Being sick on GAPS for the first time was a whole new ball game for me. Prior to GAPS, my routine included Campbell's Chicken & Noodle soup, saltine crackers and 7-up. That had to change since those aren't allowed on GAPS. For many years I have had a strong belief that our body has the ability to heal itself, if we just get plenty of rest and give ourselves a nutritional boost. Using over-the-counter cold medications masks symptoms. They may stop your nose from running, or stop you from coughing. But the symptoms you are experiencing, although annoying or uncomfortable, are your body's way of moving toxins, germs and bacteria out. Shutting down your body's natural response to sickness can make you sicker because you can't pay attention to how you feel.
When you're sick, try to do natural things to help your body to heal, instead of making your body work harder. Try to avoid taking aspirin or pain killer because your body has to work harder to process those chemicals. I personally avoid doctors because I don't want to fight regarding antibiotics because they will often suggest them. At the very least they are not required for a cold, which is always a virus and viruses aren't helped by antibiotics.
Help your body with natural remedies when you have a cold
Here are my top 10 suggestions for helping my body fight a virus:
- Gargle with warm salt water. I recommend strong salt water using a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt to 1/2 cup of water. Back in the 90s when I first got onto the Internet, an online friend recommended gargling with salt water to prevent tonsillitis. This was an amazing tip for someone who had had many occurrences of tonsillitis since my teen years because once I incorporated this practice – gargling with strong salt water at the first sign of a sore throat – I have never again had a tonsillitis infection. For a little extra help, add a 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of cayenne. If you use the cayenne, use a straw to get the mixture into your mouth to gargle. Consider gargling in the bathroom to confine your germs.
- Stop eating sugar and all its sister forms. As soon as you feel you are getting sick, stop eating all sugars. This includes regular white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, etc. It is a well known fact that sugar hinders your immune system function and makes it harder on your body to heal itself. I also recommend avoiding juice unless freshly squeezed. If you must drink juice, dilute with water.
- Make a pot of chicken soup. Chicken soup is healing to the digestive system and it's easy to digest. It's also soothing to eat when you are sick. You can also sip on plain broth. This recipe of mine links to how to make stock or soup from turkey, but you can do the same with chicken.
- Eat raw garlic. I consider raw garlic to be a very important food in my wellness toolkit. Try to eat one or two cloves [affiliate link] each day when you are sick. Try garlic crushed in your soup or broth. It is delicious. Another great way to get raw garlic in is to mix it with butter and slather onto vegetables. (Spiralized zucchini is AMAZING with garlic butter.)
- Drink water to thirst. If you are having soup and broth, you'll be getting good nourishing liquids but you should also drink water. Sometimes I do add juice in because it helps me to drink more water.
- Take extra Vitamin C. It's really important to get more Vitamin C when you are sick. Your body needs it in greater quantities. My favorite way to take Vitamin C is to use Liposomal C. I have personally tested using Liposomol C and can ingest much more Vitamin C than than when taking regular tablets. I have also decreased symptoms and days of sickness so it is worth trying out for yourself. I also highly recommend Linus Pauling's How to Live Longer and Feel Better to learn more about Vitamin C. He actually outlines a method for preventing colds so you don't even have to get sick at all. Wouldn't that be great?
- Take the herb Echinacea. I have taken this herb in tincture form (Zand Echinacea Extract) for years on the advice of the lady who I bought my mobile home from many years ago. She told me she took it at the first sign of a cold and hadn’t been sick in years. Echinacea should not be taken all the time, but only at the beginning of a cold as it has the effect of boosting the immune system. I will also take it while I have a cold, but it is less effective while you are sick. The important thing to know is you shouldn’t take it all the time.
- Take the amino acid L-Lysine: L-Lysine helps the mucous membranes to heal and anything to do with my mouth or throat I begin taking L-Lysine. Sore throat, chapped lips or cold sores – I’ll take L-Lysine.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep as much as you possibly can, and preferably at night in total darkness. Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival explains how important sleeping in total darkness is for our health and well being. This is the time to take one a sick days and stay cozied up in bed for most of the day, napping as you feel tired, and then stay in bed all night.
- Take detox baths. I am not one to take baths, much preferring the time and water savings of a shower. However, when I’m sick, I always make it part of my routine to take a nice hot bath. I will usually add Epsom salts, or baking soda [affiliate link]. Both are said to help to draw toxins out of the body.
What do you use when you get a cold? Please share your natural cold treatment tips in the comments below.