We eat every day but for some of us, there is not much focus upon what we are eating, it becomes a routine; breakfast, lunch, dinner plus snacks on the days when we are extra hungry, and repeat. However, when we feel ‘out of sorts’ we each have our personalised ‘tool kit’ for helping to put ourselves back on track; some will turn to sleep (great!), some may turn to junk food (not so great!). What if you just turned to your kitchen? What if you could create something simple and effective with nourishing foods?
When your immune system becomes under siege, one thing is for sure: when you have a cold, you need food and need it right now! You probably have a maximum of 10 minutes patience in which to throw something together as all you really want to do is rest. Often when you’re out of sorts, your taste buds become affected; eating becomes a little nondescript, which is why you might be drawn to eating foods that are particularly salty or sweet.
The most effective thing you can do is to stay away from sugar, rest and turn to Mother Nature’s natural healing nutrients like foods rich in zinc and vitamin C and foods to feed/fuel the good bacteria in the gut, these include fermented food and fibre rich foods like root vegetables, leeks and artichokes.
Recently, I had to retreat back under the duvet in order to get over something that was completely halting me in my tracks; rest was key and I was eternally grateful for having saved and frozen lots of soups & one pots. On those days where I could barely function, I knew that I was still able to feed myself foods rich in nutrients in order to help get well again. I did wonder (into my 11th day) if this was ever going to shift… after an abundance of nourishing foods, it did eventually lift and I soon felt much better.
What to rely on when feeling under par
Greens – with each meal I had a huge helping of greens. Why? They are full of nutrients and also have the super combination of vitamin C and zinc; these two help to relieve symptoms of the common cold and help to get you better, quicker. After spending, what felt like forever, ‘down’, towards the end of my sickness, I noticed that I suddenly felt a lot better and with a lot more strength than I had been experiencing previously.
Turkey, fish or lentils – if meat is not an option for you then beans and lentils are a super substitute.
Water – this I normally can drink without much effort but I struggled with feeling sick, so opted for sparkling or warm drinks, especially hot lemons! Skins too, be sure to buy unwaxed lemons (none of those wax or varnish nasties, thank you!), which are quite easy to buy in supermarkets.
Soups – Foods in liquid form are easy to digest. Make in a batch and these will be easy to pop in a microwave and heat up, with minimal effort. Super quick to prepare also: prepare the veg, wait for it to soften, combine by blending.
Batch cooking – anything that can be made in bulk. I opted for roasting some squash (skin on), peppers, courgette, red onion and then adding in herbs/ spices. Whilst these roasted I cooked some puy lentils. When finished, I mixed the two together and created a huge volume that I had cold for lunch and later, hot for dinner with tenderstem, green beans & spinach.
Going forward, especially this Autumn, with the change of seasons and everything getting that bit colder, whenever you cook something, think about freezing a portion too – one day soon, you too might be grateful that you did. Especially when you are playing nurse to yourself!!