How To Naturally Prepare Your Body For Cold & Flu Season in 4 Easy Steps

Having to plan for COVID around cold and flu season has certainly given us more to be concerned about in the coming months. Now is the best time to begin preparing your body to fight off illness. In The Coronavirus Handbook, author Tess Pennington outlined some necessary points to keep your immune system as strong as possible during the time of year when you are most susceptible to illness. It is important to emphasize that herbs cannot cure a highly contagious virus, but they can certainly help boost your immunity. Turning toward natural remedies now will give you the knowledge and skills you need to keep your family well during flu season and in the event of a pandemic flu.  When you begin feeling that your body is run down, it is time to start actively working to boost the immune system. By doing so, you are fighting off the infection before it overtakes your body, thus, significantly reducing being prone to colds and flu. You can help give your body the edge this winter by trying the following: Herbal tinctures are natural medicines that help with a variety of ailments. You can stimulate your immune system function to help shorten the physical and mental recovery periods of illnesses. Herbal teas that boost your immune system can help fortify your immune system during cold and flu season. Finding teas that have bioactive ingredients like echinacea, yarrow, lemon balm, elderberry, and marshmallow help you feel better naturally! Drinking any warm liquid calm our nerves, lower our stress levels, and decrease blood pressure as warmth itself is associated with comfort. As warm beverages also beg to be sipped as opposed to chugged quickly, it often means the person consuming the warm drink will be sitting down, calm, possibly reading, or just enjoying the quiet. This also helps boost the body’s natural defense. Sleep – Getting enough quality sleep helps the body keep functioning at its best. I know when I don’t get enough sleep, I feel worse than if I had a cold! If you have trouble sleeping, try to look into ways to calm down before bed, such as drinking the aforementioned tea or exhausting yourself with exercise. Try to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine in the few hours before you go to bed. These vices all play a role in our sleeping habits, and not in a positive way. Caffeine and coffee can be amazing for the body, however, it definitely should be avoided before bed, unless you drink decaf. Probiotics – These teeny microorganisms help keep your gut running the way it should. Try eating more fermented foods. Fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, and kombucha are widely available these days. They give your body a healthy dose of probiotics, which are live microorganisms that are important to good digestion and overall health. Elixirs – Taking a daily teaspoon of an elixir can increase the immune system such as apple cider vinegar tonics, elderberry syrup, and honey, lemon, ginger syrup.  Related: Prevent Colds and Flu Naturally with These 10 Immune Boosting Tips Prepare Your Body Naturally For Cold & Flu Season in 4 Easy Steps This year, cold and flu season could present all kinds of different issues with preparing your body to fight off illness. But these suggestions could help you naturally fortify your immune system even with everything else that’s going on. GET SOME SUN As we pointed out above, sunlight is still the best way to get your vitamin D. You don’t want to burn your skin, but spend some time in the sun, with skin exposed to get your daily dose of vitamin D while you still can.  Once it gets cold and starts to snow this will be more difficult. Vitamin D is often seen as the “secret” to fighting off influenza viruses. I love being in my garden, so bein in the sun (with a straw sunhat) is easy for me. If you have trouble, consider grabbing a book and a cup of tea, and sit in the sun reading for only 15 minutes. It doesn’t take much, but you will be able to notice your health improve over time if you regularly get enough vitamin D. If you choose to use a vitamin D supplement, the best dose to use is unknown (as all of us are different with different body compositions), but the Vitamin D Council recommends that adults take 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day, depending on body weight. Children should take at least 100 IU/kg/day. The sun is still the best way for humans to get vitamin D! STAY HYDRATED Make sure you are consuming enough water. If you like herbal teas, these are also excellent ways to stay hydrated, and if it’s still warm, taste great iced! Proper hydration helps you prepare your body for cold and flu season and also helps keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. Staying hydrated is especially important because when you sleep at night, your body naturally loses water through respiration and transpiration. Don’t play catch up once you start to feel sick. Instead, make sure you start drinking enough water now. GET MOVING Regular exercise strengthens the immune system. While you may have an activity plan in place during the spring and summer, now is the time to start coming up with a plan for the fall and winter. The colder it gets, the tougher it can be to get outside for a workout. But you can exercise indoors. Use YouTube and find a cardio yoga workout you enjoy, or grab some weights (canned od will work too) and strengthen your muscles. Stretching is also a good way to prep your muscles for exercise, so don’t forget to do it! GET ENOUGH SLEEP Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. With all of the economic, social, and health stress on us lately, it’s pretty easy to see why. But you still need to make sure you are sleeping well. Sleep recharges the body and gives the immune system a boost if we do happen to get sick. If you do catch a cold or the flu this winter, rest, hydrate, and relax. Related: 6 More Reasons To Get Better Sleep Quality These are a few natural ways we can start ettin our bodies ready for cold and flu season right now! It is a different kind of year, as 2020 has already presented challenges beyond what most could have imagined. But there’s no time like now to make sure you are doing the right thing for your body and immune system to make sure you’re going to stay as healthy as possible as the temperatures dip. This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on September 16th, 2020

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The Overlooked Necessity of Self Care

During times of crisis, stress, and uncertainty, we tend to forget that we should be taking care of ourselves too. Putting your kids, spouse, and pets welfare before yourself is common, but we all need to take the time to make sure we are mentally prepared to care for others. Self-care is not selfish, or indulgent. It’s necessary especially as the stress compounds. It’s hard to take care of others if we cannot even take care of ourselves.  Because of that, we’ve compiled a few easy ways that you can take care of yourself as things in life continue to progress. 1. Slow Down – This may seem crazy, and impossible. But it’s not. Instead of getting up late after hitting the snooze button and feeling rushed to get the kids to school, the bus, or start your day, get on a slower schedule. Wake up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every night. I am in before 8:30 pm, my kids o to bed at 8 pm and that doesn’t change even in the summer when it’s still light out at 8. Doing this will give yourself extra alone time. I like my alone time in the morning, so I get up at 4:45 am when the alarm (which is classical music) goes off. This time before everyone gets up is used to just center myself and get ready mentally for my day. I love grabbing a cup of coffee, my blanket, and enjoying both in the cool and quiet before the house wakes up. 2.Disconnect from your Screens – One of the best decisions I made during the height of the coronavirus pandemic panic and fear was turning off my TV. Instead of watching news and commercials all pushing the narrative about this virus all the time, I would go outside and pull weeds in my garden. I would go for a long walk with the kids. I would throw sticks for the dogs or sit outside and literally watch the clouds go behind the mountains. I recognized that my phone and the TV were stressing me out and I simply needed to reject screen time to feel better. Oddly enough, my TV has been off since the end of May and I haven’t missed it. I have also been leaving my phone in the house when I go outside to give me a real chance to connect with nature and not be influenced by a screen. 3. Journal – Write down your feelings or what was good each day. If this is hard, write down your dreams. Learn to connect with your subconscious. This is also a way to get thins out and off your mind especially if you have no one to talk to. Another form of this is to unload on your cat or dog. I sometimes do this. While I’m alone, I’ll grab the cat, put her on my lap, pet her, and just talk while she purrs away. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after telling a pet something heavy. 4. Do a Craft – can your vegetables and be mindful while doing it. I know this sounds crazy, but I actually thank the food for storing well and for nourishing myself and the family over the winter. If you don’t can make something else! I enjoy fall, so I’ll put together an autumn-themed tablescape or make a wreath from clearance items or thrift store finds.  You’d be surprised what you can come up with! If you knit, crochet, or quilt, carve out time to do so! There’s no right or wrong way to craft. And you will be able to use up things that no longer have a place in your home. This could even be as simple as making bird feeders out of pine cones and watching the birds enjoy! The Scientific Reason Behind Why We LOVE Autumn! 5. Get into Nature – Incorporate nature as much as you can. Nature has already perfectly balanced itself and being in it helps you ground yourself in inexplicable ways. Go outside and watch your dogs and kids play. Sit and watch the sunrise or sunset. Go for a walk, pull weeds in your garden, watch your ducks (yes, I do that. I’ll get some hot tea and a camp chair and watch them run around and forage for bugs.) Being in nature is a great way to harness some peace, destress, and slow down. 10 Cool Season Plants You Can Grow Today! 6. Be Grateful – Be thankful for everything, even the lessons and stressful times. Be grateful for all the lessons you’ve learned during your time on this planet. Most of us are very blessed, and if we focus on what we do have instead of stressing about the things we don’t have, we’ll be happier.  You have ultimate control over your own mind and perception, so take control and be thankful for everything! This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on September 14th, 2020

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How Vitamin D Could Be the Secret To Fighting The Coronavirus

Studies have shown that deficiencies in Vitamin D have a direct effect on the immune system.  Getting enough sunlight could be the one secret ingredient missing the fight against infections, such as the common cold or the coronavirus. Since sunshine is still the best way for humans to get vitamin D, spend a little time in the sun with a little skin exposed. Be careful that you don’t burn, but some sunlight is necessary to get an adequate amount of useable vitamin D for people. On sunny days, go outside and soak up some of the “Sunshine Vitamin” – Vitamin D. It is unique in that it is a vitamin AND a hormone that your body can make with help from the sun. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D are associated with mood disorders and depression. Some vitamin D researchers have found that somewhere between 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. Indoor light therapy can help, too. Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon either. For now, there is sunlight without it being overly cold. Because we spend more time indoors during winter, it can be hard to get enough – which is why getting some sunlight is so important during the colder months, even though it can be tough. Once winter hits, though, getting vitamin D while outside will be harder, especially for those who live in areas where temperatures can dip into the negatives. Your body’s vitamin D levels are at their lowest levels during wintertime because of this, and the end result is a lowered immune system and an increase in colds and flu. If you can, try to still get outside even when it’s cold. 6 Reasons to Bundle Up and Get Outside During Winter Food is a great way to get some vitamin during the winter, but it’s still second to spending time in the sun.  There are actually two main forms of vitamin D found in food. Vitamin D3 is a more active form and found only from animal sources. Vitamin D2 comes from plant sources. Both animals and plants need sunlight or UV exposure in order to produce vitamin D. If you like seafood, consider eating some oily fish such as sockeye salmon, mackerel, flounder, sole, swordfish, whitefish, sturgeon and rainbow trout. Each palm-sized serving of these fish will help you get 75% to 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin D, and they are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids!  You can’t go wrong with fish over the winter! How To Get More Vitamin D In The Winter If you’re like me, and no matter how hard you’ve tried, you just can’t stomach fish, mushrooms are an excellent option. While mushrooms are technically fungi, not plants, but they’re the only non-animal source of naturally occurring vitamin D. Wild mushrooms and those that are exposed to ultraviolet light have the highest vitamin D content.  All it takes is about 1 cup of raw UV-exposed mushrooms to meet or exceed your daily vitamin D needs.  That’s not too bad! Regularly munching on brown cremini, portabella, maitake, and white button mushrooms can help give your body enough of this powerful and necessary vitamin. If you live in an area where it is difficult to get fish and mushrooms, you may need to consider taking a supplement. This is the least effective way to get your Vitamin D, but it may the only option for some people. Such consideration should be run past a medical professional first, however. Depending on where you live in the world and what kind of lifestyle you lead, you may be at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency. If you live in a place where most of your skin is covered in the winter and it rarely gets warm enough to venture beyond your front door without a parka and hat, you should talk to your doctor about getting enough vitamin D and what supplements could work out the best for you!” Getting enough sun can also help beat “cabin fever” that can be mentally difficult during the winter. How To Beat ‘Cabin Fever’ During The Winter With Vitamin D  The sun is very important to our overall health and often not discussed enough when it comes to a quick and easy boost to the immune system as cold and flu season approaches.  If you mean to help give your body a fighting chance this winter, get some sun! It’ll also help your mood improve, and who doesn’t need that right now?! This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on August 26th, 2020

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6 Fall Activities To Do With the Family

We’re all looking for some activities to do with the family to welcome in the fall. With so many places still closed and others changing rules and schedules to work around the coronavirus restrictions, making plans to spend some time with family can be tough. If you want to spend quality time with your family, you can start by having a “family meeting” to discuss things you can do together.  Kids love doing this because it makes them feel involved in the decision instead of being forced to go along. Related: The Scientific Reason Behind Why We LOVE Autumn! 6 Fall Activities To Do With the Family 1.DIY Crafts – Fall is our favorite time of the year, and we usually start by going online and picking out Halloween costumes and a few new Halloween decorations we can make! If you don’t participate in Halloween, you can always find some fun crafts and make some autumn-themed wreaths or decorations. While doing this, we like to enjoy some homemade apple cider or a caramel apple. Make these to enjoy while you do your fun crafts. 2.Outdoor Movie Marathon – We wrote about this in another article but its such a fantastic idea! It’s fairly easy and won’t break the bank! You really only need a white sheet and a projector. While you can spend $1,000 easily on a projector, you don’t have to. Amazon offers quite a few decent quality projectors for under $100. And if you use it more often, you’ll be getting your money’s worth out of it! 3. Rent a cabin – If you have little cabins close, rent one for the weekend and enjoy a few days in the great outdoors. If you have a camper on an RV, pack up and spend some time camping and enjoying nature.  This time of year when the leaves begin to change is incredible! Hike around, pick up some pinecones, and enjoy the cool air of autumn. 4. Start your Fall Garden – Get your garden ready to enjoy some delicious fall veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts.  I also like to plant my garlic this time of the year and have the kids participate in the planting too! Remember, kids will eat better if they participate in growing their own food.  5. Start Making Homemade Christmas Gifts – it’s a great time to keep our budgets in mind.  2020 has been tough on most of our wallets, and we can save money and put love into homemade gifts.  Kids love to be involved in these types of crafts too! Here are a few ideas. 6. Can Your Vegetables – If you can your garden vegetables, now is a great time to get that done. Again, kids like to help and this is a good skill for them to learn. Work with them and teach them while keeping them safe. Please watch them around the heat and around knives. Allow them, according to their age and maturity, to participate in the canning process. The Autumn Harvest: How To Store and Cook With Winter Squash (plus recipes) Hopefully, these six ideas will be a springboard for new ideas and new ways you can spend time together this fall! We have all had to deal with thins this year that has changed the way we view our world, But, by spending time with family, we can at least inject some happiness and calm into an otherwise crazy world. This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on September 9th, 2020

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