Treating Symptoms, Masking the Cause

With a stuffy head, a runny nose and red eyes, you’re hardly feeling your best for that presentation at work you’ve been killing yourself preparing for the last week. So it makes sense to simply pop into the local drug store for some Advil, Sudafed and Visine, right? In a pinch, perhaps, simply to look presentable, but not without consequence. We’ve all been in a situation where we can’t simply go home and go to bed and that’s when it may feel like taking the over the counter tablets make sense, and granted, it may be worth it simply to get through a critical meeting at work or a key project you’ve simply got to finish. However, if we back up and address the underlying issue in advance, we can make it less likely to get to that stage of hosting a bad cold in the first place. As soon as you start to feel that scratchy throat or begin to sneeze, take the initiative to do everything you can in advance to support your immune system and get rid of those nasty germs early on, before they completely invade your body.

  • Up the water and fluid intake.   Homemade grass-fed beef bone broth as well as pastured chicken soup have natural healing properties and by  making them yourself, you can guarantee they’re not going to be loaded with sodium.
  • Up the green leafy veggies.  While Paleo, when followed properly, is an alkaline diet, during times of duress, like cold-fighting, we need all the help we can get, so now’s the time to go from eating a lot of these health boosting foods to eating a ton!
  • Add raw garlic.  So you’ll have less than lovely breath for a few days.  The richest food source of a compound called allicin, which is key in supporting the immune system, the breath odor is the only ‘side effect’ of this natural food-remedy.
  • Sweat it out.  While it may not be the best time to go for your typical long run or ride, a good, short sweat is indicated in helping improve circulation and flooding all tissues with a fresh blood supply, rather than letting everything go stagnant lying on the couch watching TV.    An hour spin on your indoor trainer or an aerobic run outdoors while you’re bundled up are two great options.
  • Soak it in.   Adding a bit of essential eucalyptus oil to a hot, steamy bath can help to open up stuffy nasal passages.  Add some lavender, too, to help promote relaxation!
  • Salt it out.  While eating salt isn’t part of the Paleo diet, using some in a Neti pot is a great way to natural irrigate the sinuses and get rid of some of the build up. Once you get past the initial fear (I had it, too!) of using it, you’ll find it opens your nasal passages like nothing else.
  • Heat it up.  Add some cayenne to your food (tread lightly- it’s so easy to over do!) in order to boost immunity even more!

By relying on natural, food-based remedies, we can keep strong and turn what might have become a full blown illness into a one or two day mildly annoying hiccup.