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Even healthcare practitioners get sick. Which is exactly what happened to me last Monday. There I was in my sad state. Crazy hair sticking out, clutching a blanket in one hand and a tissue box in the other (wishing I had the kind with lotion!). If you’re like me, there’s no time in your schedule to be sick. This is what I did to kick my cold fast:

1. Drink 3-4 cups of tea. There were no Chinese herbs at home and the 40-minute bus commute to the office seemed like it would take forever. I had to get creative.
Start with piping hot tea right off the stove. Any kind will do: green, chamomile, mint, anything decaf or no caffeine preferred. I drank several cups of white peony tea (Chinese herb bai shao in Pinyin) to help relax my muscles.

2. Forget “Starve a Cold, Feed a Fever” or however you say it. When your immune system is under attack, you need all the energy you can get from food, so eat up! The best foods for you when you’re getting sick are soups and stews, and cooked vegetables. Typically, I make a homemade chicken soup and eat it 48 hours nonstop when I feel the flu or a cold coming. This week that was not an option (too fatigued). Instead, I steamed green beans and drizzled olive oil over it with salt and pepper.

3. Eat a lot of onions and garlic. As if you’re not going to talk to anyone for a week. Seriously. Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal. Hello super foods. One of my friends grew up in Poland and swears drinking warm milk with garlic cloves helps immensely (and I’ve had some success with it too). Out of coconut milk, I turned to my favorite vehicle for garlic: the Greek dish skordalia. This dish will have you swimming in a garlic vortex. This recipe calls for 8 cloves of garlic; I usually put in 5-6 cloves and omit almonds. As for onions, adding them to a homemade soup is best. But if you don’t have the strength to make soup (or someone else taking care of you), do what I did and make an omelet with carmelized onions. Yum!

4. Double or triple Vitamin D3 dosage…and add Vitamin K2 to the mix. Vitamin D3 helps boost your immune system. Everyday I take a high dose of it but this week I tripled up and made sure to supplement Vitamin K2, which helps your body process Vitamin D3 more efficiently.

5. Rest, rest, rest. Become a cat, in that you lay around and spend a lot of time sleeping. This will help your body detox and replenish your energy. I took 2 naps which is unheard of for me. Everyone’s different. Listen to your body and take it easy.

After implementing all 5 of these things, I was about 80% better on Tuesday and able to return to the land of the living that afternoon. Of course, this list is not exclusive. What do you do when you’re getting sick? Please leave your advice below in the comments to help make a more comprehensive list.

Stay well this season!

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