This past week I slowly started to feel like I was getting sick. It started last Wednesday afternoon. I was feeling more tired than normal, had a slight headache and felt overall weak. Friday morning I woke up to get ready to work out and felt even more tired than the day before and like a sore throat was coming on. I decided my body needed rest instead and went right back to bed.
As the day went on, my body started to feel more achy and weak, much like flu symptoms, but not enough to keep me down so I went about my busy day. I was hoping Saturday morning I would wake up feeling better after a good night’s sleep, but I woke up feeling awful. It hurt to swallow, I was sweaty, more achy and just doing the dishes wore me out. I was frustrated because I feel like it was partly my fault. I chose to stay up late catching up on some of my guilty pleasure shows earlier in the week (batchelor, biggest loser finale and some jimmy fallon), and then proceeded to wake up 6 hours or less later to work out at high intensity the next morning. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I knew it was dumb too but still did it. If I have learned anything over these last couple of years, it’s that if I do not get enough sleep (8 hours ideally or more for me) my body shuts down and cannot fight sickness very well at all! So, I take full responsibility for the fact that this sickness could have been my fault entirely, or not, but I definitely did not help prevent it very well this past week.
All that to say, I went into full recovery mode Saturday morning and the rest of the weekend. The main ingredient to healing in my own experience is simply, rest and sleep, so that’s what I did. I napped and laid on the couch all day Saturday. This is exactly what I needed. On top of rest and sleep, I whipped up a homemade strep throat, cold and flu tonic to give my body an extra boost to fight off whatever was going on. I really did not know whether or not it was the flu or strep etc., but it sure felt like one of those so I wanted to stop it in it’s tracks if I could.
I got the recipe for this homemade tonic from Dr. Ben Kim, a chiropractic and accupunturist whom I have been following for awhile now who is devoted to teaching people to experience their best health naturally. The recipe was super easy to make.
***Get the recipe here.***
I took 1 large T. of this tonic early Saturday morning, and I’m not kidding, it felt like it immediately started helping. My sore throat went away and throughout the day, my achy-ness slowly went away as well. I woke up Sunday morning and felt so much better, it was amazing! I took another T. Sunday morning when I woke up and will continue to take a tsp. a day until the tonic is all used up to prevent the sickness from coming back.
If you are like me, you don’t like to just be told what to do, but you want to know the why’s behind the what. In other words, you want to know why this particular formula of ingredients works to fight off illness so well. Dr. Ben Kim doesn’t go into those details in his article, so I felt the need to share that information with you all so you can be informed on what you are putting in your body and why if you decide to use this yourself.
First things first:
Why is sleep so important to fighting off illness?
It doesn’t matter if you are eating a perfectly clean diet, exercising and taking all the right supplements. If you are not getting adequate restful sleep, your overall health will suffer. Period. Below are some facts on sleep in relation to our immune health taken from an article written by Chris Kresser, a globally recognized leader in the fields of ancestral health, Paleo nutrition, and functional and integrative medicine.
- The hormone melatonin naturally increases after sundown and during the night in a normal circadian rhythm, which increases immune cytokine function and helps protect us agains infection. (This is why you’re so likely to get a cold or flu after not sleeping well for a few nights.)
- Fewer than 6 hours of sleep per day is associated with low grade chronic inflammation and worsening insulin resistance, as well as increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- A study from the University of California found that even modest sleep loss weakens the immune system’s response to disease and injury.
I’m telling you pretty much every time I get sick it comes back to me not getting enough sleep and rest. I can usually anticipate getting sick when I know I’m not getting enough sleep. It’s like I know it’s coming every time. Get your sleep people.
Ok, so what about all the stuff in the homemade sore throat/flu/cold tonic? How do these help me?
Glad you asked..
Garlic has a long history of use as an infection fighter with antibacterial properties. This is due to it’s sulfur containing compounds allicin which has been shown to be effective not only against common infections, such as colds, flu, stomach viruses and Candida yeast, but also against powerful pathogenic microbes, including tuberculosis and botulism. (Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray)
Onion also has the sulfur containing compounds allicin making it an infection fighter right alongside garlic. It also contains high levels of quercetin, a nutrient that breaks up mucus in your head and chest while boosting your immune system.
Ginger has long been know for it’s anti-inflammatory effects. It contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called ginergols that inhibit the formation of inflammatory cytokines, chemical messengers of the immune system. It also is effective at reducing nausea and cold sweating. (Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray)
Red Chili Peppers
I used jalapeno peppers in my homemade tonic instead of red chili peppers, but they both contain capsaicin which is the main component that is recognized as an effective pain reliever. Capsaicin when applied to the skin or ingested causes the release of substance P (which stands for pain) from nerve cells, which in turn results in irritation and pain. However, once substance P is released, capsaicin works to block its reuptake. The net result is that repeated use depletes substance P from small nerve fibers and thereby eventually blocking the pain sensation. It also has a stimulating effect on the mucus membranes of the nose and sinuses. It stimulates blood flow through the membranes and causes mucus secretions to be come thinner and more liquid. This action makes it beneficial in combating the common cold or sinus infections. (Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray)
Apple Cider Vinegar
At this point I’m not really sure there’s anything Apple Cider Vinegar can’t do. It basically is nature’s miracle concoction. You would benefit greatly by consuming 1-2 tsp a day of apple cider vinegar for a number of reasons. Not to mention, I got rid of my nasty plantar wart on the bottom of my foot with it.
So there you have it. Nature provides us with an abundance of healing compounds right at our finger tips that have none of the nasty side effects that many commercial drugs and medicines do. Next time you feel like a cold/flu is coming on, try this and let me know if it helps!