Hacking cough, running nose, body aches and chills… these are just a few of the souvenirs I brought home from my trip to Florida last week. Fun times. So, anyway, I thought I would recap some of my favorite plastic-free cold remedies.
Vegetarian hot & sour soup in stainless steel tiffin
When I have a cold, my favorite treat is Chinese hot and sour soup. Living plastic-free, though, means that I can’t just pick up the phone and order it to be delivered. Lucky for me, Michael is usually on hand and willing to run down the street with our stainless steel tiffin and fill it up for me. We’ve never had any hassle from either Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood — Great Wall or Becky’s Chinese — when we bring our own container, although the staff at Becky’s once tried to put the tiffin in a plastic bag. It’s got a handle. It doesn’t need any bag!
Spicy virgin bloody mary
The alcohol is unnecessary. I just get tomato or vegetable juice in a glass bottle and add a healthy dose of Tabasco or other pepper sauce, also in a glass bottle.
Okay… I just know that someone is going to tell me I can juice my own veggies or tomatoes. So I’ll just say it for you. I could juice my own veggies… if I had a juicer and if I didn’t feel like crap. The thing is… I don’t really drink juice very often… not enough to buy a juicer. I’d rather have whole fruits and vegetables that include all the fiber. So for the few times a year I drink juice, I’m happy buying it in a glass bottle.
Homemade Cough Syrup
Ingredients: cayenne pepper, ground ginger, honey, apple cider vinegar, water. I wrote up the full homemade cough syrup recipe last year. The comments on that post are invaluable and include many other home remedies for coughs and colds, so be sure and click on the link. This particular concoction is very soothing (and surprisingly delicious in a weird way) but it doesn’t really suppress a cough. Still, it feels good going down.
Many people have mentioned slippery elm bark. Well, I went out last year and bought some, but it seems that I may have bought the wrong thing. Mine looks like shredded bark, but all the recipes I find online call for the powder. Is there anything I can do with the kind I purchased?
And one of you (I can’t remember who!) mentioned a recipe for homemade cough lozenges on my Facebook page last year. I’m going to try making them soon and will post the results here. I’m thinking of using honey, lemon juice, and ginger. What do you think? In the meantime, I’ll take my syrup and also drink a lot of…
Tea with honey and lemon
The tea comes from the Whole Foods bulk bin or from Lhasa Karnak herb shop in Berkeley, where I bring my own containers. I use a metal tea ball to steep it. The honey and lemon juice come in glass jars (or sometimes we get bulk honey in our own jar.) Tracey TieF turned me on to Lakewood organic lemon juice. Of course, I’d prefer fresh lemons, but when you’re sick and desperate and just home from a trip, you use what’s in the house. And I like having the bottled lemon juice on hand.
I do have fresh satsuma tangerines, though. Yummy and good.
Ceramic neti pot
This thing is wondrous. I rhapsodized about my little blue neti pot in a post last year. Click over to that link to see a photo of me pouring water through my nose and also a video with complete neti pot instructions.
Lots of cloth handkerchiefs
Okay, this one is purely hypothetical. I don’t actually have lots of cloth handkerchiefs. I have enough for everyday sniffles but not enough to sop up what’s coming out of my nose at the moment. But they’re on my to-do list. Last year, many of you chided me for breaking down and buying a box of soft tree-killing Kleenex (the first box I’d bought in several years!) and recommended homemade hankies made from old t-shirts. It sounds like a great idea and much softer than the rough recycled toilet paper I’ve been using on my nose this time around. But right now, I don’t have any t-shirts I can cut up. I’ll put a WANTED ad on Freecycle and see if I can get a bunch. OR I could pay one of you crafty people to make some for me. What do you say??? Any Etsy sellers out there?
Natural memory foam pillow
The best thing for a cold? BED! And while my mattress is not plastic-free — I purchased it years and years ago — my pillow is. I’ll write more about natural pillows and mattresses in a future post. My pillow is from Essentia and was sent to me to review. And it’s my favorite place to put my head when I don’t feel well.