Sunday, October 31, 2010

5 Ways to Get Rid of a Cold Without Medicine!

Here I am all smiles as I go through week 17 of being pregnant! Goodness this baby sure has grown in the last week or two, apparently my uterus is the size of a cantaloupe now and I believe it! Unfortunately I wasn't smiling so much last week when I came down with a little cold...not sure if giving our two dogs a bath stirred up some allergies of mine, or maybe it was just something that was going around, but boy I did not feel good!
17 weeks

Here's the symptoms I had: constant sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose and then really runny nose, sinus headache, and achy muscles, just to name a few. Now the easy thing to do would be to down some DayQuil or just head to the doctor for a round of antibiotics...but I'm not a fan of meds or traditional doctors before I was pregnant so I'm not going to either of them now. Time to go alternative with it! So here you have my top 5 tips of how I got rid of a cold without meds.... (just a note, this is what I did to fight off my cold and I immediately felt better the next day, but it took about 2-3 more days to shake the rest of the symptoms). Now for my disclaimer...I am by no means a doctor! Everything I post on here I've learned from books, online research, talking with natropaths/midwives/chiropractors, so I am not the end all to be all so take these tips with a grain of salt and decide for yourself. What worked for me, may not work for you, but it sure doesn't hurt to share! So without further ado...my top five tips for getting rid of a cold without medicine!


1. Sleep! My all-time favorite cold remedy is sleep. Here I am with my sleep mask on...a must-have (usually I don't sleep with all the lights on, but I needed a pic for this post-lol!). So on the day I was feeling really sick I came straight home and turned my usual 15 minute nap into an hour long nap. After that I went to bed about 2 hours earlier than usual, and in the morning the next day I slept in for an hour later (since there was no way I was getting a good workout in at that point). So my sleep advice when you're fighting off a cold is to take anytime you're not at work and replace it with sleep!


2. Go to the chiropractor! When I feel myself coming down with a cold the first place I go is my chiropractor's office. But if I'm already miserable and sick I definitely set up a time to get in! (Clearly this isn't me in the picture, but it shows my favorite neck adjustment from a chiropractor!). Aside from the neck adjustment, I also have my ears popped (she just pulls down on them till they pop...this seems strange, but I always feel much after it's done) and I also get electronic acupressure done on my sinuses. My other favorite thing about the chiropractor is that before I get adjusted I get to lay on this rolling massage table for about 30 minutes! Picture like a massage chair that does your whole body (well at least from your lower back up to your head)...here is kind of what it looks like. There is also a heat pad in there as well, so it basically feels like I'm getting a 30 minute back massage! To enhance the relaxation, I also like to listen to some tracks on my iPod like the "Relaxation Track" from the Hypnobirthing book CD (to help get me ready for labor), or one of my other favorite guided imagery tracks from Belleruth Naparstek's album: "General Wellness". Basically, after laying on the massaging table and then getting adjusted...I usually walk out of the chiropractor feeling pretty good, or at least more at peace knowing that my body is now adjusted and aligned.

3. Heat Pack! Usually by about day 2 of a cold all the drainage just goes up to my sinuses and just stays there, till the point that I can't taste anything or breathe out of nose. So to help with this I use the almighty heat pack! It's basically those blue gel packs that can be frozen or warmed up, for this instance I like to have it warm. I'd love to get one of those that is specifically for your sinuses, but for now I kick it old school and just put the rectangle-shaped pack right on my forehead/sinuses with a cloth napkin under it. I actually kind of like how it covers my eyes, because usually I'll lay it on there when I'm taking a nap or about to fall asleep. I like to visualize the mucus that was hard and stuck now melting and dissolving out of my body. These things are very inexpensive and can do a lot of good when you are stuffed up!


4. Noodle-Based Soup! You know what you're mom always fed you when you were sick as a kid...chicken noodle soup, but I wouldn't touch canned chicken noodle soup with a ten-foot pole at this point for a number of reasons. First, when I'm sick the last thing I want to eat is chicken (aka animal carcass) because it takes forever for your body to digest it! Why would I want to waste by body's energy digesting meat when it needs to be healing me! Another reason I don't want canned chicken noodle soup is all the preservatives and chemicals used (not to mention off the chart sodium counts) in the canned soup. And let's not forget BPA (an endocrine disruptor which has been linked to breast and prostate cancer as well as infertility), has been shown in some of the highest levels in cans of chicken noodle soup (ravioli and infant formula weren't far off either!) click here to read more.



Without canned chicken soup, what's a sick greenie to do? Make your own! Here's my all-time favorite "I'm Sick Soup" called, "Broccoli Noodle Soup" and it's from a book called, 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. You can see the yummy pic above! Although I couldn't find the exact recipe for you online, it's on page 143 of the book and here's a post about it on a vegan blog. Basically all the prep work you have to do is chopping a head of broccoli, an onion, a few carrots and some garlic. Usually I like to make my vegetable broth from scratch, but when I'm feeling sick I do not feel being Betty Crocker with this one, so one quick alternative I have been loving lately is Gaylord Hauser's Instant Vegetable Broth. I love this one because it doesn't have any MSG, all you have to do is measure out 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of hot water and stir, and you get about 23 cups of broth from the little box that cost me about $4-5 at my local health food store. Unfortunately you can't by it online, but I suggest looking for it at Whole Foods if you're interested. Last but not least in this awesome soup is the noodles! Since I'm gluten-free I always go for Tinkyada brown rice pasta, and it tastes delicious after being cooked in with the veggies and broth! This recipe is amazing when you are sick and I wouldn't doubt that it had some magical healing powers...or maybe that's all in my head-oh well! ( :

5. Tea! To add to the nice warm broth aspect of the soup I mentioned, I continue the warm liquids with some nice caffeine free, herbal teas. Curious what my mug says? It's a reference to the show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" that show cracks me up! Thanks to my brother Andrew for the mug! The only brand I really like to use for my tea is Traditional Medicinals, mainly because they are organic and only use pure ingredients. Some of my favorites are: Pregnancy Tea (has a bit of a minty flavor, and I'm drinking a lot of that now since I'm about half-way through my pregnancy!), Throat Coat (this somewhat sweet and soothing tea is awesome if you have a sore throat), and Ginger Aid (not sure if you'd be craving a ginger flavor when you're sick, but it would be great for an upset stomach. I usually have about one cup of tea a day when I'm not sick, so when I am fighting off a cold I bump it up to 2 or 3 because it is not only good to get the benefits of the various teas, but it also helps me to remember to drink more fluids!


So, that's my top 5 list of ways to get rid of a cold without taking medicine. Here are the runner ups: taking 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider vinegar in a glass of water (tastes funny but has numerous health benefits!), drinking Elderberry Juice (1 tablespoon in a glass of water also contains many benefits as well such as helping to stimulate the immune system), staying away from sugar (impairs your immune system), and cranking up my vitamin C and vitamin D. Hope these tips can help the next time you are fighting off a cold...without medicine! Have you tried any of these tips before and had them work for you? Any others you would recommend? Please share!

4 comments:

  1. I was sick about a week ago and I agree, sleep, chiropractor, herbal tea and soup are the best cure. Sorry, mine had animal carcase in it :/ But I have a question for you...what would you do if you had something more serious than the common cold? Like strep throat that needs an antibiotic?

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  2. Meg, glad some of those alternative remedies work for you too. As for if I had something more serious, I would probably end up going to a doctor of some kind. My cold always tend to be the same...lots of sneezing/sore throat/body aches on day 1, and then by day 2 it's more just congestion and head cold, and by day three just congestion and then I feel better. So I think that if my symptoms just continued to get worse instead of cycling through or improving I would seek some type of medical help like asking my midwife for her advice or going to my naturopath. Knock on wood...I haven't had to do that yet! ( : Good question!

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  3. I am very interested in the Acupressure and heat packs for MT husband who gets these bad sinus episodes, too.

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  4. Hey Jenny,
    Yeah I used to get sinus infections a lot and clearing out dairy/cheese also helped me too, I'm pretty sure your hubby's vegan though, right? Hope the accupressure and heat packs work for him! ( :

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