Category Archives: immunity

Staying Healthy & Healing Illness In Winter

We’ve already had a lot of cold weather as we head into Winter. And the wind has been pretty penetrating. I’ve taken to calling it’s effects “deranged vata”….sort of an acupuncture/ayurveda shorthand for having your groundedness blown away by the winds.

We are mammals. Mammals slow down and sleep a lot more during the short, cold days of Winter. This means us!

The holidays are often an emotional time, and they can run our reserves down in many ways. In this post I share ways you can slow down, take care of yourself, and savor just being. This is followed by a section on how to be more comfortable during a cold or flu, and how to speed recovery.

Simple Ways to Stay Healthy During Winter

Here are some suggestions to help keep your immune system healthy this holiday season.

Go for a walk. 20 minutes will do. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and promotes healthy blood & lymphatic circulation helping the immune system function well. You’ll be generating much needed Vitamin D, so make sure your eyes are not covered with sunglasses for at least 10 minutes, even if it’s cloudy.

When you have time, make sure to get out somewhere more wild from time to time. Leaving civilization behind and letting the sights, smells, and sounds of the forest wash over you, will refresh your body, mind and spirit in unexpected ways.

Find time for mindful moments. It is important to carve out a few minutes each day just for you. Research shows that people who practice mindfulness are less stressed, more focused, and better able to regulate their emotions. Try the “Insight Timer” app on your phone. Not only does it have varying lengths and focuses of meditations, but also ambient & binaural music/sounds to enhance various states of being.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy.
Then you should sit for an hour.”
                                                  -Zen proverb 

Wash your hands often. I’m sure you have heard this advice hundreds of times, especially in public spaces, or if someone in your household isn’t well. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Drink lots of water. No matter the time of year staying hydrated is a healthy habit, and supports the body during times of occasional stress. Drinking fluids flushes out toxins and helps with temperature regulation.

I recently noticed I wasn’t drinking as much water as I normally do since the temperatures have dropped. Consequently I’ve developed a new habit of heating up water in a kettle, pouring a cup and adding ginger juice to it, throughout the day. This simple habit has helped me not only stay hydrated, but digest well and stay warm too. Ginger is a digestive aid, relieves nausea, is warming. and it lowers blood pressure too! I love plants! And this is how they love us!

Make sleep a priority. Lack of sleep can affect your immune system as studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick.

Try these tricks for getting to bed early, and falling asleep more easily: 

  • Buy safety glasses with orange lenses to wear after the sun goes down. This will block the blue light from screens and light fixtures, allowing our bodies natural sleep cycle to kick in.
  • Keep a tincture of the herb Valerian root near your bed for those times when sleep is not coming easily. A dropperful or two will help you sleep through the night without any side-effects. Melatonin is a supplement the some people use too, for the same purpose.
  • Lower the temperature of your thermostat to 60 degrees at night. A cold-air humidifier in your room while you are sleeping will keep you hydrated while heat from the furnace is keeping you warm. I found a good, inexpensive model at Target with a silver filter in the tank to fight mildew, and a aromatherapy pad where you can add lavender oil to help you sleep, and/or rosemary and eucalyptus oil to help you breathe if you have a cold.

Herbs & Home Therapies to Soothe & Heal the Nasties

When my office was separate from my home I’d carry around NAC, olive leaf extract & oregano oil capsules in my bag during the late fall through winter. At the first sign of any inkling of a cold I’ll take NAC (N-acetyl cystisine), a potent anti-oxidant that also thins mucus. This is important to me as I have been prone to sinus infections. Cutting dairy out has helped immensely too. Particularly in the winter.

If the cold isn’t nipped in the bud by NAC, I’ll take an olive leaf capsule. And if I’m already ill, oregano oil capsules improve my symptoms within 20 minutes and will begin overpowering whatever it is that has me down.

A great way to stay nourished if you have a fever and no appetite is to sip Bone Broth, as you can. If you have a cold without fever, Bone Broth soup or vegetarian equivalent will give you a lot of the nutrients you need to speed healing.

Teas that are useful when you’re sick are Throat Comfort, Breathe Deep, & Cold Season by Yogi Teas, and Breathe Easy, Throat Coat, & Gypsy Cold Care by Traditional Medicinals. These can be found at the locally owned stores, My Organic Market.  Horehound tea and cough drops are helpful for managing coughing and bronchitis.

That humidifier I spoke about above will come in handy if you get sick: Use the aromatherapy pad and add any combination of the following essential oils to help you breathe more easily: eucalyptus, rosemary; and use lavender to help you sleep.

Photo by Steven Diaz on Unsplash

Heat packs for aches and sore throats are so helpful. Here is a yummy neck and shoulder wrap that I have my eye on. I use a microwave to warm my heat packs up. It’s the only reason I use a microwave, as microwaving food destroys nutrients.

A hot bath is helpful if you have enough energy to prepare one, or someone can prepare it for you. Use a cup of epsom salts and a cup or two of apple cider vinegar with lavender and rosemary essential oils in the bath. Don’t use eucalyptus in a bath as it is too strong for your tender nether region.

Be sure to contact me if you are interested in exploring ways to work with me. To your health! ~Warmly, Angela

 

 

 

Bone Broth Recipe: Nourishment & Immunity

Hi Everyone,

 

I want to offer some support for preparing for and getting through winter with optimum health.  Bone Broth can be made in many different ways, but there are certain guidelines that will help you get the most nutrition from your efforts.

 

Bone Broth is a great staple to have on hand in the freezer. You can sip on it…..great if you’re not feeling well, or for a steady stream of bioavailable nutrition and immune boosting benefits. And it is great as a base for soups and sauces.

 

I am using the base recipe from Magdalena Wszelaki Cooking for Balance program. But, since I’m an herbalist I like to pack a whole lot of immune boosting herbs into this recipe.

 

Scroll down below this photo for the recipe. I hope you’ll take a rainy weekend soon to cook this up for yourself. Don’t forget to read over the tips below the recipe.

 

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Bone Broth Recipe (and variations)

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time
Total time
Equipment: largest pot you own or a large crock pot. I have a very large soup pot and get about 10 quart mason jars full that I keep in the freezer. I also make a second batch with the same bones, but fresh veggies and herbs each time.
Serves: 4 quarts or more
Ingredients
  • about 4 pounds of beef marrow and knuckle bones
  • 1 calves foot (optional)
  • 3 pounds meaty ribs or neck bones
    **regarding meats: yes the above are yummy. And you can make this with chicken bones left over from a whole chicken that you had enjoyed earlier. (Freeze the bones until you are ready to use them). In fact I’m using lamb shanks to make some broth, as I write.) There was wisdom in our ancestors using every part of of an animal that was sacrificed for their, and our nourishment. ♥
  • 4 quarts (liters) of cold filtered water
  • ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 3 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • several sprigs of thyme, tied together
  • 1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns, rushed
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 reishi mushroom, or 1T of powdered reishi
  • 3 slices of astragalus
  • shitake & miatake mushrooms are also good additions
  • I also put rosemary and sage from the garden in this brew.
How To Make
  1. Place knuckles, marrow bones and optional calves foot in a large pot with water and apple cider vinegar and let it stand for one hour.
  2. Meantime, place the meaty ribs in an oven and brown at 350F (175C).
  3. When well browned, add to the pot together with the fat from the roasting tray.
  4. Fill the roasted fat tray with hot water and scrape the coagulated juices.
  5. Add this liquid to the pot.
  6. Add all the vegetables.
  7. Add extra water, if needed, to cover the bones but keep the water level below 1 inch from the rim of the pot.
  8. Bring to a boil.
  9. A large amount of scum will come to the top – it’s important to remove it with a spoon.
  10. After removing the scum, add thyme and peppercorns and lower the heat to simmer.
  11. Simmer for 12 to 72 hours, the slower the better.
  12. Add parsley 10 minutes before finishing.
  13. The pot will look and smell repulsive at this point but do not despair – it is a delicious foundation of many recipes and a healing food.
  14. Remove all bones with tongs and strain the stock to glass containers, such as mason jars.
  15. Let it cool down before refrigeration or freezing.
  16. Freeze some of the stock for maximum freshness but be sure that if you are using a glass container (recommended) always leave an inch from the rim of the jar for the stock to expand when it freezes.

NOTES

Modifications For low FODMAPs – skip the onions, optionally add asafetida instead.
For Low Histamine – skip the ACV.

Practical tips: 

  • Sourcing of bones is important – it’s important to get bones from a grass-fed animal (not just organic). I found that the best option is to find a farmers’ market (you can locate one near you here), make friends with a farmer and order your bones from him.
  • My Organic Market, or MOM”s at is affectionately known is also a great resource for quality produce and some bulk herbs. They have many locations in MD/DC/VA.
  • Other places to buy quality herbs online are Jean’s Greens and Mountain Rose Herbs.
  • It’s best not to use crucifers (such as broccoli, radishes) in bone broths as they tend to make the broth taste bitter.
  • The reason for using apple cider vinegar is to extract the maximum amount of minerals and vitamins from the bones.
  • You can also collect bones (for example from a whole roasted chicken) in your freezer and make a bone broth once you have a sufficient amount of them.

Bon Appétit!

As always you can reach me through my websites: bodyandsoulhealingarts.com and angelaferri.com.

Are you overwhelmed by the process of restoring health?

Let’s see what the fairytale, Rumplestiltskin
has to teach about this process:

Damsel: Oh dear! I don’t know how to turn this room full of straw into gold!
What ever shall I do???
Rumplestiltskin: Never fear! I know how to help you!
But, I’ll need you to provide me something of value for my help.
Damsel: Of course! Here is my necklace in return for your help!

Damsel: Oh no! I have to turn a bigger room full of straw into gold! Will you help me????
Rumplestiltskin: Of course. But again, I will need you to provide me with something you value in exchange for my help.
Damsel: Yes, of course. Here is my ring.

Damsel: I’m so distraught! I have to turn an even bigger room full of straw into gold. Alas, I have nothing to give you in return for your help.

The little imp gets to work on the huge room of straw turning it into gold. When finished he notifies our heroine that he requires her first born child in payment. Horrors!

Our damsel is beside herself, learning of the horrible bargain. Rumplestiltskin offers: If you can guess my name, you will be released from the bargain. Our damsel employs the help of her community to learn the name of the strange little man. One of her allies hears Rumplestiltskin, as he dances around his fire, singing out his own name! Her ally returns with the news, and shares his name with the damsel.

When the little man returns for his due, after the birth of the damsel’s child, he is furious when she guesses his name. For in doing so, she breaks the horrible spell. At that moment Rumplestiltskin stomps his foot, and instantly splits in two.

Unfortunately, the process of restoring health can feel as impossible as turning straw into gold, and as harrowing as this story. And as in any house, all rooms need to be tended to.

  • The first room of straw, tending to the body, is most easily accepted as part of the process of healing. In order to make progress on the way to optimal health, payment of some form is needed. The most obvious is paying a professional for their guidance/talents. But ultimately it requires giving up the way you used to treat your body, in exchange for a new, healthier way to nourish and care for your body.
  • The second room of straw could be seen as restoration of emotional health. So often people are stressed because of difficulties in their relationships with others, whether professional, familial, or personal. These conlficts take a great toll on a persons health. At the same time, looking more deeply, you see that relational challenges begin within. Problematic relating is learned, or imprinted, in our family of origin before we had any say.

    The price to be paid here, to have assistance with transforming our relationships, again may be paying a professional for their guidance/talents. On a deeper level, it is the payment of relinquishing a way of being with others and ourselves that was uncomfortable at best, and dysfunctional to varying degrees. The former way of being is traded for new awareness and new behavior that can generate “golden” relationships and emotional health, which also contributes to improved physical health.

  • The third room requires deep trust in the process. You can see how changing your physical habits create more health. And then you’ve seen how interpersonal relationships improve your well-being. What more could there be? This is where external authority is ultimately relinquished. Here is the most challenging bargain of all, as what needs to be given up is what your family, your culture, your country has told you is TRUE.

    The “spell” of the bargain is broken. Rumplestiltskin, the mysterious little imp, stomps his foot in anger and is split in two. The illusion of power over our damsel is broken. The veil of illusion split in two. You have earned the right to keep your own new life: no one else ultimately has authority over you.

Try this exercise when you have a few minutes,
to explore how it feels when things begin to transform:

  • Bring your attention within. How are you feeling? Disheartened? Anxious? Suspicious? Let yourself take a few moments to notice how your body feels. Notice any emotions you are feeling. Don’t try to change your emotions…if you are anxious, be anxious! Notice how ‘anxious’ feels, and make space for it. And breathe.

    After you’ve taken a few deep breaths, close your eyes and gently revisit a time of moderate challenge for you. What feelings do you remember? Sadness? Fear? Loneliness? What ever those feelings were, notice what happens in your body, being with the memory.

    What happens? Does your breath become more shallow? Do your chest and shoulders constrict? Whatever it is just notice what affects it has on your body…your breathing. Now gently let that memory go.

  • Now, take a few slow, deep breaths. Travel in memory to a time when you experienced a breakthrough in your life. What feelings do you remember? Elation? Inspiration? Joy? Whatever they were, let your body feel all those feelings from that time. Feel them fully.

    What do you notice in your body? Does your spine begin to straighten? Do you feel your heart in your chest expanding? Do you feel your energy rising? Does a smile come to your face? Enjoy the memory, then gently let this one fade too.

Example: Not too long ago, one of my clients was lying on the table telling me how afraid she was of injuring herself again. Yet, she didn’t want to give up on the activities she loves. Who could blame her? In that moment I was reminded of the teachers who encouraged me to listen to my intuition…”it’s going to rain, bring your umbrella” ……”slow down, you don’t know what’s around that corner”…You know, that still, small voice within that is constantly looking out for you?

I wondered if my client was consciously aware of the value of listening for that inner knowing? We explored this during her time on the table, and I could sense she hadn’t really tuned in this way previously, even though she is quite a conscious person. She later reported that the shift in her attention toward listening to that still, small voice is helping her honor her limits. It’s keeping her safe.

My client had come to resolve the effects of a previous injury to her body, which was being tended to, during our session. During the treatment, fear arose, which she gave voice to…there was a lack of trust in herself, physically and relationally, because of the accident she had experienced. Through my sharing of the importance in bringing more attention to the “still, small voice” as trusted inner guidance, she later saw that was able to trust that she knew how to keep herself safe. She became more empowered.

Healing is a multidimensional process. The process of restoring health naturally takes committed tending to body, emotions, relationships and spirit. Through the process you are likely to become adept at transforming any “straw” in your life into a golden opportunity!

3 Tips to Stay Healthy in the Changing Season

Here are a few things to keep you healthy as we head into cooler and colder days:

  1. Keep NAC, Olive Leaf extract and Oregano oil in capsules on hand to nip colds in the bud.
  2. Lemon water is much better for you when your sick, than orange juice. The high sugar content of orange juice keeps your body in an acid state. To get well we need to have our blood pH move toward being alkaline.
  3. Use shitake, miatake (hen of the woods) and reishi mushrooms in soup stock and other meals that call for mushrooms. They are immune boosting and miatake is anti-tumoral.
I hope you are enjoying the changing season!
Yours, in health,
~Angela