Tuesday, February 1, 2011

guest blog: how to survive the winter

I don't know why, but I get a lot of nasty chest colds. And since I'm not allowed to go to Web MD, I turned to Twitter to ask for some advice. My pal, Stacy at Every Little Thing gave me some good advice and was kind enough to write up a guest blog for this very snowpocalyps-y day. I hope it helps you stay germ and phlegm free!

Picture this: it's January and there's snow everywhere with more on the way. You haven't seen the sun in weeks. You're lying on the couch wrapped in a blanket, blowing your nose every 2 seconds, sneezing loud enough to wake the dog, and shivering despite the thermostat set at 85 degrees.

Sound familiar?

It doesn't have to!

OK so I can't do anything about Mother Nature, but I can tell you a few ways to stay healthy this winter. I am a firm believer that your immune system is not only controlled by genetics, but also by the food we eat. I think people massively underestimate the effect food has on our bodies. Without food, we wouldn't function, so putting a little more effort into eating the right kinds of foods can go a long way for your body!

First, the obvious:

1) Wash your hands!
2) Cover up when you go outside! (especially your mouth and the top of your head!)
3) Catch sneezes in your elbow! (forgive me, I work with children)
4) Get your rest!

(Do I sound like your mom, yet?)

On to the fun stuff: food. I am a foodie by nature and am rounding the corner to becoming a healthy foodie. Scary stuff! I truly believe that eating all the vitamins and nutrients possible will help keep winter sniffles and the raging flu away

Eat these super foods!

+Greens - Kale and spinach are two of the most nutrient-packed "super foods" you can eat, loaded with Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Calcium, Iron, Folate, and about a million antioxidants. If you saute kale with some garlic and olive oil, you can add it to almost any dish and barely notice it!

+Grains - Quinoa isn't technically a grain but I'm including it here. Quinoa is considered a complete protein, meaning it can take the place of any meat and leave you full and satisfied with all the benefits. It's also delish! Other nutrient-packed grains include lentils and oats.

+Beans - In general, the darker the bean, the better it is for you. But you can't go wrong with beans. Black, pinto, kidney, lima ...eat your beans! Mixing them in any Mexican dish hides the sometimes weird consistency, or mash them up and spread on tacos, burritos, etc!

+Fruits and Veggies - Do I really need to tell you this? Eat broccoli (almost all your daily Vitamin C in half a cup!), blueberries, oranges, and avocados. Do it! Don't forget edamame!

+Nuts and Seeds - Do you know what falls into this category? Nut butters (all natural only). Nut butters = peanut butter. YUM. Try almond butter, and almonds in general!

These super foods are guaranteed to build your immune system, and while they're not guaranteed to prevent colds, they can definitely help!

And just a note about supplements. First, consult your doctor and get a blood work panel before taking any supplements. I talked to our mutual friend Lauren, and I think we're in agreement that in general, if you're eating lots of the super foods above, there's no need for a multivitamin.

That said, a good supplement to take in the dead of winter is Vitamin D. We get natural D from the sun (a little bit every day is good for you!), but when we go weeks without rays, it's nice to boost D. Also, if you're not eating a lot of fish or other Omega-3 fatty acid foods (flax seeds, walnuts, beans), taking a fish or flax seed oil supplement isn't a bad idea, for the heart-healthy benefits.

If anyone has any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them! I'm not a registered dietitian, but I've learned a lot about food and like to share my info (and learn more, too!). My email is everylittlethingblog at gmail dot com and my blog, Every Little Thing, is kind of a beginner foodie guide to a new lifestyle :) Thanks for reading!


Every Little Thing said...

Woohoo, thanks for asking me to guest blog! What a perfect day to post this, as we're pounded with ice and snow and you're about to get a million more inches (that's what she said).

mypixieblog said...

Great guest post, Stacy! Love the catching sneezes in your elbow bit, cute (and yes, I can totally tell you work with kiddies). :)

I've noticed also that since I eat healthier I feel a lot better and haven't been sick as much this winter (knocks on wood).