Health

Flu Season Tips

FluSeason

We are in the middle of flu season and since I just read an article that states that 1 in 10 American deaths have been caused by the flu this season, I thought I’d share some tips that have been helpful for our family.  Although nothing is a cure-all, I believe these things, at the very least, help to minimize cold/flu symptoms when we do fall under the weather.  (Disclaimer:  Since I am not a medical professional, you should only try these ideas if they are compatible with your doctor’s recommendations.)

(1)  Yogurt–Since giving my kids yogurt on a daily basis, I have noticed a significant change in the number of times they get colds/flus.  Yogurt helps to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut, which is where many (if not most) illnesses start to form in your body. Foods don’t make you indestructible but they are a good preventative measure against illness and help strengthen your immune system.  For those who can’t get your kids to eat yogurt, look for drinkable options at the grocery store and mix them into your kids’ milk with breakfast.

(2)  Soup–Same reason as (1).  Chicken soup really does work.  Wonderful alternatives are miso soup and bone broth.

(3)  Essential Oils–My favorite oils during flu season are eucalyptus and peppermint.  In addition to deterring bugs/mosquitoes during the spring/summer, these oils also have anti-viral/bacterial properties and make great bathroom air fresheners, aromatherapy, vapor rubs, etc.  The oils also have a calming effect.

(4)  Air CirculationStagnant air leads to illnesses spreading at rapid rates so make sure your home is well-ventilated and there is ample air circulation.  For us, we always keep our ceiling fans and air purifiers on high.  And, when the weather and air quality are nice outside, we’ll also open our windows.

(5)  Don’t Touch Your Face–This has always been hard for me to do but I find that it really does make a difference.  Your eyes, nose, and mouth are prime entry points for viruses and bacteria.  Parents, remind your kids about this, too!

(6)  Avoid Crowds in Tight Spaces–Places where many people are gathered in tight areas should be avoided during flu season for obvious reasons.  Such places include subways, buses, planes, trains, etc.

(7)  Hot baths and Showers–Take a hot bath and/or shower at night before bedtime.  Not only is it relaxing, but it also washes away all the dirt, grime, allergens, pollutants, cold/flu viruses/bacteria that are on your person (everything that settles on your hair and skin as you’re out and about during the day).

(8)  Stay Home–We don’t live in a bubble but because we have small children, I try to be mindful of when and where we take them during flu season.  Do we really want to go to a birthday party where half the kids have snotty noses and are coughing every two minutes?  No, thanks (our kids have their entire lives to socialize)!

(9)  Wash Clothes and Linens in Hot Water and Dry in High Heat–This is a big one.  Many of us don’t realize how dirty our clothes, towels, and bed linens are, especially during flu season.  In college, I discovered that not everyone uses a fresh/clean towel with each bath/shower and that some people reuse their towels (mind blown).  No offense to those of you who reuse your towels but during flu season, changing towels after each use is a must.  In our home, we also change our bed linens every week.  Wash everything in hot water (rinse cold; this, of course, does not apply to delicate items). It doesn’t matter how much detergent you use (a little goes a long way) but the water must be HOT.  After washing, dry everything in high heat.  Studies show that drying your items in high heat will help rid your clothes of lingering viruses and bacteria.

(10)  WASH YOUR HANDS–And oldie but goodie rule of thumb.  According to the CDC, 80% of diseases are spread by hands 😨.  If you dislike dry hands from washing, stock up on lotions, creams, and oils (take your pick).  Parents, repeat this mantra to your kids over and over.  It’s far better than getting yourself or others sick!

Chia Seed Pudding

chiaseedpudding
Organic chia seeds (mix of black and white varieties)
1 can of organic coconut milk (sweet or unsweetened)
Boiling water
Cereal bowl
Cut mixed fruit or berries
Sliced and blanched almonds
 
Fill cereal bowl with 1/4 chia seeds
Add boiling water (enough to cover chia seeds)
Stir
Add entire can of coconut milk
Stir
Let stand until cool
Refrigerate until firm
Top with cut fruit and almonds
 
(Optional:  Drizzle with organic honey)

 

 

Honey Lemon Water

lemon-water-pitcher
 
1 cup of boiling water
Glass pitcher
Half of a lemon (equal sized slices)
Organic honey
Cold/iced water
 
Place slices of lemon into pitcher
Add desired amount of organic honey
Add cup of boiling water to the mix
Stir
Add cold/iced water
 
(Optional:  Slices of lime)

Afternoon Tea

Teavana

So I’m a regular customer of Teavana (which is a chain tea shop located in many malls across the country).  I like its tea.  It’s basic loose leaf tea but very overpriced (perhaps due to the fact that the stores pay mall rents).  During my visit to the store today (and every other time), I noticed that the salespeople intentionally over scoop when selling loose teas (funny how they don’t do that when you order by the cup as their hot teas were so light that I stopped buying them).  The question is where the hell are Teavana’s competitors?  It would be nice to have other local options to purchase bulk loose leaf tea.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked in sales my entire career so I “get” the whole sales and marketing thing.  Trying to close a deal is one thing but blatantly ignoring your customer (scooping 5 oz. when the customer requests 3 oz.) and being overly pushy (describing the “benefits” of a more expensive tea when the customer requested a less expensive kind) is another.  Teavana needs to invest in more sales training for its employees (who need to learn the concept of the soft sell and the using education/information as a marketing tool).  Because of my experience at Teavana (again, this has nothing to do with the teas themselves) and various reviews on the treatment of customers and employees, I am making it a mission to find good alternatives and will keep you all posted.

Donate Leftover Food

homeless

We have been donating our leftover food and pantry extras to the homeless for awhile now and I just found out that, in addition to making an immediate difference in someone’s life, it’s also good for the environment.  Who knew?  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not much of a “green” person but, hey, if it’s easy to do and makes you feel good about doing it AND you’re helping people, why not?

Linguine with Clams

clams

1 pound of chopped clams
1 one-pound package of spinach spaghetti/linguine
2 jars of marinara sauce (personal favorite: Whole Foods’ Tomato & Basil spaghetti sauce)
1 pinch of fresh parsley
1/4 clove of fresh garlic
1/2 cup of fresh red onions
1 teaspoon of oregano (fresh or dried)
1 teaspoon of dill (fresh or dried)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
 
Using a pot, boil spaghetti/linguine (afterwards, drain and set aside)
Using a sauce pan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of the pan
Add 1/2 cup of onions and 1/4 clove of garlic
Turn on high heat
Add 2 jars of marinara sauce
Add 1 pound of chopped clams
Add 1 teaspoon of oregano
Add 1 teaspoon of dill
Add 1 pinch of parsley
Wait until sauce boils 2-3 times
Serves 3-4 people

Hunger Games

hungry

So, I haven’t been as good with my new year’s resolutions as I wanted to be (no surprise there).  What started out as a fantastic get-my-butt-to-the-gym-and-eat-healthy-at-all-times regimen has now turned into a do-I-really-have-to-workout-today-and-what’s-one-more-slice-of-cake struggle.

That plus the fact that I have baby fever.  I look around and just about everyone my age is having and/or have had kids.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want kids just to “get on the bandwagon” or because “it’s time”.  I want kids because my mind, body, and soul are telling me, “This is what you are meant to do.  This is going to be your biggest contribution to society”.  It’s gotten bad.  Really bad.  I’m looking at maternity clothes, baby stuff, and even children’s educational programs.  I know, I’m going a bit batty.

Now that I’ve had lunch, I have a mad dash to go to the post office, update my fashion blog, blast out e-mails to promote this event I’m co-hosting in DC, go to the bank, and run a few other errands–all before rush hour which starts at 3PM in these parts.  More updates later.  Ciao.