Here comes another cold and flu season!
There are two ways to look at cold and flu season.
- The first is to think that there are bugs out there and if you are too close to someone who has those bugs, you are going to get sick.
- The second is to realize that there are bugs out there, but there are always bugs out there, and that you only get sick when the conditions are right for the bugs to thrive.
Growing Flowers in a Desert
The best way to understand the second way of thinking is to picture a desert and think about what can grow in a desert environment. Only certain plants and animals can thrive in the desert. If you take a plant from a tropical climate and put it in a desert, it will die almost immediately. The reason why the tropical plant will not thrive and grow in the dry desert is because deserts don’t provide the right conditions for the tropical plant to grow.
The same is true of bacteria and viruses.
If you provide the right conditions for the bugs to grow, then, yes, you are going to get a cold. If you body is more like a desert, then the bugs will never get a hold and you will avoid the cold altogether. There are ways you can prepare for cold and flu season so that you can avoid getting sick.
Tips for Growing Your Own Personal Desert
- Slow down: take time off and spend time with the ones that you love. Remember that winter is the time to slow down; everything in the natural world is getting slower. Take a hint from nature and take a break from your busy schedule. In talking with dying patients who may not have much time left, they often lament the time that wasn’t spent with family and friends. Fall offers us this opportunity to slow down, enjoy our meals, and focus on loved ones.
- Eat for Health: You want to focus on vegetables that have been growing all summer and are now ready to eat. The more hearty vegetables should start showing up on your plate. Beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, and winter squashes such as Acorn, Butternut, Pumpkins are a welcome addition to any meal. Add more protein to your diet as you need the extra amino acids to boost your immune system. As always kick sugar out of your diet, it ruins your immune system (and remember to remove the foods that act like sugar too: see my book Sugarettes).
- Soup: Both Chinese and Indian culture’s placed high emphasis on “tonifing” soups. These, like your grandmother’s chicken soup recipe for a cold, act to increase the body’s ability to fight disease. Choose fresh vegetables, with emphasis on garlic and onion, chicken or fish can be added to boost protein content. Add plenty of spices: turmeric, thyme, basil, all have antimicrobial properties and also help to support the body’s own healing mechanism.
- Sweat: As the weather turns cold, take advantage of any opportunity to enjoy a steam-room or sauna. Not only have this been shown to aid in detoxification, but it also allows you a chance to relax and take some time off. Massage is another good way to aid in detoxification and promote a relaxed atmosphere. I still think you should exercise in winter, but just take it a bit slower.
- Sleep: With more nighttime and less daytime it would make sense that we sleep longer. Sleep impacts health in so many ways, getting the right amount of sleep for you is essential to your health and your body’s ability to fight disease.
- Herbs and Vitamins: There are many herbs such as Echinacea and others that promote healing and make colds shorter and less painful. These are best when they are chosen for the individual and their particular illness. Consult a professional who can personalize an herbal and nutritional program just for you.
What if you do get a Cold?
Okay, even if you do get a cold, you might want to look at it another way.
From a more natural perspective, fall and spring are times for the body to clean junk out of your system and a cold or flu may be a companion that helps you clear out that junk. From this perspective, when you get a cold, you are not going to battle it, but accept it as a friend. Take a cold for what it truly should be: a hint that you need to slow down, get more sleep, eat better and take care of yourself.