I realized recently that almost all of my focus lately has been on how to stay well. But I also have many friends and family members who are battling long-term or chronic illnesses, and so I wanted to address some of their concerns this month.
We are not always starting from a place of good health when we begin our journey to wellness. I hope some of the following tips will be helpful to those who are either living with an illness or know someone who is.
My hope and fondest desire is for all the people I know and love to enjoy abundant health and happiness every single day. Please know that my prayers and thoughts are with you on those days when that is not possible.
Be Well Even When You're Sick
I remember a time in my life when I was very, very sick. I was a young mother with small children, and I came down with a horrible flu virus. For 10 days, I couldn't do much of anything but lay in bed. I hated the feeling of not being able to care for my children or do my own laundry. I could not wait until I was well again.
Thankfully, I have been blessed with extremely good health for most of my life. But the times when I do get sick, I usually try to push through it and go about my life as if nothing was wrong. Not a good plan. When you are ill, your body is sending you a message: STOP!Respect your body enough to give it the rest it needs in order to heal. Even though it can be very frustrating to let others do your work, you will get better that much faster if you do.
When you don't feel well, water is your friend! Drink as much as you possibly can, because water will help the toxins that are making you sick leave your body faster. For nausea, try ginger tea or ginger ale. For upset stomach drink peppermint tea. For colds drink hot cider or lemon water. For loss of appetite, try sipping clear broth. No matter what, stay hydrated. Take frequent showers or baths, as many as 3 or 4 a day, to keep those germs and toxins moving out! Dry body brushing and sitting in a sauna will also aid in ridding your body of unwanted visitors. Click here to read more about water benefits.
Your body needs help rebuilding and repairing cells and muscles after an illness, so increase your protein intake to speed up the recovery process. Lean cuts of beef, chicken, pork and fish are great sources of animal protein. Look for organic, locally raised meat whenever possible. High quality dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and eggs are another good source, as are beans, soy and protein drinks.
Sometimes a severe or prolonged illness can cause weight loss. Being sick is not a great diet plan, so if you begin dropping pounds, increase your calorie intake. Switch to full-fat dairy, eat more creamy soups, or just eat more often to keep your body at a healthy weight. If you don't have an appetite, eat whatever sounds good, even if it doesn't seem like the healthiest choice. When you are back to full health, you can go back to eating healthier choices.
If you are taking medications, they can cause digestive issues like constipation, nausea, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Make sure you are getting plenty of fiberin the form of whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and seeds. You can also add a tablespoon of a fiber supplement like this one to one glass of water per day.
During an illness, the body gets depleted of many essential vitamins and minerals, so it may help to take a multi-vitamin. I also encourage everyone, sick or not, to take a fish oil supplement every day. Check with your doctor before taking any vitamins you don't normally take, as some can interfere with medications. I take this multi-vitamin (I can't take anything with calcium because I make kidney stones) and this is one of the fish oils I recommend.
Whether you are fighting off a summer cold, bogged down by a stomach bug, or battling a long-term illness,practice extreme self-care during this time and invest in the highest quality foods that you possibly can. You will recover faster, and your body will thank you!