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Fighting a Cold 101

 Well here I am attempting to stop the start of something awful. A cold. I know many of you will say, “’Tis the season!” Well, I don’t believe in the whole “flu season” or “cold season” nonsense. But that’s for a whole different column. And I’ll be honest: I don’t believe in taking things for colds and flus, either.

I know, most of us run to the medicine cabinet and rummage through it at the first signs of a cold or flu. But when was the last time you gave your body a chance to prove itself? We forget that our bodies are created perfectly. I know pharmaceutical companies would try to have us believe otherwise (but maybe when your nose stops dripping everywhere and you can think more clearly, you can contemplate how you allow someone to tell you what you need to feel better, that they just so happen to sell as well).

Our bodies can create human life and grow it inside ourselves, and yet we don’t believe that we have the building blocks to knock a mere cold or flu? That’s crazy if you ask me.

Just to warn you, I’m going to be a bit contradictory here. Yes, I know I am. I’m admitting it. I don’t need the lot of you pointing the finger, gasping, “But you said--!” I said that I believe our bodies have the ability to heal themselves. I’m not saying that we don’t need a bit of help (with all the garbage we eat, pollution we endure, and stress, it’s a wonder we can manage to do anything at all).

Here’s the thing. I don’t believe in remedying with chemicals (prescription and OTC drugs) that mask the symptoms and trick our minds into thinking the problem has been solved so our bodies don’t bother defending themselves (obviously if you if have a serious illness you should be consulting your preferred medical professional, and not my blog. Although, that is sweet of you).

I prefer to put natural things into my system that help boost my body’s own abilities to heal and defend itself. And if you haven’t noticed the movement towards more holistic, and natural remedies in the world, then you need to get your head out of the sand and try some.

I wasn’t always this way. I was the QUEEN of NeoCitron back in the day. But I’ve long since renounced that crown after discovering not only more natural remedies, but more effective remedies. And while we’re being honest here, any “medicine” where the first ingredient is sugar... well, need I say more? I know some of you are gasping, thinking “What! So the drug companies really are there just to make money?” Aw, don’t worry. There’s plenty more bad news where that came from about the way the world works.

But how about some good news instead? Here’s a list of a few of the things I take when I feel a cold or flu coming on that really help me. I’m not saying they will without a doubt cure you of whatever it is you have, I’m just saying they worked for me, they’re good for you anyway, so you might as well try them (but make sure to research these things yourself to make sure they’re a right fit for you. Everyone is different and has specific needs):

1. Oil of oregano: This, my friend, is what the doctor should have ordered. At all stages of any cold or flu I’ve had, it has worked, quickly and effectively. I put three or four drops into a small glass of water, and chug. It’s strong. Just sayin’. Some people put the drops directly into their mouth, but that’s a little more masochistic then I’m willing to go. What? Oh, I’m sorry. Were you looking for a crushed up pill in a spoonful of honey? This may not taste great, but it works well.

2. Vitamin C: I take this in powder form that you can purchase at most health food stores (drugstore brands, not to point the finger here, tend to be...well...weak, with tons of filler. Not what we’re looking for). I take it about three times a day when sick or getting sick, as Vitamin C is something your body needs throughout the day, not just once. Try to get a product that is buffered with calcium, magnesium, and potassium for easier digestion and absorption.

3. Water: Drink lots of it! You’ve heard it before, and that’s because it’s true! Flush those bad boys outta your system!

4. Grapefruit Seed Extract: Known as a natural antibiotic, this comes in pill form, and, again, try to get it from your local health food store to be better assured that it’s of high quality. With both this, and the oil of oregano, make sure to supplement with a probiotic as well, as these can work SO well in battling against bacteria in your system, they might, accidentally of course, wipe out some of your good bacteria as well.

5. Avoid Dairy: This has enough content behind it for a whole blog entry, but for now we’ll stick to the part where it produces mucus in the body, and can encourage bacterial growth in the intestines. Not so good when we’re trying to stop those things from happening in the first place. I’m not going to go all vegan preachy on you (yet), but while you’re sick, try to avoid it. Then, once you’re healed, celebrate with a big block of cheese if you want. But don’t be too surprised if you turn up sick again, sooner than later.

That’s where we’ll stop on that!

These are just a few broad suggestions. If anything, you can walk into your local health food store, and ask for advice. I’m sure they would love to help. And if you are still sceptical about all this, or put off by my comment about the horrid taste of the oregano, or just don’t want to fork out the cash for some of these, relax. If nothing else, just drink lots of water, rest, and stop putting crap in your body! You can’t expect to get better when you’re shovelling Big Macs and Jägerbombs down your throat.

This is about finding what works for you. And you can’t tell me that being a drama queen and popping a pill for every sneeze, sniffle, and cough works for you. That stuff wreaks havoc on your system! Try the natural remedies, ask around for some more, and in the end if they don’t work, well, do whatever you want.

All I know is that in the last couple years I haven’t been sick for more than a day and a half, and that’s evidence enough for me.

Teralee Trommeshauser lives in Castlegar, BC, and is a health and fitness enthusiast, currently working on her Holistic Nutrition and Fitness Education certifications.