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By Contributing Writer, Stephani
Attempting to live a germ-free, completely sanitary, uncontaminated life is a naïve thought in the thick of a cold winter season – especially when family members leave home, later rejoin the family, and then accidentally share their newly-acquired germs!
I live at home with my parents and six younger siblings, three of whom are under the age of seven. Staying healthy during the germ-infested winter season can be tricky. Sometimes I feel like a domino in a line of “sickos” just waiting until the person next to me begins to tip, and in turn I follow suit and come down with something nasty.
When sickness strikes, energy dwindles, productivity decreases, and tissues fly out of the box! Although I can’t always prevent illness and certainly don’t want to live in a people-free, ministry-starved, sanitary bubble, I think it is wise stewardship of time and my body to take preventative measures and to practice safe, healthy methods of recovery.
In my attempts at thwarting sickness I have found preventative measures to be the most effective. Below are four ways my family and I “doctor” ourselves when winter maladies try to invade our noses, chests, and throats.
A couple of years ago I concocted this beverage to boost the immune system and stifle cold symptoms. It is most effective when consumed at the first signs of congestion. Some of my siblings refuse to drink it, choosing rather to endure congestion than the tonic. Personally, I think it is more palatable when it is referred to as “lemonade” rather than “tonic!” :-)
- 2-3 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (Raw apple cider vinegar that is bottled with the “mother” has multiple health benefits that processed commercial apple cider vinegar does not.)
- 1 freshly squeezed citrus fruit (one orange, one lemon, or half of a grapefruit)
- 2/3 cup water
- ½ tsp dried, ground peppers (Hot peppers are best, however dried, ground red bell pepper flakes are beneficial as well. In the fall we dehydrated a batch of various hot/mild peppers from our local farmer’s market. Once dehydrated we powdered them in our coffee grinder and put them into a jar to be used as needed.)
- 1-2 tsp honey (or other natural sweetener such as stevia or agave nectar)
Best consumed two or three consecutive mornings with a light breakfast (eggs, toast, oatmeal, etc.).
One of my sisters is an on-call birth doula for expectant mommas and also volunteers at our local hospital. Waking up with a sore throat, nasal congestion, or a cough can result in fewer opportunities to minister to others as a doula or at the hospital. For breakfast, she has found that “germies” crying out for more control in her body can sometimes be muted when “Pepper Eggs” are enjoyed! Try whipping up a pepper egg to ward off encroaching illness.
Pepper Eggs – 1 serving
Grease a frying pan with olive oil or coconut oil.
Combine 1-2 eggs, 1 tsp pepper flakes (Hot peppers are best, however dried, ground red bell pepper flakes are beneficial as well), a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Fry egg mixture in pan.
When eggs are still slightly underdone, add 1-2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar to the pan and allow the eggs to fry for 30 seconds in the vinegar. Enjoy with an orange for an extra boost of Vitamin-C!
Thieves Essential Oil
Once winter hits and illnesses loom ahead, I begin applying Thieves essential oil on a daily basis. This oil is a potent, natural immune system booster. I apply this essential oil to prevent sickness and aid in recovery.
“Essential oils… are the natural, aromatic volatile liquids found in shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. The distinctive components in essential oils defend plants against insects, environmental conditions, and disease… Essential oils are extracted from aromatic plant sources via steam distillation, and are highly concentrated and far more potent than dry herbs.” http://www.youngliving.com/en_US/wellness/about-essential-oils
My family and I use several different essential oils to treat various physical issues, however when it comes to the flu, fever, cough, cold, and congestion, my favorite is Thieves.
“Thieves® was created based on research about four thieves in France who covered themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims. This proprietary essential oil blend was university tested for its cleansing abilities. It is highly effective in supporting the immune system and good health.” http://www.youngliving.com/thieves-essential-oil/Thieves-Oil
- Apply a couple of drops to the soles of feet, inside of wrists, or upper chest. If your skin becomes irritated upon application, you will want to dilute the drops in coconut oil. The Thieves coconut oil can then be applied directly to the skin.
- Dilute 1-2 drops in water or apple sauce and ingest.
- Dilute several drops in water in a spray bottle. Mist bed pillows, sheets, and rooms to prevent sickness and aid in recovery.
- Open the bottle of Thieves and take a few whiffs to clear nasal passages and to get the immune-boosting properties into your body.
- Apply, ingest, or inhale Thieves essential oil 1-2 times each day.
If at first you don’t feel better, drink, drink, drink – and take Vitamin C!
Drinking water is crucial in maintaining proper hydration and moving toward recovering during sickness. If at first you don’t feel better, keep drinking water!
“Your body… requires a minimum amount of water each day to function normally and clear toxins — regardless of whether you’re sick or well…
Fever - A fever causes you to lose body water, which may lead to dehydration if you are not drinking enough fluids. The dehydration may worsen your fever, further exacerbating the dehydration. This cycle will continue unless you are able to interrupt it by rehydrating your body.
Nausea - …lack of body water can lead to new or worsening nausea and vomiting…
Congestion - Keeping yourself well hydrated when you have a head or chest cold helps prevent your upper and lower respiratory secretions from becoming thick, which means you can clear them from your airways more easily.
Vitamin C – Ingesting extra Vitamin C can also support recovery when battling a cold. When I feel under the weather, I take an additional vitamin C tablet or eat an orange to lend a helping hand.
Do You Want to Be Your Own Doctor?
A resource that has been helpful in treating a host of illnesses, maladies, and discomforts is titled Be Your Own “Doctor.” It teaches readers how to prepare dozens of natural remedies, contains 101 stories relating to herbal home health care, and is written by Rachel Weaver, “an educator, midwife, consultant, and mother of nine children.”
If you are interested in adding to your healthy-living toolbox, Weaver’s book encourages readers to think outside the traditional medicinal approach and respond to many ailments in natural, healthy ways.
Trekking Through a Winter Wonderland – Healthy
As you trek through the winter months this year, I hope you will enjoy studying the multitude of preventive resources the Lord has designed for our bodies! As believers, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and when possible, preventing sickness can lead to increased productivity and energized service toward family, friends, the Church, and unbelievers.