At the beginning of the month, London fell ill! So many people caught a nasty bug kicking off the flu season. It occurred right when the nights became cold, the days became shorter and we were exposed to the night air. Lua woke one morning with a barking cough and saying that it was hard to breathe so we sat in the bathroom with hot water running in the shower creating steam which helped subside her coughing. She was able to calm down and her breathing went back to normal. This kicked off a two week bought of illness that affected each member of our family. And just weeks before our big trip home to The States.

I was so sick of being sick and sick of Lua being sick, so I looked for some help to boost our immune system. We drank loads of liquids, got plenty of rest and had homemade chicken soup coming out of our ears! Then we started taking vitamin C, cod liver oil, Manuka honey, and Elderberry syrup. After talking to a friend in Santa Fe I was inspired to finally order that homeopathic kit that I had been meaning to get for years.

This was working swell and after spending $75 at Whole Foods on these healthful remedies I was confident that the coast was clear and that we would be able to make it to Minnesota in full health. I mean, this was a serious regimen of wellness. Well, to my utter surprise just 24 hours before boarding a plane for the 9 hour plane ride home I was hit with a violent 24 hour flu bug! What? Universe, seriously? I have not been that ill in years, I could not leave the bed. Gabe worked all day getting all three of us packed and ready for the trip, although I was unsure if we’d still be leaving the next day. After a day in bed and a decent nights sleep I woke on Monday feeling much better, thank goodness, and we were able to resume the travel plans.

1. Plant-based Vitamin C capsules
2. Cod liver oil capsules
3. Manuka Honey
4. Elderberry Flower Syrup
5. Homeopathic Kit

1. Vitamin C is water-soluble. Many of the Emeren-Cy or other industrially processes vitamin C products that we buy and consume are eliminated just hours after we use them. The best way to get your vitamin C is through fresh fruits and vegetables such as: grapefruit, guava, kiwi, mango, strawberries and papayas, and broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, chili peppers, kale and swiss chard. For an extra boost during cold season or pre-travel I have been taking vitamin-C capsules that are naturally derived from organic fruits and vegetables allowing the body high levels of absorption and remains in the blood for up to 12 hours.

2. Cod liver oil contains high levels of DHA, EPA, vitamin A and vitamin D which our bodies need for a healthy digestive tract, a healthy cardiovascular system, healthy joints, a healthy nervous system, healthy skin, and healthy bones. Due to mercury levels in fish, be mindful of which brand you purchase. I use Green Pastures.

3. Mankua Honey comes from the nectar of the manuka or tea tree grown throughout New Zealand and in southeastern Australia. It has long been thought of as a healing honey in these cultures and has just approved USFDA approval in 2007.

For thousands of years honey has been a sacred food both for its delicious taste and for medicinal purposes. When shopping for honey intended for health benefits be sure that it is RAW, this means that heat was not used to process the honey, keeping all of its natural composition in tact. When honey is heated it looses all of the wonderful antibacterial and antiviral benefits.

So what is this Manuka Honey? While most raw honey contains special active ingredients with health benefits, Manuka Honey has a special Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) active ingredient that remains stable even after exposure to heat and light. Each container of Manuka honey will have a UMF rating classifying how “active” the honey is and it is considered that any rating of 10 or high is considered “active.” So if you want to reap the health benefits of this food, look for a 10 or above UMF rating.

We have been taking 1 teaspoon full 2 to 3 times a day, it is absolutely the most incredible food I have ever tasted. It is very thick, sticky and dark, Lua calls it the “hard” honey it is so thick. Whether or not you believe in the health benefits of this honey, believe me your mental health will improve with just the experience of eating this divine food.

4. Elderberries have been used for centuries as a folk remedy in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. The elderberry contains flavonoids which help boost the immune system, help to improve cold, coughs, flu, bacterial and viral infections, and contain antioxidants that help protect cells against damage. This is a great option for upper respiratory infections. Elderberry syrup can be purchased or if you have access to elderberries you can make your own!

5. Homeopathic kits are wonderful resources to have year round to help support health and well-being. We have been using it to help reduce Lua’s cough, my nausea and to help with jet lag. It is small and compact making it very easy to travel.

Good luck with your winter wellness, please let me know your tricks and helpful tips!