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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Our Top Five Feel Betters for A Cold (includes 3 bonus recipes!)

It's cold season around these parts.
Drippy noses, coughs, sore throats, runny eyes, no fun.
My main mode of operation is to let colds run their course without much intervention, except to support little bodies in the battle against the bug. I try to steer away from over the counter medicines. So here are the few things that provide extra comfort for us when we are sick.*

1. Olbas Oil   a.k.a "Spicy Stuff"
This oil is super "spicy." It contains oils of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Cajeput, Wintergreen, Juniper and Clove. It really helps when stuffiness makes it hard to breathe and fall asleep. I use it, Diet Coke Papa uses it,even Babe-ala uses it. We put a few drops on a tissue (no more than 5 drops for the Babes because the "vapors" can irritate the eyes) and then place the tissue inside of the pillowcase or under the sheets of the bed. I have rubbed feet with this oil and covered them with socks. (This supposedly works wonders for colds. I noticed better sleep after this technique). You can add a few drops to coconut oil to dilute it a bit. I have also put 10-20 drops into a small jar on the shower floor (out of the way of the direct stream of water), while holding the Babe with the cold, letting it do it's vapory magic in the steamy air. You could also let the vapor magic happen in a closed up bathroom while you enjoy the sauna with the your Babe, if he/she is not in favor of showers.

2.The Snot Sucker This thing is amazing (especially for little babies who may not protest as much)! First, you have to get over the fact that YOU are the engine that drives the snot out of your baby's nose. Simply (depending on your child's willingness to have their nose sucked) insert the nose-tip into a tiny snotty nose and suck out the boogers. There is a tiny sponge in the snot collecting compartment to ensure the snot doesn't reach your mouth. We lost ours after a few times and seriously, you would have to really suck hard to get the snot all the way up the tube so I don't worry about it. Works so much better than the one they give you in the hospital or the one that comes in the baby first aid kit. If you try it you will wonder why you ever flinched at sucking boogers out of your baby's nose. Seriously!

3.Maunuka Honey (Should NOT be fed to children under 1 year old).
Oh yum! Maybe the best thing about being sick around here is Manuka Honey! Manuka is a very special honey made by bees that feast on the Manuka or Tea Tree which grown in New Zeland. It is said to have anti-microbial properties. Very special and very expensive. Manuka honey is hard to find and easy to consume. We use it VERY sparingly and in lemon ginger tea at the first signs of a cold. It is superb for sore throats!

photo by Angry Julie Monday

4. Vitamin C Mocktail
For those of you who do not know, I am a recovering alcoholic. I concocted this recipe when I was first recovering. I drank them all the time. Now, I share them with the Fam-O! Hey! that's one good thing that came out of drinking. They are a great substitute for a glass of sugary fruit juice and perfect for providing extra vitamins and fluids when we are sick.

Zippy Cranberry Orange Fizz (fills a Quart Mason Jar)
1 packet of Emergen-C Super Orange
12 ounces of lemon or any citrus flavored sparkling water
6 ounces of kombucha (we use a local brand that makes a seasonal flavor but a peach or ginger flavor would work beautifully)
lots of ice cubes
splash of cranberry juice

Cherry Berry Super -T Charger (fills a Quart Mason Jar)
1 packet of Emergen-C Drink Mix, Acai Berry
12 ounces of lime sparkling water
8 ounces of Celestial Seasonings Black Cherry Berry Tea or Wild Berry Zinger (cool it down before adding it to the mix)
6 ounces of kombucha (we use a local brand that makes blueberry or raspberry flavor but any berry flavor would be fine)
lots of ice cubes
splash of cranberry juice

photo by lindspetrol

5. Good Ol' Chicken Soup
I don't know why but good chicken soup has always been the hardest thing for me to make. My grandmother and my mother made me the most awesome chicken soup. Somehow I never got the recipes and I never found one that satisfied. Maybe it's because boiling a whole chicken kind of creeps me out.  But with the latest cold infecting our homestead, pregnancy related cravings, and Halloween around the corner, I decided to brave the boiling chicken carcass in my kitchen. And let me tell you, oh so good! It takes some time to simmer but it's much easier than I have been thinking it to be for years and years and years. I know it's like I have been living on some planet with no chicken life. You probably already have the best recipe for chicken soup. But I need a place to keep mine and if you need one you can sneak it.

The Easiest Recipe for Really Good Good Ol' Chicken Soup 
1 medium onion
3 stalks of celery
3 carrots
4 parsnips
1 whole organic, free range chicken (3-4 pounds)
1 bay leaf
32 oz. chicken broth
3 T chicken base (we use this one)
1 1/2 quarts of water
2 T fresh dill
2 T fresh parsley
sea salt and pepper to taste

Peel and chop all vegetables. (This soup is chunky. Great with a piece of bread!)

Rinse the chicken in cold water. Sprinkle with salt and peper.
Place the whole bird in the pot.
Add the bay leaf.
Pour in chicken broth, add chicken base, and water.
Try to stir, just a bit to dissolve the chicken base.
Add all the veggies, dill and parsely.
Bring to boil.

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours.
Remove chicken from the soup.
Place on a cutting surface and remove all meat from the bird.
Shred it and return it to the pot.
Simmer until you are ready to serve.
Add black pepper and salt to taste.

That's it. Just a lot of sitting around, being sick, waiting for the most delicious soup to soothe what ails you.

P.S. One of us will NOT eat soup. (Even though another one of us believes that if  that one would try it he would probably like it.) So, I throw in some egg noodles after I've shredded the chicken and then pick them out and serve them without the other goodness. At least they have been cooked in the goodness. Right? That's what I'll keep telling myself.)

Hope these things bring your family some comfort during this cold season!
I would love to add to my arsenal.
What's your favorite feel better for a cold? Please comment!

*All information and resources found on The Best Things are based on the opinions of the author. Readers should consult with health care providers to make their own nutrition and health decisions. None of the information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

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