6 Things to Increase and Boost Your Immunity

Being the mother of two small children ages 2 and 4, I found myself getting sick quite frequently. I was appalled at how often we were all passing around colds until I researched and found that on average, kids get 12-20 colds PER YEAR! Ugh. So getting sick is, for the time being, inevitable and unavoidable.

However, I have been doing some things to keep from getting completely knocked on my butt each time one of the kids get sick. And I have actually noticed that I have escaped some illnesses that have affected my kids and if I do get sick my symptoms are noticeably more tolerable and I get better faster. Here are my tips for getting better faster and maintaining a healthy immune system:

1) Sinus Rinse: I use a sinus rinse everyday regardless if I am sick or not. If I am sick, then I do it once in the morning and once at night before bed. Not only does it help keep my nasal passages clear but it helps wash out bacteria and allergens giving you a better chance of avoiding sickness and getting over an illness faster.

neilmed

2) Elderberry tea: I make myself a cup of elderberry tea at least once per day. If I’m fighting a bug then I try and drink a cup every two hours or so. Elderberries have an exceptionally high amount of antioxidants, more than Vitamin C, and other immune boosting attributes. I buy dried elderberries in a 1# bulk package from Vitacost. Just pour boiling water over a teaspoon and steep for about 5 minutes. I also use it to make Wellness Mama’s Elderberry Syrup that I give to myself and my family when we’ve got a cold. It’s much cheaper to make than to buy.

Elderberries (Sambucus) have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. (Source)

elder-berry-tea

3) Apple cider vinegar: I also drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every morning. I know, it sounds terrible but it’s actually not that bad mixed with a cup of ice cold water. You’ll want to make sure that you actually mix it with water since taking a straight shot of acetic acid can irritate the esophagus and be hard on your teeth enamel. There are loads of articles that talk about the many benefits of apple cider vinegar but I mostly consume it to help with heartburn and help my liver in flushing out toxins.
apple cider vinegar

4) Dry Brushing: Your skin is your largest organ yet it’s generally a very neglected part of our body. Our skin is our first line of defense in preventing illness and disease so it’s a great idea to give it as much TLC as possible. Dry brushing is not only great for exfoliating the skin but it also aids the body it getting rid of toxins by stimulating the lymphatic system. Other benefits include increasing circulation, reducing cellulite, and improving digestive and kidney health. I do this every morning before I get in the shower. Use a stiff bristled body brush and brush in an upward or circular motion towards your heart. Dry brushing helps with circulation as well as ridding your body of toxins since you are brushing across the hundreds of lymph nodes throughout your body.

body brush

5) Fermented Cod Liver Oil: I take about a 1/2 teaspoon of Green Pasture’s Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil daily. I really like the ‘Cinnamon Tingle’ flavor and it doesn’t taste ‘fishy’ at all. If I am sick then I will take up to 10mL a day which is about 2 teaspoons to help me get better faster. Not all fish oil is created equal and Diane Sanfilippo has an excellent article, “FAQs: All about fermented cod liver oil (and why I don’t take fish oil)” explaining the differences between a regular fish oil supplement and cod liver oil.

codliveroil

6) Eating a clean and processed food free diet and staying hydrated: This is probably the most important thing you can do for your health and immunity. By eating a clean and processed food free diet you are giving your body the necessary and best tools to fight off illness. If it comes in a box it’s probably not that great for you. Don’t be fooled by ‘low calorie’ and ‘low fat’ labels. These labels often mean the product has an exorbitant amount of sugar in it. Drinking enough water throughout the day makes for better digestion, clearer skin, and more energy among many MANY other benefits.

What do you do to stay healthy?

Funny things that happen when you work out

I’ve recently started working out regularly again after a two year exercise and fitness slump. My diet stayed pretty on point but I lost a fair amount of muscle tone. And then having another kid threw a bit of a wrench into the routine as well. So I’ve come up with a pretty solid routine that includes weight training and group fitness classes 4-5 times a week. I’ll share my routine in a subsequent post

But I wanted to mention some funny things that have recently happened to me me whilst working out.

1) Crotch sweat: I might need to rethink these aquamarine compression capris I’ve been working out in because I got a wicked case of crotch sweat that seriously made it look like I peed my pants. I guess, ‘yay’ for obviously working so hard that my vag and surrounding area felt the need to excessively cool themselves via copious amounts of diaphoresis. Here’s a picture: (I have no shame)

crotch sweat

2) Inadvertent boob peep show: I was participating in an hour long strength and conditioning circuit workout class and one of the stations included doing a Bear Crawl with the male instructor holding a resistance band behind me making it much more difficult to get across the gym floor. The image below basically illustrates what I was doing except that someone was behind me keeping resistance on the band instead of being fastened to a pole. As I was crawling across the floor, my chest started to feel a bit exposed and lo and behold, my boobs, albeit completely flat and saggy post two breastfed babies’ boobs, were popping out for all to see. Because I was wearing the resistance band somewhat like a vest, the band went underneath my armpits and was pulling my shirt and sports bra down allowing the nips and aforementioned breast tissue to peek. I immediately stood up at the end and pulled up my shirt hoping no one saw the goods.

bear crawl
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k6qX3SOEFY

3) Older nude women chattin’ you up in the locker room: I don’t have a picture of this for obvious reasons. After I finish my workout, I like to sit in the lobby and drink my protein shake and read while I use up my free allotted time of two hours of child care. It’s quite possibly the BEST part of my day. Oh, and they serve FREE local coffee from Ozo Coffee. (If you’re ever in the Boulder, CO area find a shop and go.) I just finished up washing my hands when this nice 70ish old woman in the buff just starts talking to me about how much she HATES the locker rooms. I can feel my ‘me’ time minutes slipping away as I politely concurred with her about the inadequacies of the facilities and promised her that I would mention it to the ‘higher ups’ at the next fundraising meeting. I’m such a terrible person for lying to an old woman.

4) Lifters cussing under their breaths during their last rep: As you can probably tell, I am not a very mature person. Bodily functions make me, and probably always will, laugh sometimes unreasonably hard. Being around a very large and ripped individual who says, “shit” under their breath after every set is comical to me. And of course, he had extremely skinny legs but I think he’s working on them.

5) Lonely people wanting to tell you their life story while you’re clearly working out: This particular story happened to me when I was working out at the YMCA in downtown Colorado Springs when I was in high school. I was running on the treadmill when a very weather beaten, quite honestly, homeless looking woman approached me and nonchalantly started our conversation with, “I almost got raped last night.”

“Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed completely out of breath because I was RUNNING. I asked her if she had called the police and she shrugged it off saying that as soon as her assailant pulled down her pants in an alley at knife-point and saw that she was on HER PERIOD he ran away. And then she got on the treadmill next to me and did some sprints. I guess she just needed to lie tell someone her story.

Do you have any funny or weird and interesting gym stories?

thirty

Turning 30

Why is turning 30 a big deal in our society? I think it’s because, for some reason, it signifies adulthood and maturity. Your 20s are a bit lame in the fact that you’re still trying to really figure out who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing. I was all over the place as far as what I thought I wanted to do with my life and there were many years where I was riddled with anxiety. [However, my 20s were great in the fact that I got married and had two children :-)]

Ok, that’s a load of BS because I feel like that if you really figure things out then that means that you potentially stop growing and forsake change. So, for me, turning 30 is about taking some big steps into the unknown and allowing myself to be more vulnerable.  Here are some of my goals for this 30th year of my life that I’ve been blessed with:

1) Become a gainfully employed personal trainer and group exercise instructor with a bevy of clients whose lives I am somewhat changing for the better. My deep desire is to instill in people a love of fitness and healthy eating and be able to give them the tools they need to give themselves a long, healthy and fit filled life.

2) Contribute to this blog on a weekly basis so that I can connect and learn with others in the blogosphere. Writing is a true passion of mine and I would like to share it with others.

3) Travel to China. My husband travels to China multiple times a year for his job and I would LOVE to go with him for a wedding that we’ve been invited to in Hong Kong in March of 2016, but I have some SERIOUS anxiety about traveling that far. I have never left the United States nor been on a plane for longer than 4 hours.

4) Stop being so afraid. (See above.)

I’m sure that I will add to this list as the year goes on but these four things are the main goals and aspirations that I’ve had on my mind for quite sometime, even before turning 30. I will certainly be revisiting these goals in future blog posts to hold myself accountable.

Have you turned 30 yet? What are your goals and aspirations for this year?

Mother’s Day

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I had a pretty awesome Mother’s Day and thought that I should write about it since I’m a mother [that word kind of bums me out, I much prefer mom] and I’ve read a lot of other charming posts about the subject. I really enjoyed this post at Inkrichment. However, I’m not sure how ‘charming’ this post will be…

I awoke at three in the morning to feed my, apparently, ravenous baby boy. Yea, it would’ve been nice if I could have slept through the night, being that it was Mother’s Day and all, but no. This was after I listened to him stubbornly cry out for an hour hoping he’d just fall back asleep. Sometimes I can just tune it out but I usually end up laying in bed with a super tense body and then my husband will shift in bed which I then assume, probably incorrectly, means that he wants me to get up to feed Jack and put him back to bed. There are nights where my husband tries to put him back to sleep which is very thoughtful except that, did you know that babies can smell the difference between parents? I suppose it makes sense that I smell like ‘food’ since I walk around with two flesh balloons capable of producing the sweet, sweet nectar that is breast milk, underneath my shirt. [I’m really looking forward to when I don’t have wear a nursing bra to bed for fear that I’ll wake up covered in a wet sticky mess. Although, that might still happen even though I’ve stopped lactating…Inappropriate? Ehhh] When my son realizes that my husband has walked into his room to comfort him he pitches a ROYAL fit. I can only imagine this going through his 10 month old brain, “YOU DON’T HAVE BOOBS! WHAT THE ‘EFF?! I DON’T WANT YOU TO HOLD ME AND COMFORT ME, I WANT SOME HOT CREAM IN MY MOUTH!” (Also probably wholly inappropriate but you get the gist.)

So I inevitably get up anyway, feed him for 10-15 minutes and put back to sleep. He does stay asleep usually until 8 in the morning so that’s a bonus.

Back to Mother’s Day, after the 3 AM feeding, I crawl back into bed and am FREEZING because it decides to flippin’ snow in the middle of May. I shouldn’t be surprised or upset since I’ve lived in Colorado most of my life, but I was looking forward to doing some gardening! My husband and daughter come upstairs to give me presents and I kind of wish this happened:

I got a super sweet blown up 8×10 framed photo of my two babes and an EXCELLENT drawing done by my three-year-old daughter as seen above. Paleo pancakes were on the way that I covered in coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, blueberries and walnuts. And three strips of bacon and some green tea. My husband also did all of the dishes and bathed the kids that night, so pretty great day.

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Liebster award!

rliebster-award

So I was nominated twice for this award and I figure that I should FINALLY write a post about it.  I want to send many humble thanks to Oh How Random  and A Little of This a Little of That for nominating me!

Here are the guidelines for accepting the award: (Which I directly copied from A Little of This a Little of That)

  • Post the award on your blog
  • Thank the blogger who presented the award to you and link back to their blog
  • Share 11 things about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you by the person that nominated you
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers
  • Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Notify your nominees by posting your nomination on their blog.

11 Things About Myself

1) My middle name is Roach.

2) I’m still driving the same car since I graduated from high school. Rockin’ the ’95 Toyota Camry

3) I’ve lost 50 pounds and have kept it off for three years.

4) My life long dream is to get paid to read.

5) I have a SERIOUS obsession with Roget’s Thesaurus

6) I met my husband when I was 19 and often think how lucky I am to not have had to wade through too many crappy menfolk to find my one-and-only

7) I love to read and wish so badly that there was more time in the day or I had a workingTime-Turner‘ like Hermione’s in Harry Potter

8) I’m really into this whole Paleo Diet thing

9) I definitely want to make a pilgrimage to the Vatican City and meet Papa Francisco

10) I want to be able to get up at 5:30 AM consistently

11) I hope to run a marathon in a different country someday

Questions given to me by A Little of This a Little of That

  1. What song gets your booty moving, no matter where you hear it? All the Single Ladies-Beyonce
  2. What is your favorite childhood memory? Traveling to New Jersey with my Nanni and Pop-Pop
  3. If you could sit on a park bench with anyone (alive or on the other side) and talk for one hour, who wold it be and why? Leonardo DaVinci. Is there anything he DIDN’T do, seriously?!
  4. How many items are on your bucket list? I don’t have one…
  5. What is your favorite post on my site? Zero to Hero Assignment 9
  6. If you could be one super hero, who would it be? Elastagirl from The Incredibles
  7. Would you ever give your significant other a hall pass? NO
  8. Favorite meal? Grass-fed  bison burger with bacon, fried egg, arugula, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds and avocado. Baked sweet potato with coconut oil, cinnamon and salt. Followed by a rich and creamy vanilla coconut milk malt
  9. What are the top 5 places you’d like to visit? Rome, Ireland, Scotland, India, Peru
  10. What would your theme song be? The Wind – Cat Stevens
  11. Soda or pop? Neither but when I pronounce it I say, “soda”

Questions given to me by Oh How Random

  1.  Where do you really want to live? I’m quite happy living in Erie, CO but I would love to build my own custom house someday similar to Zeke and Camille’s house in the show Parenthood. That kitchen, that backyard!
  2. What is your favorite color? Green
  3. Who is your hero? The elderly. We have much we can learn from them and they are often quite marginalized in our society.
  4. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would you pick? Pope Francis
  5. What is your general ringtone? Strum
  6. Do you like your name? If no, what would you prefer to be? YES
  7. How would you describe your style? Classic and kind of preppy. Clean.
  8. Extrovert or Introvert. Which best describes you? Extrovert
  9. What is your dream vehicle? Time machine
  10. What is your favorite vacation spot? The mountains

Questions for MY Nominees:

  1. If you could change your job to anything you wanted to, what would you do?
  2. What inspires you?
  3. What’s your all time favorite movie?
  4. What’s one song that reminds you of your childhood?
  5. What’s your favorite food to cook?
  6. What is your favorite pastime?
  7. Dog or cat?
  8. What is your favorite book?
  9. What is your favorite thing to wear?
  10. How do you like to relax at night?
  11. Coffee or tea?

School dance poop

Following with the Zero to Hero blogging challenge, I am supposed to write a post inspired by my About Me page, which if you haven’t looked at yet, you should. So I figure that many of you are curious about the first sentence of my About page so here’s the story.

high school2

I was a freshman in high school and I mustered up the courage to ask this guy I had a SERIOUS crush on, like Angela had with Jordan Catalano serious,  to our equivalent of the Sadie Hawkins dance called ‘Morp’ or ‘prom’ spelled backwards. We were on the newspaper together and I looked forward to third period every single day. I had his phone number, everyone had each other’s on the newspaper staff, so I never had to ask him for his number, thank goodness. And I decided to ask him over the phone because I had an excuse to talk to him about an article we were working on together and this would also allow me to not see his face as he possibly turned me down and would prevent him from seeing my scarlet face. To my complete and utter amazement he said that he loved to go with me. I was so giddy, I’m not sure I even slept that night. However, a few days prior to the dance he said that he couldn’t go because he had family friends that were coming into town. I was crushed but ‘understood’ and I went anyway with my best friend.

My best friend, at the time, and I got ready at my house and walked downtown to get some dinner beforehand. I got fried chicken fingers with a side of fries and norovirus. About two hours later, I was slow dancing with some kid when I got that undeniable feeling that something was about to go terribly, terribly wrong. My mouth got super watery like a dog’s mouth before they start retching and you try and scoot them outside so as to avoid an awful mess on the carpet. So I marched myself to the bathroom which was, of course, full of girls, and knelt down in front of the toilet. What was different about this stomach ailment in comparison to others in my life was the fact that I had to choose if I was going to shit my pants and puke on the floor or try my darndest to keep my butt cheeks together and vomit in the toilet. I tried the latter. And it didn’t work out too well. I threw my underwear away at the dance. The security guard saw me emerge from the stall and said, “Girl! You look green!” She got me some water and that was the nicest she ever was to me. I tried to call my parents to pick me up. Apparently, they were so engrossed in movie watching that the phone just wasn’t even heard. My best friend’s parents came and took me home and I made it just in time for round two. I have never, even to this day, felt so sick in my entire life. I thought I was dying. My dad’s a paramedic so lucky for me he had an ambulance swing by the house to drop off some saline and Droperidol, a powerful antiemetic. You never feel so close to your mom as you do when she holds up your IV bag outside the bathroom door while you buckshot diarrhea and spew. Moms, gotta love ’em.

My dress also had a ginormous spot on it that my mom and I tried to get out at home and then we took it to the dry-cleaner. We picked it up and the employee said, “What was on this? I just couldn’t get it out. I ran it through like three times.” At the risk of cracking up, my mom and I made sure to avoid one another’s gaze and just shrug. So I disposed of it along with a bit of my pride. I was thankful however that my date flaked out which come to find out, he really did flake out and went to a movie with a bunch of his buddies. High school is the worst.

Dear perfect reader,

My ‘perfect’ reader, per the Zero to Hero blogging challenge is someone that ‘gets me’ and namely, my sense of humor. I have a pretty dry and at times caustic wit that rubs some people the wrong way.  Multiple times throughout my life I’ve had friends tell me that when they first met me they thought that I didn’t like them. One of my husband’s co-workers told a fellow employee at the Christmas party that, “Ross’ wife scares me.” I’m just really sarcastic, honestly!

Here is a picture of me in my natural habitat.

Drinking tea in my kitchen
Drinking tea in my kitchen

Quite unassuming, non-threatening and silly, just enjoying a cup of tea. You’re probably scoping out that sweet, sweet timepiece affixed to my wall adjacent to the fridge. It was a gift from our realtor. It has a face on either side. It’s my “Platform 9 3/4” clock. Also, on the fridge are a number of penises. Yep dongs. But they’re artistic, see?

I actually have 6 magnet wangs but I feel that you get the gist with the above 4.
I actually have 6 magnet wangs but I feel that you get the gist with the above 4.

And I can’t not show off my daughter’s artwork. What kind of a mother would I be if I didn’t awe others with her masterpiece that is, unbeknownst to her, another penis.

Daughter's painting
Daughter’s painting

And so this is my life. So if you were my ideal reader you’d be ok with the occasional, although based on this post perhaps more frequent, phallic references and or images.

I’ve also had people who upon first meeting them feel comfortable enough to share with me there life story. Here’s a bit of a doozy, and I didn’t make this up. [My ideal reader would also believe every word I wrote] When I was is high school I would frequent my local YMCA gym to workout. One particular afternoon I was running on the treadmill when a woman whose face was so weather beaten you would think she was a 60+ year old homeless woman, saddled up next to me and starting chatting me up. A normal occurrence? Perhaps, but what she proceeded to tell my somewhat virgin 17 year old ears was a bit extraordinary. [Isn’t it sometimes the worst when you’re clearly working out/RUNNING and someone tries to talk to you?]

Right after exchanging pleasantries, “Hi how are you?” “Good and you?” etc. she just goes right ahead and says nonchalantly, “So I was almost raped last night.” I immediately took my speed down to a 4 and exclaimed. “Oh my gosh! Did you call the police?!” And with indifference she said, “Nah. He pulled down my pants and saw that I was on my period and then he ran away.” “Well that’s lucky?” I said. She nodded and was apparently all done with her warm-up because she smiled at me, said thank you for talking with her and was on her way. And that was that. I never saw her again but obviously, I still think about her. I can only gather that she needed someone to tell this information to, whether it was true or not, and I exuded some sort of ‘I don’t judge even if you may or may not be crazy’ vibe.

And I like that about myself; approachable and non-threatening.