This is an archived post taken from the January 2013 edition of KrantzWellness News.
So many of us begin the New Year by making resolutions. We’ve all been there. We take a vow to lose weight, exercise more or have more down time. We start the year with great intentions and quickly relapse into old habits. Change is more likely to occur when we plant small seeds in many areas of our life, and then move gently in the direction of our goals. These small acts add up and result in sustainable change. Let’s not be distracted by quick fixes that end as soon as they begin. Instead, try a gradual journey to find what feeds your soul and move in that direction. Moment by moment…
Staying hydrated is crucial to our well being and can reduce cravings, reduce headaches, stabilize weight, reduce tension, and promote a healthy immune system. If you become dehydrated, your sinuses can dry out and the lymphatic system can slow down. This can increase your chance of catching a cold or flu. Here are a few winter tips to help you stay hydrated:
Running a humidifier in the winter is a helpful way to hydrate. Remember to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent mold growth. If you use a wood stove, you can put a pot of water on the stove which will act as a humidifier.
It can be helpful to start your day with a large glass of water. This helps to rehydrate from the night and flush toxins from your body.
Using a neti pot is a great way to reduce congestion and flush toxins. Make sure to follow the directions and only use distilled or boiled (and then cooled) water. Smaller tea pots or syringes are available for easier use with children.
Keeping skin hydrated helps the lymphatic system to remove toxins from the body. The skin is one of our primary organs that processes and eliminates toxins. Applying warm or room temperature oil (sesame or olive oil works well) is a powerful way to support hydration of the skin and lymphatic system. Before you dry off after a bath/shower, apply a small amount of oil on your skin and then pat dry. Taking these few minutes to apply oil on your skin will support optimum health.
Food-Tip: Spice it Up
Adding herbs and spices to your food this time of year can bring needed warmth to your digestion and can enhance the functioning of your immune system. I suggest experimenting with different herbs and spices and finding ones that you enjoy.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Garlic has many healing properties and has been found to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, garlic is a powerful antiseptic, antibiotic, and antimicrobial. To get the maximum benefits, peel and chop your garlic and let it sit out for 15 minutes. This will allow the allin to convert to allicin, which provides the antimicrobial properites. Add it raw to foods (ie. guacamole), or cook it for a short time using a low temperature.
Ginger is a warming herb that is an anti-inflammatory, increases circulation, and enhances the functioning of your immune system. Ginger tea can increase sweat production, which helps the body release toxins. In addition, it is an effective remedy for nausea/stomach discomfort.
Turmeric is a root in the ginger family. Turmeric powder is made by boiling, drying and grinding the root. Its yellow pigment comes from curcumin, which is rich in beta-carotene. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties. Turmeric can be used as an individual spice or as one ingredient in curry powder.
Astragalus is the root of a perennial plant that has strong immune boosting qualities. It can be purchased in thin slices and cooked with pots of soup, grains or beans and then removed before serving. This adds the health benefits to your dish without much of a flavor change. It is best used to boost immunity rather than treat illness.
Recipes to Try