Winter Wellness – Part 5 – Cold & Flu fixes

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Our days here have been very varied lately … one day overcast and rain the next bright sunshine and balmy temperatures.  It is hard to know whether you’re coming or going!  I’m not complaining though as while I love the warm days for my morning walks with the dog, I am also very partial to inside days where I can snuggle up with a good book, especially now that the study has finished and the exam completed.

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Picnics with the chickens in the sunshine – as viewed from out back window

Even with all the temperature changes we have thankfully got through winter pretty much illness free… touch wood … however now that the stress of my exam has passed, I can feel my body relaxing and clearing a few things it was obviously ‘storing’ up until I was less stressed.  It’s murphy’s law I guess that as soon as you go on holiday or have a break those cold or flu viruses get you. The body loves coming back into balance and will take every opportunity to do so 🙂  Thankfully, that isn’t me at the moment but it did make me think about a few home cures which I regularly use to help feel a little better a little faster if those breaks from stress end up with my body succumbing to illness.

As always, they are very ‘back to basics’ ideas, ones that our ancestors probably used with success long before we were reaching for all those cold and flu medicines.  See if there are a few that will work for you.

Rest.  The verdict is out! Rest and sleep are the best treatment for most ills and for keeping others at bay.  Getting as much rest as possible early on, rather than pushing through, can help the body to fight the ‘bad guys’ before the bugs overwhelm the body. Sleep really is that good, so make sure you make time to snuggle up when you are feeling the effects of a cold or the flu.

Fluids. Replacing all the fluids you are losing via nose blowing and coughing is a really important part of helping your body heal.  Our bodies need water to function correctly so make sure the fluids are good quality; that is non-fizzy, decaffeinated, sugar free options.  Hot fluids can help loosen congestion so herbal teas (see below for idea) or slices of lemon with honey can be a good option and a soothing too.  It is also a perfect to time to make a big pot of soup that you can dip into through out the day, ensuring you get all the vitamins and fluids you need. Here is a great chicken soup recipe (from before we had vegans on-board)

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Fresh lemons ready for making some lemon tea

Wash your hands.  This seems like a really obvious one I know however it is easy to forget to wash your hands after each blow and/or sneeze when you’re wallowing in how grotty you feel.  Colds are spread easily, both for you to ‘catch’ the first time and to re-infect yourself, through virus-infected airborne droplets or by direct contact with infected secretions so by washing your hands regularly you can cut down the risk to yourself and others in the family.

Herbs.  Using the healing properties of herbs to boost your health can be an easy, and often overlooked, aid to healing.  Try out some of these herbs in your meals or make a soothing cup of tea with them.  While gathering fresh herbs from your garden is delicious, dried herb will have stronger medicinal properties and may be easier to access when you’re feeling under the weather. Sage is a great one for helping with sore throats as it is both an antiseptic and an analgesic. Basil can ease headaches. Thyme is a tried and true herb for coughs. Rosemary for helping to clear the head.

Food.  Eating real, fresh food (combined with herbs) is one of the best way to get any extra nutrients that your body may need.  It can be easy to grab quick and easy processed/packaged kai (food) however this isn’t always going to serve your body well or help you get rid of those cold/flu symptoms any sooner. Garlic is a great addition to meals, as it is both an antibacterial and an antiviral food which will help knock those ‘bugs’ on the head.  Or you could do like my Mum used to and have it raw (chopped up very finely of course) in a honey sandwich! I have to admit that even as a vegan this is still my go to when I feel a cold coming on. Salt water gargles can also be a great way to get you on the road to recovery, another go to for me in the early stages, and an easy fix from home.

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying your day.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Winter Wellness – Part 4 – Lose the stress

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This week I am gearing up to do my first 3 hour exam in over 20 years and I am feeling the stress creeping in with each day moving me closer to it.   It is amazing how sly stress can be! Honestly, just when I think that I’m on top of things and have this study thing sorted life gets on top of me and before I know it, I’m feeling that tension throughout my body.  

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Thankfully we have lots of nature to get out into and de-stress

The bus isn’t the easiest place to study I have to say, apparently if you can be seen you must be spoken to :), and when you’re in a small town there aren’t that many quiet places to head off to either. So, I’m trying my best to get out of the stress loop by using the tools in my kete (basket) that I know work for me.  I figured that in a culture which too often rates your ability to cope under stress as an indicator of people’s success, others may like to try some of these little beauties to remove some of that stress naturally rather than having to ‘cope’ with it.

Get moving.  Exercise (aerobic especially) is proven to help relieve stress and other negative emotions such as depression.  When we move our bodies, it helps loosen and work all those muscles that you may be holding in tension, it gets you changing your focus, in increases oxygen to the brain and best of all those ‘feel good’ hormones get released.  Any kind of movement is good so pick one that you love and try and get out in nature with it to increase the benefits. 

Have a laugh.  Laughing creates a euphoric effect that will instantly release any tension you have. It can trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers and feel good hormone) which helps you to feel better all over and to relax.  Laughter yoga is now offered in many places and can be a great way to connect with new people however failing that it may just be a good excuse to watch those comedies, silly youtube clips and share all those jokes you have!

Count to 10.  Taking deep breathes and a wee bit of time out is an age old classic that costs nothing and is very effective. The key to this is breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth as this helps relax the whole body … it is hard to keep tension in your body with your mouth open.  Research also shows that deep breathing helps trigger the vagus nerve (a cranial nerve which helps regulate the heart, digestion and lungs) and works with the parasympathic nervous system to bring us into that ‘rest and digest’ state of being rather than stuck in ‘fight/flight or freeze’ state of being. 

Meditate.  Even 5 mins a day of meditation will help stress levels though of course the longer you meditate the greater the benefits. This doesn’t have to be a big deal just find a quite spot, close your eyes (or look downwards, relaxing your gaze) and clear your mind of as much as you can.  First thing in the morning to ‘set you up’ for the day or last thing at night to help you unwind and get a good sleep can be really effective times.  There are loads of apps out there now which can help you get into the right headspace.

Essential oils.  Scent has a powerful impact on our bodies and can bring up memories and emotions easily. This is in part due to the fact that the olfactory nerve (whose nerve fibres in the nose allow us smell) are connected to the limbic system in the brain, rather than going through the cerebral cortex (our thinking part) which triggers these ‘primitive’ responses to what we are smelling.  Lavender is the most popular relaxant but there are plenty others to try.  This link may help you to begin your experimentation with scent.

Stretch.  A good stretch can help with the physical symptoms of stress.  Like exercise it gets you moving those muscles that may have been held in tension. Try a class of yoga which will combine breathing, stretching and exercise for a real stress reliever or even a basic stretch at your desk and see how good it feels. Here is a link to a few suggestions.

Bach Flower Remedies.  As many of you know I love Bach Flower Remedies and I’m a big believer that emotions dictate our health unless we intervene.  Bach Flowers are designed to work on emotions and can target the source of your negative emotions helping to increase the positive.  White Chestnut is a classic for those who continue with ‘mental conversations and/or internal arguments’, whereas Agrimony can help those who hide their stress behind a smile.  If you want to learn more and try a treatment bottle then check out my FREE quiz to find your remedies (don’t worry you don’t have to sign up to anything) and e-mail me to make you up a bottle. Otherwise you can find out more about Bach Flowers and have your own guide by checking out my book ‘Finding Calm and Balance’ which is on sale at a special price for the next week or so, along with my other e-books.

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Only 99c (US) at the moment along with my other books

Hope this finds you a little calmer, a little less tense and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Winter Wellness – Part 1 – Reflexology

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After five weeks of recipes and with winter officially here in NZ I thought I would begin a ‘Winter Wellness’ series of blogs.  As the Chinese proverb goes ‘The superior doctor prevents sickness; The mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness; The inferior doctor treats actual sickness.’  So I thought I would share a few tools and give the opportunity for you to all become your own superior … or at the very least mediocre …. doctor and get on top of your health before any of those dreaded winter lurgies appear  … or reappear 🙂

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Rainy day views

Each week over the next few weeks I will give a few suggestions for you to try. which can help you find some relief from winter lurgies or may help boost your immune system to keep them at bay completely.  These don’t replace medical advice of course, rather they can be used in conjunction with other techniques or medications you are using to help  bring your body back into balance and hopefully heal a little quicker.  Once your body has balance (we naturally want homeostasis in our bodies and the body strives for it at a physiological level) it has more energy to focus on healing and maintaining a healthy body.

Reflexology is a great tool for helping you bring your body back into balance and one that I love to use.  While I primarily give foot reflexology treatments to my clients, I know that this isn’t always the easiest option to use at home, by yourself, or when you’re out and about.  So for that reason I teach a lot of hand reflexology points during my workshops so that you can actually use this fantastic tool yourself.  The positive effects of hand reflexology are usually a little shorter lived than foot reflexology though thankfully it is easy to repeat as needed.  Best thing is that you can do some basic moves in the comfort of your own home.

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Ingham Method Map

I thought a one page hand out would be the best way to share (click here to download a PDF version) and a little video (thankfully the sun came out so that herself could video me in the light) to help you along the way … including a bit of eye rolling from me as himself runs in and out of the bus and I thought that I wasn’t having my face filmed!!!  Excuse our low tech productions ….  not that much room for lighting and screens in our 1956 Bedford 🙂 If you feel there is something that isn’t clear then please let me know so I can do another ‘take’. The most important thing is that you are mindful of your own wellbeing.  Stop if  you’re feeling pain, go easy on tender spots, ease up if things feel ‘too much’ and if you are concerned then see a health professional

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and working those hands to your benefit!

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

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It is winter here in NZ, well almost, so what better way to warm up than making a big pot of yummy soup?  I do love soup it has to be said and I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and tea quite happily however lately it has been a bit of a necessity for me as a way to rest my digestive system.

We have been lucky enough to have a free place to park our bus for the past 9 weeks, while himself has been working to restore the railway after earthquakes last year, beside a large paddock of a local Irish Pub.  While we haven’t had to pay for the spot we have felt obliged to spend a bit of money here to keep in the owner’s good books so we have been going out for tea up at the pub at least once a week.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying not having to cook however my digestive system has had other thoughts.  Being a vegetarian in a small country area has its downsides … namely that there are only a few items on the menu you can have and of these few selections most contain gluten, dairy, a combination of both, or are deep fried.

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View from across the paddock back to our bus … the kids love it!

It has been an exercise in having the things that effect me least or trying to just have things sparingly.  Trouble is that I’m not that good at sparingly and I’m really not a have one and be satisfied kind of girl!  So let’s just say that over the past 9 weeks my eating has been very ‘off’ and I am now paying for that prolonged accumulation of foods that my body just doesn’t agree with.  Over the last few days I have been experiencing pain due to diverticulitis (flaring up of diverticular disease) and I completely know why it has reared up …. I only have myself to blame and myself to sort it out.

My main way, and this may not suit everyone, is to rest my system as much as I can until the pain subsides and my body feels ‘normal’ again.  I tend to go liquid for a few days so that my body isn’t having to deal with too much in the way of digestion in the hopes that it will have more time to deal with healing.  So far this has worked, on the few occasions that I have needed it, however the best plan is always to keep my diverticular disease at bay by eating well, exercising and having good fluids.

As it is pumpkin time here, and we New Zealanders love our pumpkins, I have been enjoying making up some pumpkin soup and my latest pots have been a little different after getting a few ideas at a local community dinner.  I usually just love pumpkin soup with a few onions and garlic thrown in, nothing fancy just yummy pumpkiny goodness, however I may have changed that for good after adding some coconut cream and ginger to the mix.  This recipe doesn’t really have any measurements, sorry, aside from 1 tin of coconut cream which you may want to increase if you are making  a large pot of soup. Experiment with what you like using this simple recipe as a base.

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Crown Pumpkin

Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

  • 1/2 a large Crown Pumpkin (this is the best flavoured pumpkin for soups)
  • Ground or fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Veggie stock cube
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • Water

– Fry off the garlic in a pot with a little oil

– Add in pumpkin chopped into cubes (should come to almost the top of the pot)

– Pour in coconut cream (should cover 1/2 – 3/4 of the pumpkin in the pot) and then cover the rest of the pumpkin with water

– Bring to the boil and add in the stock and ginger

– Boil until the pumpkin is all soft.

– Take off the heat and mash until you have a thick soup.  You can add more liquid if you like it runny or mash less if you like your soup chunky.

– Enjoy!!

 

Hope this finds you free of pain and full of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

 

And now for something different

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I decided tonight that instead of my usual recipes or food based blog I would share the other side of what I do ….. supporting people becoming healthy.  Shameless promotion I know!

I am a big believer in getting back to basics though so I created a few mini guides to help you have the knowledge, which I use as a naturopath, reflexologist and well-being coach, at your finger tips in the comfort of your own homes.  The following books are all designed to help you find solutions and create the life you want without being endlessly hooked into having to pay. 🙂

 

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All my e-guides are available on Amazon and Smashwords (I have put links to both) and if you want ‘Creating a Vivacious You’ for free then you can just sign up to my newsletter!

Finding Calm and Balance A Guide to Using Bach Flower Remedies Smashwords/Amazon

Take it Easy – A Guide to Creating a ‘Stress-Less’ LifeSmashwords / Amazon

Magnificent Mamas – A Guide to Creating the Life you WantSmashwords / Amazon

Mother’s Little Helper – A Guide to Natural Healing for ChildrenSmashwords/Amazon

Creating a Vivacious You – A Guide to Weight Loss and HealthSmashwords / Amazon

 

See you next week with another recipe …. until then hope you enjoy my books.

Arohanui Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz