In this article I’ll show you ways to naturally stop a cold or flu before it gets worse.
To stop a cold or flu dead in it’s tracks, you must recognize your body’s warning signals and try several different alternative options to see which ones work best for you. These are all simple, effective and natural ways to make sure you stay healthy all year round.
I used to think of the common cold or flu as just a part of life, something bound to happen at least twice a year. Thankfully I found out otherwise. I haven’t experienced any debilitating symptoms in 6 years since I started to understand my body’s balance.
Health is like a circus balancing act that never ends, you are constantly trying to keep the balance. Once you think you found the end-all routine, you have to switch it up because life is always changing and our bodies are always adapting.
But once you find your core balance, it’s easy to make it through the days without worrying about your health. When you over indulged yourself, you know exactly how to balance yourself no worries. As with any person, and with any task, you become better with practice.
Remember just as too much of a “bad” thing can be harmful, so can too much of a “good” thing. Good and bad is relative and based on perception.
Let’s first go over old habits, we’ll call it the standard method.
The methods and habits we were taught as children from our parents, friends, commercials, ads, and grocery stores that are triggered by feelings of oncoming sickness.
The First Symptoms
These first symptoms are your body’s way of telling you, we have intruders and we are doing everything we can to protect you with the resources we have.
Those first warning signs may include…
- Sinus Pressure
- Stuffy or Runny Nose; mucus
- Watery Eyes
You start to think “oh no, here it comes, pretty soon I won’t be able to breath, eat with flavor, or feel remotely comfortable; oh I hope I don’t get a sore throat, those are the worst!” Deep down you know it’s going to be all the above.
…And it plays out exactly as you rehearsed in your head….”I knew it.”
**Instead try to relax and tell yourself, I am healing myself, I am balancing myself, I am healthy. Stress can eat up a lot of energy necessary for repair.
A self fulfilling prophecy? I think so.
What’s the next thing you do. Well typically first off, you’ll probably look up and compare your symptoms. Then you head to the nearest drug store, get prepared with the latest and greatest over the counter medications; (a couple different kinds) and then you get back to your busy life, until you look of death and your peers tell you:
“Go home and rest.”
“Get yourself to the doctor!”
“You better not get me sick!”
Or you’re on top of things and you get yourself to the doctor’s right away, and within 10 minutes the doctor’s usually prescribe an antibiotic or another type of medication.
Disclaimer: There are times when a doctor is absolutely necessary, and not all doctors are the same. I am only giving you my experiences as a guide. I have not been to the doctors in 6 years and counting because I don’t ever feel the need to, I realize things could have significantly changed since the last time I was there.
As a child I went to the doctor’s office often, it’s the only way I knew and if there was one thing I learned, it’s typically the exact same process. You wait for what seems like forever, they check your weight, your heart rate, fever, blood pressure, tonsils, get a swab, check your ears, ask you a few questions. Pronounce you have the cold, flu, bronchitis, sinus infection, etc. and they write you a prescription; that’s about it. Oh and they recommend a pain killer, or they’ll give it to you on the spot.
I would take the prescribed medicine and still feel like I was in hell, curled up in my bed trying to sleep the days away until I felt better. Or I’d tough it out, go to school and feel loopy and lethargic.
And let’s face it those medicines at the drug store don’t keep you from getting worse either, the inevitable always runs its course.
Face it you’re going to be a snot monster, it is a necessary protective response, but you can actually help the snot master lymphatic system run more effectively without clogging up!
Doctor Who? I haven’t been there since 2008.
When I left home at eighteen I had no financial support, I couldn’t even afford insurance, so going to the doctor’s office was out of the question. Plus I knew it really never helped me anyways.
That didn’t mean I wouldn’t get sick, I got sick all the time–especially since I was eating all my favorite cheap junk foods and I had no clue about my body. I was left to fend for myself and I suffered…
But something amazing happened through all the suffering, I learned different ways to heal myself. I got in touch with myself, over the next year I listened to my body and I searched for natural answers; that’s when I realized, I had options!
There are other ways to take care of yourself that don’t involve brand name products that promise to do this, this and this; yet it doesn’t do any of that, or maybe it does do all of that… and more…I’m talking side effects. If you were like me, you try the next brand and the next, until you ultimately choose the best of the worst options.
It has taken me about 6 years of practice to figure out what works best for me in certain hearth situations, and feel extremely comfortable doing it.
It has taken so long because I can only practice when I feel warning signs, which isn’t often. I can honestly say I haven’t gotten terribly sick, nothing but occasional warning signs to let me know when I need to balance myself.
These are not just methods for when you get sick, it is a lifestyle change. The more you fill your life with these options, the more the other negative experiences from standard options fade away.
I can barely remember the last time I was at a drug store glazing over all the brand name drugs, with snot dripping down my face, looking and feeling like death. Ah what a fond distance memory to keep me feeling grateful for my new found methods 😉
1. Probiotics vs. Antibiotics
We don’t want antibiotics, we want probiotics!!
Your body is filled with both good and bad bacteria all the time, hopefully the “good guys” are the majority and keep the “bad guys” at bay. But if you give the bad guys enough supplies they will reproduce and take over.
The antibiotic is like dropping a bomb on everyone, the good bacteria and bad bacteria are killed off. Your body’s bacteria balance is disrupted and you still feel sick and uncomfortable.
Taking probiotics is like sending out special forces for backup to make sure those bad guys can’t outnumber them.
If you have to take a round of antibiotics, afterwards you’ll still want to take probiotics so that you can replenish your good bacteria.
How to get probiotics?
- Lacto-fermented foods
- Green powders like raw reserve, or warrior greens mixed with water.
2. Get to Know Your Body
Getting to know your body is a special process, one that you can’t pay somebody to do.
Most of our bodily experience is through temporary feeling, it would be very difficult to communicate every little feeling. However feelings are a very useful tools to recognize when something is working or not working.
Often times our thoughts can be overwhelming and dictate our feelings.
Have you ever tried to feel something that wasn’t there, or anticipate a feeling? That feeling you are trying to describe is gone, so you try to recreate it with you mind to accurately communicate it. The mind can actually cause you to feel what it is you are describing through memory.
Knowing that our thoughts control our feelings, it’s safe to say that thinking positive thoughts, “I am balancing myself”or “I am healing myself” is not a bad idea.
Meditation is a way to get to know your body on a very deep level. It helps you with breathing which is extremely important for cellular regeneration and repair.
When you are trying to heal yourself, try to let go of the monkey mind. Rather use the mind as a cistern to capture naturally occurring thoughts and feelings with the power of breath.
Meditation is a practice we all know is very beneficial. If you’ve never meditated before start with a basic 5-minute guided meditation for mindfulness and relaxation.
Mindfulness, meaning you are concentrated on your bodily sensations; using all of your senses.
If you cannot breath or are uncomfortable try options 4, 8, 9 & 10 for instant results, to make yourself more comfortable, then you can try to relax and meditate.
- 10 minute Guided Meditation for Mindfulness
- 21 minute Guided Meditation for Relaxation, Anxiety, Depression and Self Acceptance
b. Learn and Understand How The Body is Supposed To Work
If you understand the basics of the body and it’s functions, you can have peace of mind in knowing that your body is doing exactly what it needs to be doing. Don’t try to stop the process, try to help along the process!
c. System Overloads and Balances
Overworking yourself physically and mentally can quickly get you out of balance. All of your body systems are working hard, and when toxins pile up, your systems go into overdrive.
Relieve some of the systems and help them out with these simple tips.
- Give your lymphatic system plenty of pure water.
- Relax your nervous system and muscular system by doing yoga or mindful stretching.
- Give your respiratory system plenty of fresh air, breath deep, go outside in nature, if it’s not too cold.
- Go easy on the digestive system by eating simple whole ingredients, or if you are familiar with fasts now is good time to do a liquid fast. If you have never fasted before, don’t start when you are sick.
Our digestive system uses a lot of energy to process foods, especially foods that take longer to digest such as meat, dairy, and processed foods. If our digestive system is utilizing that much energy it can take over energy needed for our immune system.
3. Observing Your Body and Keeping Track
The more you observe and keep track, the more you learn about your unique body.
a. My body’s warning signs
Occasional and light symptoms:
- Sinus Pressure
- Watery Eyes
- Runny Nose
By following the methods below, it never progressed and I feel back to 100%, plus I stayed working the entire duration.
So if you have found yourself with those “Oh shit I’m about to get sick” feelings. Reflect on your past month and take notice, I would take notes in a journal so you remember.
b. My past month
- I ate more sugar than normal.
- I ate out at restaurants that I knew used low quality cooking oils.
- I ate fried food.
- I craved sugar and ate a lot of it. (organic cane sugar and coconut sugar)
- I ate huge portions and was still hungry.
- I was stressed out from being over-worked
- I was in contact with allergens (remodeling a condo where there is sheet rock, tile and saw dust everywhere.)
- I was in close contact with sick people.
- I consumed plenty of teas, fresh fruits and veggies.
- I did light stretching and exercising.
- I meditated and did things I enjoyed.
- I focused on my breathing.
- Breathed fresh air in nature and went for a relaxing walk.
Even though I consumed a lot of healthful food and did a balanced workout, I still got warning signs. I believe this is because I continued to eat an excess amount of sugar, gluten and fat; and I know this is a trigger for unpleasant body experiences. I overworked my digestive system, and overworked myself mentally and physically. I was also in contact with a lot of allergens that I’m not usually in contact with.
Little things that we tend to overlook can play a huge role in our health and well being.
Just because we did or did not do something does not mean we should judge it as good or bad, it just means we should seek balance. There is always a way to restore balance.
Pure water, teas and infusions will thin out the fast producing mucous, liquid will make sure things run smoothly and keep your body’s mode of defense up and running.
The body produces mucus as a way to help, but mucus can become so abundant and thick it will clog you up, forcing you to breath through your mouth; which eliminates one of you body’s most important line of defense.
You can’t clog up your nose, your nose filters the air, and at this vulnerable time you need your nose more than ever!
I’ll drink 1-2 gallons of reverse osmosis water per day as follows:
- 1-2 quarts water
- 1-2 quarts nettles infusion; 1 is re-steeped using the same herb.
- 1-2 quarts tea; sometimes 1 is resteeped using the same herb.
- 1 quart Alkaline Probiotic Green Drink (1 tsp spirulina + 1 tsp raw reserve or warrior greens)
- 1/2 – 1 pint tincture and warm water.
5. Spices, Herbs, Roots, Barks, etc.
There are so many different kinds to choose from and methods in which to use them. Here are the ones that I have plenty of experience with and use on a regular basis.
Please take note: Medications can cause conflict with herbs, be sure you know what you’re doing before you start playing around with this powerful stuff.
Relive Cough and Congestion Tea
Simple 3 Ingredient Immunity Boosting Tea
Relief Tea – the ibuprofen of teas
How to use it?
- 10 drops in a half pint of luke warm water
c. Essential oils
How to use it?
- 5-10 drops in a humidifier or in a pot of simmering water over the stove.
Let’s say it is allergens and/or dry air that are causing your symptoms.
- Get a dusk mask and put two drops of essential oil eucalyptus in the center. The dusk mask will help you keep humidity and keep allergens out. Plus this is an easy way to breath in essential oils.
- Mix a few drops of essential oil with a tbsp of carrier oil and rub it on your chest as a natural vapor rub.
Do not ingest essential oils.
d. Spices & Herbs Straight up
- Put a bunch of your favorite combinable whole spices in a shaker and sprinkle over meals.
- Mince and sprinkle fresh basil, cilantro, thyme, oregano, etc. over your meals depending on the flavor profile.
6. Whole Food Snacks and Meals
Best Option: Only eat ingredients, not products. Snack on fresh fruits and veggies throughout the day. For dinner eat simple; grains such as rice,mixed with vegetables, and limited healthy fats like flax seed, avocado or coconut oil.
a. Alkaline vs. Acidic Foods
One of the most important factors I take into account when choosing foods, are they alkaline or are they acidic? It’s a pretty simple concept, fresh fruits and veggies are the most alkalizing and processed meat and sugar are the most acidic.
Furthermore, sprouted nuts, seeds, legumes and grains are more alkaline, whereas non sprouted have phytic acid inhibiting certain nutrients from being available. Some are more alkaline and acidic than others.
When in defense mode, I pay special attention and make sure I give myself at least 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods.
I can tell when this ratio is disrupted because I’ll begin to get a stuffy nose, indigestion, heart burn, and/or lethargic almost immediately after eating highly acidic food.
b. Eliminate Excess Sugar and Fat
Sugar feeds candida, a naturally occurring “bad” bacteria, which can cause all of the symptoms of a cold/flu. A little bit of candida is fine, but once you feed it sugar and it multiplies out of control, you’ll likely feel the effects. Candida is just the more widely known enemy but there are many other harmful bacteria and yeast strains that feed off of sugar and thrive in acidic environments.
Fat is another resource that the “bad guys” thrive on.
Fat and sugar are necessary for health but in excess can cause problems. Not all fat is equal, and always remember BALANCE and MODERATION are key!
c. A Specific Example Routine:
When I’m sick I stick to the most simple diet. If I have lots of time to rest, I’ll do a liquid fast to heal even quicker.
This is exactly what I did this last week to make sure I balanced myself back out.
- 1 quart tea
- 1 quart nettles infusion
- 3-4 pieces of fruit (2 apples, 1 meyer lemon, 1 banana)
- Plain Raw Veggies, Winter Root Salad, and/or any other raw vegan meal
- Probiotic Green Drink (1 tsp spirulina + 1 tsp raw reserve)
- Lacto-fermented foods (pickles, pak dong)
- Plain nuts and seeds
- Roasted or steamed veggies (sweet potato, rutabaga, carrot, beet, sunchokes, whatever is in season)
- Grain/legume (rice, lentils, mung beans, sorghum, winter wheat, etc.)
- Broth, or sauce made from veggies, herbs and spices.
- Lots of spices and herbs for flavor. Almost every herb and spice has many different health benefits, choose what you like the most.
- 1 quart Relaxation Tea or Digestive Tea
- Raw Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Raw Vegan Shortbread Cookies
7. Use Pure Omega Fatty Acid Rich Moisturizers
Your skin is your largest organ, if you feed it a bunch of hard to pronounce chemicals, you’re likely to have dry irritated skin. Which then I recommend dry brushing.
Try using pure shea butter, coconut oil, or olive oil on your skin.
I like to mix my oil, aka carrier oil, with an essential oil like eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, and/or rosemary. A few drops go a long way, try this wintermint body butter recipe that uses both coconut and shea butter.
8. Nasal Flush + Mouth & Throat Wash
Wash out the bacteria, and get rid of those toxins.
- Netti Pot or alternate ways of pouring sea salt-water, aka saline solution, up and through your nose.
- Gargle a mixture of warm water and sea salt.
- Oil pull – Swish virgin unrefined coconut oil or olive oil in you mouth for 5-20 minutes to pull out toxins, then spit it out and rinse your mouth.
9. Lightly Stretch, Workout and get a Massage.
The lymphatic system is hard at work when sickness is on the horizon. The lymphatic system is pushing fluids to all places needed, massage, especially a Swedish massage, can help break up any clogged areas.
Stretching helps relieve tension, and further relaxation.
Working out brings more oxygen to the body, just make sure to do a light workout as to not over stress your body at a vulnerable time.
10. Cough Drop Replacement & Throat Soothers
- A slice of ginger, it’s hardcore but it’ll clear you up quick and give your mouth a fresh taste.
- Fresh rosemary leaf
- Fresh peppermint leaf
- Mix 1 tbsp fresh ground flax seed or chia seed and mix it with 1 cup water. Drink it after it sits for 15 minutes and the gel releases from the seeds.
- Steep 1 tsp marshmallow root with 1 pint water for 20 minutes and drink.
- Chew on licorice root. Not the candy licorice, but the actual root, which tastes nothing like the candy.
I hope I’ve inspired you to try out some alternative healing methods for your cold and flu symptoms. Hopefully they don’t progress any further than warning signs and you feel spectacular all year round!
Much love to you all!