Some Knowledge Today Keeps the Doctor Away

Just to make it clear, I’m not a crazy hippie who is against vaccination. But I do not like the flu shot and never took it. Neither did my husband or kids. And so far, thank God, we are pretty healthy (hope I didn’t just jinx us).

I do go to see the doctor when necessary, and I’m grateful for modern medicine and its achievements. However, I’ve always had a tendency to look for natural ways to cure illnesses, instead of filling my body, and more importantly, my children’s bodies, with chemicals that may or may not help and have all kinds of side effects.

I’ve studied different natural and holistic approaches in school and on my own, read books and researched information about the way Eastern cultures treat illnesses. I also grew up looking at what the older people around me used to do when someone was sick or injured. I practice many of these remedies in my own home and for years they haven’t failed me. So, although I’m not a doctor and I do not intend to prescribe anything to anyone, I thought I could share my experience and let you decide what you would like to do with it.

Right now, I’m sitting on the couch in my living room, enjoying a cup of hot tea with lemon and raw local honey, recovering from a bad cold or the flu, I’m not sure. It all started exactly a week ago, on Sunday. I woke up and discovered that I lost my voice. Nothing hurt or bothered me, I just couldn’t talk much. I went to work all week, took 1000 mg vitamin C, once a day, and enjoyed not having to talk much. As Thursday and Friday came by, my voice came back, but I could feel that my body was weak, and my throat was a little sore. So immediately I got on my regimen of elderberry syrup and oregano oil taken orally three times a day.

By Friday night, all hell broke loose. I started coughing relentlessly, my chest and back were hurting from the coughing and I could feel the raw burning pain in my trachea (the tube connecting the throat to the lungs). I also began to feel the congestion building up in my sinuses, as well as the headache and the earache which resulted from it. So, I added Tannenblut cough syrup to my remedy cocktail. In case you wonder, I did not have fever. I never have fever when I’m sick. Even when I’m very sick. When I served in the army, I never got time off for being sick because I never had fever… That wasn’t fun…

Back to our story… Saturday morning, I woke up miserable after barely sleeping all night, and decided to go see a doctor, just to make sure it wasn’t some kind of bacteria that got me. I was even ready to start taking antibiotics if I had to (something I try to avoid as a general rule). I tried to call to make an appointment but got disconnected twice, so I showed up at the clinic. I was told it would be two hours before I could be seen by a doctor since I didn’t have an appointment. After sitting there for ten minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore. Between the soreness of my body and the thought that I could definitely catch something worse spending two hours with all the sick people in the waiting room, I decided to go home and cure myself, even if it was a bacterial infection. And I went for it with all my arsenal:

  • Fresh garlic – great antibiotics. 1 clove chopped (so you can swallow) with some water, 3 times a day.
  • Turmeric – amazing anti-inflammatory. 1 pill a day, with food.
  • Oregano oil – strong antiviral, anti-inflammatory, boosts the immune system. 5 drops in some water taken orally, 3 times a day.
  • Pure elderberry syrup – amazing antiviral. 2 teaspoons, 3 times a day. I add it to the water and the oregano oil. It makes it more palatable.
  • Tannenblut bronchial syrup – all-natural Swiss herbs. The only cough syrup that actually works for us. I can only find it online. 1 tablespoon as needed (4-5 times a day).
  • 1000 mg vitamin C – to boost the immune system. 1 pill in the morning does the work.
  • Eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree essential oils – 3-4 drops of each in a hot tub, once a day. This way, you get to inhale the oils and also absorb them through your skin. Eucalyptus is a great oil that works on the respiratory system, lavender is calming and anti-inflammatory, and tea tree is a strong antibacterial, antiviral oil. Besides, a hot bath is a great way to soothe the cough and the aching body.
  • Lots of hot tea with lemon and honey. You can actually drink any tea, or even just hot water. Just make sure it is warm. In addition to flushing the body of toxins, the warm drinks help loosen the phlegm, so your body gets rid of it easily, which means you cough less.
  • Avoid fried food, dairy products and citrus fruit (except lemon), as they all increase the production of phlegm.

Today, Monday morning, two days later, I’m a new person. Except for some occasional cough here and there. I decided to stay home today and rest some more while continuing my whole regimen. I will continue with this regimen (minus the bath) for the next few days, while I go back to work, to make sure I eradicate the disease, whatever it is.

If it worked for me, I’m sure it can work for many other people. But don’t take my word for it. Go investigate and explore, and may you find a way to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and happy, naturally.

Lost Hair, Regained Happiness

About two years ago I started having a serious hair issue. My hair began to shed in massive amounts. Much bigger than the usual shedding that we all go through from time to time. Naturally, I freaked out, but people around me, including my doctor, dismissed my concerns, claiming that it was a seasonal thing that everyone goes through and that it was normal. These comments made me even more upset. After all, I’m old enough to have gained some experience in life. I know myself, I know my hair, and I definitely can tell when something is wrong with me. So, I’ve decided to take matters into my hands and find the root cause for my hair loss.

I suspected that it could be due to the fact that I was anemic. When searching online, anemia did come up as a major cause for hair loss. Blood works I had done did show severe anemia, and I spent a few months taking large amounts of iron to replenish the iron in my body. I also added vitamins D and B complex to attack the hair issue from all directions.

At the same time, my doctor, who started taking me more seriously, suggested that sometimes major hair loss is a result of some trauma or a very stressful situation. I could put a check next to that one, too. Over the last few years we’ve been going through many challenges and many things have been unpredictable. Sometimes, the amounts of stress I felt were off the charts, and I needed to deal with that. One way was to go back to meditation, something I used to practice on and off in the past, but not so much in recent years. It’s funny how we can’t find the time for the things we need the most at the time we most need them. It took me a while to regularly fit meditation into my schedule, but now I finally meditate every day (with some exceptions over the weekend). Another thing that I’ve found very helpful in managing my stress and the uncertainty in my life was practicing gratitude for all the good that I have. And I have so much to be grateful for – my husband and children, the love and the beautiful relationships that we all have in the family, our physical and mental health, my amazing extended family that is very loving and supportive, the fact that I was fortunate enough at the age of 50, after not being an employee for over 10 years (had my own business), to find a job that I enjoy doing with people that I’m happy to work with, and the list goes on…

The effect being grateful had on my life is beyond words. I truly learned to appreciate more the closest people in my life, the ones that are usually our punching bag, and as a result I love them more. I’m more aware of the little and mundane things that are part of my life and I enjoy them. My levels of joy, happiness, and peace of mind have gone up, unrelated to many of our challenges, some of which incidentally have started to improve as well.

I also got a new haircut, which I happen to like a lot. Everyone who knows me tells me that my new haircut makes me look much younger. So, what more can I ask for? It seems like losing my hair was a blessing in disguise. I did lose and still continue to lose hair, but I’m transformed from within and I feel that I’m a better, happier version of myself. And if that means I need to accept having less hair, so be it. Besides, do I even have a choice?…

Last Minute Rosh HaShanah Menu Ideas

I love learning about different cultures and traditions, and thought that if you are like me, you might be interested in taking a glimpse into the Jewish new year.

The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar and has 29.5 days per month, resulting in 354 days a year. In the past, before Roman times, this was the only calendar used by Jews. In modern times, the Gregorian calendar is the main calendar used by everyone, including Jews. The Hebrew calendar is only used for the Jewish Holidays and Jewish events. In order to keep the two calendars synchronized, a whole month is added to the Hebrew calendar seven times in every 19 years. Which means that my Hebrew date of birth and my Gregorian date of birth synchronize every 19 years.

Anyway, that is the reason why every year, the Jewish Holidays fall on different dates in the Gregorian calendar. They go by the Hebrew calendar to keep them in synch with the seasons. Rosh HaShanah, which literally means in Hebrew “the head of the year,” is the beginning of the Jewish year, and is one of the major Jewish Holidays.

What I love about the Jewish Holidays is that they are ceremonial. It’s not just another festive meal. There is always a short (or long) ceremony going on before the meal is served. On Rosh HaShanah, the ceremony involves reciting different blessings around the table before the meal. These blessings include wishes for a sweet new year, for living in peace with no enemies, for being prosperous, for being leaders who shine light and goodness upon the world, for being deserving for God’s approval, ect. Each blessing is symbolized by some food where the connection is usually a pun between the Hebrew/Aramaic name of the food and the meaning of the blessing.

European and American Jews (Ashkenazi) usually recite one blessing that includes apples and honey for a sweet new year.
Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Asian and African Jews (Sephardic) include these two foods in their blessings, as well as all of the following foods: dates, pumpkin or carrot, beet, leek, head of fish of beef (the meat from the cheeks), and black-eyed peas. As you recite each blessing, you have a bite of the corresponding food. So even though it’s not the main meal yet, you do not remain hungry. On the contrary. By the time we are done with the ceremonial part of the evening, most of us are already full.

But of course, we can’t skip the meal, which usually includes some sweet dishes for a sweet new year. Most of us who celebrate already have a set menu for Rosh HaShanah, or at least we have an idea of what goes on the table. However, there are always last minute changes because our guests have special requirements, or we couldn’t find some of the ingredients we were counting on, or a guest responsible for bringing one of the dishes bailed out. Whatever the reason, here are some recipes that can save the day in short notice. I chose these recipes as they include ingredients that are showcased in the blessings recited at the Holiday table, and some dishes with sweet inclination.

Wishing all who celebrate (and those who don’t) a happy, sweet, and prosperous new year!

Chestnut Pumpkin Soup
Pomegranate Soup with Turkey Meatballs
Kubbeh in Beet Soup
Celery and Beet Salad
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Fish in Tomato Sauce
Apple Khoresh
My Grandmother’s Cheek Meat Stew
Apple Cake with Dates and Pomegranate
Apple Poppy Seed Cake

Bracing for a Hurricane

In the eight years we’ve lived in Florida, we were exposed to several hurricane season scares, and not knowing what to even expect we were stressed and scared and even slightly panicked every time. We’ve only been here through one serious hurricane though, Irma. Like everyone else, we stood in lines for water, food, and gas. We cleaned up the garage so that we could bring the cars in. We brought in all the planters, furniture and equipment we had in the patio and in the yard. We took pictures of the house and yard from all angles in case we would get hit. And we mounted all the hurricane shutters. But the reports about the eye of the storm hitting us directly were so scary, that we decided to leave Florida and go pay a surprise visit to grandma in New York.

When we got back, we discovered that the house remained intact, including the patio screen, which was amazing. And if that wasn’t good enough, some of the whitefly infested hedge between our house and the neighbors was knocked down (it belonged to the neighbor and he had refused to replace it) and our sick lemon tree that we had wanted to get rid of for years, was knocked down and unrooted as well. So, we actually had a very positive experience with hurricanes so far.

This time, with Dorian upon us, we decided to stick around. As insane as it sounds, I’m looking forward to the storm. I love storms. There is something exciting about them. If only they weren’t so destructive and dangerous.

Now that we’ve been pretty much prepared with almost everything we need, we feel a little less intimidated. I’m more worried about Tamar, though. Only two weeks in Gainesville, without a car, and no clue what to do to prepare for a hurricane. I gave her some instructions over the phone, and hope that the university will instruct her better if they are about to get hit.

Ok, now that I got that off my chest, I have to go and fill up the car with gas, just in case…

In the meantime, here are some dishes that I’m about to make today to save the frozen meat we have left in the freezer, just in case the power goes out for days. These things can be eaten at room temperature and do not need heating:
Turkey Meatloaf – can be thinly sliced and eaten like sausage on bread with some mustard. Yum!
Beef Croquettes – we eat them like a snack but they are certainly a main dish.
Fish Croquettes – LOVE them! I will post the recipe in the near future.

And now…got to go!

College Bound…Again

Here we are again, sending my kid off to college. This time it’s my baby girl.

Doron and I returned home last night after moving our daughter to her dorm at the University of Florida. We helped her settle in and did some shopping, and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye. I thought that since I’d already gone through this once with my oldest son, it would be easier this time. Boy, was I wrong!

My daughter is certainly ready to leave home mentally and physically. I’m not at all worried about her. In fact, I’m sure she will thrive in college, being surrounded by like-minded people of her age, and with so many activities and possibilities for her to explore.

The problem is me. It was so hard for me to leave her alone in a new unfamiliar place, where she doesn’t know anyone. Luckily her roommate was there too, so she wasn’t totally alone and I was a little relieved. As soon as we hit the road back home, though, I already started missing her.

We have become very close in the past few years, and in a way, I feel that she is one of my closest friends. I miss her wit and her insightfulness about life. I miss watching TV with her, cuddling under the blanket and sipping hot chocolate, while sharing laughs and tears over cheesy shows and silly people. I miss her as my “beauty consultant” and my personal make-up artist. But most of all, I miss the little girl that she is no more.

As ironic as it seems, I got a glimpse of the little girl during the last two days, in college, when my daughter actually enjoyed letting me and Doron take her shopping and help her figure things out and make decisions. And I loved being there for her when she needed me, just as I’ve always loved cooking for her, taking her shopping, teaching her how to stand up for herself and be her best.

Thankfully, technology is so advanced that I can be in touch with my baby and even see her online on a daily basis, at least as long as she is ok with that. I know I need to let go, and I will. With time…

Go Gators!

Guest Blogger

I was invited by Esme from the Recipe Hunter to post on her blog one of my recipes, as a guest blogger. The Recipe Hunter is a great blog that hosts different food bloggers from around the world, in order to share their recipes with the world.

I’m honored to have my Chicken Stew with Porcini Mushrooms recipe posted on The Recipe Hunter blog today. Go check out my post, as well as other great food recipes on that blog using the following link:

Thank you, Esme!

chicken with porcini half cooked