When life gives you lemons, make lemsip!

Well, true to form, the very day after boasting and posting about my lack of illness over the past year, I come down with a cold. Still, a year and three months is pretty good going, so I’m proud of my old immune system for defending me so well.

I am not the kind of person to continue exercising when I’m ill. I exercise for the purpose of being healthy looking after my body. Working out when ill puts strain on the body and can prolong recovery, which is counter-productive. In the meantime I am resting well, eating plenty (hard work as I have lost my appetite), getting lots of vitamins and drinking lots of water. Thankfully I picked a whole crate of naartjies (tangerines to non-Africans), so there is no shortage of vitamin C in the house. I am not going to reduce my calorie intake due to my inactivity – my body needs the extra energy to recover, and I don’t want any muscle-wastage to occur in the process. I had some yummy protein pancakes last night, topped with peanut butter, cinnamon, 1 packet of equisweet and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Best protein pancakes I’ve had yet!

So, on the topic of colds and flu, I decided to put forward my ten nominees for the award of top flu-fighting food:

  1. Lemons – Not only are these sour little things Vitamin C powerhouses, but adding the juice to some warm water can help cut through excess mucus – one of the most annoying symptoms of the common cold.
  2. Onions – Helps clear the airways and can reduce chest symptoms. Try cutting one in half and leaving it next to your bed, or soak a whole, quartered onion in honey overnight for a homemade cough syrup. Alternatively, slice and eat raw in salads.
  3. Honey – a small spoonful in a warm drink helps leaves a thin coating on the throat helping to soothe and ease and soreness.
  4. Lean red meat – High levels of iron keep sufficient oxygen levels flowing through the body. High grade protein supports cell regeneration, vital during recovery from illness.
  5. Sardines – A great source of energy, with essential fatty acids to joint mobility, brain function and metabolism, whilst providing a high dose of calcium minus the mucus of dairy, which will only exacerbate your symptoms.
  6. Wheat Germ – Packed with energy-essential B-vitamins in an easy-to eat form. Simply add to smoothies or sprinkle over cereal.
  7. Oat Bran – When you’re fighting off an infection, other bodily systems can take strain. Oat bran is high in both soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps keep the digestive system healthy and functioning. Add to or use in the place of rolled or instant oats.
  8. Cayenne Pepper – Hot, spicy food can help loosen mucus and clear the sinuses. Not suitable in the case of a fever.
  9. Ginger – Another great one for clearing the sinuses. Add to hot drinks, stir-fries, salads or baked goods. Both powdered and root ginger work well.
  10. Garlic – Supports the immune system and enhances blood circulation – important during times of bed-rest or inactivity. Spread a raw, crushed clove over whole wheat toast and drizzle with olive oil. No one will want to kiss you when you’re infectious anyway, so you may as well make the most of it!

Homemade “Lemsip”

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cm stem ginger, peeled and chopped or grated (or ¼ tsp powdered ginger)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Small pinch cayenne pepper
  1. Put all ingredients into a large mug.
  2. Pour boiling water over, stir, and allow to steep for a few minutes.
  3. Sip slowly whilst drink is warm. Strain first if desired.

Lots of love and good health!



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