Weathering the winter chills
As we head into another winter I am thinking about the heavy snows and runny noses of last year. Walking through the snow to the shops because there was no way to drive; changing the children’s clothes several times a day when they came in for hot chocolate after yet another snowball fight; and trying to guard against the sneezes and coughs of well-meaning visitors.
I remember staggering into work many years ago during an outbreak of 'flu. It was a strain that lasted several weeks and almost everyone I knew was ill. I had just heard about Echinacea and I have always been conscious of eating lots of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, especially when I am sick. In addition, I went for one session of acupuncture and managed to fight off that 'flu within the week - unlike many of my colleagues, who had to give up and take to their beds.
Now that I have to work, care for Steve and look after two children, I simply don’t have time to get sick and I have to be very careful to protect my family from infection. So I go for prevention rather than cure. During the winter we stock up on vitamins, herbs, fruit and vegetables. I’m also very aware that we might get snow-bound, so I always have bags of dried goods as well as tins of fruit and beans. I often make thick lentil soups with warming spices like ginger and health-enhancing spices like turmeric. I might not be a very good cook but there is something deeply satisfying about presenting a bowl of steaming hot home-made soup with crusty rolls that have been warmed up in the oven on a freezing cold day.
Despite the endless days of snow and freezing temperatures of last year, we managed to avoid the worst of the illnesses going around, leaving us able to make the most of the winter weather. My lasting memory will be of Steve and me watching our two little girls sliding down the snowy hill outside our house on makeshift sleighs: laughing, freezing and happy.
Purple Reign: Dr Rory Hafford takes a personal look at the healing power of Echinacea.