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Stacey Maedge - Staying Healthy During Flu and Cold Season

Jan 11, 2019 05:00PM ● By Melissa Emerzian

Local resident Stacey Maedge is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and owner of Gut Check Nutritional Therapy. She is certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association, has a Master's Degree in Education, a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science and is a former Certified Personal Trainer. Stacey offers cooking classes and individual nutritional consultations and programs. For more information visit Gut Check Nutritional Therapy.

Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

The holidays are behind us and while we may be looking forward to the upcoming spring season, we’re still right smack in the middle of cold and flu season.  As is turns out, this year’s flu bug is a doozy and is taking people down left and right. As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I’ve love to share a few of my tried and true NATURAL remedies for surviving this time of year.

When you or your little ones come home with some sort of bug (we’re talking about the coughs, colds, tummy bugs, etc.), you have several options.  You can treat with over the counter meds that are usually full of sugars and food dyes, or you can use a more natural approach to healing. Let’s go over a few:

1. COUGHS:

Coughs can be difficult and often last longer than most illnesses.  Coughing during the night may cause poor sleep for your little one (and for anyone within earshot!) which will negatively affect healing.  Many of the over the counter cough suppressants are loaded with added sugar and things we often can’t pronounce. Instead, try pineapple juice!  

Pineapple juice contains bromelain which is an enzyme known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties.  It is known to reduce swelling (pain), especially in the respiratory tract and sinuses. It also has mucolytic properties which helps to break up mucus….which is a very good thing.  The body coughs for a reason. It’s a super cool built-in automatic mechanism to break up and expel mucus. Mucus, although somewhat gross, is one of many fascinating ways that our body protects us.  Mucus traps dust, irritants, bacteria, and viruses and when we get sick, we produce more than normal amounts of mucus. All of those “bugs” that are trapped in the mucus need to leave the body in order for us to heal faster.

In our household, we like to use pineapple juice for coughs by just drinking it straight, using it in smoothies, or even making popsicles out of it. Obviously, if you have an allergy to pineapple, you should not consume pineapple juice.  Please understand that juices have a tendency to contain high levels of sugar - natural sugar, but still sugar. Drinking small amounts of fresh pineapple juice to help ease coughs is what we’re talking about here. Sipping on SMALL amounts of pineapple juice will still help calm a cough and there’s no need to guzzle down glass after glass.  

2. SORE THROATS:

We’ve all been there.  Sore throats are the worst and kids seem to get them often during this time of year.  Again, you can use the over the counter meds to numb the pain but try this REAL FOOD remedy:  HONEY, GINGER, LEMON syrup. Make a batch of this TODAY and keep it in your fridge during cold/flu season!  

https://www.myfussyeater.com/honey-lemon-ginger-jar-natural-cold-flu-remedy/

3. STOMACH BUG:

Ack...those dreaded words from your littles…”My tummy hurts!”  Nooooooo! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered here too! activated charcoal to the rescue!

I’ve used activated charcoal MANY times for myself, my family, and my clients and it has been beyond helpful for easing tummy troubles for us.

Activated charcoal is available at most drug stores and health food stores in the vitamin section.  It works by aDsorption (vs. aBsorption). We all know what aBsorption is and we can think about how a sponge works to understand it.  Adsorption is a little different. It occurs when molecules stick in a very thin layer to the surfaces of other solids/liquids. Think of a magnet rather than a sponge.  Activated charcoal binds to the toxins in the stomach and carries them out of the body via the stool. Activated charcoal comes as black powder filled capsules, but if you or your kiddo have difficulty swallowing pills, you can just open them up and sprinkle them into water to sip on throughout the day.

But activated charcoal warrants a few little warnings:

1.These black capsules tend to come out the same color as they go in...meaning, your poop will most likely turn black for 1-2 days after taking them.

2. Activated charcoal can bind to medications so it is recommended to avoid taking it within 1-2 hours of consuming prescription and over the counter medications.

Activated charcoal is something we ALWAYS keep in our natural medicine cabinet.  Not only can it be used during a stomach flu outbreak, we use it for food poisoning, diarrhea, indigestion, and even give it to the whole family as a precaution when ANYONE in the house actively has the stomach flu.  Our experience with it has been amazing as it helps with nausea quite quickly and stops that pesky persistent vomiting. Speaking of vomiting and diarrhea, it’s important to avoid dehydration when these things strike.  

Keeping up with water consumption is key but when you’re losing fluids quickly, as with vomiting and diarrhea, you need to replace electrolytes. Our family’s favorite way to tackle this is to sip on our homemade electrolyte drink.  We don’t consume Gatorade in our household due to the massive amounts of food dyes, chemicals, and sugars, so we make our own. It’s a pretty simple recipe. Take 2 cups of coconut water and 2 cups of filtered water and combine along with the juice of 1 lemon, the juice of 1 lime, a large  pinch of sea salt, and a little honey to taste. Stir will and serve chilled. SIP throughout the day.

We’ve had great success with activated charcoal as well as the electrolyte drink in our family and I have recommended this to so many clients, who have ALL thanked me at some point when both remedies have come in handy.

Extra Health tips:

Now, I also have to let you know that keeping the immune system strong is KEY when it comes to cold/flu season!  More than 80% of your immune system resides in your gut, so keeping your gut healthy is imperative to staying on top of your health.  For our family, probiotics play a big role in gut health. Probiotics help keep the good bacteria population in your large intestine larger than the bad bug population. We like to change up our probiotic strains often.  When we’re through one type, we buy a different type so that we can populate the gut with a variety of the good bugs. Fermented foods are also a great way to consume probiotics. Live sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented pickles/carrots/beets are all readily available at most grocery stores these days and are also quite simple to make yourself. Look on food labels for the words “Live” or “Living Foods” to be certain you’re eating the beneficial probiotics.  Live foods (or living foods) are simply foods that have not been heated to the point at which the beneficial enzymes get destroyed.

I do need to mention though that I’m not a huge fan of the big kombucha trend that’s happening at the moment.  While kombucha IS a live food and full of wonderful probiotics, it’s also fermented SUGAR and should only be consumed in small quantities (limit to 8oz./ day)

Keeping sugars to a minimum will help keep your family’s immune systems strong as well.  Have you ever noticed that the sickness “season” starts right around Halloween (LOADS of sugar!) and goes through Thanksgiving and Christmas?  Isn’t it interesting that those holidays are when we generally consume larger amounts of sugar than usual and THAT’S when colds and the flu are more common? I’m not saying to give up all of the sugar in your life...everything in moderation, right?!  All I’m suggesting is to not go OVERBOARD with the sugary treats. Sugar is known for weakening the immune system but it’s only one of the factors that can do so. Other culprits include lack of sleep, lack of exercise (or TOO MUCH exercise), weight gain, and too much stress. So be sure to limit the sugary drinks, snacks, desserts and start getting in more REAL FOOD, more sleep, and find what works for you to keep stress levels at a minimum. It will truly help keep you and your family healthy during cold/flu season.  

Our bodies love vitamin C and vitamin D during this time of year.  Don’t you find it amazing that Mother Nature gives us the gift of CITRUS in the winter?  Citrus is full of vitamin C and it literally just grows on trees for us to pluck and eat!  The most natural way to get more vitamin D is through sunshine. Getting out in the sun for 10-20 minutes (without SPF) each day is the easiest way for our bodies to absorb and utilize vitamin D.  This may be difficult to do in some parts of the world, which is why many choose to supplement with vitamin D. Personally, I love liquid liquid vitamin d sublingualthat you just place under the tongue. They’re easy to just drop in and have zero taste but are easily absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) because it’s such a highly vascular area.

Ok folks, stay strong and healthy out there during cold and flu season.  Make REAL FOOD and good sleep a priority and keep these remedies on hand JUST IN CASE!  



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