Stuffy nose, sore throat, gross cough, chills, the common cold is no fun. It makes normal work seem like hard work. It makes hard work feel impossible. Everyone wants to heal a cold, and get back to normal life, as quick as possible.
If you are skeptical of modern medicine, you may try to avoid over the counter cold medicines. Cold medicines may even make your cold feel worse. I took Flonase for a cold last year, as prescribed by a doctor, and instead of clearing my sinuses, it gave me the most painful headache I ever experienced.
Now that I understand food on a deeper level, I look to diet for the first step in healing a cold. When I was sick last week I came up with a meal that I think really helped speed my recovery.
The most important thing though, which I never used to do, is to listen to your body. If you are not hungry, don’t force yourself to eat. Lack of appetite may be your body’s way of telling you not to eat so it can heal. Fasting increases the production of ketones which are believed to promote healing.
There are other ways to promote ketones in the body as well. The big three are:
1. Fasting (as previously mentioned)
2. Eating foods with healthy fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and cold-water fish
3. Limiting sugar and carbohydrate intake
This picture is a meal that I came up with to promote healing in various ways. I will explain below.
Starting with the top left, we have bone broth soup. Bone broth is awesome stuff. It is basically animal bones stewed over a period of 24-72 hours so that all the marrow and cartilage seeps out of the bone and into the liquid. Marrow and cartilage are great sources of collagen which is believed to help seal a leaky gut. If you’re working with the bones of grass-fed beef or pasture-raised chickens, the broth is likely to be higher in healthy fats as well.
Bone broth is great for the gut and it’s good for promoting the body’s production of ketones. My favorite bone broth recipes can be found on the Wellness Mama and Mercola blogs.
In the bottom left, we have a small bowl of pickled carrots. This was my first-time fermenting carrots, and I am pleased with the results. However, I will try a different recipe next time. I used a simple recipe that called for simply adding carrots to salt water in a jar, and then letting them ferment. It turned out alright, but the carrots are saltier than I like. The Nourishing Traditions cookbook has a recipe that might not be so salty. Instead of fermenting the carrots in salt water the whole time, it calls for rinsing the salt water off the carrots after using it to start the fermentation process.
Fermented foods like pickles (carrots, cucumbers, or anything else you dare to ferment), kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi are all excellent sources of probiotics which are believed to promote a healthy immune system by inoculating the gut with good microbes. A healthy immune system will do a better job fighting off the cold.
Mixed Bowl Stir Fry
In the middle, we have a mixed bowl stir fry deal-io. I put some cold-pressed olive oil in a frying pan, then threw in some chopped cabbage, some baby spinach, a diced potato (pre-boiled), some chili powder, and a little salt. I then topped the dish with spicy brown mustard and ground horseradish.
If you are really trying to promote production of ketones, the potato may be omitted as it is high in carbohydrates. I only added a small potato to my bowl. The main elements at play here are the cabbage and spinachwhich are good sources of nutrients, and the spicy flavorings that help clear the sinuses.
Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding
In the top right, we have the delectable blueberry chia seed pudding. This one is a beast. It is creamy and delicious, and its healing powers are strong.
The ingredients are simple (here is my official chia seed pudding recipe): chia seeds, organic pure coconut milk, and organic wild blueberries.
Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3s, which are believed to be a healthy fat and are anti-inflammatory (shrink those inflamed sinuses). Blueberries aren’t high in omega-3s, but they are often listed as one of the top anti-inflammatory foods (along with chia seeds and cold-water fish). Coconut milk is also believed to be a highly anti-inflammatory food, and it isa big aid in helping the body to produce ketones.
A Meal to Heal
Between those four dishes, we are really promoting the body’s production of ketones, fighting inflammation, and feeding the body all kinds of healthy nutrients. It also goes back to the old folk tradition (traditions are often there for good reason) of eating warm soup to cure a cold. If you have no appetite, and want to fast, you might try just sipping a bowl of bone broth.
No matter how you do it, I hope you enjoy, and I wish you the best of health!