So, I’ve got the flu. Much yayness! I suppose it was only a matter of time, what with a sick husband and the majority of my customers going through the same thing. Mind you, I’m very impressed with how long I’ve managed to keep it at bay, and on top of that, it doesn’t seem to have crippled me the way a flu would’ve done a year ago. I attribute this to the LC diet – the lack of sugar weighing down my immune system really seems to have made one helluva difference!
The next issue, is of course: what can you eat on this diet to get better? Let’s just explore this for a second; before LC when I’d get sick I’d eat mashed potatoes, pasta meals, lots of soups – my favourite sick food is my mother-in-law’s French Onion Soup – and lots of gelati to soothe my throat. I’m sure most of you have similar things when feeling icky. Nowadays, of course, the majority of those don’t fit into my diet – especially not the French Onion Soup. So, this being my first time combating any real flu since the start of my LC odyssey, I hopped online and, through feverish eyes, scanned through my regular ports of call for advice. A few interesting questions have come out of my research:
- Should you raise your carb intake while sick?
- Should you fast?
- Should you just power on and stick to your regular carb restrictions?
Well, one thing that everyone agrees on is to increase your fluid intake to as much as you can handle – for me it turns out that that is just on 4litres of water throughout the day. I’ve been swapping between plain water and sparkling mineral water, just to give myself a break. The added goodness of the mineral water is that I can carry the bottle around with me with a drinking glass, so it’s never very far away.
Now I’ve always been one of those people who doesn’t believe in fasting while you’re sick. The argument for fasting runs to the theory that your body spends a lot of energy digesting, energy which is could be using to combat whatever bug has got you down. I see the logic in it, and if it works for you I’d love to hear about it, but I’m of the opinion that you should eat and lots if you can manage it. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I figure the more you put in the more fuel your body’s got to fight off the flu and you’re flushing out the bug while you’re at it. I think of it like sending supplies to the front lines.
“Which supplies shall we send? Are we upping our carb intake?”
Honestly, I think this is a personal decision that has a few factors to take into account. For starters, how sick are you? If you’re so sick you don’t have the energy to stay on target I think you should definitely be upping your carb intake, if only for a few days; give your body a fighting chance and focus your own mental energies on getting better rather than on staying on target. You can win back any lost ground in a day or two.
If that’s your chosen path, I highly recommend foods laden with garlic, ginger and chilli (if you can manage the heat). Garlic is an amazing cure-all, fighting off infections and inflammation throughout the body. Ginger has a similar affect, while chilli is loaded with vitamin C. I also recommend taking a double dose of any multivitamin you’re taking – I take one in the morning and one at night – just be careful and check the labels: you don’t want to overload your system with too many heavy metals, that’ll just make you sicker. Also, stay away from dairy – it’ll only add to the congestion. I was lucky enough to find some sugar-free liquorice at my local chemist in Upwey, with an incredibly low carb count per serve, so if my throat does that awful, painful closing up thing and I can’t turn to obvious lozenges, I have some of that. I’ve also added in some apple and orange – not strictly in line with my carb count – for the extra vitamins and nutrition. I’m not taking any chances with this thing; my husband and rely on each other to run our Cafe and with no staff it means that one of us has to be in all the time.
I’ll admit that on the first day of this flu – two days ago now – I went a little carb crazy. I had spent the day at the Cafe alone while the hubby was at home nursing his flu, and by the end of the day I could barely stand up. Up until that point I’d just assumed I’d be fine – yeah, right! I managed to get some flu tablets – along with the liquorice – but discovered that they just made my phantom gallbladder pain flair up so I only took one dose. When I got home my throat was so sore I could barely speak, so I gave in and had several serves of the lemon-lime gelato that my husband had bought for his throat a few days before. It was heaven. I ate too much for dinner, including half a rice-ball I really shouldn’t have had, and then I had more gelato after dinner. I simply caved and gave in. I even had a slice of bread with dinner. Yeah, I was bad. I was so miserable I didn’t feel any negative side effects; I didn’t even feel guilty.
I didn’t bother weighing myself in the morning; I took the day off and spent it drinking chicken broth and sparkling water. I didn’t feel like any of my herbal teas – not even the Higher Living Ginger Kick one – or eating much at all. After the seventh episode of Bones, which saw me lying on the couch only half awake, covered in a blanket, my darling mother-in-law came home with pies specially for me, and because she was so lovely about it I couldn’t say ‘no’. So I deconstructed my pie; i.e. just ate the filling and adding a note for ‘hidden carbs’ in my food diary. I felt better with some solid food in my stomach; chicken broth is all well and good, electrolytes and all, but it gets really boring after your second cup. I made myself have some macadamias and walnuts around lunch time, just because I knew that if I didn’t eat I’d feel nauseous and sicker.
So all in all, that day was a pretty in-line with diet day, which reflected itself on the scales when I weighed in this morning. I feel better – not great, but better, good enough to come into the Cafe. Today the plan is to stick to my goals, I’ve got my willpower back if not my physical strength, and power on. I’ve never recovered from a flu this fast, and while I’m not quite 100% just yet, I’m doing better than I would have a year ago.
Oh, and I might slow down with posting, just while I’m getting over this flu. Bear with me. Kthanx.