By the time you read this, the temperature will probably be inching back up again, and the cold memory of these past few days will be just a blip in our memory banks. But meanwhile, I am freezing. Never mind the ridicule we get from our up-North friends: "Cold, huh? Temperature drop down to 65 degrees? Tsk, tsk Up here, the thermometer registers 65 below"
Those people are just not capable of temperature-related empathy.
We have pulled out our long johns and winter coats, and are layering like crazy. But some foods are warming also. People who live in the very northern climes eat a lot of animal protein which tends to warm the body. You may feel like eating more protein now, instinctually feeling that it just "feels better" than salads or other raw foods.
Soups are great. Make a pot of bean or vegetable soup, especially using a chicken broth base because we all know that chicken soup is great medicine.
I am sipping hot tea throughout the day. Not only does it feel warm in my tummy but it warms my hands too.
Speaking of soup, here is an old-time recipe for knocking out a cold: onion garlic tea. Simple to make, it tastes quite good and is one of the best remedies for upper respiratory ailments. Simply chop some of the smelliest onions and garlic, place in a cup, pour boiling water over it, and sip it hot. You will smell so garlicky that no one will come near, thereby reducing your exposure to germs but it also helps loosen mucus and clear airways so you can breathe better.
I really ramp up my vitamin C intake to boost my immune system. I happen to like a powdered buffered vitamin C that dissolves in water, and provides a good source of vitamin C and minerals. I also increase my intake of Epicor, a yeast product that helps reduce the incidence of colds and flu.
Now is the time to get lots of sleep. Remember the good old days before electricity and we went to bed and arose by the sunlight? Of course you don't; none of us are that old. Make sure you get at least eight hours of deep sleep because it is during deep sleep that the body repairs.
A word to our Northern visitors: we're really sorry for this cold weather. I know you came here to walk on the beach and bask in the warm rays but just hang out a little longer and it will be warm again.
Carol is a certified lifestyle educator at the offices of Dr. Alan Gruning in Fort Myers. She owns the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel. She can be reached at 472-4499.