Bite sized wisdom: winter is here

Dear Friends,

We are deep into winter. Leaves have fallen, birds have flown, and as I scribble down these words snow is making its second appearance. The beauty of snow is that it falls out of the darkest skies, on the gloomiest of days. It reminds us that some magic requires shadows to be seen.

This is true of our own magic and creativity. We as humans are made up of happiness and sadness, health and sickness, positivity and negativity, and yet we always seem to think that one is better than the other. It’s not. To fully appreciate the light we need to go as deeply into the darkness. I think this is why we have our own winters.

Usually winter makes us feel cold and bare. Many plants and animals are nowhere to be seen so we start believing that we are surrounded by something negative. We are not. While things may seem dead, they are actually re-energizing, planning and preparing for a new life ahead. Why do you think spring is one of the most colorful seasons? It’s because after conserving all the energy, the flora and fauna is ready to be reborn and appear in all its glory. I’d like to think this is also the reason we celebrate the New Year and the ‘new us’ during winter.

On a personal note, as is evident by lack of activity on the site, I’ve been fully immersed in my own winter. Though my winter came earlier than it did for others, I believe that come spring I will be more energized to create and give back than I have in the past.

After all these years I’ve learned that taking things slow and being constant is more important than rushing ahead in bursts of energy. One of my personal goals for 2016 is to stay constant. I will commit myself to writing at least one blog a week. The reason I’m sharing my personal goal with you is because having a support system as we go through life, or an outlet into which we can pour our thoughts and get back new perspectives, will help us grow better and stronger than if we do it alone.

I’m going back to basics and learning to live simply. A lemon tree produces just one sort of fruit all its life, but it does it so well! Instead of trying to be everything and nothing, because I get overwhelmed with all that I need to do, I’m allowing myself to focus on just one thing and perfecting that art as I go.

Life is short, and we should experience as much as we can, but we shouldn’t sacrifice on quality just so that we can increase the count. I’ve come to know that more is not always better. So, I’m getting behind nature and learning to take my sweet time because I know that when the time comes the fruits of labor will be that much sweeter!

Happy New Year!

Fighting the Flu

Flu season is rearing its ugly head, surrounding us with a cacophony of sniffles, sneezes, and coughs. It’s a good opportunity to build on last week’s post with a more generalized theme: the common cold and flu. It is important to know how to keep your immune system strong to fight off sickness. So, whether you’re sick or trying to stay healthy, here is what you need to know about warding off diseases.


chicken brothAs simple as it sounds, a well-balanced diet is vital to keeping your body healthy. Your immune system relies on a wide variety of minerals and vitamins to function efficiently. Research has not identified any vitamin or nutrient that can single-handedly boost your immune system, so it’s important to consume a recommended balance of micronutrients. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, and low in added sugars and saturated or trans fats, should keep your body well-supplied. Multivitamins are beneficial to this end but should not be relied on or used to excuse a poor diet. Probiotics, found in active-culture yogurts and miso, also contribute to immune and digestive function. Of course, other healthy habits – sleeping well, exercising regularly, reducing stress, etc. – and proper sanitation – washing your hands, covering your cough, disinfecting surfaces, etc. – are also crucial.


Unlike gastrointestinal illnesses, colds and flu do not impact your digestive system enough to call for a severe change in diet. Nonetheless, there are a number of foods that will assist in symptom relief as well as combat your virus at a cellular level.

  • Gargling warm water with salt for one minute helps relieve sore throats. Salt reduces inflammation by extracting moisture from tissues and membranes and prevents bacteria from growing after flushing them out.
  • Spicy food helps thin mucus and is a natural decongestant. Garlic, cayenne, and paprika are common spices that can easily be added to any dish for this purpose.
  • Honey – in warm water or by the spoonful – soothes sore throats due to its consistency and antibacterial properties.
  • Lemon, typically used in combination with honey, has antibacterial properties, fights mucus, and can relieve pain in sore areas of the throat.
  • Warm, clear liquids soothe sore throats, thin mucus, and keep your body hydrated. Teas and broth-based soups are the best examples of this. Soup can also be a great source of nutrients because vegetables become easier to digest once they have been cooked down in broth.
  • Milk has been found to thicken phlegm, although whether or not it generates more phlegm or mucus has been debated. Avoidance is a personal decision, and consumption won’t seriously impede recovery.

Given the sensitive condition of your body, you should pay attention not only to what but to how you eat. Eat frequently to sustain your energy but in smaller portions, so as not to overwhelm your body by forcing it to break down a large meal while it’s trying to fight an infection.

Eat up and get well soon.