February 21, 2011

Why Must I Always Get Sick?!

Posted in Allergies, Cold & Flu, Health and Wellness, Sinuses & Congestion tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:40 PM by Rockin' Rita

Why must I always get sick?! That’s the question so many of us ask ourselves every year around this time. Nobody likes getting sick and you do everything you can think of to prevent it. What about when you are unemployed? How much can you afford?

I’ve been unemployed over a year now and have no medical insurance. First I hear of 5 people who are sick from one thing or another. Next, my dad gets sick and has a nasty cough. He’s got insurance so he goes to the doctor who puts him on antibiotics. He’s better now, but guess what. That’s right. I managed to catch it despite vowing I wouldn’t. I tried to stay away from him as much as possible. Everything he touched I either stayed away from or wiped down with Lysol wipes. I washed my hands often and never used the towel he used to dry my hands, just paper towels. I got out of the house or stayed up in my bedroom anytime he was around. I started using airborne every night and taking vitamin c supplements but apparently it was no use.

I’ve been suffering from some nasty nasal congestion for the past several months on and off, but it was under control with the help of the clear Breathe Right nasal strips and Vicks Sinex 12 hour nasal decongestant spray. Fast forward to the week before last. The weather around here in NJ started getting warmer again and naturally my allergies and asthma were affected. I didn’t think anything of it because this has always happened since childhood. I started using Breathe Right advanced nasal strips at night to keep my nose more open because the regular ones just weren’t doing it. Last week I started needing to use an additional strip on top of the advanced at night and in the morning I was still really congested, so I started using the regular size strips during the day too. A couple of days ago, my congestion started getting even worse. To compensate I started using the Sinex more often and when that didn’t quite work I used TheraFlu Warming Relief Severe Cold and Cough.

On Saturday, I went to a friend’s birthday party and had to leave early after suffering really bad with just horrible congestion. My congestion has never been so bad before! I just couldn’t breathe at all through my nose and it was really starting to affect my asthma. My friend’s sister noticed I had already taken my rescue inhaler 4 times within a short period of time. On the way home I stopped off at Rite Aid and picked up Advil Congestion relief, more Breathe Right Advanced strips, and TheraFlu Warming Relief Sinus and Congestion. Before I even got out of the parking lot, I put on a fresh Breathe Right strip and opened up the bottle of TheraFlu and took some. It was no use, the TheraFlu had only made me more congested. I tried blowing my nose but as soon as I cleared it out I would clog right back up.

When I got home I made myself some tea with lots of honey and took some more TheraFlu and went to bed. When I got up in the morning I felt fine and wasn’t even congested so I didn’t bother taking anything. By time night fell I was back to feeling run down and totally congested so I tried more of the TheraFlu which didn’t do anything except clog me up more. After about an hour I decided to try Coldcalm, a homeopathic remedy. I took 2 pills every 15 mins for 2 hours and 2 pills an hour after that as directed but I only felt just as bad. By time the TheraFlu had worn off I decided to try the Advil Congestion Relief. Again that didn’t work and I was running out of options. I gave up and made myself more tea, filled up a hot water bottle to keep my feet from freezing, and decided to go to bed. If you are anything like me when you can’t breathe and your feet are freezing you can’t sleep. By time 2am came I was exhausted and still freezing, so I decided to try one last trick and take a hot shower hoping the steam would open me up. Well it succeeded in warming me up, but no luck with the congestion. In the bathroom cabinet I found some NyQuil and took that. Bummer! Didn’t work.

Probably around 4 am or so I finally fell asleep while watching tv. When I awoke this morning I was no worse for wear, but still I was still extremely congested. I had had it. I was fed up, exhausted, and out of options. Again all morning I suffered but this time I decided not to take anything else knowing it wouldn’t work. I was ready to call the doctor up to reluctantly make an appointment for asap and spend $75 just for him to tell me to do what I was already doing and to give me a script for something else to rid me of the congestion. I was moments away from picking up the phone when my mom said just go online and try to find some home remedies. Not expecting to find anything useful as I’ve checked before for remedies and searched in the past only found the options like try saline solution, vicks vaporub, humidifiers, neti pots, hot showers, etc. But I searched again today figuring what harm could it do?

This time I tried searching “severe nasal congestion remedies” and the first 2 links I clicked on had all of the above solutions and more. They both mention drinking Tomato Tea. I made myself up a batch as I have all of the ingredients already at home. Within minutes of drinking up the spicy mixture (and i can’t take spicy heat) I started noticing a slight change in my breathing patterns. Instead of the snotty sound coming when I tried to breathe through my nose I heard a light whistle of air coming through my left nostril. OMG! It was working. Now a couple of hours have past since I drank the “tea” and I have blown my nose several more times with little relief. Moments ago I blew my nose then immediately (before my nose had a chance to fill up again) sprayed the Vicks Sinex in each nostril. I continued typing away and not 5 minutes  after I used the Sinex I can’t believe it, but I’m completely clear. I CAN BREATHE!!!! As an added bonus now I don’t need to go to the doctors!!!!

Here’s the links to the sites I checked out and the adjusted recipe I used. Many yeys and few nays are the results gathered from people who’ve used the “tea.” The one thing they have in common is that most people say “don’t expect the tea to work immediately.” Always a good thing to keep in mind, especially when you’ve been stressing! The best peace of advice I can give you if you are suffering like me is to always hope what you take will work, but don’t ever expect it to.

WISE GEEK link

Home Remedies for Nasal Congestion

Sinus Congestion Remedies

Tomato Tea Cures

Spicy Tomato Tea recipe
2 cups tomato or veggie juice or Bloody Mary Cocktail mix (no alcohol)
3 cloves garlic (more if you can)–crushed or minced as fine as you can make it
2 TBSP Lemon juice
2 TBSP honey
1 tsp Hot Sauce/prepared horseradish/ ceyenne pepper (the more you can handle the better)

Heat it up and drink it like a tea. You can drink as much of it as you’d like in a day as it is not traditional medicine and will not have side effects as such.

UPDATE: In the weeks since I got tired of drinking the tomato tea and just stopped all together cos it wasn’t super effective. A couple of days later my congestion was getting bad again so I picked up some Suddafed at the recommendation of a friend and now for the most part my congestion is completely gone during the day. The only time I’ve had to take anything is when I first wake up in the morning and occasionally before I go to bed. I think I can live with this being able to breathe thing!

February 16, 2011

mmmm food

Posted in breakfast, Recipes and food, snacks tagged , , at 3:22 PM by Rockin' Rita

Some of my favorite granolas are made with Kashi cereals. Try their lines of GoLean Crunch and GoLean Crisp as part of your granola mixture.  Tired of “just granola?” Turn your granola into a trail mix by adding things you love like nuts, berries, even chocolate covered raisins are delish! This posts comes direct from the Vocalpoint program. I enjoyed it so much I thought I’d share it with you.

Make your own granola

Make your own granolaAs you can see below, it’s easy to make your own granola, which you can use as an afternoon snack, breakfast, sprinkled over yogurt—whatever you want. The first recipe is the base for granola mix, which is great just on its own. But the recipes after it contain a few add-ins that can customize the base to your liking. The last recipe is one for chewy granola bars, which are great for super-portable snacking!

Granola Base

3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon (you can add more or less, depending on what you like)
1/3 cup honey (you could also use maple syrup, if that’s what’s on hand)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray and set it aside.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the remaining liquid ingredients in a glass measuring cup. Heat the liquid mixture for one minute and stir its contents, then pour over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Thinly and evenly spread the granola on the baking sheet. Pop the pan in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes, or until the granola is a light golden brown.

Enhance the base granola after baking by mixing in different combinations of dried fruits, nuts or seeds:


Tropical Granola

¼ cup macadamia nuts
½ cup dried pineapple
¼ cup flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
½ cup dried papaya
½ cup banana chips

Harvest Blend Granola

1 cup dried apples
½ cup halved walnuts
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (salted and roasted)
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
½ cup dried cranberries

Fruity Granola

½ cup dried apple chips
½ cup banana chips
½ cup dried papaya
½ cup raisins
½ cup dates

Chewy Granola Bars

2 cups of quick oatmeal
¾ cup wheat germ
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. Kosher salt
4 tbsp. butter

Brown the oatmeal and wheat germ in a large, dry frying pan on medium heat. In a separate pan, combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from stove and mix with the dry ingredients.

Once the dry and liquid ingredients are mixed, stir in your favorite mix-ins, including chocolate chips or dried fruit.

Spray the bottom of an 11×13 pan with non-stick baking spray, or line with wax paper. Firmly press the mixture into a glass-pan, as if you’re making Rice Krispies treats. Let cool at room temperature. After three hours, cut into bar-shaped treats, package in wax paper or snack-size bags and store in an air-tight container.

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