Colds, flus, viruses – blech. We all get sick from time to time and even the best of us catch a cold during the summer. When your co-workers start talking about how each of their kids have been coughing, retching and had spiky sore throats, you know it’s going to happen. Add in two days of meetings in freezing air-conditioned rooms with a co-worker sitting beside you sneezing and filling up tissues, and of course, wham-o, you’re sick by Saturday.
When you’re sick in the summer what do you do?
Curl up into a ball and die, while screaming at the sky begging for mercy?
Well, sometimes you get a cold that makes you want to do that. Been there, done that.
The challenge I face is I dislike heading to the doctor for everything, and I don’t like filling my body with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Not to mention, aforementioned cold medication generally costs $20 smackeroos a package. It also makes me feel as high as a kite, then I come crashing down by 5PM, and you can’t sleep during rush hour traffic.
$20 worth of good groceries can work more miracles in my opinion.
If you have to do the over the counter med thing, I find that Dayquil tablets keep me going without too many symptoms and Buckley’s Bedtime actually puts me to sleep at night. I never use Nyquil as it wakes me up. Strange I know, but it does. I’ll be dancing an Irish jig after a shot of that stuff.
What I do fork over for are throat drops. I love anything Ricola but also find Buckley’s Menthol Outburst Lozenges to be amazing. Warning: The Buckley’s are strong and will have you making crazy sick person faces.
I prefer the frugal, healthy, natural remedies for colds.
Liquids, liquids, liquids!
The one thing your body craves with any cold is liquid. My go-to’s are:
Apple Juice – ½ juice and ½ water. Your cheapy, 99-cent tins will do.
Orange Juice – same, ½ juice and ½ water. This is where I get the good stuff, Tropicana fresh juice.
And the ultimate?
The Hot Honey and Lemon Toddy
I have a giant mug, so here’s how I make it:
- 1 ½ cups hot water
- 2 lemon slices
- 2 tsp. of liquid honey
You can do up to a tablespoon of honey, but I don’t like OD’ing on sugar. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can add a shot of whisky. For colds that have a fever included as an extra bonus, in my opinion, I find the whisky burns the fever out of you. Plus you feel awesome and it’ll put you to sleep. At least, for me it works like that.
What to eat?
If you’ve got a sore throat, you know that trying to eat your regular meals can feel like eating rocks. Some foods sting, burn, irritate or generally feel as if they should not be passing through your throat.
You still need all your carbs, proteins, etc. but in a non-aggravating format.
Foods that work:
Any veggies – especially spinach, kale, carrots and celery.
Fruits – oranges, grapefruits, apples, berries. Generally I find tropicals like bananas, mangos, kiwis, pineapple and not very helpful and too expensive. Citrus is your real friend or anything high in Vitamin C.
Oatmeal, steel-cut oats.
Smoothies (minus dairy – use almond milk).
Foods that’ll make you feel worse:
Excess sugar beyond fruits and juices.
Chips, crackers, cookies.
Tip: Keep it as natural as possible. Hydrate.
My favourite meal? Grandma’s Chicken Soup of course! Ok, not really Grandma’s, it’s my own blend.
- 2 cups organic chicken broth
- 1 small carrot
- 1 small celery stalk
- 1 clove garlic
- Fresh tarragon
- Protein? You choose! Soft or medium firm tofu, cubes of chicken (cooked first), or you can throw in some soba noodles if you don’t have a gluten allergy.
Bring all to boil and simmer for 5 min. You can cook longer if you prefer your veggies mushy.
Optional: A few pinches of cayenne.
Did you know? Cayenne helps reduce congestion, mucous, fever and sore throat.
This will make 1 large serving.
Most of my go-to meals are natural, quick and simple. When you’re a single gal like me, it’s can be misery trying to stand in front of a stove and cook a full blown meal.
My cold and flu meal plan:
Breakfast: Steel cut oats or scrambled eggs. Glass of OJ/water. Cup of green tea. ½ cup berries.
Snack: A few almonds and fruit.
Lunch: Grandma’s Chicken Soup and more fruit.
Snack: A few almonds and fruit. Or, try some popcorn. It generally doesn’t bother my throat too much, unless I have a severe sore throat.
Dinner: Tofu or a piece of Chicken or fish with a heaping side of kale, spinach, or green beans.
Before Bed: Hot Honey and Lemon Toddy
FYI…sleeping propped up instead of lying down helps with a cough and sore throat. You won’t toss and turn or be woken up as much.
What about vitamins?
Vitamins and minerals, I’ve learned, you have to be careful with. Take too much and it can mess your body up.
I rely on Vitamin C and Echinacea while I’m sick. That’s it. Nothing else. I take 500mg Vitamin C morning and night and Echinacea in the morning.
How much does it cost when you’re sick?
I shop primarily at Costco and No Frills (discount grocer in Toronto).
Hot Lemon and Honey – 16 cents a serving
Chicken Soup – $3.80 per serving ($2.50 half organic chicken breast, $0.67 half a container of organic chicken broth, $0.36 1 carrot, $0.22 1 celery stalk, $0.05 1 clove garlic)
Steel Cut Oats – refer to the 11 Cent frugality challenge
Orange Juice $3.33 1.75L
Apple Juice – $0.99 large 1L tin
There you have it, my remedies for colds and flus, because hey, no one enjoys being sick in summer.
I’m off to curl up into a ball, keep warm and watch a few movies, listen to a few podcasts. Speaking of, have you listened to Jess’s at Mo’Money Mo’Houses yet?
Ta ta for now…TTFN – Tigger (Winnie the Pooh)
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