Sunday, November 17, 2013

sunday grace: being well

i got sick a few weeks ago; fever, sore throat, exhaustion.  my immunity tends to get fragile around change-of-season times and this year the weather has been radically swinging back and forth from summer to winter. add to that the classroom battle i have to fight with students who covertly turn the thermostat up to 78 degrees (i don't even understand this!) and most of us wilt away while two or three happy students sit there in short sleeves and open toed shoes in november all cozy and shit.

i mention that i was ill because i haven't been ill in over two years.  and, despite the sneaky students, illness struck me at a time when i wasn't taking the best care of myself.  i was travelling a lot and neglecting to take the time and effort to do basic self care.  it was a wake-up call.  and also a reminder that wellness and health are such precious gifts.

i'd love to share some things i do to stay well.  it may seem like a lot, but it's totally worth it.  i haven't had a flu shot or antibiotics or any other prescription med in five years or more.  i have strong feelings about the pharmaceutical industry and, while i am grateful for the lifesaving aspects of modern medicine, i generally feel that our western medical machine is happiest when we are collectively unwell.

so here are my favorite wellness friends (clockwise from top left), with links:

  • buddha nose keeps my nose clear and moisturized.  i keep this at my bedside and rub it on before i go to sleep.  i also sleep with a humidifier.
  • old-school herbal ricolas are my go-to throat/cough drop.  no frills.
  • i put honey and lemon in my tea.  this turmeric/honey goo from the lovely heidi swanson is new to my repertoire this year.  it takes a while to get used to the taste, but this is one of those things that i can actually feel working instantly.  i use mine in tea but you can also just melt some into hot water.
  • i could go on and on about coconut oil.  the lovely meg worden introduced it to me a few years ago.  i melt one tablespoon into my coffee each morning and i also do a twenty-minute ayurvedic oil pull a few days a week.  the oil pulling seems weird, but i believe it's one of the most effective detoxification routines around, it keeps sinuses clear and removes nastiness from the mouth and throat.  it also gets rid of dark circles and whitens teeth.  (oil pulling was one of the practices i had been neglecting prior to my recent illness.)
  • yogi cold season tea.  i have tried every herbal tea known to man and this is hands-down the best wellness tea.  whenever i feel a bit of a scratch in my throat, a heaviness in my ears or stuffiness in my head, i drink a double-bag hot cup of cold season.  and then have a great sleep with awesome valerian dreams (if you take valerian, you know what i mean) and wake up clear and light.
  • i make my own thieves oil because it makes me feel like the mad scientist i was meant to be, but you can purchase this essential oil wondermix already made up for you here.  i mix a few drops with purified water to spritz the air and make a handwash by mixing ten or so drops with this soap.  speaking of handwashing, i am not a fanatic about it.  i refuse any of those hand sanitizers (unless i just touched someone with obvious contagious symptoms and no other soap is around).  i also do not use commercial antibacterial products on my body or home.  just keep your hands clean and if you can't, don't touch your face.  i make a point to wash my hands after the supermarket and before any food handling.
  • i take a hot bath every single night.  i make it detoxifying by adding one cup of epsom salts, one tablespoon ground ginger and one cup of organic baking soda.  i close the door to make the bathroom all steamy.  i often add a few drops of essential oil.  in the winter i use juniper, eucalyptus and grapefruit (it smells like california to me).  
  • new to my regimen this year is bone broth (in the center of the photo).  i use this crockpot recipe and add a knob of ginger, a head of garlic and one dried guajillo chile to the pot, this really raises the heat factor to further clear breathing passages.  whenever we finish a rotisserie chicken i put the bones in the freezer.  same with (washed) eggshells.  bone broth is not the same as regular chicken broth or vegetable broth, the long cooking time pulls the gelatin and minerals from the bone.  it's thick and gelatinous.  

other lovely things not shown:
  • daily movement:  a little yoga, a nice walk in the woods, kitchen dancing
  • kombucha
  • green juice, this is my winter favorite.
  • keeping stress low (easier said than done, i know)
  • sunshine
  • staying hydrated
  • clean sheets and pillowcases and a spritz of thieves on my pillow under the case
  • getting enough rest, and by enough i mean probably more than you are getting
  • opening the windows a few times a week to get fresh air circulating in the house
so tell me, what are your favorite ways to stay well?