After three winters of having bronchitis right at Christmas time, and that seemingly never-ending cough that went along with it, I decided to take some control of things this winter! I have planned a three-layer approach to this problem, and hope that it makes a difference. Of course, we always do the regular stuff like get a flu shot and try to eat healthy foods. But this time, I’m determined to try a few new tricks to see if we can prevent this miserable stuff before it even gets a chance to start. The first couple of years that this happened to me, I just decided to tough it out (we haven’t had health insurance now for about five years and I didn’t want to spend the money going to the dr.), so I treated the symptoms as they increased in severity, including sore throat, cough, congestion, ear aches, cough, head aches, chills and fever, cough, and on and on it went, for over three months.
The second year of this miserable annoyance was when I finally broke down and got a subscription to Netflix. I’m not much of a movie watcher (well, I wasn’t up to that point in my life!), but after weeks of being too miserable even to hold a book to read, and not having the strength to do anything at all, including laundry, cooking, and dishes, I was so annoyed to be “wasting” time that I thought I could at least watch a movie that had some educational / inspirational / meaningful benefit. That’s just one of my many idiosyncrasies . . . . I grew up where the rule of life was “First you work and THEN you can play.”
So the very thought of spending precious time watching a movie that was “frivolous” or simply funny was quite a stretch of my mental tolerance. But with Netflix I discovered some amazing historical stories; especially the stories of people who survived the Great Depression and the two World Wars were fascinating to me. And then there are the movies that have been made from classic literary works like Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre . . . . . . I guess I could go on and on about that discovery, but back to the point of Healthy Holiday Recipes.
All of that was great fun, but of course while watching all of those fascinating flix, wrapped up in a blanket, wearing my warm fuzzy socks and sipping hot chocolate, I wasn’t actually accomplishing anything (well, anything that I could put on a resume). So, it was fun while it lasted, but this year I decided to try to fight back before this misery got me in its clutches. One of the things that did seem to help (eventually) the last time I got bronchitis, was to take Mucinex. Although it doesn’t seem to “do” anything initially, the congestion that had settled in my lungs finally began to clear up – but it took a few weeks for it to go away completely, and even longer for that blasted cough to be silenced.
This year, back in September, I asked the pharmacist (still don’t want to go to the dr. if I don’t have to!) if it would help to start taking the Mucinex before all the congestion knocked me down. He said it couldn’t hurt, and even though the stuff is kind of expensive, I’ve been taking now for for 10 or twelve weeks, and there seems to be no congestion. A little tickle in my throat this past weekend, but I’m being diligent!
But the bigger change I’m working on is making healthy-er choices in my nutritional line up as well as trying to focus on getting more exercise. I used to teach aerobics back in the day of leg warmers and Jane Fonda ;o) but since we brought the girls home back in 2002 and 2005, I’ve been so focused on them that I haven’t been paying much attention to myself and my own health. Well, I guess high blood pressure will get one’s attention! I am now working with a personal trainer and this has now become one of my baby steps to success: “If I am going to put it into my mouth, it should have some nutritional value.” That’s a great place to start! No huge lifestyle changes, just focusing on what I am actually doing in a day rather than flying through every minute of every day, working on this, that, and a million other things that are all screaming my name, and not taking time to take care of myself.
This holiday season I am not going to deprive my family of the traditional foods that we have come to treasure as part of our family’s Christmas celebration. I am, however, going to try adding a few recipes with a healthier “twist” on the old favorites. As I’m searching for ideas to bring new ideas into our lineup of traditions, here are a few of the “baby steps” that I’m taking to get healthier and stay healthy right now and into the new year:
1. Drink more water – I’ve been drinking two cups of herb tea every afternoon while I’m working
2. Add a few colorful veggies each day – I cut up some red, orange, and yellow sweet peppers and added a few baby carrots.
3. Go to the Y to work out once a week
4. Spend 20 minutes twice a week stretching and lifting light weights
5. Plan ahead – if I have the “right” foods available, then it makes it much easier to avoid the “wrong” foods
That’s a start. Easy stuff, no huge adjustments, but as I build on these “baby steps,” I look forward to learning more about how to keep myself and my family healthy. So far, no bronchitis. That’s a big accomplishment for me, in light of the past three winters, so I’ll try to stay focused and try to get through the winter with minimal misery. If you have ideas for healthy holiday recipes, I would love to hear from you!
Here are a few that I found while I was searching the blogosphere: