they are putting themselves under. Looking like this takes many hours in the gym and takes it toll. It’s not realistic for most of us (myself included) to look this way.

We all want to have the right mix of “diet” and exercise”.  When it comes to the magic percentage of exercise versus diet, many experts quote “20% exercise and 80% diet”. That’s their way of saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet”. Which is true. But in reality it is 100% exercise and 100% diet. Our bodies are made for movement and to be physically pushed. Cardio conditioning, strength training and flexibility training are all important for your vitality. And the food you eat is the fuel for your workouts and your life. Clean fuel provides better burning energy. You want to be moving regularly and eating well to be healthy.

So many people believe that all thin people are fit. There is a difference between Thin and Fit. Being thin doesn’t mean that a person is fit. If you watch a fitness DVD and the women in it have pencil thin arms, they should not be your fitness role model. Fit women have solid looking, defined arms and thick, strong legs. They can pick up a decent sized weight and not a 3lb weight. They aren’t always slim by media’s standards.

My dad says that you should believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. It’s good advice when assessing fitness facts and role models.

 

Rise and thrive – why I love shakes so much.

The most important meal of the day is my least favorite meal of the day. The healthy breakfasts – those cardboard flavoured cereals or egg white omelets don’t do it for me.  That changed when I discovered shakes for breakfast.

shakeWhat I love about having a shake is that it’s portable if need be, it’s easy to consume and you can load up on the good stuff – whatever your body needs easily. When you wake in the morning, you essentially have reset yourself – you are a clean slate hormonally (if that’s even a word…) and unless you were up at night worrying about something, your stress levels are at an even keel. So putting the best food or drink in your body gives you the kind of start that Best Day Evers are made of.

All you need is some delicious ingredients and something to grind it up with. The best option for someone looking to give it a go is a blender. Get a decent, reliable brand and you should be able to get a couple of good years out of it. The “Bullets” – Magic and Nutri are both utter wastes of money. My Magic Bullet lasted about 6 months of daily use and my Nutri Bullet was still alive a year after I bought it but I turfed it because it annoyed me so much by unwinding the lid and spewing my shake all over my kitchen.

The next thing you need are ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to include: leafy green vegetables, a healthy fat, something with antioxidants, a protein source, a source of delish and a liquid.

Here are some options to get you inspired:

Leafy greens: spinach (will not affect the taste), kale (could give it a “green” taste), mixed greens

Healthy fat: nut butter, coconut oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, avocado

Antioxidants: berries, either fresh or frozen

Protein: plant protein powder (Vega and  Sun Warrior are great brands), whey powder, hemp hearts, beans (only if you have a blender that can handle them), yogurt

Source of delish: banana, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, fruit, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, dates

Liquid: almond milk, cow’s milk, water, ice cubes

You can also add other healthy options to your shake. I love Amazing Grass as an addition  to get a little extra greens into my diet. Some people like to add spirulina (in small quantities), turmeric or bee pollen.

Don’t get trapped in a banana, yogurt, strawberry rut either – there are so many options to choose from.