It’s finally here! The weather is changing, the leaves are turning, girls are donning their knee high boots and cardigans, the coffee shops are filled with pumpkin everything, and the sweet scent of fall is everywhere you go. What a magical time to soak in the world around you, play outside, and fall in love!
Unfortunately, knee high boots don’t go very well with a runny nose, and no one is in the mood for love when you’re hacking up a lung. Now more than ever, we need to be mindful of keeping ourselves well. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task, and it certainly doesn’t have to be unpalatable. Let’s talk about some yummy ways we can naturally keep the cold and flu bugs away. These foods are guaranteed to help you stay energized and ready for the next costume party, hay bale ride, and romantic picnic in the park.
Ah, for the love of tea! If you’re a tea connoisseur, you know that all true tea—black, white, green—comes from the same tea bush. There’s a lot of debate about which tea is the best for your health, but since it all comes from the same place with, with the only difference being how the tea is processed, the nutrients in all of them will vary only slightly. This means that if you can’t stand Oolong, but love Earl Grey, you can be assured that you are still getting those flu-fighting antioxidants with the tea you love! The recommendation is 3 – 6 cups a day, which may sound like a lot, but if you buy in bulk for the winter (I buy at Mountain Rose Herbs), both your tummy and your wallet will be happy. This is also a great way to stay hydrated and keep those toxins flushed out of your system.
Hey, honey! Along with your 6 steaming cups of tea a day, let’s sweeten things up with some raw honey. The benefits of honey are extensive. It’s a healthy sweetener, has incredible antibacterial properties, and even promotes a good night’s sleep. Adding honey to your daily sips will help keep you well and satisfied all winter long.
Did someone say coconut? Coconuts, coconut milk, coconut oil, so many ways to go nuts! The antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties in coconuts work hard to fight invaders. Whether adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to your pumpkin smoothie, stirring coconut milk into your morning tea or coffee, or just munching on the meat itself, coconut will fill you up, keep you trim, and most importantly, keep you healthy.
Garlic! It seems we all have a love/hate relationship with garlic. We love it’s kick, it’s aroma in the kitchen, and it’s savory taste, but we hate the aftermath of unfriendly breath; and when eaten in large quantities, the unpleasant odor it extends to the whole body. Luckily, there’s a way to do garlic right, and many reasons to embrace this bulb during the winter. Garlic packs tons of healing power into tiny, potent pods of happiness. When added to soups, veggies, salsa, sandwiches, etc., it’s an explosion of antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibiotic properties. It’s also a natural expectorant and decongestant.
To help prevent the onset of a bug, many people eat one raw clove a week. You must have raw garlic to benefit from it’s healing powers, and it must be either crushed, cut, or chewed to activate it’s antibacterial property, called allicin. Chopping a clove and letting it sit for 10 – 15 minutes allows for the allicin to form. You can swallow the garlic with water, or mix it with honey, but it’s important that you do so within an hour of cutting, as the benefits of garlic lessen with time. Be sure to eat something first, as raw garlic alone can upset a sensitive stomach. If you are sick, or feel like you are becoming sick, then it’s time to knock back a clove every 4 hours or so. Yes, taking that much will make you sweat garlic, but it’s better than being sick for a week or two.
Take advantage of mother nature. She gives you all you would ever need to stay healthy, and in due season. Guess where you can get vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron in one place? Pumpkin! Guess where you can add pumpkin? Psh, everywhere! You can add it to chili, soup, and stew without even knowing it’s there; and adding it to coffee and smoothies will make you feel like you’re drinking Autumn. Pears, oranges, squash, and turnips are all in season right now, and provide wonderful ways to stay healthy. Just because it’s cold, that doesn’t mean it’s time to put the juicer away. Blending and juicing your veggies and fruits is like arming your immune system for the war on germs. I recommend juicing twice a day to really pack in your vitamins.
Clean up your holidays. Just about any recipe can be made clean; except for whoopie pies, but we can make an exception for this one! Buying organic and cooking from scratch is a great way to know exactly what’s in your favorite holiday dishes while still being able to enjoy them. This season, I’m aiming for at least 95% clean holidays and I will be sharing my recipes as I go! The extra time it takes to make things at home is worth being able to eliminate the unnecessary chemical preservatives, flavors, and colorings that tax your body’s immune system. That way your body can focus all it’s power on fighting germs, rather than detoxifying.
Be probiotically proactive. Keep the kombucha brewing and the yogurt scooping! Maintaining proper gut flora will enable your body to fight the bad guys. Try adding probiotic rich yogurt to your chili, smoothies, and cereal. Miso soup will warm your toes while adding over 160 bacteria strains, and baking sourdough bread will keep your kitchen warm and tummy healthy. Other great probiotic sources are kefir, sauerkraut, raw milk, and kvass.
Adding these simple, healthful treats to your meals will help you build a strong defense against the winter bugs. Here’s to a happy, healthy season!