When I came back from Texas it was like stepping out of a protective bubble; suddenly it seemed, everyone around me was sick. I knew I was going to have to step up my game if I was going to escape this epidemic unscathed. I went to CVS and poked around the Cold & Flu aisle staring at countless boxes of Cold Eeze and AirBorne before I gave up and came up with a battle plan that has kept me on top of my game. Enter, the Flu Fighters:
1. Eat your fruits and veggies. I started out loading up on good food. Citrus fruits and kiwi are high in Vitamin C and boost your immune system. Loading up on other vitamins and minerals through the foods you eat gets your body and organs into fighting shape.
2. Clear the way. Garlic, jalapenos, and other spicy foods do a great job of clearing up congested noses. I made a heaping batch of the Homesick Texan's Potato Buttermilk Jalapeno Bacon Soup, which is my absolute favorite soup EVER, and added extra jalapenos and extra garlic. Worked like a charm. Garlic has antioxidants and plays a key role in boosting your immune system, so take my mom's advice and grab a bottle of garlic pills if you hate the stuff. It's too good for you to pass up!
3. Add honey to everything. An energy-booster and immune system builder honey is a sweet way to soothe the beginnings of a sore throat. As soon as I felt that tickle I started pouring it onto everything, I even threw it in my handbag and took it to work. I love to drizzle it onto a pint of Haagen-Dazs' Raspberry Sorbet and let it melt in my mouth; the perfect ending to any day if you ask me.
4. Water all the time. In any form. A cup of hot water with lemon when you wake up, two bottles of water while you are at work, a cup of green or black tea with lemon and honey during your coffee break, a bottle of water on your commute, water with lemon for dinner... Water all the time, ok? A big bonus if you add fresh lemon juice to it. I was squeezing lemon wedges into Poland Spring bottles all day. Lemon boosts your immune system, is a natural antiviral, and antiseptic. Need more convincing? Check out Best of the Veg's top 10 reasons to drink water with lemon. It will keep you sipping on it long after cold and flu season.
5. Load up. Cold Eeeze and AirBorne are just an expensive, sugary, flavored version of Zinc. I bought a bottle of Zinc tablets and a bottle of Vitamin C chews from CVS for $7 and within days I was feeling less Blah and more energetic. Add in the Garlic pills and you are a Flu Fighting Machine.
6. Take a time-out. Get some rest. Go to bed early and grab extra sleep if you feel like you need it. All of the above and a few extra hours of sleep had me feeling much better than when I arrived back in Boston.