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Stay Well This Winter

Updated: Jan 20

This week, I found myself under the weather with a cold, stuffed sinuses, and a slight fever. Thankfully, my bout of illness was brief. Today, I’d like to share some insights on navigating sickness and how to aim for a speedy recovery.


I'll be sharing some of my personal practices that I use when I sense an impending illness and during the times I'm not feeling well iin order to help others stay well this winter.

It's important to emphasize that the information shared is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider. As I am not a medical doctor, I am posting this disclaimer:




The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on my website or anywhere else on the internet.


Always consult your healthcare provider before trying any new treatments.


Use of this content is at your sole risk.



Who Enjoys Being Sick?

When I was young, I was the kid who missed the most days of school.  I was the child to whom all the other kids wrote letters because I was out for one month with pneumonia and bronchitis.


Do you want to know why I was always ill? It was because I enjoyed being sick!


When I was sick:

  • I was allowed to lie in bed and watch TV all day.

  • I had a little bell by my bed to call my mother to bring me whatever I wanted.

  • My parents’ friends would visit and bring me get-well presents!


Wouldn’t you want to be sick under these conditions rather than go to school?


On the other hand, my friend Kathy was never sick.  She was the child who missed the least days of school.   When Kathy was sick, she was not allowed to watch TV.  She hated being sick because it was so boring.


It was only in high school, when missing classes meant it affected my grades, that I suddenly became much healthy.


In Caroline Myss' insightful book, "Why People Don't Heal," she shows the connection between our physical well-being and emotional experiences. Myss suggests that individuals may unconsciously use illnesses, traumas, and injuries as mechanisms to forge connections with others.


Additionally, these challenges may serve as a means to seek understanding, empathy, or even to excuse certain behaviors. Myss helps readers understand the intricate interplay between the mind and body, and how our health is often intertwined with our emotional and interpersonal dynamics.


If you find yourself frequently falling ill, it might be worth considering whether you subconsciously prefer being sick.


I Hate Being Sick

It's hard to believe that I once was the child who loved being sick because today, I really hate being sick.


When I do get sick, with even just a cold, I take it personally and feel like I've failed. I believe I must have done something wrong that caused my immune system to not be strong enough to fight off whatever made me sick.


Of course, I know we all get sick, and it's even important for our body's immune system to function better. However, I still really, really get upset when I'm sick:


  • I hate not feeling well.

  • I get angry at myself for being sick.

  • I don't like having to limit the activities I can do.

  • I don't like losing some of my independence.

However, what I have learned over the years is that when I let go of all the hate and anger, I am able to heal faster.


My first reaction when I realize that I am sick is,

"I can't be sick now; I have to do x, y, and z."

But when I accept that, for whatever reason, my body is telling me I have to rest, I cancel all my appointments and accept that I am ill. I even try to enjoy it.


I aim to rest and sleep as much as possible, and I spoil myself by watching old comedies on the TV. For me, that is special because I barely watch TV. I finally learned how to use the Netflix remote while I was sick this time! I never knew how to get into our Netflix account. I enjoyed laughing at Friends and Seinfeld. 😊


Once I give in to my illness, I also start feeling better.


Sometimes, rather than continue fighting, it may be better to let go and understand that if we are sick, we need to rest to get better faster.


When Sick, Stay Hydrated

 When you're sick, especially if you have a fever, it is important to stay hydrated. Soups are excellent because they can provide both fluids and nutrients.


If I start feeling that I’m fighting some sort of illness, I like to make myself a huge pot of miso soup.


Miso is a fermented food, and fermentation introduces beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, which can support digestion and overall immune function. It is also rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants.


You can find miso soup recipes online. I personally like to add shiitake mushrooms to my miso soup for extra healing qualities. It's essential to note that high temperatures can destroy the nutrients in miso, so only add it when the soup has cooled a bit.

Stay Healthy With Turmeric & Ginger

 A few years ago, during a rainy hike in California, my husband and I got caught in the rain. We finished our hike wet and cold, and I could feel the onset of sickness. Seeking relief, we stopped at a large health supermarket. In their coffee shop, they offered a potent turmeric tea made with grated turmeric. The tea was so strong that my husband and I split it into 2 cups and added hot water to dilute it.


Within minutes of drinking the diluted turmeric tea, I felt my body recover, and the sickness seemed to fade away. It felt almost magical, reminiscent of the immediate changes I experienced when taking a homeopathic remedy for sudden symptoms.


As winter approaches, I regularly enjoy tea infused with both turmeric and ginger roots. I slice a few pieces from both roots and place them in a mug with boiling water. Covering the mug, I let it steep for 10 minutes. Alternatively, I prepare it in a thermos to sip throughout the day while working on my computer.


Some studies suggest that both curcumin (found in turmeric) and ginger may possess immune-boosting properties, potentially aiding the immune system in fighting off infections. Additionally, they both exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, contributing to the reduction of inflammation in the body.


If I feel like I’m coming down with a cold or am already sick, I grate the ginger and turmeric into my mug for a stronger concoction. 

Avoid the 3 Whites When Sick

In our family, when someone starts feeling ill, we eliminate the "three whites" from our diet: white sugar (actually all sugar), white flour, and (white) milk and milk products.


Research indicates that sugar can hinder the function of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell responsible for engulfing and destroying bacteria. Studies show that this immune system weakening effect begins approximately 30 minutes after ingesting glucose, fructose, sucrose, processed honey, and even processed orange juice, lasting up to 5 hours.1


I was dismayed when I observed well-meaning friends bringing doughnuts or ice cream to those who contracted COVID! Such sugary treats might have slowed down the healing process.


While there may not be extensive research on the subject, many people, especially singers, are aware that consuming milk products can lead to the production of phlegm, which is why it's often avoided before singing. For the same reason, we steer clear of milk products, especially when feeling unwell. Additionally, we've found that products made from white flour can have a similar effect.


1 Reference: Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis1 Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis


Avoid Alcohol While Sick

 I once made the mistake of having some wine when I was congested. Almost immediately, I began to feel much worse. My sinuses felt more clogged, and I felt sicker than before drinking the wine.


Alcohol has a vasodilatory effect, meaning it can cause blood vessels to dilate or expand. This dilation may lead to increased blood flow to the nasal tissues, potentially resulting in congestion and a feeling of stuffiness in the sinuses. I believe this is what happened to me.


Additionally, alcohol can be dehydrating, so it is best to avoid it while sick.



Sleep to Heal

 It is during the night when we sleep that our body heals itself. Without adequate sleep, we prevent our immune system from performing its essential functions. When I feel like I might be coming down with an illness, I prioritize getting enough sleep at night, and if possible, I rest or take naps during the day.


Taking one day off to rest and sleep can sometimes prevent missing more days due to illness.


If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, I have written several blog posts with tips to promote better sleep. You can access all the tips in this post: Sleep Well For Brain Health

 I've observed clients experiencing a relapse of their illness because they returned to work too early. It's crucial to give yourself at least one more day of rest at home after being ill. Taking that extra day may prevent having to stay home for another week or more.


A good night’s sleep, at least 7 hours, can play a preventive role in illness. Sleeping and resting are among the most important things you can do to recover from an illness.


Reflexology To The Rescue

The reflexes for the head are found in our fingers on the hands and in our toes on our feet. I prefer working on the hands when I’m sick with a cold or sinus infection because there is more room to target the head reflexes on the fingers.


When I have a cold, I often find that hand reflexology helps me feel better. You can try it out to see if it helps you in this video I made a few years ago. While creating this video, I even surprised myself by feeling my sinuses clearing up while working the reflexes on my fingers.


Hand Reflexology for Colds and Sinuses

Sometimes, despite doing all the right things to recover, an illness just seems to linger on. This is where reflexology can be crucial. Reflexology may assist the body in overcoming a lingering illness.


Think of reflexology as pressing the "reset" button on your computer after trying everything else to get your program to work again. By applying pressure to specific points on your feet and/or hands, reflexology can help you restart to assist you in finally overcoming that lingering illness.

The Lingering Cough

Using all my “tricks,” I managed to overcome the cold, stuffed sinuses, and a slight fever after just one day, but a slight cough persisted. The cough worsened notably after consuming a very cold smoothie. While smoothies with leafy greens are generally healthy and enjoyable even while sick, based on this experience, I suggest avoiding very cold smoothies during illness or in the recovery phase.


One of the easiest methods I have found to alleviate my or a family member's cough is to take a large onion, cut it in half, and place it on a plate on your nightstand next to your bed while you sleep. Remember to close the bedroom door. Repeat with a new onion each night for three nights, even if the cough goes away earlier.


After the first night, my cough disappeared, but I continued for two more nights. Each night, as I went to bed near the onion, I would start to cough a bit, and then it ceased. I felt that the onion was still clearing out something, so I’m glad I continued with the onion for three nights.


While there are many posts about onions turning black due to absorbing toxins, I have never personally seen an onion turn black. I always use these onions the next day in dishes because they are really sweet, and onions are also very healthy!



 The day I experienced very stuffed sinuses, a slight fever, and overall achiness, I feared the onset of flu symptoms. To my relief, after a day of rest and employing the various "tricks" mentioned above, along with some additional methods involving herbs and aromatherapy, I felt significantly better. I even managed a short hike the following day.


I firmly believe that fresh air, sunshine, and engaging in moderate activity contribute to the healing process. However, despite feeling fine, when I attempted to run a day later, it proved to be exhausting. Recognizing that something was still off, I chose to stop and walk instead. Only after a week I was able to run again at my regular pace.


It's important to always listen to our bodies and not assume we fully recovered merely because a certain number of days have passed since being ill.

I hope you all stay well this winter season! Oran Aviv


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