The UK’s top holistic lifestyle expert and mum of four on beating winter sniffles and finding time to relax
Janey Lee Grace
It’s officially Winter Snuffles season. Is it only my family who seem to have an annual cough that lasts at least three weeks? I lay bolt upright in bed last night tuned in to the ‘co-cough-ony’ of sounds reverberating around the house. First there’s ubercool 12-year-old who lets out a dry rasping cough followed by a wheeze (my heart beats faster – please God let it not be asthma). As that dies down his brother in the bunk bed above emits one of his signature seal barks. I kid you not, that boy coughs like a seal through the night seemingly without even waking, and the next morning is right as rain (I on the other hand am frazzled and exhausted from lack of sleep).
The coughing settles and I just start to relax and allow myself to sink back into the duvet as the seven-year-old kicks off. Now his style is entirely different – he has a proper smoker’s cough (I promise he has never been near the woodbines!) and after a boneshaking loose rattle I fear I may have to make a dive for the nearest bucket. The four-year-old is next after a suitable sleep interval of about four minutes. She sneezes so many times I wonder if she may be the next contender for the Guinness Book of Records – wasn’t there a guy who didn’t stop sneezing for a year?
I’m delirious with tiredness and incredulous that darling husband can sleep through it all. He lies spread-eagled across the bed snoring and farting gently, oblivious to the fact that for the fourth night in a row I have been woken and wracked by indecision as to whether I should drag myself out of bed to check on the children or just reach for the earplugs knowing that in the morning they will all be right as rain.
Of course I can’t sit back and do nowt, so I get to work on natural remedies. First off the onion in brown sugar remedy: you just coat an onion in brown sugar, leave overnight and the next morning spoon off the syrup – hold the child’s nose if necessary and spoon it in.
Actually I’m working hard to boost their immunity through the winter months so in addition to the obvious echinacea drops in juice I’m trying to get essential fatty acids down them. I recently had an omega 3 test done and found I was seriously lacking: 30 per cent when a healthy level is 70! Apparently omega 3 levels are depleted by too many processed fatty foods (not guilty), smoking (again, not guilty), coffee (well, your honour, I am partial to a cappuccino), wine (erm, well never before the sun goes over the yard arm and only ever organic), stress (uber-guilty – I’m a harassed mum of four for God’s sake!)
So – memo to self – reduce stress (but not using alcohol) and up my essential fatty acids. Not so easy for the kids though. They think fish oils are the devil’s own offerings and many of the liquids marketed at kids taste quite frankly of mackerel mixed with rubber. I tried suggesting it was astronaut juice but the seven-year-old didn’t buy it.
Happily, I’ve just found Taste, which, low and behold, actually does taste great. I even sneak the strawberry flavour into ice cream and desserts. I’m also sneaking copious spoonfuls of Viridikid oils into any dishes with sauce and I’ve not been found out yet.
Anyway, it’s way past bedtime – all is quiet – I’m off to catch an hour’s snooze before the hacking begins.
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