At midnight New Year’s Eve, the Balinese sky around us was lit to indigo from twinkling palm trees and candle-lit luminaries. We wore the balmy air like a second skin along with our sarongs as Kruder & Dorfmeister resurrected Bob Marley in their downtempo beats. The music slowed to take a break from dancing on the beach to raise our glasses and ring in 2014.
That’s how I celebrated 2014 in my ‘happy place’…
In reality, my poor beau was bundled on the sofa with a severe man-cold. Ladies, did you know that a man-cold is ten times more debilitating than the common cold? It’s true, I believe there is science somewhere to prove it. While our 60-something neighbors partied down next door, summoning us to join them for tequila shots, we woefully declined. The dreaded cold had struck our household.
Two days later it got me. Just when you think, “I feel great! I’m nowhere near getting that mess.” It sneaks up on you during the night. The scratchy throat and headache creep in through the ears and by morning your entire body feels like you’ve been tackled by a semi-truck. And when you have it, the reply from everyone is, “Oh yeah, that’s going around.” No matter how healthy we eat or how much we exercise or how many supplements we take, we’re bound to get the ultimate ‘yuck’ of the common cold at least once a year.
So, as I near the tail-end of this bugger, I offer up my 2014 8-Tip Survival Guide for the common cold:
1. Cold Calm: At the very first symptom you get, the slightest sneeze, achey head, scratchy throat, take the homeopathic remedy Cold Calm ASAP! Trust me it works, I’ve zapped many nasty-cold-risings with powering this stuff and eliminating it by the day’s end. 2 tablets every 15min for the 1st hour, then 2 tablets every hour until symptoms subside. The key for this stuff is early detection, so know your body and when it’s feeling off. Note: If you’re running a fever take oscillococcinum instead as this typically represents flu symptoms. DayQuil, NyQuil and other western cold reliefs can help you sleep and mask symptoms, but they keep the body from its necessary detoxing. I won’t tell you not to take them, but try to refrain as much as possible.
p.s There’s a completely uninformed Forbe’s article by Steven Salzberg, slamming Cold Calm for including poisonous ingredients in their products. Homeopathy doesn’t use full plant materials, but is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. I know there are woo-woo alarms going off for some of you, but it works for me and our family and I wouldn’t be raving about it here if it didn’t.
2. Tulsi Tea: A Holy Indian Basil tea, mild in flavor and full of phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, immuno-boosters and adaptogens. The latter is what helps the body adapt to the incoming stress. Typically when the body is under stress, the immune system is compromised, hence getting the common cold. I tend to drink about 8 cups a week, but increase it to 2-3x daily if sick.
3. REST: My beau is a powerhouse of energy, but when he gets the man-cold, he goes down hard and he sleeps…alot. It’s something I admire and need to learn how to do. I get sick and I’m still dismantling the Christmas tree, shopping for groceries, trying to figure out how to cook the 4 bunches of kale I just bought to make me healthier. Sleep is one of the best remedies. If you can tell yourself, nothing else is as important as getting rest and feeling better this dramatically accelerates the healing process. Try to take a few days off from work if you’re in the thick of symptoms. Your performance and coherence will be much better when you’re not a sloppy, drippy mess and your co-workers will thank you.
4. Eat Clean: Hence the 4 bunches of kale I bought last week. Whenever I’m sick I crave sushi, miso soup and the sesame spinach, Goma-Ae. It’s because my body wants uber-clean, fresh, light food. When the body has a cold there is a ton of mucus trying to detox from the inflammation inside. Our bodies tend to inflame from acidic foods, stress and the usual suspects of dairy, gluten, alcohol, sugar. Funny how we all seem to get the cold after the holidays, huh? Begin eating cleanly, lighter foods and try to alkalize the body as much as possible.
5. Neti-pot: To neti or not to neti, that is the question! Here’s my personal opinion of the neti-pot…do it as needed. This comes with knowing your body. I personally don’t believe that using a neti-pot daily is a good thing. I’ve tried it and it ended up making me more sniffly than before. I also don’t use it emphatically when congested. The sinuses are already inflamed and I don’t want to inflame them more, therefore I’ll use a neti-pot when I feel the initial congestion and I’ll use it once more during the week of the overall cold, typically no more than that.
6. Sweat it out: Wouldn’t it be nice to have our own private Esalen whenever we need it? Soaking and steaming and steaming and soaking..ahhhh! If you’re lucky enough to have a sunken, soaking tub…or even just a teensy bathtub..get in it! Make the water as hot as humanly tolerable, fill it with lavender and eucalyptus oils, turn up the heat in the bathroom and soak! Sweating out the toxins is another way to detox the body and accelerate the healing. If you only have a shower, then turn up the hot water and add a few drops of eucalyptus to the shower floor..stand under it as long as you can. If have a fever take a lukewarm bath/shower.
7. Yoga: Please refrain from going to a yoga class if you have a cold. You’re contagious and nobody wants to hear your sneezing, wheezing, coughing, sloppy-mess self…trust me I know. For some reason my hips scream for stretching when I’m sick. When we have a cold our body tends to constrict, so doing some slow, simple, restorative stretching can help open up the necessary meridian lines for healing.
8. Say no to Antibiotics! Do not beg your doctor for antibiotics thinking this is going to instantly heal your cold. Antibiotics are only meant for bacterial infections, colds are viral. Taking an antibiotic unnecessarily can be dangerous to your health and can increase the risk of antibiotic resistance, not to mention destroy good intestinal flora needed for flushing out toxins.
Finally just be patient. There is no cure for the common cold, so it typically takes an entire week to run its course. Our rapid-fire, instant-gratification culture still hasn’t really created a remedy to match. So expect your symptoms to linger like that one guy who won’t leave the party. Remember this cold is happening inside your body, cradling it and cultivating the healing process is much kinder than trying to push it away.