Alternative Cold Cures

With the change in season comes a change in the weather, temperature + sometimes your health. No matter how hard you try you inevitably end up with a cold at some point during the year. I’ve just had mine + it hit me pretty hard. After dosing up on all the usual natural remedies + experimenting with some new techniques I’ve compiled a list of alternative cures that I’ve found to be rather effective.

Many of you would’ve heard the old saying “catch a cold” which is not from going outside with wet hair or any of the other wives tales but from coming in contact with the virus either through the air (sneezing/breathing) or contact with a contaminated surface (keyboard, door handle, crockery etc). So to avoid coming in contact + catching a cold be sure to practise good hygiene- washing your hands + surfaces. It can take up to 2-3 days after exposure for symptoms to appear so maintain your vigilance! The best way to avoid a cold is to;

  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep so you’re not tired
  • Take time out to relax so you’re not stressed
  • Keep fit through regular exercise
  • Keep hydrated- loads of water + herbal tea
  • Listen to your body- being sick is your bodies way of communicating something is not right + you need to take it easy.

However, if you do unfortunately succumb, then understanding your symptoms which vary according to the strain- from a scratchy or sore throat to sneezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes + mucus can help in deciding what remedies to apply. There are many remedies that can assist pre, during + after a cold from oregano, probiotics, cinnamon, garlic, lemon, ginger, honey to herbal tea + essential oils but here are some of the more unusual ones that I’ve experimented with.

Tea Tree Oil Steam

Clears the sinuses + kills bacteria- simply add a few drops to a bowl of boiling water, cover your head with a towel + inhale through the nose for 5-10minutes! Warning- it can be quite intense for the first couple of breaths but worth it for clearing the airways! Repeat as often as necessary.

Snorting Sodium Ascorbate (vitamin C powder)

Vitamin C has several benefits from producing extra white blood cells + thinning mucous to strengthening the immune system + controlling inflammation. If option 1 above doesn’t do the trick then to really kick your sinuses for touch resort to snorting sodium ascorbate. Warning- it can be unpleasant for a minute or two but from my experience it is highly effective! Just make sure you have the tissues on hand to clear you out! Pretty straight forward but lay a line on a clean surface + snort through the blocked or both nostrils.


Restores balance, strengthens immunity, relaxes + heals your body + mind. At the end of the day a cold will always run its course so instead of fighting it why not try to make yourself feel better by changing your state of mind. Taking time out to focus on your body + its suffering is a great way to ease pain- particularly congested sinuses + a head cold. Find a quiet, relaxing place + practise for 10-15minutes start by completing 3 deep belly breaths- filling the chest + then releasing before settling into a normal breathing pattern. Focus on the pain with every in-breath + release the pain with every out breath. (If you’re too congested to breath through your nose try completing suggestion 1 or 2 above so you have clear airways).

Turmeric Tea/Latte

Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant + anti-microbial therefore excellent in helping fight colds. This tea is a nice warm option if you’re feeling the cold as a result of having a cold- it’s creamy tasting + the frothy top makes it feel like a real latte (best to steer clear of any form of dairy when you’re congested).

  • 2 cups of milk of choice (almond, pecan, coconut and dairy all work in this recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup or to taste (optional)
  • Pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
  • Piece of fresh, peeled ginger root or 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. First, blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.
  2. Then, Pour into a small saucepan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until hot but not boiling.

Citrus Smoothie

Citrus contains flavonoids + high doses of vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system + body’s white blood cells.

  • 1/3 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cm piece fresh turmeric
  • 1 cm piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 orange, peeled
  • 1/2 lime, peeled
  • 1/4 grapefruit, peeled
  • 1/4 lemon, peeled
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup ice
  1. Place all the ingredients in high speed blender and blend until smooth, around 1 minute.

Bone Broth with a Kick

Bone broth is extremely rich in minerals which are easily absorbed when fighting a cold.

Adding spices (chilli, cayenne +/or black pepper)  helps release watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs which assist in thinning respiratory mucus so it’s easier to clear.

  • 2 kg of bones
  • Enough water to cover the bones (3-4L)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 onion
  • 2 large organic carrots (unpeeled) + chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • salt, pepper, and spices to taste (garlic, peppercorns, chilli, cayenne pepper etc.)
  1. Place bones in a large stockpot and cover with water. Add apple cider vinegar, veggies + spices. For the first 2-3 hours, skim any foamy layer that develops on the top and discard.
  2. For beef broth, simmer for up to 48 hours, for chicken broth, simmer for up to 24 hours, for fish broth, simmer for 8 hours (apply common sense with these cooking times, these are an indicator to extract all the goodness but a tasty broth can be produced after 4 hours).
  3. Allow to cool slightly and strain. Store in an airtight Mason jar or freeze until ready to use.

Disclaimer: the above information is based on my opinion through experimentation therefore not strictly scientific!


10 Tips for Long-haul Flying

Given I’m in the process of packing my life into a suitcase + preparing for another long haul flight for the 10th time in 10 years I thought I’d share some insights that I’ve picked up on how to manage + minimise the effects of long-haul flying. Having lived in different continents over the years + hailing from New Zealand I’ve had to become accustomed to long-haul travel + I’ve learnt a few tricks along the way. Unfortunately some of us don’t get the pleasure of flying business class or better… therefore flying cattle class can be hard work! My most recent travel was in May/June this year which involved quite possibly the most difficult route in the world from Nairobi, Kenya to Kauai, Hawaii. Four flights each way + some mind boggling hours later we successfully circumnavigated the earth (don’t mention the carbon emissions!) So how do you survive, what tips + tricks can I share + how can you embrace long-haul flights in the future? Being organised goes a long way to making your travels that much more enjoyable.

Before you fly;

  • Fly with the same airline- goes without saying really but despite the potential increase in cost it’s definitely worth the extra dollars when you arrive at X Airport at god only knows what time for the airline to know exactly where you need to go + how much time you have- especially if it’s a tight turn around. Having an easy transit can relieve a lot of stress!
  • Choose seats- when checking in online most long-haul flights allow you to choose your seats (sadly these days airlines don’t offer up exit row seats etc. unless you are a) lucky, b) a preferential customer or c) willing to pay extra). So get in early + depending if you like aisle or window (aisle is supposedly better from a solar radiation perspective which interferes with your circadian rhythm amongst other things) you can choose back or front of the plane, upper or lower (according to the plane) 2, 3, 4 configuration etc. check out Seat Guru for full details of your flight/plane.
  • Pre-order food- if you’re going to eat airline food, most long-haul flights (although sometimes at a cost) offer a range of meal options from Halal, vegan, Kosher & raw to gluten-free, dairy-free + low-sugar. It’s best not to eat airline food at all so if possible take your own, eat on the ground (sometimes not ideal either) or don’t eat at all! But if you’re in a situation where it’s simply not possible to prepare food for 4 flights then pre-ordering is the way to go. You not only get your choice but you also get your food first.
  • Green juice- before you fly (+ during/after) drink a green juice + start hydrating before it’s too late. A green juice will provide you with lots of antioxidants to counter all the radiation absorbed whilst flying + carrying a drink bottle with you to refill on board or in transit will ensure you keep your fluids up! Just make sure it’s empty when you go through security or you’ll have a bit to drink if you want to keep your bottle.

On the go;

  • Yoga- in transit or if you’re not up for that some stretches will suffice. Getting blood flowing from holding a downward dog can do wonders for your circulation + post flight (c)ankles. I take things one step further + travel with a foam roller to get out any knots + generally limber up. Who cares what other travellers think- secretly they’ll be jealous. Besides doing some quick poses + enjoying a light meditation at the end can help you be iN TUNE with your body + how you’re feeling half way across the world.
  • Meditate- when flying you often have time on your hands- before boarding, before take off + landing, when the entertainment system hasn’t started up/closed down/when the annoying flight announcements are in progress + when transiting etc. Tune out from all that’s going on around you + allow yourself the chance to quieten your mind. It’s also an opportunity to be iN TUNE with your feelings in particular your sleep deprived body. Meditating in fact can help you sleep better or replace sleep as you place your body in a restorative state.
  • Disconnect- airlines these days offer wi-fi + the opportunity to watch live news etc. whilst in the air. Resist the temptation to tune in + give yourself some time out from emails, texts, social media- everyday life! Take time to catch up with your flying companion (if you have one) write new goals, read a book, catch up on movies etc.

Upon arrival;

  • Listen to your body- once you land it’s going to take a while for your body to adjust to the new time zone, environment + detox from all the solar radiation, dehydration, sleep deprivation + insufficient nutrients from food. So take it easy + listen to the signals your body is giving you whilst balancing your need to adjust to your new location. If you travel across timezones your body is going to be hungry at all sorts of weird hours so that amongst other things (regular bowel motions) are going to make you feel off.
  • Dose up on vitamins- once you arrive get out + soak up as much vitamin D as you can (weather dependent obviously) this will not only make you feel better getting some fresh air but will also help you adjust your body to a new circadian rhythm. Vitamin C is another great thing to dose up on before, during + after flying. Planes are notorious places for bugs + the last thing you want before your holiday has even started is to get sick! If travel/holidays for you are anything like they are for me, they come at stressful times when your body is not in optimal health. Therefore upping your vitamin C intake can assist with starving off any sickness.
  • Have fun- be a kid again + reignite the fun of flying! Watch the city/airport you’re leaving behind fade away as you float through clouds into the sunset (if you’re lucky + take off on time you can witness a double sunset!) Enjoy the experience from packing to arriving, making sure you’re organised + present so you can take it all in as memories in your mind, not just your phone.



Vipassana Meditation- “The Art of Living”

When I stumbled across the Dhamma Khetta Vipassana Meditation Centre in Hyderabad I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had never meditated before in fact I didn’t really know what meditation was, I’ve had neck/back/shoulder pain since I can remember + my mental state wasn’t great yet there was something in me that thought it would be great. I remember mentioning to my sister what I was planning to do + her words “I couldn’t think of anything worse, why would you want to do that!” Perhaps it was someone challenging me that I’d hate it, perhaps it was synchronicity of a year previously I had been travelling solo around Sri Lanka + I had looked into doing a meditation course but had been scared off- namely because I didn’t know how to meditate. Perhaps it was because I was accepted + that gave me encouragement…?

Whatever it was I did it.

To give you an overview of 10 days silent meditation, when you first arrive you are asked to sign the Code of Discipline or precepts;

  1. Abstain from killing any being (harder than you think when you clean your own room each morning sweeping up ants + spiders)
  2. Abstain from stealing
  3. Abstain from all sexual activity
  4. Abstain from telling lies
  5. Abstain from all intoxicants

On top of this there is the noble silence of body, speech + mind- no gestures, eye contact, music, reading, writing etc. Separation of men + women, no physical contact, yoga or exercise, cameras etc. Basically shutting out the world!

Each day is structured as follows;

4:00 am Morning wake-up bell (nothing like a cold bucket shower to wake you up!)
4:30-6:30 am 2 hr meditation
6:30-8:00 am Breakfast break (hot bucket shower if you’re lucky!)
8:00-9:00 am Group meditation
9:00-11:00 am Meditate in the hall, room or cell
11:00-12:00 noon Lunch break
12noon-1:00 pm Rest and chance to speak with the teacher to clarify any of the teachings
1:00-2:30 pm Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm Group meditation
3:30-5:00 pm Meditate in the hall, room or cell
5:00-6:00 pm Tea break of chai, popcorn or puffed rice (no ‘food’ after midday)
6:00-7:00 pm Group meditation
7:00-8:15 pm Teacher’s Discourse
8:15-9:00 pm Group meditation
9:00-9:30 pm Question time
9:30 pm Retire to room–Lights out

The 10 days are broken up with the first 3 days dedicated to anapana (awareness of breath) + the additional 7 to vipassana (awareness of sensations). Throughout the 10 days you battle with your mind, your bod, your determination + your sanity! But when you reach day 9 + you ‘break the silence’ you feel completely different. Your senses are heightened, you feel an inner peace + real happiness (at least I did!) Partly from completing the course + partly from the 10 hours a day of meditating/training the mind.

Everyone’s experience will be different- some people have outer body experiences, some experience full ‘flow’ of sensations throughout the body + some simply can’t handle it + leave. My experience was unique in that I was expecting my period during the 10 days + during a mid-morning meditation on about the 5th or 6th day I had an excruciatingly itchy/painful sensation inside my right aim. Adhering to the practise I didn’t react to the sensation, open my eyes or scratch my arm despite the humorous agony I was encountering. When the meditation came to an end I looked down at my arm + despite there being nothing there I could still feel the sensation- it was so strong I felt I had to have a shower to wash/cleanse myself from the feeling. So I did. On my way back to the meditation hall I stopped to go to the bathroom + discovered I had my period. Whether the two things were related I’ll never know but I feel that the connection between my body + the signals it was sending my mind were an example of how iN TUNE I was. This is something we’re not tuned into enough in life- we’re too busy, tired, stressed to connect + listen to our bodies.

Would I recommend doing a 10 day course? 100% it changed my life + helped me understand the power of meditation. Do I still meditate? That’s for another post. But without a doubt it will be the most challenging, physically + mentally training yet rewarding things you’ll ever do but also extremely fulfilling, peaceful + happy- real inner happiness things you’ll even do.