What I Do When the Creeping Crud Creeps In
On a daily basis, I do a lot to stay healthy. But there are times – this month having been one – that illness invades anyway. Whether we picked it up during holiday air travel, from our darling grandkids over Thanksgiving, or from a million other potential contact points, Linda and I caught some kind of “creeping crud” this month.
So, what do we do when that happens? What do we do – take – eat – avoid?
Here is my 10 point “get well” strategy. I hope you don’t need it this season or any other, but just in case, save it!
And at the end, I’ll give you the recipe for Linda’s famous “Feel Better Soup.”
(I have linked products and resources as best I can, some of which I stock online or in the clinic.)
Illness is a message. It is dis-ease. Where have I pushed myself beyond the point of ease, and into the red zone?
Then I clear as much as possible off my schedule. If I’ve fallen ill, I know that my body is telling me it’s time to rest, calm my brain, and take a respite from busyness to let it heal itself. In fact, that is my driving principle in this whole post: do what we can to let our body do what it already knows how to do so well.
When ill, my body is at war. It needs to mobilize energy to fight this battle, so I don’t waste any on stress or busyness.
Normally I drink at least half my body weight pounds in ounces of water daily (ex: 170 pounds = 85 ounces); now I increase, and I consume as much as possible before 10am. If you have fever or nasal congestion, drink even more.
I’ve been growing and drying specific herbs for healing since summer for this season’s teas: lemon balm, lemon grass, lemon verbena come from my garden; I order hibiscus, pao d’arco, dandelion in bulk. If I’m feeling ill, I may drink 32+ ounces a day, and in at least one cup, I’ll add some Manuka honey (honey made from pollen of the tea tree, with all its medicinal qualities).
I may not feel like cleaning, per se, but I make sure to do the following:
My Air Doctor is going full blast to ensure clean air down to the virus level. This powerhouse has been working overtime this month at our house, as we fight this Crud and also fire up the wood stove for the season. We love it – we have one at home, one in the clinic, have gifted them multiple times. When I change the filter, I’m always shocked at the filth it has caught for us and kept out of our lungs. And we don’t even have pets!
I open doors and windows some part of every day.
If I do feel like it, I do a quick “dust bunny” removal, and general pick up of all clutter – dishes clean, surfaces clear.
At least once or twice during and for sure directly after a spell of illness, we wash our bedding in hot water (especially the pillow cases, which are even better to change daily to eliminate shed bacteria).
The house shouldn’t be hot (especially in the bedroom, which I like to keep cool, even when I’m sick), but the house needs to be warm. I like it around 74 degrees.
Time for comfort. I go for natural fibers like cotton flannel, and wash whatever I’m wearing at least daily (more if I’m breaking a sweat), best in hot water.
For us, this is the time we use paper towels as much as we can instead of cloth. We strive to use renewable resources, but if someone in the house is sick, we use paper towels and paper tissues. Since we currently have a wood stove, that all gets burned, every day. We wash bath towels after every use during these times.
The natural energy source and disinfectant! No matter how poorly I feel, I get out in the sun and I let it warm me for at least 20-30 minutes. Great time to do breath work.
You probably know by now what a huge proponent I am of daily breath work, EVERY day. This is no time to stop! The lungs are one of our first line responders to eliminate crud – they flush out toxins from the pathogens, but also the toxins created by our body’s fight against the pathogen. Nasal breathe both in and out as best you can, 2 seconds in, 2 seconds out, filling your lungs from the bottom to the top, nice and easy.
Body aches, fever, fatigue, brain fog: these are your body’s signals of an activate immune system waging a war. I’m not saying that you need to suffer but moving immediately to suppress any of these is missing the point. Instead, enable your body to do what it already knows how to do.
Fatigue? Instead of stimulating with substances like caffeine, rest. Brain fog? Delete or delegate what you can. Fever? Don’t be afraid of a few degrees, and let your body naturally heat up to “cook out” the bad players it wants to kill. This is not bad. To help any of these discomforts, speed up your other systems of elimination, the “Four Shuns.”
Your four warriors of elimination – the takers out of the trash, if you will – are urination, defecation, perspiration (meaning your skin) and respiration. We call them the “four shuns.” If one of these systems is slowed down or impaired, speed up the others to take the burden off the weak one.
For example, if your respiration is blocked, speed up your urination by drinking more fluid. Dry brush your skin. And definitely keep your bowels moving with ample fluids and fiber. A regularly moving bowel (at least daily) is draining the liver, spleen and lymphatic system. It’s hugely important!
First, here’s what to avoid. All of the following foods create inflammation in your body, which you already have too much of when you’re sick. You want to consume easy to digest foods during this time, so that your body can redirect a lot of the 40% total body energy it takes to digest food into your immune system.
- Sugar. It suppresses your immune system, it’s a neurotoxin, it’s empty calories…it’s awful anytime, but when you’re sick, you do not want to be eating sugar.
- Grains. Most people react to grains negatively. Cut them out (not just the supposed “gluten-free,” since all grains have gluten).
- Dairy. Creates mucus. Can be hard to digest.
- Alcohol. Sorry, even your Grandad’s hot brandy is going to be hard on your body right now. Have a mug of hot tea with Manuka honey instead.
- Processed foods. Never good for you, but especially bad now. The more steps from nature a food is, the less health it helps you create. If the label has a long list of ingredients, and you can’t pronounce a bunch of them, steer clear.
- Meats. These can be harder to digest, so go easy on them while ill.
What should you eat?
First of all, don’t force yourself to eat. If your hunger has decreased, that’s likely your body’s signal that it isn’t able to handle a lot of food right now, if any. Listen to the miracle of your body’s communication. For a short duration illness, fasting can actually be great, as long as you keep your fluids up.
What should you eat?
For a phytonutrient healing blast, here you go! When you do eat, choose organic, nonGMO, whole foods, nutrient-dense foods that are as easy to digest as possible, including these:
- Vegetables containing quercetin, which inhibits a virus “docking” onto your cells: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, onions, spinach, chili peppers.
- Fresh fruits low on the glycemic index: berries, citrus, cherries (especially sour), cranberries (mix with something else if too sour).
- Root vegetables. These are very warming foods. Choose for color, which usually indicates nutrient density: yams, rutabagas, yellow or purple potatoes, turnips, parsnips.
- Herbs high in quercetin and kaempferol, which are healing compounds. Especially fresh herbs, which you can make tea out of or toss into soup: dill, fennel, oregano.
- Mushrooms, which are amazing in tagging the location of a bacteria or virus for your body’s fighters to find it and eliminate it. Especially those high in beta glucan, like reishi, maitake, oyster and shiitake.
- Fermented vegetables. Stay away from kombucha grown on a sugar base, but eat plenty of sauerkraut or kimchi to get that good bacteria to your gut microbiome to strengthen your body’s immunity.
A soothing way to get all the vegetables and also a lot of the fluid you need is via soups. All my daughters knew that if someone in our home felt less than great, a pot of their mom’s “Feel Better Soup” would soon be ready soon! I’ll include the recipe at the end of this post.
Now I’ll get to “what to take.” Please notice that this section comes at the end of a much longer list of “what to do/eat/not do/not eat.” The best way to handle an illness in harmony with your body is about so much more than taking something in a bottle, even if you get that bottle from a natural source like me rather than a pharmacy.
We all love shortcuts. I know I do! But in regards to your health, I have built my career around knowing that it is far superior to teach someone how to be healthy, rather than simply how to “fix” an illness.
True wellness comes through lifestyle choices, not via any pill or potion.
Having said that, there are some supplements that are super important to support your body in healing from an illness. There are also times when a pharmaceutical is the absolute right choice, and I’m grateful for them at those rare times.
My favorite supplements for healing "The Crud"
My list has evolved through the years, and of course individual needs vary, but the basics stay the same. (I’ve indicated if I sell a cited product online or only in my clinic. We ship from either, but for things I can only sell in my brick and mortar, email or call and we are happy to process that for you: firstname.lastname@example.org 949.661.9777
- Vitamin C. Truly the “duct tape” of the nutritional world, this micronutrient can fix so many problems. The Vitamin C I stock is free of excipients (extra unnecessary ingredients) and created from wild organic African potatoes. It comes in tabsules but also a powder, which is our favorite. Kind of what Emergen-C wanted to be when it grew up, except it’s full of garbage like 6 g sugar, fructose, added colors and flavors, maltodextrin, and questionably-sourced nutrients. Clinic
- An immune formulation that hits a lot of notes in one. THIS one incorporates the power of botanicals, like echinacea, astragalus and elderberry. THIS close version of it comes in a dropper bottle, which is great to use with kids. THIS one is another powder to mix in water, which was formulated specifically for Covid support, containing quercetin, D, zinc, potassium, E, geranylgeraniol and trans-resveratrol. Clinic
- Zinc. THIS is the formulation I stock, which I like for also having B2, B6, molybdenum, and taurine. Clinic
- A superior D. THIS is my own, which I’m really proud of. It’s got A, 5000 iu of D, K1 and K2, E and Geranylgeraniol, which is a great “traffic director,” making sure the D gets to where it needs to go. Clinic or online store
- Cat’s Claw. This is a very old herbal, used for generations. I start taking it at the first hint of something. I like THIS liposomal formulation, where the Cat’s Claw hitches a ride on a fat molecule to absorb better into your bloodstream, bypassing your stomach. Clinic
- A histamine tamer. Your body creates histamine when it’s fighting a respiratory illness. I like THIS, which is another great liposomal formulation. It is also fantastic for seasonal allergy support, or in the case of a skin disturbance. Clinic
- Nasal support. THIS one delivers a powerful dose of hydration and a botanical antibiotic (grapefruit seed extract) into your nasal cavity, where it can be hard to direct anything. THIS one delivers hydration and an ancient soil-based microbiome assist created from humic extract (made by Zac Bush, MD, for whom I have the utmost respect). Clinic
- Purified silver. This is old medicine, and it still has a place in your medicine cabinet today. THIS formulation was reportedly used with AIDS patients before any “cocktail” was available. Silver has a natural bacteria and virus fighting property. I like it also for topical use (for example on burns or rashes). Clinic
So now you know how I approach a transitory illness, like a virus-of-the-month, a respiratory disturbance, or a gut disturbance.
Here’s my favorite “Secret Weapon” of all: Linda’s Feel Better Soup! She makes it by memory, and isn’t very good at measuring, so this is the best I could do for you. LOL She says to use whatever wonderful produce you have, and embrace the concept without getting hampered by any details.
Feel Better Soup
All ingredients are organic.
In a tall stock pot, sauté the following chopped vegetables in extra virgin olive oil: a couple of carrots, a few stalks of celery and an onion. When the onion is nearly translucent, add plenty of minced cloves of garlic (3-4). Add chopped mushrooms.
Add approximately 2-3 containers of stock of your choice. We love poultry bone broth or stock available at Costco or fresh from Jack’s, Dana Point (if I haven’t made my own). You could also use vegetable or beef stock.
Also add some generous cups of whatever root vegetables you choose (ex: yams, yellow or purple potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga).
Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes, maybe less.
When root vegetables are nearly soft, add greens of your choice (finely sliced chard, kale off its tough stem, arugula if you want a little spiciness), broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Also add fresh herbs if using.
Salt to taste (pink Himalayan or sea salt; not table salt).
When the vegetables are soft, your soup is done. Serving suggestions: dollop of sauerkraut, diced avocado, squeeze of lemon, hot sauce.
Stay well, and save these tips. I hope you never need them, but I’m here for you if you do. Please share – we all need lots of health in our lives!
Here for you,
Dr. Wade Binley