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Saturday, June 7

Scarborough Fair (Simon & Garfunkel)


When you're out on the road, getting sick just isn't an option.  That's not to say that it doesn't happen, but it's considerably easier to take steps toward maintaining good health.  Let's face it - getting an appointment at your regular doctor's office can be tricky these days, and trying to get one in some random town with people that have no records or interest in maintaining you as a patient can be downright impossible.  Urgent care centers are an option, but not always available. 
Your best defense is a good offense!
I would say, that the one thing you should always be doing is finding ways to support your immune system. Immune system support is something that you can do even when you are not sick, and can help you avoid imbalances in your body. There are so many wonderful ways that you can do this.

Nourishing Infusions

One of the very first things I learned in regards to herbal healing and wellness was making nourishing herbal infusions. An infusion is a very strong tea that is brewed with a large amount of herbs (at least an ounce of herbs to 1 quart of water) and steeped anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.  These drinks are very high in minerals and water soluble vitamins. It’s like making your own liquid vitamin.

 Avoiding Sugar
It should come as no surprise that you should avoid sugar. Consuming too much sugar has been shown to suppress the immune response by lowering the amount of white blood cells and increasing the amount of inflammation in the body. If you can’t resist the cravings for sugar opt for healthier sources of it, such as berries that also as good viral fighting properties.

Rest!

Our society is chronically over stressed and over worked. We spend more money on medical care and yet we are still the sickest nation in the industrialized world. The US has really missed the importance of getting an adequate amount of rest both while we are physically healthy and during an illness.  If you are constantly in a state of stress, there is very little time for our bodies to devote to repairing itself.


Sadly, Western society spends most of their time in their “fight or flight” system. This is only adding to our chronic ill health problems and may be causing you to remain sick for longer or more frequently. I know we are all busy, but it is so important to get some sort of rest in, especially when we are sick. Try going to bed earlier or taking more breaks throughout the day. Even small changes will make a big difference in your health, in the long run.  (See "Life is a Dream" post.)

Nutrition

Eating a healthy diet is honestly our best defense against illness. Lowering the amount of processed foods and increasing the amount and expanding the variety of whole foods in your diet is the key. I am not one to tell you which whole foods diet is better (vegetarian vs. omnivorous) but I am a firm believer in whatever whole foods diet you choose, it should contain a very large variety so you are making sure to get everything that you need.  (See "I'm Into Something Good" post.)

Outdoor time and exercise

Being outside is another often overlooked benefit to our health. Being able to move and play outside, will increase our blood circulation and help bring oxygen around to repair our bodies. Roll the windows down on travel days; take a family hike around the hotel; explore the area on a walking tour.  If there is an outdoor pool, have some family playtime!  (See "Lust for Life" post.)


Washing your Hands      
This is a super easy one!  Germs can get into our bodies through our eyes and even our nose! I make sure to wash my hands every time I use the restroom, or even after I help a kid in the restroom.  I also encourage the kids to wash their hands all the time.  When you're in five different states in five days, there's no telling what you're being exposed to!  Wash those hands!!!!

Elderberries

The elderberry has quickly become one of my favorite herbal allies. This is an excellent herb for both prevention and treatment of viruses. It is high in Vitamins A and C and although it is not clearly understood how, has anti-viral fighting properties.


          My favorite way to take elderberry is to make syrup. You can use the syrup just like any other syrup, put it on pancakes, top ice cream with it, sweeten your tea with it, or just take it straight.  I generally take a tablespoon a day as a preventative; or if there is someone sick in my house, I will go ahead and bump it up to 2 Tablespoons a day. When I feel a sickness coming on, or am in the middle of some virus, I will take 1 Tablespoon every 2 hours, until the symptoms subside. 
         Here is the recipe for you to make your own elderberry syrup.  Make this at home and take it with you.

Elderberry Syrup

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of dried elderberries
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups of water

Put all of the ingredients into a pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer, and reduce liquid by about ½ (usually takes about 20-30 minutes). Strain out the herbs and add 1 cup of raw honey.

Store your syrup in a closed jar in the refrigerator. Syrups have a relatively short shelf life and will stay fresh for a couple of weeks. I generally make this in small batches.


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