I have been sick FOUR times since January. One time was a stomach bug and was, presumably, completely unrelated to the other three. However, I’ve been sick with what seems like the same damned thing three times this year, and I’m [*dodges the pun masterfully*] tired of it.
There are a few possible causes:
- I’m in an elementary school almost every day, working with lots of kids who do things like lick each other and wipe snot on their hands and then hug me. The hugs are kinda like… kinda like a Venus fly trap: you think you’re just fine, going about your own business, doing your job… when suddenly you’re enclosed in a death grip without time to react or protest. I had thought that maybe I had some kind of superstar immune system, ’cause I’d made it through a whole semester of this sort of thing without falling ill, but apparently the germs were just silently amassing an army for a series of enormous battles rather than trying for small guerrilla groups.
- The doctor said I “may just have an anatomy that’s particularly susceptible to sinus problems”. Well, that’s true. My sister got the ear infections as a kid, and I got the sinusitis and asthma. (Frankly, I think, given the choice, I’d take mine over hers anyway.)
- I’ve had both mono and shingles in the past, and supposedly, while one can’t get mono again, the virus will kinda hang out and open the back door for other sorts of infections. Like a jerk.
- I am still, at my core, a nocturnal creature, and having to wake up ear-lye in the morning to be swarmed by children doesn’t make me much more likely to go to bed at a reasonable hour, so I wasn’t getting as much sleep as I should have been this year.
The illnesses themselves all followed pretty much the same pattern. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right germs?
Me: Gee, my throat’s a little scratchy. Probably just allergies causing nighttime post-nasal drip.
Evil Germs: Mwahahahahah! She’s buying it!
Me: Gosh, it’s been a couple of days and my nose is starting to get runny. I probably oughta take some Dayquil or something.
Evil Germs: Brace for impact! Completely worthless medicine incoming!
Me: *coughcoughcough* Man, thi–*coughcoughcough* this cough i–*coughcoughcough* is completely unproductive and co–*coughcoughcough* and constant!
Evil Germs: We’ve got her on the ropes now, lads! Storm the throat!
Me: *loses voice*
Evil Germs: Storm the lungs!
Doctor: Take this antibiotic and Mucinex-D and Claritin and a cough suppressant and stuff for inflammation and hey maybe a new inhaler would be a good idea and this nasal spray and use a neti pot and eat honey, too.
Me: *back breaking under the load of medications* Thanks, doc. I’ll give it a shot.
So then it gets cleared up and then it comes back and clears up and comes back. Hopefully I’m done with it now.
I say all that to say this: I don’t like taking antibiotics.
- I worry about contributing to the evolution of super-germs that can resist every antibiotic ever.
- They screw up my birth control, giving me a week-and-a-half-long period a week early.
- The other side effects scare me too; the latest one causes joint inflammation and pain and damage, and yes it COULD just be a placebo effect ’cause I read that, but my knees and wrists and shoulders have been very achy since I started it.
- I worry about my poor gut flora and fauna in the face of the cruel medicines.
So, although there isn’t much I can do about the first three, I resolved to try to care for my gut by eating yogurt. Although dairy food allegedly boosts mucus production, I like the idea of the live cultures and the fact that it’s smooth and cool and easy and pleasant to eat when one’s throat feels like it’s trying to do its best pufferfish impersonation. (Imfishation?) [Also, shut up, spellcheck. It’s stupid to spell pufferfish as two words. It’s one fish. Also, spellcheck: seriously? You don’t know the word ‘spellcheck’? Now I feel kinda bad for yelling at you; you obviously have a bit of an identity crisis on your hands. I’m sorry.]
Where was I? Oh yes, eating yogurt. Also, honey is apparently still one of the best antiseptic foods ever. [A friend of mine said honey was what the hospital was using to treat his mother’s pinhole abscesses.] And the doctor had said that a teaspoon of honey straight or in warm tea was basically the best thing for a cough. (I decided not to ask why she was prescribing me so many cough medications in that case.)
The last time I had a physical, I was told that all my numbers were back to normal except that I didn’t have high enough levels of “good” cholesterol. She said exercising would help, which I mostly ignored, and that I should eat flax seeds and walnuts, which I took very seriously. [I read recently that plant-derived sources of Omega-3’s may not actually be usable and that fish oil is pretty much THE way to go. But I’m vegetarian! So… come ON plants! Work with me here!]
I decided to combine all these bodily needs into what turned out to be one of the simplest and most delicious things I’ve ever put in my face. Now I have it every morning for breakfast, and I’m ecstatic every time.
[No, not that horrifically-disgusting marshmallow-laden food-coloring monstrosity people ironically call “ambrosia salad”. This is more of a food-the-gods-might-actually-eat variety.]
Wha’d’ya put in it?
- 227 grams (1 cup) Plain Organic Yogurt — I bought the lowfat kind, ’cause that was all I could find.
- 21 grams (1 tablespoon) Organic Clover Honey — Local honey would be even better, but I couldn’t find any immediately.
- 21 grams (umm… like… 1 1/2 tablespoons? I dunno. Get a damn food scale.) walnuts — I have “halves and pieces” so I just mush them into bits with my fingers, but yes, it would be easier to just buy bits.
How d’ya do it?
- Measure honey into bowl on the food scale. (Don’t have a food scale? BUY A FOOD SCALE. That’s your new step 1. Consider this now step 2.)
- Measure yogurt into bowl on top of honey. If you aren’t measuring things, you can just drizzle honey on the yogurt. Since I’m counting calories, I do it in this order ’cause it’s easier to scoop a little yogurt back into the container than it is to try to dredge honey out of a yogurty mess and get it back in the bottle if you overmeasure.
- Measure walnuts on the lid of the tupperware you’re using as a bowl for the yogurt and honey.
- Stir the honey/yogurt mixture vigorously until the honey is well-integrated.
- Crumble walnuts into bits onto yogurt. Stir in.
- Enjoy the party in your mouth.