Wednesday, 19 February 2014


It's that time of year! You know, when everyone gives each other lovely packages of the cold and flu? Fortunately, I've received no such gifts this winter - and I'd like to keep it that way! In order to do so, however, it's important to always be prepared.

Let's face it, when you're achy all over and can't get a grip on the throbbing pain in your head or put a stop to the flow of mucus from your nose, the last thing you want to have to do is run to the drug store. Unless you're like my friend G, who, when he gets sick with the flu opts out of the usual soup broth diet and makes himself a sweet potato gratin for dinner. Sigh.

Okay, while I'm not recreating Jamie Oliver recipes in the kitchen in preparation for cold and flu season (or during), I do like to keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet in an effort to ward off those pesky bugs.

So, without further adieu, here's a look into my cold season emergency kit:

1. Echinacea - at the first sign of any kind of cold or flu (sniffle, cough, sore throat), I start by taking echinacea. It boosts the immune system, which is important during the sick season, and extra important for anyone with an auto-immune disorder.

2. Vitamin C - in addition to echinacea, I also like to boost my immune system with loads of vitamin C. I'll buy an extra bag of oranges (grapefruit works, too!), and go to town. While it's great if you're able to enjoy these foods and their health benefits all year around, it's not really the case in the middle of a cold Canadian winter - or any time in Canada, for that matter. Whether you choose to take a supplement or bask in the goodness of fruits and vegetables naturally loaded with vitamin C, get it.

3. Oil of Oregano - this stuff is disgusting. I'll only reach for oil of oregano if I feel an extra strong cold coming on, or I've already caught the bug and I'm trying to get rid of it. Some people will take a few drops of oil of oregano under their tongue. I prefer to place 4 drops in a large glass of water and slosh it back. Easy on the gulps, though. The more you gulp, the more you'll be burping. The more you burp, the more oregano after-taste you'll experience. Proceed with caution. For more information about how oil of oregano works, see here.

4. Chicken Soup - it's really important when we're sick that we receive proper nutrition. Ice cream and Jell-O may seem like great solutions to a sore throat, but an overload of sugar (and dairy, weird additives...) is only going to suppress the immune system and make it more difficult to fight infection. Plus, it's a waste of space and calories. Instead, get the most bang for your buck with nutritionally-dense foods. One of my favourite things to have when I'm sick (or on the verge of getting sick) is chicken soup - find my recipe here! Something like chicken soup is great because it's warm, soothing (especially when you add garlic and ginger), and hopefully packed full of great nutrition from vegetables and lean chicken. If you're a vegetarian, a vegetable soup will do just fine. The important part is that you load up on vegetables, because these will be gentle enough for you to digest, and the alkalizing effect they have on the body will help in combatting any virus or infection, much better than any friends of ice cream or Jell-O would.

5. Lemon Water - first, I'm incredibly impressed by how many of my friends actually drink lemon water first thing in the morning. Lemon water is an excellent natural detoxifier in that it helps to cleanse the liver of toxins. It's a great way to start the day and to clean up your digestive system. Just add the juice of 1/2 lemon to a cup of hot water and enjoy! For an extra health boost, add 1 tsp. of fresh ginger.

6. Scarf - I know, this is a weird one, but ever since my eldest brother said that he wore a scarf to bed when he was sick once, I just had to give it a shot. Now several years later, at first signs of a sore throat, I'll wrap my neck in soft scarf and hit the hay. I swear, it works! In fact, I have a felt scarf right next to my bed right now for that purpose. Preparation is key, folks.

What are your go-to remedies during cold and flu season?

image via pinterest

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

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