How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Healthy Holidays

Two years ago, I got the flu on Christmas Eve (Literally! It hit me like a ton of bricks during our traditional Italian 7 fishes Christmas Eve dinner) and was out of commish for an entire week during that was supposed to be a relaxing week at home celebrating the holidays with my family. It was so bad that I couldn’t even open my gifts and I spent Christmas dinner sweating and crying in bed. During the throes of my Christmas flu, I was pretty sure that I would never recover (it can do that to a sane person). It was the worst!

This winter, I am vowing to stay healthy during the holidays no matter what it takes . . . Except for a flu shot which I do not believe in. I won’t go into details because this fact tends to offend people for some reason. Last year, I gave you my guide to beating flu and cold season. This year, I’ve updated it and amped it up to keep you (and me!) clear of that nasty little bug.

There are a ton of natural and holistic ways to prevent the flu but here are my favorites. Eating cloves of raw garlic is tough on my stomach so I steer clear of that one but try to at least add it to salad dressings in small amounts all season long. The remedies below are easy and doable for anyone.

There are two lists: One for daily prevention and another for when you start feeling the signs of the flu or a cold. I hope they keep you healthy and happy this winter!

When you start to feel even a little bit sick:

1. Water: It’s a simple solution but you want to flush out your system at the first signs of a cold or the flu. As soon as you feel anything off, drink up. I recommend half of your body weight in ounces/day. So if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 oz of water/day until you feel 100% again. I usually add Emergen-C packets to 1-2 of those glasses of water throughout the day to boost my system with extra vitamins too.

2. Flu-buster tea: It’s tough to flush out a flu with just water, and other hot liquids make it easier. In addition to all of the water above, make a homemade tea with hot water, freshly squeezed lemon juice, shaved ginger, a pinch of turmeric, a spoonful of raw honey, and a dash of cayenne pepper. If you can stomach it, add a clove of garlic. It can be intense to drink but that stuff is no joke!

3. Clean up your diet: Steer clear of dairy and sugar as soon as you start to feel even an inkling of a cold. Dairy creates mucus and sugar is toxic and inflammatory, not at all supporting your immune system. You might think this is hard but staying in bed for a week with the flu is harder. Trust me.

4. Oregano Oil: Ok this stuff can be kind of aggressive when you first start taking it and tastes kind of like a concentrated pizza but it’s a magical potion. I take it every single morning in the winter (a few drops under my tongue followed by huge gulps of water). It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial. It also contains super concentrated amounts of antioxidants.

5. Sweat it out: Fill your bathtub with water as hot as you can stand it, 3-4 cups of Epsom Salts (detoxifying), eucalyptus or peppermint oil (to open your sinuses), and bubble bath (because it’s fun!).

Daily Prevention:

1. Take Your Vitamins: In the winter, I recommend 1000 IUs of Vitamin D3, 1000 MGs of Vitamin C, 2000 MGs of Fish Oil, and Probiotics daily to prevent illness.

2. Don’t burn the candle at both ends! During the holidays, it’s often busier than usual at work plus all of the holiday parties. It can get truly exhausting so make sure you take some time for you. I recommend a personal day here or there.

3. Drink your greens: If you haven’t jumped on the green juice trend already, now is the perfect time to start. I try to have at least one every day. Because your body doesn’t have to process the fibers in the greens, the nutrients are pumped into your system even faster and stronger.

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  1. This is great! I’m glad you provided some alternatives to the typical intimidating, kinda gross stuff (i.e. a solo clove of garlic)– also, the tea sounds interesting…I’m always tempted to go my typical green tea route, but then remember that you’re supposed to cut out even the tiniest bits of caffeine when you’re sick!

    11.19.13 · Reply
  2. taylor said:

    What are you reasons for not getting a flu shot? I’ve gone both ways (get it some years, don’t others – doesn’t really seem to correlate to whether I get the flu or not!), so just curious what your reasons are?

    11.19.13 · Reply
  3. Dana said:

    Great tips! I try to do most of these things regularly, but the Oregano oil is new to me!

    11.19.13 · Reply
  4. Kate said:

    This is really super helpful – I actually woke up sick this morning and as I was doing my daily blog perusing I saw this and am immediately implementing almost all (poor me, my apt is too small for a tub!)
    I also hate getting shots (it’s not a needle thing, just a shot in general thing) and I hate just blindly pumping meds.
    Yogi tea is tried and true for me, as is soaking my feet in epsom salt!
    Thank you so much for this!

    11.19.13 · Reply
  5. chiara said:

    Thanks! Being pregnant, I was hoping to not catch anything this winter, since I really don’t want to take medicines. I especially love the hot bath!

    11.25.13 · Reply