I'm back with part 2 in this mini-series on immunity. A couple weeks ago, I talked about the long term strengthening of your immune system, while today I want to touch on "incident response", or more simply--actively fighting colds and flus. Working to build up that solid door of immunity to protect the fortress that is your well-being is vital, especially as we enter the cold and flu season. But what do you do when all your efforts in this arena have seemed to fail? Here are my top go-tos for when I feel something coming on (which, for me, usually starts with a sore throat):
First thing first--I recommend sanitizing every part of you that's come into contact with illness. That may mean if a cough is going around at the office, you shower immediately upon getting home from work. The most common illnesses we fight in cold and flu season enter our bodies mostly through the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose (for real), so be serious about keeping your head clean. As funny as it sounds!
Secondly, kill any bacteria forming in the back of your throat with an apple cider vinegar tonic. Both apple cider vinegar and honey have antibacterial qualities. Some people can really water down their tonic to be able to consume a larger amount, but I personally can't stomach too much of the stuff so I make it strong and tiny. Combine 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of raw honey and stir, allowing the vinegar to break down the honey. Next, dilute with 1/4 cup warm (not hot) water. Then down the hatch it goes!
A common tip, but effective all the same is to take plenty of vitamin C when you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu. It is true that vitamin C is water soluble, so your body will get rid of any it can't use. With that said, pack it in! Just be careful not to give yourself a tummy ache. When I'm actively fighting a cold, I try to consume vitamin C at every meal, whether directly in my food (like tomatoes and citrus) or through a tablet. Another supplement to pair with your vitamin C is zinc. The research is not definitive, but zinc may shorten the length of your cold. You'll want to follow the recommendations for dosage that come with your bottle though.
My last tip is an important one! It may be tempting to cruise over this one, but hang tight because I'm about to get serious about rest and hydration. When you feel sick, all you really want to do is crawl into bed anyway, and your body actually knows what it's doing there! Rest and hydration truly are two of the body's most effective ways for fighting illness! I touched on these ideas in the last post on immunity and they're important enough to reemphasize. The reality is, if you get caught up in a crazy schedule and poor nutrition habits, your body will not be equipped enough to fight the cold or flu it's threatened with. You need a decrease in adrenaline and assistance to your lymphatic system (which is what rest and hydration DO) to stay and get well.
So get to it, friends and FIGHT THAT COLD. I just want you to get back to feeling super! And if you have more helpful ideas for what to do when you feel something icky coming on, share in the comments below!
Happy first day of Autumn! This month's recipe is super nourishing. Not only because you've visited ifeelsupernourished.com to read about it (and that's the only kind of recipe you'll ever find here!), but because it's full of filling and nutrient dense ingredients that are in season. Let's dive in!
Autumnal Veggie Pasta
½ lb whole wheat spaghetti
2 T extra virgin olive oil
½ lb antibiotic free bacon
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 in cubes
1 package pre-washed organic baby spinach (6 oz)
½ pound organic cherry tomatoes, halved
⅓ c sundried tomatoes, chopped
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions in liberally salted water. After straining, stir olive oil into the noodles.
Slice bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook over medium heat ‘til crisp in large skillet. Remove bacon from pan but leave bacon grease. Over the same heat, cook butternut squash pieces in bacon grease. Cover with a lid and allow to steam for about 5 minutes, checking and stirring once or twice to prevent uneven cooking. Once squash is soft enough to break with a wooden spoon, add back the bacon, along with the spinach, cherry tomatoes, and sundried tomatoes. Cover once more for 1-2 minutes, 'til spinach has wilted. Stir veggie and bacon mixture to combine. Add oiled noodles and stir once more to combine. Serve immediately, with freshly grated organic parmesan, if desired.
And there you have it! You'll notice this recipe does not call for much added oil or seasoning. This is because we are relying on the flavor and fat in the bacon to carry itself through the entire dish. I'll have to devote another post soon to the benefit of fat consumed in moderation (of which this recipe is a great example)! Also, when you season your pasta water well, you'll notice a big difference in the taste experience. One last note: the recipe will work great with a gluten free or slow carb noodle too, depending on the diet you follow.
Today, I'm thinking of immunity as a solid, wood door. I'm not looking to build up immunity only as strong as a waist-high, penetrable, white picket fence. Fall is almost upon us which means cold and flu season is coming whether we like it or not. I'm looking to build my immunity up like a sturdy door! I've got to protect this fortress which is my work, time, and happiness. I hope you are fighting for your immunity just as fiercely. If you're a little fuzzy on the how, you tuned in on the right day!
There are two ways to look at immunity: long term strengthening and incidental response. Long term strengthening of the immune system means you're doing things when you're well to stay well. Incidental response is when you're actively fighting a cold or flu because you can feel it developing (usually in your throat or head). This topic will turn into a two part immunity series, so let's tackle just the long term angle today.
We've all heard the doctor's office adage about washing our hands, but long term strengthening of the immune system goes far deeper. Stress management is the irreplaceable secret weapon here! In short, when a body is stressed, it experiences heightened levels of adrenaline which communicates with the brain that it is time for fight or flight. The longer the body is under stress, it will begin to shut down those functions not necessary for survival. It's intuitive to draw a connection between someone who is stressed having a stomach ache, but less intuitive sometimes to realize that it was stress which caused the same person to come down with the bug going around the workplace. Stress management is my gold as a health coach, which is why I'll save the rest its magic for an entirely separate post...I could talk for days about the importance of this practice! But I couldn't NOT mention it in a post about immunity because the linchpin for longterm immunity, I believe, is what I've just discussed.
So how do you keep you stress in check? A couple of basic ways would be by getting enough sleep on a regular basis and keeping up a regular exercise routine. A few other ways to ensure that your impenetrable door of immunity is built up and ready to resist disease include: consuming enough fresh produce, staying hydrated, and finding an immunity blend supplement that works for you. It should go without saying that fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods out there. Eating at least five servings per day (more is recommended, but typically less is consumed by the average American), will deliver wonderful vitamins and minerals to your body's immune system. Staying hydrated is important for most of the functions in your body, but it specifically touches immunity in that water helps the lymphatic system do its job of detoxifying the body. Lastly, finding an immunity blend supplement that you like can help. Taking this from the months of October-March, specifically, will cover you with an extra layer of nutrients during your most susceptible months. I personally like Congaplex by Standard Process (and no, they don't pay me to say that!).
After all that information, my desire is that you feel equipped to build up that sturdy door of immunity to protect the fortress, which is you and your wellbeing during the upcoming season. Stay tuned because in the next post of this series, I'll touch more specifically on incidental response, or what to do when you feel a cold of flu coming on. So what about you? What are your go-to's for strengthening long term immunity?
Many of my clients come to me for help with a weight loss goal. One question I get often is, "How much weight should I try to lose during my 6 month program?" This reminds me that there is an overarching question in our American society where over half of the population is overweight. How does one set a weight loss goal, period? This is a question worth exploring.
First you must determine if you are overweight. Most people know whether or not they fit into this category. However, some may think they are of normal weight when classifiably, their body is carrying around more weight than is healthy for their frame. Your doctor, health resources provided by your medical coverage, or a Health Coach are great people and places to consult with this question. If you've determined that you are indeed overweight, your next step is to calculate the total amount you need to lose to bring yourself back into the healthy range.
Once an amount is determined, it is important to set a time frame for yourself. For those who find themselves in the obese category, time is of the essence since even as a weight loss goal is slowly accomplished, the individual must continue to carry around the weight for some time. The longer an obese body functions with extra weight, the more health risks increase. With that in mind, if this describes you presently, you simply must consult (again) a doctor or Health Coach to help determine for yourself an acceptable time frame. Whether or not your goal is a big number like the example here, it is of utmost importance that you next set smaller goals for yourself, broken down into a number of months.
I'll provide a very simple "for instance" here: if an individual finds after meeting with his or her Health Coach that 50 pounds must be lost to get back into the healthy zone, a reasonable time frame for this goal (if no urgent health concerns or diseases exist that require weight loss sooner) would be a year. This accounts for about 5 pounds of weight loss per month with about 2 months of maintenance built into the goal. Over the course of a year, a lot can happen in one's life that would threaten to distract from the health goal. Giving oneself a year to lose 50 pounds (if that's how much there is to lose) is a great example of a reasonable, yet determined goal.
The most important thing to remember when determining your weight loss goal is that everyone has unique needs, obstacles, and tolerances around weight loss. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all diet, there is no single timeline for weight loss that will work for the masses. You must keep perspective in mind: that you are purposing to work on this goal for your health and quality of life, so that you may live the life you were intended to in fullness and without physical hinderances.
Are you working on a weight loss goal? What time frame did you set for yourself? What has been your biggest challenge in sticking to that time frame? Start a conversation here in the comments or reach out to me! I'd love to hear from you.