It’s no surprise I am completely out of whack. A year full of travel, capped off with my last trip which finished about a week ago – in less than a week I found myself in Sydney, Singapore, Beijing and then back to London, complete with a cold and feeling pretty run down.
It was fortunate then that I had a scheduled appointment with Vicki Edgson, my nutritionist. I’ve been seeing Vicki since 2004 – I originally reached out to her for guidance with getting on track with healthy eating and eating for strong neurological function, after I got my diagnosis of CMT (a nerve disorder). Now I check in with Vicki every so often for help with eating for triathlon training, nutrient advice with regard to some of the pesky side effects of CMT like cramping, and for just a general “touch base”.
Yesterday when I walked in to see Vicki she asked me two questions. First, how much travel I had done this year. And second, how long I have had my cold for. It was clear to her (and frankly, to anyone who sees me at the moment) that I am pretty run down. I want to get a handle on my health and recovery – I want to get better, find my mojo. Vicki and I spent a good long time talking about how to approach this. She gave me some good advice on general healthy eating. She sent me for blood work to see how my nutrient balance reflects in my blood, and also to check my thyroid function. And she gave me some very targetted advice on a few steps to take for the next few weeks, while we wait for blood results, to restore balance from the inside out over the holiday period.
Restoring Balance – The First Steps
First and foremost, I need to sleep. A lot. This is pretty hard as the next week I am extremely busy with social engagements in the run up to Christmas, and then on Christmas and Boxing Day we are hosting the meals at our house. But I will do my best to ensure solid sleep each night.
Next, some saunas and steam baths. No complaints there. My gym has both facilities, and I love them. The objective is to raise my body temperature to help in conquering the cold I have.
And natural supplementation. Vicki advised a few things to help with balance.
The Food Based Prescription
Vicki also suggested I take the following five things to help bring my system back into balance.
Turmeric has been used for 4,000 years in Ayurvedic medicine to support the immune system. There is a lot of research that supports its effectiveness, and you can find a list of citations here on the University of Maryland summary.
I am drinking “turmeric tea” (hot water plus a pinch of turmeric)) twice a day (morning and evening). Another infusion Vicki suggested was turmeric, garlic, green tea, and honey. I haven’t tried that yet.
Magnesium / Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and it has also been shown to help with nerve repair in lab testing of mice. Magnesium is an essential mineral and I already take it to help manage muscle cramping.
I stopped taking Vitamin C in 2009 when I participated in strength testing studies on CMT patients – because it could benefit nerve function the researchers didn’t want participants taking it. And then when the study finished I just didn’t start again (due to laziness!)… So now is as good of time as any to start again. I am taking 2 grams at the moment, but I have taken up to 10 grams in the past, and may ramp back up to that level.
I am drinking one cup of matcha (powdered green tea) a day. Matcha – and all green tea – is full of antioxidants, but matcha has (according to researchers at the University of Colorado) over 130 times more antioxidants than other green teas.
Fennel and Nettle Tea
Vicki recommended having a cup of fennel and nettle tea a day, to help with hormone and adrenal regulating. Fennel has also been used in history to help to stop coughs, and nettles also have antihistamine properties. I could use that right now! Vicki said I would know if the fennel and nettle tea could be used by my body if I like the taste. So far, it is good – but then again, the tea I bought is mixed with peppermint.
Aloe vera is known for assisting healing of wounds – but it also can be taken in juice form, to help with digestion.
Right now I am taking a small shot glass before dinner or drinks parties, to help with my digestion. It is kind of tasteless.