Beating cabin fever and a possible fever

If you live in the Northeast, and specifically, Western Connecticut, it's winter. That means snow in all forms, bone-chilling wind and layers of clothing. And, of course, the possibility of catching a cold or getting the blahs. That's exactly how I felt the other day, but was able to beat whatever was going on in my head, mentally and physically, without going to the doctor OR wallowing in self-pity.

Take a Bath!
A few months ago, I spoke to a naturopathic physician while I was writing an article about wellness for E Magazine. He suggested that an inexpensive and effective way to fight infection is to take a hot bath. Here's what I wrote:

Connecticut-based naturopathic physician Mark J. Romano suggests that taking a hot bath can alleviate stress and sweat viruses out of the body by inducing a fever. “I prescribe it to my patients, and I do it myself,” says Romano. “It’s a really good way to boost your immunity and help your body fight off a virus with a fever.”

By soaking in a hot bath for about 20 minutes and raising the body’s temperature up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit, it creates a natural immunity to start to fight the virus.

My bath may have been a little too hot - my skin was quite pink - but try this ancient and common sense method that totally works!

Feed the cold = fight the cold
Not just an old wives' tale, as your body needs the benefits of good nutrition to make you feel better from the inside out. After my bath, I made myself an energizing and wholesome green blueberry smoothie, loaded in antioxidants, Omega-3s, fiber and protein. Here's my recipe:
Green Blueberry Smoothie
1 cup frozen blueberries - it's great if you use your own which you froze from the summer
1 cup non-dairy milk - I used an organic soy/rice milk
2 Tbls flaxseed meal
1 giant handful of fresh spinach - you can use frozen too, but just adjust the liquid in the recipe as needed
1 Tbls of maple syrup - agave works too, but you can't beat local maple syrup; add more or less depending on your taste

Blend all together until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Stir as necessary and add liquid if the mixer is too thick. What you should end up with is a tasty and beautiful drink. If you have the time, this mixture can be easily frozen in a freezer-safe container and eaten as a sorbet or shaved ice OR carefully poured into an ice cube tray to save for later or added to water. I still think the best way is to drink it the day it's made!
If something cold in the morning isn't your style, make a fresh cup of green tea or chai tea with loose leaves. You can definitely taste the difference from the bagged stuff. Also, a little bit goes a long way, so the slightly higher initial cost of good, loose tea is justified. Green tea has a wealth of antioxidants, and chai tea contains warming spices, including cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, that stimulate circulation. Or, simply dissolve lemon juice in hot water. It's simple, but it's very clean tasting. Experiment with different teas and tisanes to see which one you like the best and those that have the most nutritional benefits.

For a more substantial meal, try making your own soup. The canned soup just doesn't measure up and it's way too salty. Try some delicious carrot soup (beta carotene) with roasted garlic and onions (prevents and destroys bacteria and virus). These ingredients aren't expensive this time of year and are still likely available at most winter farmers' markets because they're all storage crops. Every person has their own way of making soup, so I won't bore you with my way.

The moral of the story...
Clearly none of these suggestions are unheard of, but sometimes we can stress ourselves out when sick, making us feel even worse. If you're snowed in or just don't feel like making the trek outside, having simple ingredients in your pantry and hot water goes a long way on the road to wellness.