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Thanksgiving has just passed, the refrigerator is still full of her leftovers, and Christmas is on the horizon, not far off at all.
These are probably the busiest 4 weeks of the year for many of you. There is extra shopping to do, cooking to be done, and parties to attend.
What comes with all of that is too often a boat load of stress, and for too many people the dreaded winter cold or, heaven forbid, the flu!
But it doesn’t have to be that way! What if I can show you how to prevent the flu?
Is it possible to avoid the flu and cold this year?
Many people just assume that colds and the flu are par for the course this time of year, but there are ways to prevent the flu.
Of course I’m not making any guarantees here. No one can do that. But these are some things that put the odds more on your side.
First, let’s take a moment to consider why people are more likely to get sick at this time of the year.
With the summer months behind us and the holidays around the corner we’re not doing things quite the same as we were.
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5 Reasons Why Our Immune System Gets Weak
Vitamin D Deficiency
Shorter days mean less exposure to the sun. Less sun exposure could lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. Scientists are learning more and more about the important role that Vitamin D plays in our ability to ward off sickness. Please read this article for a good explanation as to the role that vitamin D plays in powering up your immune system.
Stress is also a well-known enemy to your immune system and the holidays are all too often a major cause of stress.
Lack of Sleep
Just like stress, lack of sleep also depresses your immune system’s ability to fight off colds and the flu and other diseases. And with all the busyness and activities of the holiday season, I’ll bet that sleep is not a priority in your life right now.
Sugar is also known to depress your immune system, making it difficult for you to fight off the flu. And here we are, tempted by sugary treats coming from all directions! I would be willing to bet sugar consumption is the highest at this time of the year.
And I know from personal experience that processed foods interfere with your immune system. Since the holidays are such a busy time, the convenience of processed foods are probably harder to resist.
The first year I decided to avoid processed foods as much as possible was one of the first years I didn’t get either a cold or the flu. And I was working around young children at the time. Everyone else around me was getting sick. Both kids and adults. The only dietary change I made at that time was avoiding processed foods. That really spoke to me. I think I have had only 1 cold and I have not had the flu since then, and that was about 10 years ago. And I have not had a flu shot.
5 Steps to Staying Healthy During the Holidays
So enough with what’s wrong. Let’s put our focus on how to avoid getting sick this (and every) holiday season. For me, the first year of simply watching my diet really did work, but now I want to put as many odds on my side as I possibly can. Thus, I have incorporated these additional ways for avoiding the flu and any other virus that wants to find its way into my body.
It’s the answer to not enough sunshine. But wait, you can’t just take any supplement and think you’ll be okay. From the research I’ve done, it seems to me that cod liver oil is the way to go. And from more research that I’ve done it seems that fermented cod liver oil is an even better way to go. Now if you’re worried about having to swallow ½ – 1 teaspoon of cod liver each morning (it certainly caused me to think twice) you can take tablets. Although that is much more costly. Fortunately they make flavored liquids such as cinnamon, which is the one I take.
Try to combat stress by learning to say no.
It’s okay if you don’t do every activity or accept every invitation. It really is. Decide what is most important and what you most love and do those things and forgo the rest. And I repeat, it really is okay!
Please make sure that you allow time in your busy schedule for sleep. It really is that important. In our culture it seems to be almost a badge of honor to be able to go without sleep. But it really is quite foolish, as sleep really is an important part of how to prevent the flu. So go back and review step number 2 and just say no some of the time.
Watch those treats!
I’m not going to be unrealistic here. I know that you are going to splurge some. And that’s okay. Just make is “some”. You don’t have to eat every sweet thing that comes your way. Just as your mama taught you, save yourself for only the best!
And please try to keep eating those real foods.
I know you’re busy and I know you’re going to more parties, but with a little advanced planning you can Keep It Real In Your Kitchen. And a great place to start is with a big batch of bone broth. So if you still have that turkey carcass lying around, turn it into a big pot of nourishing bone broth to use in your meal planning this month.
Our free recipe eBook, 7 Mix and Match Meals, has recipes that are easy to put together no matter how hectic your holidays get. If you want to keep eating real food during this chaotic season, click here to get your copy!
You can use either turkey or chicken bones to make your broth. Whenever I cook chicken or turkey I always freeze the bones so I can make broth with them later.
You might notice that the following recipe has no onions, carrots, or celery. I used to add those, but I’ve found that my broth is just as delicious without them. So as simple as this looks, it will provide you a very nourishing, real food, bone broth to use when you make soups, or in any recipes calling for chicken broth. It also makes a delicious and nourishing warm drink all on its own. Just add salt to taste and pepper too if you want.
Turkey Carcass Bone Broth
- 1 turkey carcass
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vinegar, white or raw apple cider
Place everything into the crock pot and cover with filtered water and cook on low for 12 – 24 hours. Cool and strain into Mason jars. Be sure to only fill the jars about ¾ full if you are going to freeze them.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes about 4 servings
- 6 cups of bone broth
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1-2 carrots, chopped
- 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons dried parsley
- Leftover chicken (or turkey), about 2 cups
- 2-3 cups dried egg noodles
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the broth, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley in your crock pot.
- Cook on low for 6 hours. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
- When ready to serve, cook the egg noodles and cut up the chicken into bite size pieces.
- Into each serving bowl, spoon some noodles and chicken and cover with the broth.
- Something I do differently when making chicken noodle soup is to prepare the broth, noodles, and chicken separately.
- Sometimes I use leftover chicken, but other times I cook boneless chicken thighs in the crock pot and then shred the meat for use in the soup.
- I always cook the noodles separately and only add them when ready to serve the soup. I find that noodles cooked in the soup soak up all of the liquid, which in my opinion makes for too thick of a soup.
Another way to use the bone broth is in the Spanish Rice recipe in our eBook. It also makes a great cooking liquid for the bean recipe that is also in our eBook.
To get these tasty, nourishing recipes, click here to sign up for our free recipe eBook, 7 Mix and Match Meals!
We would love for you to share in the comments below, or on our FB page, any ideas or recipes you might have for using bone broth.
Another Way To Fight Seasonal Sickness: Elderberry Syrup!
And something new that I’m doing this year…Elderberry Syrup. It’s my flu shot. Taken every morning it’s a good step to avoiding the flu, and if you should, sadly, catch a dreaded virus, take the same dose several times a day to fight it off fast.
Plus, a spoonful of Elderberry Syrup makes an excellent chaser to the spoonful of Cod Liver Oil I take every morning.
Elderberry Syrup can be rather costly, but you can make your own batch with this Elderberry Syrup Kit.
The only other ingredient you will need is honey. And local raw honey is the best. You can usually find a source for local raw honey at your local Farmer’s Market.
One thing to remember, if you are going to be giving Elderberry Syrup to an infant under the age of 1, DO NOT USE honey. Honey is dangerous to babies under 1. You can make your syrup with maple syrup if your baby is too young for honey.
Helpful tip: One thing I learned the first time I made the syrup is not to strain it through cheesecloth. When I tried straining it through the cloth it soaked up a good amount of the syrup. It’s perfectly okay to strain it through a fine sieve strainer.
Summary of How To Stay Healthy This Year!
Although you can never totally guarantee a sick free season, putting the odds on your side is pretty simple. Just follow the steps given in this post and summed up below:
- Keep a reasonable schedule and don’t say yes to every invitation.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Limit your sweets and only choose treats that are worth the sugar.
- Eat as many real foods, and as few processed foods, as possible.
- When meal planning, incorporate plenty of soups and other recipes that call for bone broth.
Eat real food to stay healthy during the holidays. Grab our free recipe eBook, 7 Mix and Match Meals, so that you can cook nourishing meals that are quick and easy!
I hope you will find these ideas helpful as you and your family try to avoid getting sick before the holidays.
Also, if there is anything you do to avoid the flu and colds at this time of the year please share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
And please show your care by sharing this post. We want to keep as many people healthy as possible so that we can all enjoy the holidays!
So have fun with your family and participate in Christmas events, but remember to take care of yourself and prioritize real food.
Shared at Foodie Friday