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To flu or not to flu?

Summer denial? Anyone?

Its seems like Sydneysider’s mourn the loss of our beloved Summer and live in denial for quite a few months. We had a stranglehold on it… we thought. The warmer months felt like they were going to stay forever. The first of March felt like an age away. We can bear the noisy fans, crackling and spinning their way through the night. And leaving the house without a jacket? Well that’s my bliss. I call it apparel freedom.

But here we are. It’s 20 March. Twenty days into Autumn and the flu shots are a calling.  I remember the ‘group email’ to ORGANISATION-ALL from the CEO. Subject: FLU VACCINATIONS.

The content, always the same. Don’t come to work if you are sick. A few helpful tips on how to keep your germs to yourself. And the bottom line – we’re giving you a FREE jab, to help keep you at work with fewer sick days.

What I understand about the flu shot like any vaccination, you are injected with a small amount of that virus so your body builds up resistance to it on its own. The thing with the flu, it changes yearly and the shot is based on the previous seasons strain. Not the season you are entering. It’s kind of like ‘old news’ for your body.

There are many many arguments toting the for and against on vaccinations and I really don’t want to delve into them. What I would like to ask you to do, is think about what other vaccination requires a yearly booster? Polio, Measles, even Rabies, Hep A, Hep B, Tetanus. Out of those mentioned, Tetanus is once every 10 years.

I’ve never had the flu shot. But each year that I received that email, I thought about it. “Maybe I should get it? It’s free and will maybe stop me getting sick”. But each year I thought about how many times I’ve actually caught the flu. From memory, in the past 10 years I’ve had it twice. Both times, I was pushing my body to the limit and not taking care of it.

In 2013 I vowed it would be the year I didn’t get sick. My aim was to LISTEN to my body. When I was tired or felt that first sign of a scratchy throat, I’d actually ACT on that sign. I’d have some soup and make sure I got some extra sleep. I would eat immune boosting foods, not just when I was sick but through the cooler months. I’d also move commitments around so I could rest and have ‘me time’ each week.

I made it until late August. Then I got sick. The scratchy throat appeared and so did a cold. Of course this all happened 4 days before I was flying off for a summer holiday. We all know the week before a holiday is always manic. Your boss is trying to make you do your next 3 weeks of work before you go, driving your stress levels up and energy down. This time though, I took a day off **GASP**. Right before a 3 week holiday. I TOOK A DAY OFF.

I spent that day resting.
Eating nourishing foods.
Staying warm.
Staying relaxed.
Listening to exactly what my body needed to do, which was NOTHING.

I woke up the next day feeling 100 times better and 500 times more productive. I still had signs of a cold, but the tail end of it. How long do your colds normally last? 1 day? 1 week? 2 weeks? Mine used to last 2 weeks.

Think about your cat, dog bird or other pet. What happens when they get sick? They’re not taking themselves to the doctor. They are sleeping and hiding away. You probably can’t find them for a while. They’re quiet. The cat isn’t meowing. The bird finally shut up. You’re intrigued, but you leave them for a day. Only to find the following day, they’re back to normal.

This is an instinct we’ve lost over time. We now go to the pharmacy and buy a bunch of vitamins or cold and flu tablets, expecting a quick fix. We’re not giving our bodies what they’re craving the most. Remember this is why you got sick  in the first place. It’s your bodies way of saying ‘DUDE, GIMME SOME LOVE!”

So back to that flu email…. What should you do when you receive it? Well, I’m not telling you that, act on your own instinct and judgement and keep in mind the below recipes that are just some of a long list of remedies that have been circling the world for a lot longer that you or I have been walking this earth. If you gave them a shot, maybe they’d work?

What to do when you get the flu?

Honey and lemon
Buy yourself some raw honey (I swear you’ll never go back to processed honey again), add 1 tbsp honey, juice of 1 lemon in a mug and fill with warm water. Sip slowly and thoughtfully. Have as many as you need throughout the day.
If you need to travel, make a thermos and take it with you.

Whip up a batch of organic chicken soup
I know when you’re sick the last thing you want to do is cook. I make soup every week – you can read my other posts about my soup obsession here (how to make it for less than $2) and here. I freeze smaller varying quantities for days when I just know I wont want to make soup.
Then you can just defrost and chop new veggies, fresh tumeric and garlic – let it bubble for 10 mins and its ready.

Miso soup
Not the powdered packet stuff. You can buy organic paste from most supermarkets. Mix this with water and veggies. It has wonderful healing properties.

Pete’s tea
I don’t really know the quantities. But I have experienced the benefits and it’s worthy of this list. So mix and match until you find your combo.
Chilli, ginger, garlic, lemon, honey – chop all and add to a teapot. Fill with boiling water and steep for 10 minutes.

Increase fruit intake AKA vitamin C
Leave the box of chewable orange flavoured tablets on the pharmacy shelf. Think: oranges, kiwi fruit, berries, lemons and if you’re in to them, increase Superfoods like Gaubinge powder (one of the highest natural food sources of vitamin C) and green powders like Spirulina.

What’s the first thing someone says who’s just had a day off work from being sick?  “Oh, I slept for like 14 hours straight”  – nuff said.

Draw a bath
And reeeelaxxxxxxxx.

Keep your germs to yourself
As much as we love you. Seriously.

What to do when you don’t have the flu?

AKA what you do over the colder months to help keep your body fighting fit.

  1. Do all the steps above – these shouldn’t happen only when you are sick. Just less frequently.
  2. Start the day with a lemon water and apple cider vinegar
  3. Drink fresh juices
  4. Eat a balanced diet
  5. Exercise regularly
  6. Limit processed food intake

And remember: Nothing changes, if nothing changes.

So tell me, what’s your favourite cold/flu remedy?

Lunch Lady Lou


2 Responses to To flu or not to flu?

  1. Thank you Linda, for this! I got sick about 4 weeks ago & it took a while to recover. Then to get sick again this week! I’m listening to my body & taking tomorrow off. I love lemon & honey tea! It’s hard working around kids who are constantly sick. I need some food tips to boost my immune system! 🙂

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