I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who’d be relieved to hear they have pneumonia. Because after five days of fever, and two doctors who dismissed my ailments as “just a virus,” I felt validated to at least know that I was in tune with my body – and my body was screaming at me that all was not well.
I felt really, really crap. A mix of fever for over a week, extreme fatigue, inability to focus, having a raging cough that kept me up half the night. Oh, and small kids who actually expected me to mother them.
Overall, not a great situation, and I’m still on the mend. But I did want to share a few tips that may be helpful to others when trying to get through a period of illness:
1. Load up on probiotics
When you’re taking a course of antibiotics, the purpose of the medicine is to kill off the bad bacteria that’s causing the infection. But antibiotics are not so discerning between good and bad bacteria – which is why it so important to keep replenishing the good bacteria with probiotics.
Since I had zero energy for food prep, I made a 3-minute soup using miso, which is a natural probiotic made from fermented soy. (I would strongly advise consulting with a health practitioner about also taking a probiotic supplement).
3-minute chicken-miso recipe:
· 2 cups boiled water
· 1 tbsp miso paste
· 2 tsp tamari
· Roughly torn dried shiitake mushrooms
· Sprinkle of wakame seaweed
· Cooked chicken, cut into pieces (as much as you feel like)
· 1 tsp coconut oil
Instructions: Pour boiled water into a large bowl; add miso and mix until dissolved. Add in all the other ingredients and let sit for a few minutes till the seaweed and mushrooms absorb the water and puff up.
This soup is really soothing, has all the components of a blood-sugar balancing meal, and is a great option for liquid nutrition when you have little appetite.
2. Keep drinking
When you’re laying in bed a lot, it’s easy to forget to drink. But our cells cannot function without water, so remember to stay hydrated. Drink regular water, lemony water, tea, soup, whatever. If you have a cough or sore throat, this is the tea I recommend:
Steep 1 tsp dried thyme in water for 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp raw honey and a generous squeeze of lemon.
· Thyme has traditionally been used in herbal medicine to alleviate coughs and bronchitis
· Raw honey is another known natural cough remedy. It is also a wonderful anti-inflammatory & anti-bacterial food.
· Lemon adds a zing of vitamin C for boosted immunity.
3. Stick to nutrient dense foods
When you’re sick and you have little appetite, I know it can be tempting to just eat bland comfort food like bread and jam. If this is the only thing you can stomach, then okay, I’ll give you a pass. But, if you’re going to eat only a small bit of food, try to make it count by going for something more nutrient dense. And if sitting down to a meal is really unappealing, then perhaps try a smoothie.
Since the antibiotics were giving me heartburn, I added in a tentacle of my lovely aloe vera plant, whose gooey insides help soothe and repair digestive ailments. The cucumbers and watermelon add an extra element of anti-inflammatory goodness; and the hemp seeds provide omega-3s for an energy boost.
Watermelon-aloe smoothie recipe:
· ¾ cup water
· 1 large aloe leaf, filleted
· 1 small cucumber
· 2 handfuls cut watermelon*
· 1 tbsp hemp seeds
*Note: In the wintertime, replace the watermelon with seasonal strawberries.
Instructions: Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy.
4. Ask for help
This one is key. When you’re really down and out, you need assistance. So, recruit your partner, parent, friend, or sibling and get an extra pair of hands on deck. Especially if you have children to take care of. This week, my mother in law came to my rescue, and she’s basically superwoman. She made sure the kids were bathed and fed, helped with daycare drop off and pick up, did laundry and dishes, and kept order in the home. What a god-send!
Wishing everyone good health!