Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to find a new way to keep the sick bugs away, naturally.
I have to admit, this is as much my personal mission as it is yours, and I plan to learn along with you all this week as we explore foods and herbal remedies to build immunities and battle the germs when they do come.
RELATED: Find out about terrain theory versus germ theory here.
We’ll talk about the many ways to use garlic (I’m hosting the Whole Foods for the Holidays: a Progressive Dinner Carnival tomorrow with some garlicky appetizers for you!), foods to keep you healthy and get you better, and herbal remedies and essential oils that I know nothing about (but I’m learning).
You’ll want to start with my column over at Simple Organic today where I am finishing up the series that started with 5 Foods Women Should Be Eating. Today’s post is called 5 Foods Everyone Should Eat More Often for Optimal Health (and Avoiding the Flu).
Here’s a secret-spilling excerpt about food number five:
Why everyone should eat more: As a saturated fat, poor coconut oil has gotten a bad reputation in our time. However, coconut oil is still a plant oil, and its medium-chain fatty acids are unmatched in their ability to give quick energy. Lauric acid, a crucial component of breastmilk, is found in nature almost exclusively in coconut oil, to the point that formulas have to include coconut oil just to get it right. This fat is metabolized quickly and would be hard-pressed to stay on your figure as stored fat/extra pounds.
Coconut oil is naturally antiviral and antibacterial, so who wouldn’t want to have it regularly in their system while the viruses and bacteria from your neighbor’s sneeze are trying to take root?
Why women should eat more: The lauric acid is great for mother’s milk supply, and coconut oil also promotes strong bones for women as we age. Personally, I think the easily digested saturated fats may have been my cellulite’s undoing. Including coconut oil in our regular diet was one of many changes I’ve made in our family’s nutrition over the past two years, so my claim is certainly not backed by empirical data…but the coconut oil surely isn’t hurting!
If you’ve never used coconut oil before, you might appreciate the tips and recipes at my FAQ post: How to Use Coconut Oil. If you don’t know whether it’s a liquid or solid fat, you’ll definitely need to click that link. 😉
Buy Frugal Granola’s Herbal Nurturing to fill in all the gaps I don’t understand!
Disclosure: I work with Frugal Granola and earn commission on sales of the eBook from this site. I am also an affiliate of Mountain Rose Herbs. See my full disclosure statement here.
Photo from Andres Rueda.
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Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.
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15 thoughts on “Monday Mission: Fight Germs Naturally”
I forgot to mention: Run the shower until it’s hot, plug the drain, and put a few drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil on the shower floor where the water’s hitting. Get into the shower and breathe the steam. Great decongestant! My approach to congestion is to get it OUT so the germs go with it. We kept a few flat cloth diapers for extreme nose blowing. 🙂
Years ago I saw a George Carlin comedy routine suggesting that when you’re sick, you should “give it to your colon!” i.e. push those germs through your digestive tract and get them out as quickly as possible. Since then, when I have a non-queasy illness, I eat as much as I can and particularly high-fiber foods such as beans, vegetables, fruits, and oatmeal. I’ve since read that beans have antiviral properties. At any rate, it does seem to help, along with plenty of fluids!
I agree with those who mentioned sleep. I’m not a big sleeper normally–not only am I busy but I just don’t LIKE sleeping; it seems like a waste of time–but once I am sick enough to be off work, I quit all caffeine and sleep as much as possible. It helps a lot. For at-home moms, it might be wise to have some way of drawing a line to say you’re “off work” today.
When my ears feel sick, I soak a square of tissue in hydrogen peroxide, lie down on my side, and put it in the top ear. After a few minutes, I hold a dry tissue under that ear as I turn over and put the peroxide in the other ear. I know peroxide kills germs; it definitely helps to loosen earwax; I’m not certain that it’s reaching deep enough to kill infection in my ears, but it DOES help me feel less clogged and aching for several hours!
I definitely agree about getting a lot of sleep when you’re sick. I was sick about two weeks ago and slept most of the weekend. Soup is also very good when you’re sick.
About coconut oil, I wonder if coconut milk would have the same benefits? I have that in smoothies several times a week.
Lauren, I would guess that at least full fat coconut milk would have some of the same benefits, but I don’t know much! Can’t hurt, that’s for sure. 🙂 Katie
Are you looking for germ fighters just for our bodies and cold season? I guess we don’t get sick because I’ve not researched this area to see what to do. We’ve used the netti pots to relieve sinus pressure and pain in the past.
I use vinegar and water (50/50) with 10 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle for disinfecting my kitchen, and the same minus TTO for cleaning my goats’ teats before milking.
I’ve been making a natural antibiotic for years now which includes onion, garlic, horseradish, ginger, habanero peppers, and raw apple cider vinegar fermented for a few weeks. My husband has dubbed it “fire water” but it works!
I’ve also found that raw honey with a few drops of tea tree oil mixed in is the best diaper rash solution I’ve ever used, particularly if thrush is an issue.
I have a number of other concoctions, but Tracey definitely offered some new ones! Thanks.
I have a little spay bottle and I mix water and a drop of lavender oil and a drop of peppermint oil – works great to disinfect hands – Naturally!
My big go to for health is Manuka honey (well, & vitamin D3, as well). I already knew Manuka was good for skin infections (it kills MRSA when almost nothing else will; currently being used as a wound dressing in hospitals in NZ & Australia for this; MRSA is a big problem in US hospitals).
But i recently began using Manuka for a cough (long story behind that). Within a couple of days my energy was better than it has been for more than a year. I am so very excited, as i’ve had moderately-severe Chronic Fatigue & my functioning has been getting worse, i was even to the point of researching wheelchairs!
Turns out, Manuka honey also kills h. pylori bacteria (implicated in many stomach ulcers). A doc had recently told me he believes h. pylori could be the cause of CFS for me.
Not saying that this will work for everyone, but i do encourage folks to research this & probably keep it in their medicine cabinets. It did wonders for my cough, & tastes so much better than the tincture of herbals i was mixing up!
Oh, another one. One half teaspoon (or just a little more) of baking soda in 8 oz of water will relieve pain from a urinary track infection quickly. You still have to do something for the infection (i use D-Mannose & colloidal silver & cranberry juice as i can’t tolerate antibiotics), but the pain is quickly relieved by the baking soda in water.
I’m a Certified Natural Health Practitioner, so I’ll answer with my CNHP hat on:
Get 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
Drink 2-3 litres of water a day.
Use GENTLE essential oils in the air if there is illness in the family. By gentle, I mean lemon and lavender in a pot of hot water left to evaporate in the kitchen or bedroom. People constantly use essential oils that are too strong, and in wasteful or even harmful quantities. If you want essential oil advice – I’m a Registered Aromatherapy Health Practitioner and if you email me I’ll help you out (free of course!). [email protected]
Here is an article I wrote on natural ‘flu prevention that’s pertinent: http://www.anarreshealth.ca/node/443
In health, Tracey
Such an important topic this time of year! On Friday, I blogged about my 25 top “natural” ways to get over sickness (http://markandmeg04.blogspot.com/2010/10/getting-over-sickness-naturally.html) and I have to say that coconut oil is definitely on my list! I think that oregano oil is the fastest and most effective way to get rid of sickness. I put a few drops in a pill capsule about 3-4 times a day if I feel myself getting sick and it usually knocks the bug right out of me!
As a practicing Registered Aromatherapy Practitioner, I have to disagree with using oregano internally. It’s like using a tank to move a chair. Oregano is used internally for:
1. People with immune disorders such as AIDS.
2. People whose digestive, nephratic or urinary tracts are colonized with harmful E-coli and the like.
Briefly, oregano will probably kill ALL of the helpful and other bacteria in your gut if ingested. That’s why people feel so bad when they stop taking it and feel better when they resume. A 3 month course of probiotics is required to re establish balance.
If you really love oregano, use it in a vaporizer or sprinkled over top hot water to disperse into the air. ‘Flu treatments for essential oils need to be INHALED to be effective.
Read more: http://www.anarreshealth.ca/node/600
In health, Tracey
Totally agree with sleep to fight off sickness. I was feeling down all last week, nothing would help (tea, fruits w/ vitamin C, etc). Finally, my mom took my little one for a morning (thank God for family!), and I took a 4 hour nap (no joke!). I felt soo much better, and made a full recovery within 24 hours.
I wholeheartedly agree with Sheila about the need for plenty of sleep … and that OTC cold remedies are a terrible way to ‘feel better’ … We use plain old soap and warm water for our hand cleaning. I am not a germ-a-phobe as I think our bodies build up immunity by being exposed to everyday germs and good bacteria.
elderberry. I make a syrup out of dried elderberries it works great for my son who is in first grade.
This is obvious, or should be, but I find it’s often forgotten in our modern world: sleep! The attitude I see time and again is “just pump me full of Dayquil/antibiotics so I can go to work!” Our bodies just don’t work that way! They’ll use whatever nutrients we give them to heal themselves, but we need to give them time to do it.
It’s hard for a mom to get any extra rest, but at the very least we should put all non-essentials on hold: no volunteering, no playgroups, even (dare I say it?) no time-consuming cooking. Pull something out of the freezer, curl up on the couch, and tell the kids to stay nearby so you don’t have to chase them around.