During the Winter months does your appetite feel out of control?
Do you have INTENSE carb/sugar/chocolate cravings or feel unmotivated and even a little blue?
Ya? Me too. If this sounds familiar you might have a case of the Winter Blues – often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)! Winter in New England is the time of year when the days are shorter, there’s less sunlight, the temperatures are colder and we often feel more socially isolated and even DEPRESSED!
What do you do if you can’t relocate to Hawaii or Florida?
Well the good news is there are actually several natural, easy and effective things you can do to help combat the negative symptoms of the Winter Blues so you can go from feeling “SAD” to feeling “GLAD” almost immediately! YAY! Here are my Top Six Tips to stay on track:
6 Tips to Go From S.A.D. to GLAD!
1. Get Adequate Natural, Full-Spectrum Light
Light Therapy is the #1 remedy for SAD!
Even though it may be cold out, bundle up and make it a priority to get outside, even for just 15 minutes a day so you can be exposed to sunlight which increases your serotonin and the “Happy Hormone”, Vitamin D (which is KEY for avoiding colds and the Flu and improving your immune health). It will also increase your melatonin which is important for restful sleep. Even if this means just rolling down your car window at a stoplight and letting the sun directly hit your face/arm/skin – it will help!
And if for some reason this doesn’t work for you, consider purchasing a full spectrum illumination lamp that you can put on your desk or somewhere in your home.
2. Get Moving!
Yup, you knew it was comin’ but no doubt about it, EXERCISE is proven to make you feel better!
When you get your body moving it increases blood flow and circulation (Hello ENERGY!), increases oxygen, helps eliminate toxins and clears and resets your mind. In addition, it also increases endorphins- you got it, more of those Happy Chemicals that make you feel good! You can think of these Happy Chemicals, or neurotransmitters, as nature’s Prozac but better because they don’t come with nasty side effects…SCORE!
I like to try to double up on the benefits and do some activity outside where I’m exposed to natural light and sunshine – yes ma’am, now you’re really talking!
3. Get Your Body Rhythm
We are creatures of nature and part of the bigger natural cycle of life. That’s why it’s crucial to harmonize your lifestyle with the season. I know, it’s hard to do in our Go-Go culture, but if you are serious about feeling good and having good energy you’ll be wise to make it a priority.
Synchronize your circadian rhythm’s (your body’s natural “clock”) with nature. The more you adapt your schedule to the cycle of the sun- the sunrise and sunset, the better you will feel. At night (3 hours before bed) AVOID bright lights, computer screens, and big screen TV’s. This artificial light disrupts the pineal gland in the brain that produces melatonin (the sleepy hormone). So use candles and dimmers after sunset or certainly 2 – 3 hours before bedtime. You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make.
4. Rest More…Period!
Winter is the season where all of nature is in a hibernation mode so why should we humans be any different?
This is the season to GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO DO LESS AND VEG-OUT MORE! Not feeling guilty about relaxing, having down-time, slacking off and my personal favorite, taking NAPS is not only OK right now but extremely important and healthy!! It’s dark and cold outside for a reason! Take your queue from nature. All of nature is doing so why shouldn’t you?
5. Avoid (or at least minimize) Sugar
Everyone knows that sugar is no good for you and leads to increased cravings and weight gain but it’s important to remember that just one teaspoon of sugar can depress your immune system for up to 4 hours– leaving your more susceptible to colds, flu and viruses.
Moreover, after the initial rush, it also zaps your moods, leaving you lower than before. What a cruel trick! But you can have your cake and eat it too! Instead of sugar, you can use safe and delicious naturally sugar-free alternatives to sugar like Stevia or Monk Fruit or for a healthy and delicious grab ‘n go treat try one of my favorites here!
6. Be Sure to Have a Source of Fun/Joy in Your Life
This is a key underlying principle for everything.
So often we think of our diet and exercise program when it comes to our health and we overlook and minimize the importance of having something (or even someone) in our lives that is a regular source of pleasure, support, enrichment and love.
Whether it be a favorite hobby, pet, church group or just talking regular walks outside in nature, be sure you have something that feeds your soul and enriches your spirit, and then be sure to fight tooth and nail to make it a constant in your life!
The Mind-Body Connection is CRITICAL to lasting health and well being. Until we get that right, we will always have the “blues” regardless of what time of year it is!
Hope you found this article helpful and it helps to keep you healthy and happy not only during the Winter months but all year long!
Amy Fournier considers herself a reformed People-Pleaser turned Healthy Lifestyle Entrepreneur. She specializes in emotional fitness, stress and energy management, work-life balance, natural health and beauty from the inside out.
She is the Founder of Miami Fitness & Lifestyle®, a lifestyle club located in North Andover, Massachusetts, which is a unique fusion of specialty fitness classes with community and fun for women. Amy considers herself to be a student of life and a work in progress – she is also an artist, workshop presenter, dance/fitness/yoga instructor, author, International fitness cover model, philanthropist, friend, daughter and lucky Mom to cute little fur-baby, Charlotte.
Take a moment and get to know Amy!
Daring Spirits: Tell us about a decision that felt really bold.
Amy: Gosh, there have been so many times in my life where I feel life has given me the opportunity to be bold, brave, and daring and go out of my comfort zone and move from where I was, and they all involved a lot of fear and uncertainty. Thinking back on them, they all involved a lot of doubt and it was always scary to make the move I knew I had to do. Here are some top ones:
1. Deciding to get a divorce and then starting over
2. Leaving everything I knew: a safe and secure life with all my friends and family and established business to move to Miami, Florida, by myself and without any solid connections, job, or plan!
3. Opening my own club! This was certainly a BIG HUGE one!
All of these decisions forced me to dig deep and take action and just leap despite the fear and insecurity. For some reason, I’ve always had something driving me and I’ve known that the only way I can evolve and grow into the person I was meant to be was to risk and to keep expanding – just like the entire universe does. It is our example of how to live.
Daring Spirits: Describe a time when things went “wrong” and then the Universe delivered.
Amy: Well, if I understand this question correctly, I think you’re asking about a time when I thought something was “bad” and it turned out to actually be for my highest good. If so, I have to say that I just love when that happens – it’s one of my favorite things, and I find it so comforting! It’s like God’s way of winking at us and letting us know He’s out there and in charge and got our back’s so we don’t have to worry.
I have one very clear example of this. Let’s just say God removed someone from my life whom I thought was good for me and replaced them with some one SO much better than I could have ever dreamed. At first, I felt devastated and couldn’t image how I would carry on; yet at some point I realized that it was the biggest blessing in the world and actually an answer to my prayers!
Daring Spirits: What’s one thing you really want people to know (about the world, about you, about life — this is your chance to drop some knowledge!)?
Amy: I’d say to relax, to trust, and to just be yourself. Fight for the life you want, and to be the person you want to be. Stay focused on what matters most to you and what’s real. Go within for the answers you seek, and then have the courage to heed the answers that you will feel from your heart/your body. It always knows what’s best for you and what you really want.
At the end of the day, all we have is each other, and the love and connections we have created and shared are all that matter. That’s it. Nothing else is really that important. Have the courage to just be yourself; it sounds so simple, but it’s so rare to see today and took me over 40 years to finally get it myself!
DS: Beach or Mountains?
AF: Gosh, both – it’s like saying left hand or right to me!
DS: Sweet or spicy?
DS: Window or aisle?
AF: Aisle!! (gotta be able to get up!)
Daring Spirits: Stay focused on what matters most. Wise words, Amy, thank you for sharing your insights and energy. It’s clear to us that you’re aligning with what makes you light up!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DARING SPIRITS AND ALL THE WONDERFUL THINGS THEY OFFER HERE!
If you’re like me you don’t have time to be sick.
You have goals, dreams and aspirations for your life that require a high level of good and consistent energy. You want to feel amazing as much as possible and you want to look as good as possible while doing it. You want to be highly functional, strong, lean and toned and be able to burn any excess body fat if necessary without being completely miserable, cranky and uncomfortable. You’re also smart enough to know that getting your diet right is a big part of making sure this can happen.
I’m here to tell you that to be lean and have the consistent, good (i.e. “happy”) energy you want, you need to turn your body from a Sugar-Burner to a Fat-Burner.
How to Know If You’re a Sugar-Burner and NOT a Fat-Burner
- You have energy highs and lows or no energy or motivation at all. You feel like your often “dragging”.
- You think about food all day
- You have a big appetite and are often “starving”
- You’re still hungry or unsatisfied after meals
- You’re have hair loss or have noticed a lack of luster, volume and texture of your hair
- You have poor skin: it’s less “plump”, more wrinkled, dry and “stressed/aged-looking”
- You need to eat every 2-3 hours
- You have problems with bloating, gas, upset stomach, constipation, IBS
- You require coffee/energy drinks etc. to get thru the day
- You have joint pain, fibromyalga or “arthritis”
- You are on medications
- You don’t sleep soundly every night and rarely wake up refreshed
- You have excess body fat and/or you have a muffin top (yup, no matter what your age!)
How’d you do? Don’t worry, most people in this day and age are Sugar Burners and don’t do too well on the list either but I’m here to share with you the good news:
If you’re willing to reconsider what you’ve learned as “healthy” eating and change the way you think about food, you can reverse most, if not all of the above “symptoms” and feel and look AH-MAZING by becoming a Fat-Burner!
Top Fat Burning Myths You Need to Ditch Pronto
Let’s start with clearing up some of the top, misconceptions of a healthy diet:
- All calories are created equal Weight loss and health is NOT all about calories in and calories out or “exercising more and eating less”! Science, biochemistry and empirical evidence shows this is just not accurate. 100 calories from a plate of broccoli will have different physiological and hormonal effect on our body than 100 calories of gummy bears. Rather than a calories in/out equation, we now know weight loss and health is about understanding how different food, hormones and meal timing work in our bodies and then using that knowledge to make them work for us rather than against us.
- Losing weight is about eating less and exercising more Just look at any health club or gym: if this myth was true, everyone there would be fit and trim and we wouldn’t have a multi-billion dollar diet/fitness/book industry
- To prevent metabolic slow-down, you have to eat every 2-3 hours This is only true if you are a Sugar-Burner! When you become a Fat-Burner you don’t get “hangry” (hungry + angry) or suffer from low blood sugar and hypoglycemia and mood and energy dips when without food for a while
- Eating fat will make you fat Only when eating the wrong types of fat can you get fat because they are toxic to the body. Otherwise we absolutely need plenty of the right fats to run our hormones, neurotransmitters and stabilize our moods and blood sugar
- Saturated fat is bad/unhealthy/evil/increases cholesterol We now have mountains of scientific research that has since debunked this faulty hypothesis.
Basic Principles of a Healthy Diet and Being a Fat-Burner
So let’s turn this ship around and get you burning stored body fat for fuel instead of relying on the sugar from the food you are eating for energy.
- Eat a diet high in good fat (SOURCES: coconut oil/butter, Ghee, olive oil, grass-fed butter, lard, avocado, grass-fed meats), adequate (not excess) protein, like .5-1.0 grams/pound of lean body weight/day (SOURCES: whole, free-range eggs, wild fish, sardines, poultry, free-range meats) low in carbohydrates (SOURCES: vegetables) and REMOVE/AVOID: Starchy carbs: grains, rice, pasta, flours, fake foods, sugar, fake sugars, soy and vegetable oils (canola, soy, corn, safflower, sunflower, etc)
- Eat nutrient dense foods. You want bang for your buck. Don’t waste calories with low quality, low nutrition food. When you eat better you can eat less because you are satisfied and meet your body’s nutritional requirements. In general, the darker the food, the more nutrients it contains. For example dark green spinach has more nutrition than iceberg and fresh herbs like Cilantro and Parsley have more phyto-nutrients than any other food source!
- Determine your ideal food mix and you Personal Carb Quotient: Find out by trial and error the right amount carbs your body does best at. This will be different with everyone and will depend on how much metabolic damage has been done, your insulin-sensitivity, activity and stress level, current level of body fat, etc
- Eat real food (Don’t rely on shakes, boxed, packaged products, brand “meals”, meal replacements, etc. These are energetically dead “non-foods” that have no life-force.
- Identify any food intolerances or allergies and avoid. Soy, eggs, gluten, wheat, nuts are common ones but any food that causes inflammation is an irritant and is technically something your body is not tolerant of. A common sign of an intolerance is swollen, tight or achy joints like fingers, hands, knees, backs and necks.
- Read all food labels. You have to know WHAT you’re actually putting in your body!
- Do a Kitchen Makeover: Go thru your whole pantry, refrigerator, drawers, etc and get rid of the junk!
- Keep a Food Journal for 3 days to 1 week – Most people are horrified to know how much they are actually eating. Research has shown that almost all of us underestimate the amount of food we eat. Keeping a notebook or an APP on your phone is an incredibly simple, yet effective way to track your intake and give you an accurate indication of why you’re getting what you’re getting!
There you have it!
Follow these tips and switch from being a Sugar-Burner to a fat-Burner and enjoy more stable energy, a leaner body and best of all a liberated mind free to think of other things rather than food, eating and calorie-counting!
When most of people think of being healthy, they usually think of eating a healthy diet and exercising. Although those are very important, they are not the only factors involved in living a vibrant life.
All too often I see people investing a lot of time, energy and money on buying and preparing healthy food or paying for fitness club memberships to exercise only to still be overweight and feel frustrated. I’ve learned, living a healthy, high-energy life requires looking at your whole life, and your whole self, both inside and out. When we overlook other very important lifestyle factors like getting proper rest, downtime, play, fun and connection we suffer and certainly do not get the lasting results we desire.
How we feel and think on a daily basis are just as important components to our health and looking good as the mechanics of how we move and the food we use to fuel ourselves. In other words, we must think holistically – at our whole lifestyle, mind, body and spirit to be able to achieve the results we want.
When you consider your healthy lifestyle, do you also think about:
- Your stress level
- How much recovery and down time you have
- How you think/your beliefs/self-talk – your anxiety level, optimism, expectations, confidence, etc.
- Getting regular sunshine
- Having meaningful relationships with people you care about and trust
- Connecting with nature regularly
- Minimizing toxins in both home and personal care and hygiene products
- Ensuring you enjoy regular play and fun
Without addressing these lifestyle factors, we will never reach the levels of wellness we aspire to and will be perpetually frustrated and lose our joy (and boy is that unhealthy!).
To make it easy for you, I’ve put together a checklist of four of the key foundational areas to look at when considering your health holistically. Next time you find yourself frustrated or falling short of your goals, have a look at them and see how many you can check off on your list!
Key Lifestyle Area #1: Diet and Nutrition
- No one-size-fits-all solution – Must learn to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – How You Should Feel After!
- Learn about the hormonal impact of food and macronutrients – All calories are NOT created equal!
- Eat an Ancestral Diet = high in healthy fats, with adequate protein and low in net carbs (no sugar, processed foods, fake foods, etc)
- Eat REAL FOOD – Eliminate packaged, processed foods, soda, fruit juice, “sports drinks”
- To achieve ideal weight, you must determine your personal Carbohydrate Threshold or Quotient, eat adequate, high-quality protein and plenty of good fat
- The longer the shelf life, worse is for you – do a Kitchen Makeover and clean out the crap!
- Read all labels – Can a Kindergarten kid pronounce the ingredients?
- Identify personal food intolerances or allergies
- Make Sure at Least One-Third of Your Food Is Raw
- Eliminate All Wheat, Gluten, and Highly Allergenic Foods from Your Diet (Wheat, Soy, White flour products (baked goods, cookies, and pastries), Rye, Teff, Spelt, Kamut, Barley, Couscous)
- Low energy, acne/skin, gastrointestinal problems: bloating, diarrhea, cramping, constipation = symptoms of intolerance
- Non-gluten grains: Rice, Corn, Buckwheat, Millet
- Eliminate Transfats -like hydrogenated oils and shortening
- Understand Serving Sizes and portions
- Avoid Soy
- Fast 12 hours
- Consider Basic Supplements – probiotic, Magnesium, Vitamin C and D
- Get Adequate Sun Exposure– Optimized vitamin D levels may significantly lessen your risk for cancer, type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, age-related macular degeneration, and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin D can also combat infections and control seizures, especially for epileptics.
- Use The Hunger Scale – (0-10: “0” = stuffed and “10” = famished) eat between a 5-6 -Never get stuffed/Starved. Eat until 80% full and then stop. (for proper digestion, weight loss and energy)
- SLOW DOWN when you eat. TASTE and CHEW each bite. Never Eat when stressed
- RX: Drink a minimum of ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water per day.
Key Lifestyle Area #2: Exercise and Movement
- Vital to life and all proper bodily functions – both physical, mental and emotional
- The primary benefit of exercise is not necessarily weight loss but instead to make you more sensitive to insulin, burn excess glucose and to engage all your bodily systems and hormones
- Being fit and losing weight is NOT a matter of “calories in and calories out”. It’s about understanding the different metabolic and hormonal effects of different foods and macro-nutrients as well as ideal exercise timing for maximum effect
- Exercise format balance = Key. You want VARIETY:
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT). This requires just 20 to 30 seconds of maximum effort, followed by 90 to 100 seconds of rest. HIIT improves your muscle tone, promotes higher energy levels, enhanced production of the HGH, or human growth hormone, and leads to increased calorie burn.
- Strength training – Improve muscle strength, tone, and elasticity, create strong connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments, and slow down and even reverse risk of Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
- Yoga and Active isolated stretching (AIS)
- Cardiovascular- increases mitochondria, oxygen transport and circulation/detox
- Balance, Agility, Speed and Power
Key Lifestyle Area #3: Proper Sleep and Rest
- Ideal amount of sleep per night = 8 hours minimum
- Sleep is essential for proper repair and revitalization of all body cells, tissues, organs and systems
- Needed for detoxification and anti-aging
- Deficiency can lead to weight gain (because levels of appetite-inducing hormones rise) and affects brain, reducing ability to think and focus also increases sugar/carb cravings when sleep deprived
- Lack of proper sleep is associated with higher risk of depression and chronic diseases – diabetes, cardiovascular and heart diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer
- Resting as needed is part of the repair and rebuild requirement of your body. Listen to it and slow down, unplug and rest as needed – with NO GUILT! We are not machines. We are human!
Tips for Getting Great Sleep
- Expose yourself to sunlight during the day – especially in the morning. This will increase your serotonin and happy chemicals.
- Refraining from using electronics at least 2 hours before bedtime: TV, computer, phone (emit blue light that tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime – hinders the pineal gland from secreting melatonin at an optimal time, usually between 9 and 10 pm.)
- Establish “wind-down” routine. The body likes routine.
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- Sleep in complete darkness – melatonin, reduces body temperature and hunger and optimizes your circadian and improves gene expression and cellular growth and repair as well.
- Keep room cool/fresh air: Ideal room temperature = 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit
- Taking a warm bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime – raises your core body temperature, when you get out of the bath, the temperature drops, signaling your body that you’re ready for sleep.
- Exercise contributes to better sleep but ideally not within 3-4 hours of bedtime.
- Nap wisely: taking long naps during the day disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm, or your body’s internal clock. Ideally, keep naps a maximum of 20 minutes, at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.
- Don’t eat 3 hours before bedtime, otherwise the digestive process can interfere with your natural sleep cycles
- Listen to meditation or relaxation CDs before bed to help unwind
- Do 5 minutes of deep breathing at bedtime
- Use aromatherapy/essential oils like Lavender, Serenity, Peace and Calming or Sandlewood – either diffused or topically
- Get a massage at the end of the day
- Read a relaxing book
- Write an “End of the Day Gratitude List” of all the things you were grateful for that day (no matter how small!)
- Journal – write your thoughts and emotions to get them out of your head and help you process, release and reframe them
- Drink hot water with lemon before bed or Chamomile tea
- See Foundation #4 below (you need a fun/stress outlet so you can rest)
Key Lifestyle Area #4: Regular Play and Social Connection
- Make a Happiness/Fun List of things you love to do and that make you feel good
- This is important for your mental and emotional health and your overall quality of life.
- Research has shown that strong social ties and connections are as powerful for promoting good health as exercising regularly and not smoking
- Getting regular play and fun promotes creativity and problem-solving
- Fun is one of the best (and cheapest) anti-aging potions we know of!
- They are powerful stress-relievers
- They prevent overindulging in “naughty” foods, activities and emotions due to “lack of fun and fulfillment” in your overall life
- We evolved with tribes. We are social beings and it’s in our DNA to connect and collaborate with others. Loneliness and feelings of isolation are very damaging to the heart and blood vessels.
- Strong social ties give meaning to our lives
- All work and no play make you a dull person 🙂
We all wanna feel good, right?
Well “emotions” are caused by brain/body chemicals that we’ve inherited from our mammalian ancestors, but we also can control them with neural pathways we build from things that happen to us in our lives.
Emotions are caused by brain/body chemicals. We’ve inherited these chemicals from our mammalian ancestors, but we control them with neural pathways we build from things that happen to us in our lives.
You were born with billions of neurons but very few connections between them. We build the connections by our life experiences and they channel the electricity that flows into your brain as the world bombards your senses with information. This is the basis for how habits are made. Habits are basically strong (well-established) neural pathways. Wanna form a new habit or break an old one? Here’s the key:
Electricity flows down your old paths….unless you build new ones.
The idea is to identify the current pathways you have and to consciously create new ones to promote more of the good feelings you want and less of the ones you don’t. It takes a little bit of effort at first but it works!
Now-a-days, it seems like everyone is talking about “happiness” and “being happy” and that sure is wonderful and super important, but I think we need to remember that our “happy chemicals” are not meant to flow all the time. They turn on and off in response to the opportunities and threats we see around us.
You define opportunities and threats with the neural pathways you have. An opportunity triggers a happy chemical that motivates you to go toward it. A threat triggers an unhappy chemical that motivates you to avoid it. Each spurt is soon metabolized, and you have to do more to get more. Opportunities and threats for your genes get your mammal brain’s attention whether you consciously think that way or not.
Here are the 5 Key Neurotransmitters that determine our Moods and Emotions
DOPAMINE spurts when you approach a reward. It releases your reserve tank of energy so you can do what it takes to meets your needs. New rewards are powerful because your brain adjusts to old rewards.
ENDORPHIN produces a euphoria that masks pain. Physical pain is what triggers it. We are designed to avoid pain, not to create it. Endorphin evolved for emergencies, not for a constant flow.
OXYTOCIN creates the good feeling of trust. You feel safe with those around you when it flows. Safety in numbers helps a mammal survive, but it’s not safe to trust every critter, so oxytocin goes on and off.
SEROTONIN creates confidence in your ability to assert yourself. A social animal has to assert itself to get the food and reproductive opportunity necessary to pass on its genes. Serotonin makes it feel good.
CORTISOL creates the bad feeling that your survival is threatened. It motivates you to do what it takes to make it stop. Bad feelings are information. They help us avoid paths that don’t meet our needs.
In my workshops we address details on how to build new brain neurochemical pathways and healthy habits so you can feel more of the good-feeling chemicals more of the time!
- Meet Your Happy Chemicals – Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD
- The Science of Positivity – Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD
- The Diet Cure – Julia Ross, M.A.
Adults on average have about 3 colds per year and kids get about 8 colds per year – but you don’t have to be one of them!
Here are some of my top holistic health and lifestyle tips for natural cold prevention and treatment:
1. Eliminate All Sugar
Studies have shown that 1 teaspoon of sugar can suppress the immune system for up to 4 hours!
Not only does sugar have ZERO nutritional value, it actually DEPLETES your body of valuable nutrients that are already in it! This is bad enough under healthy conditions, but when your body is working hard to fight off viruses and pathogens; it needs all the nutrition you’ve got! Plus sugar creates an ACIDIC condition in the body where pathogens thrive.
Sugar is nothing more than a stress to the body, only pushing you further away from health and well-being. Stay clear of it until your 100%.
2. Stay Hydrated
The cold virus, like all viruses thrive in dry conditions with low humidity. The cold winter months combined with dry, heated indoor environments provide the perfect habitat for them to thrive! Therefore it is very important to stay properly hydrated so your body does not become a popular hang-out spot for germs! You can do this by not letting yourself catch a chill or become dehydrated! (See tip #10 below)
Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees. One reason colds commonly occur in the winter months is because as the thermostat goes down, body temperature often drops with it, hence increasing the probability of catching a cold.
Warm, sugar-free, non-cream based soups and broths are wonderful winter foods that help get more water into the body.
Also, be sure to stay away from fake, chemically-laden gimmicky sports drinks and “vitamin waters” or high-sugar juices and sodas. Instead stick to what your body craves pure, properly-filtered spring water! It will naturally cleanse and detoxify you!
CLICK HERE for more on the importance of water. Two of my most popular articles on water are: Water and Your Weight: How Staying Hydrated Keeps You Healthy & Slim and The Facts About Tap Water: What You Can’t See Can Hurt You!
3. Consume Probiotics
Our bodies contain thousands of strains of beneficial bacteria that are vital to our health and proper function. Yet our digestive tracts and immune systems can also be the hosts to parasites, yeasts and viruses which can wreak havoc on our good health and proper function. It is impossible to be alive and only have beneficial bacteria in our bodies, yet for many people, the proper ratio of beneficial to pathogenic bacteria is imbalanced on the side of bad bacteria. This paves the way for illness, infection and potentially disease.
“Probiotics” is a term used to describe the friendly or “good” bacteria. To keep your immune system happy, regularly feed the beneficial bacteria it the ammunition it needs to keep the bad guys at bay. Foods like organic, plain, sugar-free yogurt, kefir, cultured vegetables and the juice from the young green coconuts are wonderful sources of many immune-boosting components. Read more about why I call these superfoods in my article: Could You Use Some Culture? What Probiotics Can Do for You.
4. Eat Garlic
Garlic naturally boosts the immune system due to its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties. It has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for both the prevention and treatment of colds. It is best to consume it raw, which will retain all of delicate compounds that can be destroyed by heat, light and oxygen.
5. Wash Your Hands Regularly
The cold virus can live for several minutes on common surfaces and in the air we breathe, making us susceptible when we touch infected surfaces and then touch ourselves or breath the infected air. During cold season, and certainly if your are around someone who is sick, be sure to regularly wash your hands with warm, soapy water and keep them away from your eyes, nose, ears and mouth.
6. Disinfect Common Areas
As I mentioned in Tip#5, the sneaky, invisible cold virus is potentially in any area or on any surface. Door handles, computer keyboards, telephones and counter tops are often crawling with these nasty critters! A good idea to protect yourself is to wipe down commonly used areas and items before you touch them. Soap and hot water or disinfectant sprays or wipes work fine or if you really want to go hardcore, wipe a little Young Living Thieves Essential Oil on all common surfaces (see tip #11).
Another good idea is to leave a small bottle of water-free hand sanitizer in your car or purse for added convenience after being in a public place or when power-shopping!
7. Exercise in Moderation
Our bodies where designed to move. In fact, every system, organ and cell works better when we do. Anyone who knows me knows how much fun I like to have exercising! Yet there’s a time to know when to push and when to back off. It’s important to remember the old saying: Too much of a good thing is not better, it’s just too much!
Think of it like this, exercise is a way of using your energy and using nutrition from your body to do so. As I always tell my students, the more you exercise, the more important it is to eat well!
When you’re sick, your body needs any extra energy and even more nutrition than usual to repair and get heal. Don’t let exercise be yet another form of stress to your body by depleting your nutrient stores and potentially contributing to dehydration.
If you wanna JOIN ME LIVE to workout click here
8. Ensure Adequate Sleep
Sleep is also a vital component to good health as well as proper immune function.
During sleep the body rejuvenates itself, heals, rebuilds and repairs. While your muscles are resting, your subconscious mind and organs are able to use the available body energy to carry on their vital functions. Thus if we don’t get adequate sleep, these processes fail to occur, setting us up for ill health, decreased function and often disease.
When we are already sick, it is important to rest and take it easy, because the body needs a tremendous amount of energy to fight the viruses and germs so we can be well again. If you are not feeling well yet continue to run around as your usual multi-tasking-super-self, no energy is left over for your immune system to get you well and you will prolong and even complicate your misery!
So make sure you get adequate sleep, rest and downtime! If you have trouble, eliminate all caffeine after 2pm and be sure your bedroom is free of electronics near your head and that your room is completely dark. If you need more help, try a few drops of Lavender Young Living Medicinal Grade Essential Oil.
You should not be “tired” all the time. This is not a healthy way to live…and unnecessary!
9. Consume Specialty Teas
There are lots of natural, herbal teas available today that contain specific herbal blends proven over many decades and often centuries to be effective at alleviating cold, sore throat and flu symptoms. Organic is always best. Two of my favorite brands are Traditional Medicinals and Tulsi Tea.
Be sure not to flavor your tea with sugar or any artificial sweetener, you’ll only compound the stress to your body! I recommend the naturally occurring herb, Stevia, which is sweet and sugar-free. Combine it with perhaps some fresh cinnamon or pumpkin spice…yummy!
10. Consume Fresh, Organic Bone Broth
Grandma was right!
Healthy, natural and delicious, bone broth has many various health and medicinal benefits in addition to it’s powerful immune system support.
In a perfect world, we would make our own bone broth at home, but unfortunately I am not able to do that. So I’ve found the next best thing (or maybe better!).
I found the #1 natural, online mail order distribution store on the market: The Brothery bone broth is the only brand recommended by top natural health experts Louise Hay and Heather Dane and is my favorite brand of bone broth I eat (I love the organic chicken).
But don’t be fooled: this isn’t your typical boxed, stale, store-bought “broth”. This is homemade and made with Palomar Mountain Spring Water and is delicious, organic, certified-humane and verified non-GMO.
And all you have to do is place the order online and it’s sent frozen sealed in a few days right to your house! Whether I’m sick or feel a cold coming on, or want an immune, skin, hair, nails boost or to heat up on a cold New England night, I heat some up on the stove top and with in minutes I’m a kid again! 🙂
Fresh Bone Broth Benefits Include:
- Significantly contributes to the support of overall joint health
- Aids in exercise and stress recovery
- Is high in protein
- Rich in collagen and gelatin
- High in bio-available (usable) minerals, amino acids, and compounds, such as proline, glycine, glycosaminoglycan, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulfate.
- Builds and maintains strong bones and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons)
- Helps restore and support healthy digestive function because of the high gelatin content (which naturally lines the gastrointestinal (GI) tract)
- Assist individuals with food allergies
- Promotes the growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in the body
- Is AWESOME for hair, skin and nails because of the high amount of collagen and gelatin which keep skin smooth, firm, and reduces wrinkles and strengthen hair and nails as well as speeding growth
- Contains highly absorbable forms of minerals and electrolytes, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur, which support healthy circulation, bone density, nerve function, heart health, digestive health, and cellular health
- Supports overall metabolic function
- Assist in the body’s natural detoxification efforts, and to boost the immune system
11. Use Only High-Quality, Medicinal Grade Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is the use of plant oils, (called “essential oils”), for improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Essential oils are extremely powerful and are the pure essence of the plant. They are often referred to as nature’s living energy or medicine— and can provide tremendous psychological and physical benefits when used correctly.
Young Living is the world’s leading provider of essential oils and offers more than 300 essential oil singles and blends. It is the GOLD STANDARD of essential oils. doTERRA brand is my other favorite, again the extremely high-standards of processing and quality they use ensure you will get the results you are looking for and not waster your money – as opposed to a cheap, store-bought, synthetic, man-made replication of a plant oil. That’s why theses two brands are the ONLY ones I use and trust.
Both Young Living and doTERRA offer their own distinct versions of blends particularly designed to help sanitize and disinfect germs so are really great to help keep the germs away:
- “Thieves Essential Oils Blend” by Young Living
- On Guard by doTERRA
If I travel I take one of these with me in my purse and use instead of Purell (chemicals!) and I like to diffuse about 10-15 drops in my house during the winter months and particularly when I feel a little run down or if someone sick comes by for a visit. Smells great and works like a charm to naturally clean the air keeping me healthy!
12. Take Smart Supplements
In addition to your regular natural and wholesome diet, you might want to consider supplementing your nutrition program during the cold winter months with specific immune-boosting all-stars such as:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3 liquid 5,000 – 10,000 IU/day
So there you have it! I hope you find Top Tips for Natural Cold Prevention and Treatment helpful. For more on this topic, check out my other article: Avoiding the Winter Blues.