So living in Bali totally had me thinking that all this vitamin D, tropical air, no cold mornings, more high-antioxidant fruits than I knew what to do with, healthy café’s coming out of every orifice, and just living my general #nutritionistlyfe …I didn’t think I’d ever have to worry about respiratory health or flu again.
I was so wrong.
For the past 5 weeks I have been whacked sideways by some hideous Bali flu (who takes 4 days off work because of flu!? And I am a nutritionist! Embarrassing!). I mean I lived in freezing Melbourne, Colorado and London for years without getting serious flu. Tropical flu hell… who knew!?
The first week was fever and bed, second week was better but every time I tried to laugh I sounded like a drag queen having an emphysemic attack, and the 3rd and 4th weeks I was left with a lingering, productive cough that just wouldn’t GO. Then, undeservedly, I woke up on Wednesday morning tonsillitis. As a child I suffered chronic and repetitive tonsillitis and I am lucky they didn’t take my tonsils out. As I have since learned, they are our respiratory systems first line of defence and it would have been a sad loss. So I still have them, but sadly I did spend my youth destroying my gut microbiome by munching on antibiotics like they were m & m’s, trying to save my damn throat.
So I knew I did not want it to get to that stage, I did NOT want to take ab’s, and I did not want to take another sick day in order to recover (not that I recommend going to work if you are super sick!!).
I went straight to Canggu deli and bought 3 jars of raw honey, a tray of garlic, a tray of ginger, a tray of fresh turmeric, and 5 lemons. I crushed and minced my potion and chewed/swished it around my mouth for 2 days, unapologetically making my work kitchen smell like garlic and god knows what to my breath, but who cares, because IT WORKED.
Even when it’s my job, my passion, and I am constantly reading amazing encounters of the power of food as medicine, no one knows tough infections quite like someone who knows frequent bouts of tonsillitis. Even with antibiotics in the past, I have never eliminated tonsillitis in 2 days, especially following a long flu and thus reduced immune function. Medicinal food just never ceases to amaze me… so I thought I would share this concoction for anyone in the same boat.
(for one jar- I recommend 1 jar p/day)
1 empty mason jar, twice the size of the honey jar you buy
1 jar raw honey
Palm sized worth of fresh ginger, grated
2 heads of garlic, crushed
Juice of 1-2 lemons (& zest if you like)
1 tbsp turmeric powder or 3 tbsp fresh grated turmeric
Put crushed ingredients in large jar, pour honey in, add lemon juice/zest, and blend.
Do not refrigerate, let the compounds blend.
Spoon feed yourself throughout the day- the idea is to constantly be coating your throat with it.
As you chew and eat it, the antimicrobial benefits and quercitin content supports immune activity in your gut.
I will admit to awful bloating from all the fructose in the honey, which is something I try to avoid at all costs usually (and would NEVER tell a patient to consume!), however, in the name of avoiding antibiotics, for 2-3 days I put up with it. A jar of honey in a day is obviously a blood sugar and caloric nightmare, but hey, my appetite was down anyway from the infection so I wasn’t eating as much as usual, and look- it worked.
Like all good Bali lessons, this flu/tonsilitis has been both a humbling experience and a total pain in the ass… and of course yet another Bali lesson in patience.