Manic Monday ~ Surviving the Sick Season
The Mid-West is known for its four seasons, extreme humidity in the heart of summer, the extreme opposite in the heart of winter, and the beautiful fall and spring landscapes. Another point that belongs with the Mid-West climate is the seasonal sicknesses. It's EVERYWHERE!! If you have children that attend our local schools, you KNOW how awful sickness can be around this time of year. And for some reason, this year seems to be one of the worst seasons. In my household this is what we experienced: Last week of December: 1 with STREP THROAT First week of January: 3 with major COLDS and CONGESTION 2nd week of January: 2 with PINK EYE and 1 with THRUSH 3rd week of January: 2 with STOMCH FLU Last week of January: 2 with INFLUENZA B First week of February: 1 with INFLUENZA B and 1 with a SINUS INFECTION 2nd week of February: 2 with ANOTHER nasty COLD VIRUS Now, a disclaimer: all of these cases were with our kids. When you have several kids, the sick season seems like it will never end. In fact, as they play....they may even be contagious BEFORE they even experience any symptoms. This makes it extremely difficult to contain. And what's harder, is the fact that our toddler boys put EVERYTHING in their mouths. I would have each kid wash their hands several times a day, particularly after I would witness a finger in the mouth or in the nose. And then we would repeat our hand washing. BUT, I know that in a quick turn to do a task, the fingers are back at exploring the face. The little guys just can't comprehend the madness of not touching their own mouth, washing hands, coughing....you get the picture. Ugggg..,,those germs are everywhere boys! However, mommy loves them and when we are healthy I can chuckle about it. What about me? What about my husband? How did we fair during this sick season? Actually, we did very good! My husband only had one day of feeling crummy during the stomach flu. I had some very "light" episodes that never transpired into anything. I certainly could tell on a few occasions my body was fighting something. I experienced some swelled lymph nodes, light fatigue, and even a mild headache. That was all that I experienced. And I certainly was exposed to several of the viruses my children were. In fact I was in the middle of drinking out of my water glass when my daughter yelled, "NOOOO!" She yelled so loud as if it were the death of me....because she just witnessed our 4 year old (stomped down by influenza B) drink from the same cup! I anticipated getting that stinking virus, but I didn't. And even if I was to test positive for it, I had no major symptoms of it. (Thank you Lord!... Because we can't function if I'm down.) I believe my wellness must be due to a good immunity. An immunity that is supported by healthy eating, hydration, decent sleep, exercise, and reduced stress levels. I have researched and studied the effects of an immunity boosting diet. The amazing benefits these boosters can provide in causes of viral, bacterial, or cancer attacks. Immunity boosting foods include those that are rich in vitamins and minerals AND are also clear of refined sugars and flours. Some of my favorite booster foods are: Coconut oil Kale Spinach Turmeric Cinnamon Chia seeds Raw honey ..... Now, you may think that is strange to just eat alone. Certainly it wouldn't be something I would ingest alone. These are foods that I use as "add-ins" to my protein shakes and smoothies. They certainly add a punch of superfood power without altering too much taste of the recipe flavor. If anything the flavor is enhanced. Foods that are ready to eat and very tasty are: Greek yogurt Sweet potatoes Citrus Apples ...usually 3-4 a day Almonds Pecans Walnuts Avocados (add pepper and a pinch if sea salt..YUM!) Berries Watermelon Pineapple Broccoli Carrots Red bell peppers Asparagus Brussels sprouts Lean poultry (no nitrates) Fish Egg whites Now, this is my diet. I usually have all of these (except watermelon out of season) at some point during the week and several of these boosters daily. Many times I eat them "as is." I also steam the veggies or use the fruits as "add-ins" for many dishes. However, I have had to acquire a taste for these clean foods. Making the transition from refined and processed foods can be a battle as your mind is duked into craving those high laced sugary and enriched floured foods. And can you blame your mind? They taste so gooood....BUT they are soooo bad for you if you eat them constantly as your main source of nutrition. Appreciating God's natural design for food....the clean, fresh, wholesome make up will benefit you in this season of sickness and beyond. Once you make a consistent menu of incorporating these foods, you will begin to enjoy the new fresh and favorable taste. You will find yourself actually craving these great foods! I want to make note that hydration (water is super) is very important! Another thing worth mentioning is that I am faithful about taking a vitamin each day along with an echinacea supplement. For me, it seems to be what works. Before investing into vitamins and supplements, do your research. Make sure your vitamins are from a researched and reliable source. It's not too late to feel good! Now, on to my own challenge: sneaking in those foods to my picky eaters here at home. I'm on a mission to build up their immunities as I am vowing to cut out out a big chunk (not all) of their sugary foods. That will be for another post!!!! (; Have a GREAT day...and remember an old quote, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away!" (That's a great start!) Rachel Zimmerman, Certified Personal Trainer and Life Coach ACE/NSCA Wife, Mother, and Friend.