From month to month, year to year, we follow the cycle of seasons. Food, clothing, activities and daily life all seem to have their transitional points along this seasonal cycle. Winter celebrations, spring break, summer vacation, fall fashion. Ski sweaters and root veggies, short sleeves and daffodils, hiking boots and stone fruits, backpacks and apples. We all have our favorite points along this cycle, we all look forward to our own favorite season. But flu season? No one looks forward to flu season.
Why do Cold and Flu even have their own season, anyway? Nobody likes ’em, they’re miserable, they take all the fun and make daily life unbearable. The flu is rampant around here, right now. The classroom is quiet, the poor kiddos taking sick days en mass. I said I rarely get sick and if I do, it’s never the flu. I said it out loud. I should have known better. Word to the wise: don’t tell people you never get sick because if you do, you’ll probably get the flu.
Fortunately it took me down at week’s end, so I was blessed with two full days for rest and recovery. But like I said, I rarely get the flu, so how to survive these sick days? I seem to have fared better than most by simply laying low and calling in the troops. A select few natural flu fighters: Raw honey for it’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial properties and it’s treasure trove of vitamins and minerals. Lemon for it’s toxin-flushing, immune-boosting, vitamin C power. Ginger for its ability to clear sinuses, ease sore throats and aid digestion. Camu for it’s mega doses of vitamin C and anti-viral tendencies. Goji berries for antioxidants and oranges for their sweet citrus-C flavor.
I delved into my sick day survival with a pot of hot lemon, ginger and honey tea. Sure, you can toss a store-bought teabag in your mug and be done with it, but homemade Honey Lemon Ginger Tea is just about as simple to make. Plus you have all the benefits of these natural flu fighters at their freshest and raw best. All you need is fresh grated ginger root, lemon slices, boiling water and a spoonful of honey. There’s really no need to measure, no recipe, just fill your favorite teapot and let it steep.
This works well for me, as store-bought ginger tea tends to be too spicy for my sensitive palate. You know how I like being able to customize things according to my own tastes, especially when I’m feeling my worst. You can make your own tea tart by adding more lemon juice or kick up the spice with extra ginger root. Make it yours, make it pleasant, let it soothe you. Rest, relax, drink ginger tea and repeat.
Next, I called in the heavy artillery. Camu. When immunities are low, everyone knows that vitamin C is in order. We guzzle orange juice by the bottle, pop synthetic C chewies like candy, buy oranges by the bagful. Everyone knows that oranges are a good and healthy source of natural vitamin C, but did you know that the camu berry contains 50 times more vitamin C than oranges? That’s some pretty powerful antioxidant protection and a little goes a long way. When Cold and Flu strike, I definitely want Camu in my camp!
I do believe this little superfood shot was my saving grace in battling this flu. I found the recipe in my beautiful book of Superfood Smoothies by Julie Morris and I’ve been making one every day since I fell prey to this dreaded beast. Her superfood shots are just the thing for a concentrated kick of whatever is needed to defeat your own dreaded beast, be it Cold or Flu, free-radicals, low-energy or brain fog.
Cold and Flu Fighter
Recipe by Julie Morris
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons dried goji berries
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon camu powder
- Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.
To add some variety of flavor to my fluid intake, I made a few different camu loaded beverages to sip on throughout the day, providing my body with a steady stream of vitamin C for immune support. I made a big jar of Camu Berry Lemonade (just plain and simple this time, no pomegranate and honey in place of agave) and a pot of Spiced Camu Cider made with some fresh, organic apples I had recently juiced and stored in the freezer.
Fortunately, my bout with the flu did not include the tortured tummy symptoms of the so-called “stomach flu”. But still, when your body is aching and hacking and fighting for health, your appetite is usually low and food the last thing on your mind. In those sickie dinner moments, a soothing hot bowl of miso soup is just what I need. All it requires is simply a spoonful of your favorite miso paste (I like mellow white) in a cup or two of purified water gently heated on the stove. If you’re feeling up to something a little more substantial, you can add a few thinly sliced carrots, green onions or your favorite sea veggies with some toast or crackers on the side.
After sitting and slowly slurping a bowl of hot miso soup, I decided to treat my poor aching body to a long relaxing soak in the tub. Lavender works wonders for relaxing muscles and relieving tension. A good soak in Epsom salts helps draw toxins out of the body. I happened to have a jar of organic summer lavender that I had dried and stored away. That, along with a few drops of lavender essential oil, some Epsom salts, Himilayan pink salt, and a teaspoon of sweet almond oil, made the most soothing and aromatic bath salts. For a few moments I completely forgot about my aches and pains and respiratory distress. I just enjoyed every second of my pampering spa moment.
And after a long, hot soak, feeling relaxed and relieved, I cocooned myself in my favorite blanket, curled up on the couch and sipped a cup of calming chest-clearing tea. My tea fortune provided the best advice: practice kindness, compassion and caring. It is easy to do for others, but not always as easy to care for ourselves. Sick or not, it is important to practice kindness and compassion for your own body and soul. I do firmly believe that pampering oneself is essential to sick day survival.
When your body has been invaded and rises in revolt against those merciless immunity attackers, it is important to assist in any way you can. It’s your responsibility to provide fuel for the fight. Rest and relax, soothe and support, nourish your body and soul. And don’t forget, Mama Nature’s got the best trained army out there, standing at the ready, just waiting to be called in. So don’t just sit around feeling sick, for goodness sakes, call in the troops!
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.