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Top 10 ways to kick a cold’s butt before it kicks yours

November 18, 2010
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Holistic cold remedies

I haven’t been truly sick in over two years. I mean, sure, a sniffle here and there, but nothing that has me on the couch for a week with a box of tissues.

Let’s see, what was different two years ago? First of all, I was still working in advertising, a daily drain on my being. I was eating whole foods, though mainly a vegan diet and not enough dark, leafy greens. Hmmmm. And I rode the subway every day.

I got sick fairly often back then, come to think of it.

Well, this week I started to feel a bit run down. Dragging. Not hard to imagine given pregnancy, moving and trying to sell our place. On Tuesday night my head felt a little thick, my throat a little sore. I woke up the same way. Uh-oh. Not now, I thought. I can’t get sick now! I have open houses to deal with, and packing and we’re going to go to Kripalu next week before Thanksgiving and on top of it all I can’t/don’t want to take medicine!

Oy.

But today, two days later, I’m feeling much better. And that thickness in my head has retreated instead of blossoming into a full cold or flu. How’d I do it?

Here are my top 10 secrets for naturally kicking a cold’s butt before it kicks yours:

1. React, dammit!
You know that feeling you get just before you get a cold? Pay attention! Now is the time to take a sick day and rest! If you wait, it’s going to just get worse. That’s a promise.

2. Sleep it off
Seriously. If in that early stage you can take a day off and just sleep all day – and using the computer while lying on the couch doesn’t count – you are going to really help your body fight off the cold.

3. Cut that mucus with a knife
Ok, not a knife. But I adore Bragg’s apple cider vinegar for it’s ability to cut through and clear mucus congestion. Would other vinegars work? I don’t know, honestly. Bragg’s is unpasteurized, so the live cultures are probably key to this effect. As soon as you start feeling thickness or heaviness in your head, drink a glass of water with a splash of Bragg’s. Repeat often.

4. Go Neti! Go Neti!
I can’t say enough about my neti pot. It’s most useful to use it before you are majorly clogged up. As a preventative measure, it can be used daily. Once I start feeling icky, I use it 2 or 3 times per day. It cleans those pipes out! But the salt water can be drying in cold weather, so follow up with a bit of sesame oil in each nostril. I use a Qtip with some oil on the end, and apply to the insides of my nostrils.

5. Drink a healing broth
Make your own healing tonic from any vegetables or chicken bones you have on hand. Be sure to include some garlic, ginger, dark leafy greens and a piece of kombu. When you don’t feel like eating much, broth is incredibly nourishing and healing to your body. A steamy hot bowl or mug will also help your sinuses open.

6. Make ginger tea
Combine a piece of ginger root with water in a pot. Boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Add a touch of raw local honey or lemon and drink.

7. Get steamy
Take a hot shower or bath and breathe in that steam. I also like to run hot water over a washcloth and press it to my face. Feels heavenly.

8. Drink heavily
Except it’s gotta be water. The sugar in juice isn’t going to help you get better and neither will caffeine. Drink loads of water to flush your system.

9. Avoid dairy
Dairy creates excess mucus in the body. So don’t drink milk or eat cheese right now.

10. Sleep some more
I’m serious. That’s the best thing you can do. And I don’t care if your boss doesn’t like it!

Good luck making it through cold season! If you have any other tips to share, please leave them in the comments.

Lastly, don’t forget to enter to win a free box of Uncle Sam’s healthy breakfast cereal…contest is closing soon.

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