November 10, 2013

"Operation: Kill This Cold": How to Kill a Cold Fast

J and I have just returned home from an incredible 9 days in New York City, and I'm not returning empty-handed. I have a piece of paper with a few letters tacked to the end of my name that read VLCE. Yes, that's right. I am now a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator through the Main Street Vegan Academy! I'll have much to write about this unbelievable experience--including what I plan to do with this certification--, but before I get to that I want to talk about what happened before I even left... 

If you follow my blog, you know that a few years ago I fell ill from toxic mold exposure. Well, a couple weeks before that started, I participated in a sports tournament in NY. J tagged along, and on the way home, we stopped by NYC for a two day mini-vacation. At the time, J wasn't vegan yet, but we had so much fun bopping around to as many vegan restaurants as we could (not that many!). When we left, we vowed to return soon so that we could fully explore what the vegan culinary scene of New York City had to offer. That may have been what we wanted, but life had other plans for me. 

I called it the NYC restaurant tour, and it was one of my motivators while in the midst of my deepest healing. I just wanted to "be normal" again, travel, be in a super vegan-friendly city, go on vacation with my partner. But what is "normal" anyway? Sometimes life deals you a tough hand, and you have to get on with it however you can.

When I first read about the academy on JL Goes Vegan, and then again on Bonzai Aphrodite, I felt such a strong pull towards the program. I scribbled "MSVA" on a post-it and stuck it to my computer. I looked at it everyday, reminded of my desire, and was determined to make this happen for myself as soon as I was well enough. I asked for help from those who believe in me, and, with their help, I did find a way to make this happen!

I was accepted into the academy in the spring, and was determined to improve my health enough to enjoy it thoroughly. I had just sought out a new doctor that was to help me with this massive improvement, but was having negative symptoms due to my body rebalancing. After that period of a few months passed, I began experiencing a surge of good health. Things were looking up in a big way. Then, my body started reacting differently to my supplements. And then I got a cold. A bad one. 3 days before my big trip to New York. You might think, "So what? You have a cold. Suck it up!" But for someone like me with a chronic illness like adrenal fatigue, a measly cold can turn into being in bed for weeks with no energy at all.

So, I let myself freak out about my misfortune for a few minutes, then made a game plan. I decided to launch Operation: Kill This Cold. It wasn't so much that I needed the cold to go away, but that I needed to strengthen my immunity so my body wouldn't get worn out from fighting the cold. By the time I left for the airport, I was feeling so much better. Operation: Kill This Cold had been a huge success, so I want to share my strategy with all of you.

There's really no way to cure a cold, per se--you've got to let it run its course--, but there are steps you can take to speed up the process. Here are a few things that I did that were really effective:

"The cold will stick around until you make it a point to slow down."
  • Rest and don't stress- Get as much rest as you possibly can, and keep stress to a minimum. You don't want to rob your body of valuable healing energy. Go to bed early and take naps during the day. Lie down whenever you can to truly give your body a rest. It's really hard for us to slow down our fast-paced lives, but this should be your first priority when getting sick. Even if you do all of the other things I recommend below, the cold will stick around until you make it a point to slow down.
  • Drink Liquids- Drink liquids like water, herbal tea, and green juice. When I'm under the weather, I've found that I need to double, or even triple, the amount of liquids I drink in a day. Each day, I drank a few liters of water, 2-3 cups of ginger tea, and also 1-2 green juices. I keep water near my bed, too, so that I have something to drink when I wake up parched in the middle of the night. Also, it's not a bad idea to lay off of dehydrating, salty foods until you're feeling better.
  • Nourish Your Cells- The focus here is to eat the highest quality food within your means, and prepare the food in ways that are easily digestible. Some examples of things that I ate: miso broth with carrot, celery, broccoli, dark leafy greens, quinoa, and kimchi; green smoothies; salads (chewed really well); fruits high in vitamin C like kiwi, berries, and oranges; oatmeal with fruit and homemade nut/seed milks. 
  • Press the Points- Use pressure points to relieve cold symptoms. I had never used pressure points for colds before, but I found a great resource here that explains everything well and has instructional pictures. I created my own sequence using these pressure points, and did the sequence 3 times a day. I was amazed by how well this technique worked, and I highly recommend trying this out.
  • Supplement- When I'm sick, I like to take a high quality, whole-food multivitamin. I didn't have any on hand and couldn't get my brand before I left, so I decided to supplement in other ways. I used a whole-food vitamin C powder that is supercharged with amla (the highest antioxidant food), camu camu, rose hips, and acerola. I also used a greens powder (not a replacement for eating your greens but a great supplement to a diet), and I ate lots of pumpkin seeds for extra zinc.
  • Stretch, Twist, Invert- I have a yoga flow that I love to do several times a week, but it was too much for me when I was sick. However, I knew that there must be certain yoga poses out there that would be useful for relieving cold and flu symptoms. I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to yoga, so I searched around for some info. I found this video which I did twice a day before I left, and then once daily for the first couple days I was in New York City. I encourage you to either do a video like this or find one that suits your specific needs. Doing this along with the pressure points really helped to loosen up any stagnation in my head and speed up the healing. 

After doing all of this, I was ready to embark on my NYC trip and fully enjoy this experience of a lifetime!

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