Cough and Cold Remedies

cough and cold remedies

I am almost half way through training for my very first half marathon, but this week I worried that my training would hit a bit of a roadblock.  I caught a slight cold & have had some sinus congestion.  It’s pretty annoying running with the sniffles and congested sinuses but I took it easy, took extra rest days, and ran at a slower pace.

I try my best to keep my immune system strong and rarely get sick, but hey sometimes it happens (especially when people around you have been sick).  I’ve been focusing on taking care of my body to speed my recovery as much as possible.  I find that using holistic remedies helps me bounce back rather quickly and so are always my first line treatment, but there have been times where I need to get back to work asap, have an event to attend, or travel plans and over the counter (OTC) products are needed too.

Most people think they need antibiotics right away when they have a cold, but let’s clear that up right now.  A cold is a virus and has no cure— all you can do is treat the symptoms or prevent it altogether.  It passes easily from person to person through handshaking and droplets spread through air from sneezing or coughing.  This is why hand washing and covering your mouth when coughing/sneezing are critical healthy habits to adopt, friends. To keep your immune system strong, prevent illness, and fight colds faster I always try my very best to get enough rest, stay hydrated, and nourish my body with good nutrition.  These three things become ever more important when your body is fighting off a virus, so keep that in mind.  Here’s what I’ve been doing to fight this cold & sinus attack the last few days…

Morning “flu” shot |

I use a large shot glass, filled with half water and half apple cider vinegar (with the mother). I add a dash of cayenne pepper for extra sinus relief. 

Apple cider vinegar is known to have several antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal properties.  It’s useful for many things, but in this situation specifically, it is great for soothing a sore throat, mucus and sinus congestion.  

| “Feel Better Fast” tea |

Make a paste using organic, unfiltered honey + turmeric + ginger + cinnamon + cayenne + lemon juice = mix it all up

{ honey, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne }

{ honey, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne }

Make your favorite hot tea ( I usually go for roasted dandelion or green tea), allow to cool, then add the honey mixture & enjoy. These ingredients combined are a cold fighting powerhouse & it tastes good too! 

| Go for Green Juice & smoothies |

Mean Green Juice

Be sure your juice has more vegetables than fruits in it)—> All vegetables ( especially green & cruciferous ones like broccoli and kale) contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals that naturally strengthen the immune system. 

| Supplement with Vit C and Zinc |

You can easily consume vitamin C through eating dark leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers, kiwis, citrus fruits, and berries. Stock up on foods like spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans, mushrooms,and cacao for extra zinc.


Using these remedies I’ve been able to continue my half marathon training even with this cold & sinus congestion.  I hope you enjoy these remedies as much as I do. This is prime cough and cold season so be sure to adopt healthy habits to keep your immune system strong.  If you have a go-to home remedy for a cold please share it in the comments. I love learning about what others are doing.  

Wishing you a healthy, happy week!  

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Eating More Vegetables and Fruits

Today I want to talk to you about a healthy habit that is not only going to help you manage your weight, but also improve your overall wellbeing.  This healthy habit is eating MORE.  Yes you read that right! …specifically, eating MORE vegetables and fruits.  Can you guess how many servings of veggies and fruits you should be consuming daily? Experts recommend 5 to 9 servings per day! When I initially heard this recommendation I was pretty surprised and realized I was getting no where near this amount.  Are you?

STRIVEFOR

Dont worry I’ve got you covered. Since changing my eating habits I’ve fallen head over heels in love with veggies and fruits discovering a variety of ways to get my recommended amount (and more) with ease every single day. But before I give you those hot tips, let’s talk about why the experts think we should eat more of this good stuff.

Vegetables and fruits are not only nutritious and delicious, but they are also naturally low in calories. Now that’s a big win! More benefits include fiber to keep you full longer and keep your digestive system happy 🙂  These foods can also reduce risk of disease and provide vitamins and minerals which keep you energized and healthy. I think these are all pretty great reasons to eat your veggies (I guess mom was right all along, as usual).

Don’t panic– vegetables and fruits are so versatile and easy to incorporate into any meal or snack.  Here are my top tips on how to eat more vegetables and fruits.

[ HOW TO EAT MORE VEGGIES & FRUITS: ]
1. Juices and Smoothies – this is my favorite way to sneak in both veggies & fruits! (Be careful to read the labels & avoid added sugars and additives).
2. Soups– Great one-pot-meal!
3. Salads– Pile on the veggies!
4. Meatless Mondays – trade out one meal a week for a vegetarian dish.
5. Be Sneaky– chop veggies small enough to hide into sauces, burgers, meatloaves, etc.
6. Take Shortcuts– frozen veggies are just fine (and much easier to prep), pre-chop and wash your produce so it’s readily available to you, and if you buy canned watch out for BPA and sodium contents.
7. Recipe Re-do– Try making your favorite foods a little healthier (for example, add veggies to your omelets, make kale chips, use avocado instead of butter when baking)
8. Fill at least half of your plate with veggies
9. Try supplementing with green powder boosts for days where your on the go and really lacking in veggies.
10. DIY salad dressings! Swap the fattening, high calorie dressing and make your own
A few suggestions I’d like to leave you with are to aim for more vegetables compared to fruits.  For example, if you consume 5 servings of veggies/fruits in a day be sure to try having at least 3 of those servings from vegetables and 2 from fruit.  And when you eat out, don’t be afraid to ask for a side of vegetables or substitute your fries for veggies.

Do a little experimenting, try some new produce, and step out of your comfort zone.  This one small change can lead to BIG results.  It just requires a little bit of effort on your part but YOU CAN DO IT.

If you’d like to learn more about adding vegetables & fruits into your diet and eating clean, in general, I would like to invite you to join my FREE & complimentary 5-day facebook group “Fall into Healthy Eating Habits.” I’ll be giving out valuable resources, recipes, tips, discussions and videos to help you learn how to implement healthier eating habits successfully. { Sign up here for more information or in the opt-in box on the right–>  }

For meal ideas incorporating vegetables and fruit check out: 
http://greatist.com/health/40-unexpected-ways-add-veggies-meal/

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/easy-ways-to-add-fruits-veggies-to-your-day

 

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Plant-Based Eating: What, Why, & How

People are often curious about my diet, wondering what I eat versus don’t eat and why.  Well here it is… I follow a “mostly” plant-based eating lifestyle. I say “mostly” because who doesn’t enjoy a treat here and there!  🙂

 

So what is a plant based diet?  I would sum up the description with the famous quote by food writer, Michael Pollan, as stated in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto — “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 1

plant-based

According to the folks over at Forks Over Knives, a whole foods, plant-based diet incorporates a wealth of fruits and vegetables, beans/legumes, and grains. Eating mostly plants focuses on eating foods that are in their natural state, unrefined, and minimally processed.

A plant-based lifestyle aims to reduce (or eliminate) meat, dairy, eggs, refined foods (bleached flour, refined sugars, and oils)2. It may sound complicated but I promise it’s not. It’s just different from what we are all used to. As with all changes, we need to give ourselves time to adjust.

So basically if it’s from a plant and has minimal processing and recognizable ingredients on the label, it’s plant-based diet approved.

 

{ Two guiding principles for successful plant-based eating: }

#1 Eat more vegetables &  #2 Eat less processed foods

 

Why should anyone eat this way?  Well because it can save your life that’s why. It can help you live a better life.  It may take some work on your part to be intentional and not fall back into old habits, but soon enough it becomes second nature. My body actually craves fruits and veggies.. my taste buds have completely changed!  But as with any major lifestyle change, you cannot stay motivated (or even get started) unless you have good reason for doing so and it becomes a habit.

Here are the top 3 reasons to follow a mostly plant-based lifestyle:

  1. Good for animals 
  • By eating this way you are showing that you do not support animal cruelty.
    • Best practices tip: Even if you are not a vegan & enjoy animal products, try to buy products from animals that have been humanely raised.
  • You can still make an impact by forgoing meet for one day a week (think Meatless Mondays!)
  1. Great for the environment 
  • Large amounts of grain are grown just to feed animals, but we would save so much water and other energy resources if the grain produced was used to feed humans instead3.
  • Producing just 1 pound of beef requires 15 pounds of grain4.
  • Animal products are among the highest producers of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere5.
  1. Even better for YOU & your body
  • Helps prevent disease (& can in some cases reverse it)! Eating a plant based diet can help prevent and treat chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, lower blood pressure & cholesterol, help with weight loss, digestion, and inflammatory diseases6.
  • Improves your overall health & wellness by providing more antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more fiber 7.

Good for animals

 

 

How do i actually incorporate this into my life?  Personally, I follow the “80/20 rule” by eating the whole foods, plant-based way 80% of the time and allowing for a few treats (occasional eggs, some dairy & even desserts) 20% of the time. I believe embracing a mostly plant-based eating approach is one of the best things you can do for your health and the environment but I also believe in balance. I know if I am too strict on myself I will not have a healthy relationship with food and be miserable.

Listen to your body and adjust your dietary habits accordingly. Everyone is different. Find what works for you but always keeping in mind the two plant-based principles.

 

{ A TOP TIP for anyone interested in taking the first step toward a plant-based approach }

Work toward adding 5 servings of fruits and vegetables into your day

(at least 3 servings should be veggies + 2 servings should be fruit)

 

Got it? Good. Now go try it out! Be sure to comment with your results and experiences.

***Check out additional resources here.

 

– x o x o –  


| References |

1 In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan http://www.amazon.com/In-Defense-Food-Eaters-Manifesto/dp/0143114964

2 http://www.forksoverknives.com

3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-bartolotto/plant-based-diet_b_3807973.html

4 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-greenhouse-hamburger/

5 http://report_ewg_meat_eaters_guide_to_health_and_climate_2011.pdf/

6 http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/slideshows/reasons-to-choose-a-plant-based-diet/1

7 http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/amazing-health-benefits-of-embracing-a-plant-based-diet/

 

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Quit Dieting & Get Healthy

quit dieting

I was a girl that loved chocolate milk, bread and butter, and the Double Decker Supreme at Taco Bell (hold the tomatoes). My parents tell me I was a pretty big candy addict too, throwing tantrums if I didn’t get my sugar fix. I remember eating McDonalds for lunch almost every day my senior year of high school. On the rare occasion that I had fruits it was usually strawberries dunked in sprinkled with sugar, because I didn’t think they were sweet enough otherwise. I was a picky eater, not caring for anything “green”—you know, like broccoli, spinach, avocados—or any other fruits and vegetables for that matter.  I was completely ignorant about nutrition and the implications it can have on a person’s health.

When I started college I was tired of struggling with my weight and confidence; being unable to keep up with sports, and dealing with asthma. I was now independent and completely responsible for what I ate. I decided to get “healthy.”

Unfortunately my definition of health was so far off. I though healthy meant skinny, as so many misinformed women think today. I went on a calorie-restricted diet and incorporated a lot of cardio. Of course I lost weight this way, but in no way was I healthy. I was tired! Mentally and physically I was dragging. I was excited to finally wear a size 2 but that excitement quickly faded when I realized this diet was not sustainable and was depriving my life of so much joy. I would panic thinking about my next meal or going to a social event. I cycled from eating whatever I wanted, then feeling guilty and trying to cut calories for a few days to “make up the difference.” My weight fluctuated as a result.  It was not until I found the book “The Food Revolution” by John Robbins that my life changed and I quit dieting. Today I stand firm in the truth that food is not fear, it is fuel.

Any diet that deprives your life of joy is not a healthy one.

I learned about plant-based eating. Reading all of the evidence based benefits and research this type of lifestyle promised made it all the more alluring. I decided, after reading that book, that I wanted to feel my very best, be healthy, and heal my relationship with food.

I began focusing on eating more whole, unprocessed plant foods by incorporating fruits and vegetables into each meal and snack. It took some trial and error, and a lot of listening to my body, but eventually I learned what foods I thrived on and which ones did not work so well for me. It’s been 4 years now, and I continue to follow this way of eating pretty consistently.

This time I wasn’t following a diet, I was changing my lifestyle.

diet

These are a few of the benefits I experienced as a result of switching to a sustainable, plant focused way of eating:

  1. I haven’t used my asthma inhaler in 4 years
  2. My taste buds changed (flavors are so much bolder to me now)
  3. I fell in love with fruits and veggies, which I previously despised
  4. Feel stronger and more energized
  5. I don’t get sick as often (or as severely)
  6. Healthy relationship with food
  7. I have found balance by focusing on overall wellness- physical, mental, emotional
  8. Reduced cravings
  9. Renewed confidence
  10. I’m not afraid of that scale!

MybeforeAfter

Today I can confidently tell you I am on a growth path. I completed a course at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to receive my certification as a holistic health coach. I’m constantly learning about nutrition, finding ways to continually improve my own health, as well as help others find ways to positively change theirs.

____________________

I hope sharing my story will inspire you to learn more about health and wellness, and as a result make some positive changes in your own life. If you’re looking for a little guidance I’m happy to help.

*** Please share your story and/or thoughts in the comments below or email me at PrescribingHealth@gmail.com ***

Until next time, 

health coach

 


[ Always check with your physician before making any major dietary changes or increasing the physical demands on your body. ]

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