Our family just had our turn with COVID-19. This post is about what I ate every day (think anti-viral foods) to help speed up recovery time.
Note: This is Part 1 of 2 posts on how I’ve approached our family’s stint with COVID and I’m intentionally only focusing on foods first and solely here because I believe food/diet is that important and powerful in healing and recovering from a virus. Click here to read part 2.
I wrote this thinking about what I did for just me, myself. But now that I’m thinking of it, my husband followed this protocol pretty much the same as well, and he recovered quite quickly, too.
On that note, I should add, and I’m sure you’ve noticed — everyone’s having a different experience with this virus and you can’t compare one person’s experience with another’s. This post is simply what we did and is NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.
The way it went for me was a bit different, which I’ll explain…
As for the kids, I didn’t even try to get them to follow this. What I did do is sneak in these anti-viral foods anywhere I could (I pushed a lot of oranges!) and focused on hydration and keeping sugar out (a feat all on it’s own!).
A side note: Thankfully we all had pretty mild cases of what I assume to be the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The hardest part for us about the whole experience was that it went on so long.
It started with my husband a couple days after Christmas, and it was several days between each one of the four of us testing positive. To give you an idea, I didn’t test positive until Jan 7 (10 days later), and one of our girls didn’t test positive until two days after that (a full 12 since the virus found our house).
By the time I got sick myself, I was over it and I just wanted it to be done as soon as possible.
The CDC had just reduced the official quarantine guideline to 5 days, too, and I was counting those days!
Silly me, thinking I could will myself well over a virus (ha! can’t think of anything more #momlife than that)…
After about 48 hours of giving into it, staying in bed, binging on Netflix, I thought I was in the clear… plus I had another sick kid at home (or so the at home rapid test said).
Then I got hit with a second wave of it. The fatigue was real.
And the same gruesome migraine-like headache.
Either my body hadn’t completely cleared the virus or the process of doing so had left me depleted… most likely both were true.
When this second wave happened, I went right back my anti-viral foods, which I’m going share with you in this post.
Again, this is important: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. This is only an account of my experience with the COVID-19 virus.
Helping Your Body Heal
It’s incredible when you think about it really — your body knows exactly what to do, all on its own, to fight off a virus. It’s usually just a matter of going with it — following the body’s lead.
There’s a reason when we’re sick we lose our appetite, feel tired, or just meh and don’t want to do much. There’s a real hormone cascade happening that’s making you feel this way.
That’s why usually the best thing you can do with a virus is give into it, listen to your body, and let it do it’s thing.
Beyond that, too, we can support the body with what it needs to be able to do it’s thing, and remove the things that are making more work for it.
This is where using certain anti-viral foods (and avoiding others) can make a huge difference.
Here’s What a Typical Day Looked Like for Me (Food/Drink wise)…
The easiest way I can think to tell you about what foods are most helpful is to show you what a typical day looked like for me food and drink wise.
First thing in the morning:
A green juice
As soon as I tested positive for COVID-19 I made myself a green juice to act quickly and start flushing the virus out of my system.
I kept it simple and drank either a celery or cucumber juice every morning.
These vegetable juices are particularly helpful in flushing out pathogens.
They also help to hydrate the body on a cellular level. There’s water in all fruits and vegetables and this water is considered to be more alive, and it’s more readily taken up into our cells, which is most important.
It’s important to drink these juices on an empty stomach for maximum absorption and to not drink any water or anything else along with them so as not to dilute their potency. Wait at least 15 minutes after drinking to eat or drink anything else.
Smoothie with frozen wild blueberries and strawberries
Next I’d make a smoothie with these two key ingredients.
In 2020 I worked with Ginny Orenstein who specializes in helping people heal from viral overload, particularly viruses in the Human Herpes Virus family (Epstein Barr, Ctyomegalovirus, Zoster, etc.) She uses this smoothie, along with the juices above to help kill out these pathogens. Her book, Kill the Herpesviruses explains more and includes protocols you can follow to address these viruses specifically.
Wild blueberries have a resilient energy that they pass on to us when we eat them. And strawberries are a potent anti-viral food.
I buy both of these frozen (the freezing perseveres the nutrients and potency). For the strawberries, it’s important to buy organic as strawberries are the top crop most heavily sprayed with pesticides (remember, we’re removing anything that adds work, like another thing to have to detox – like pesticides).
If I was hungry I’d eat some other fruit, coconut yogurt, oatmeal, granola, usually something light.
Hot Lemon and Ginger Water
I sipped on hot lemon ginger water throughout the day. To make I’d just put a few thin slices of ginger root in a mug, then pour over boiling water. Let that cool about 5 minutes, then add a squeeze of lemon. When my throat was sore I’d add a squeeze of honey, too. Note: ginger and lemon, and honey too, have anti-viral food properties as well.
A Blended Soup or Vegetable Soup
Luckily just before I got sick myself I’d just made this cauliflower leek soup so I had that to eat off for a few days. Blended soups are good too because they’re even easier to digest, just one less thing on the body’s to do list, which means that energy can go toward fighting the virus.
That got me through the thick of it and when I started feeling better I made this mushroom soup.
Some key ingredients for virus fighting…
Mushrooms are an anti-viral food and particularly potent virus fighters at that. They have adaptogenic-like properties too which help the body respond to the stress of a fighting a virus as well.
Onions and garlic — I cooked with these a lot while COVID was in the house. These have natural anti-viral, anti-microbial properties. Think of them like nature’s germ killers. The more the better!
Cruciferous vegetables — are high in sulphur, which is needed to make glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant, which your body uses a lot of when fighting a virus like COVID-19. Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, arugula, kale, brussels sprouts.
This is good blended mushroom soup that gets all of these in.
I usually had some sort of plain gluten-free crackers too — like Mary’s Gone or Hu Kitchen.
Orange for a little snack and vitamin C hit. This is another one I learned from Ginny that she uses in her protocol.
Fun fact: the pith (the white part) of the orange is particularly anti-viral.
Soup is a good vehicle for so many nutrient-dense foods like bone broth (for minerals and amino acids — glutathione again!) and healing herbs like turmeric, ginger, thyme, oregano, rosemary, to just name a few.
What I avoided…
This is an important part too. Just like it’s critical to give your body the ingredients it needs to be able to make the enzymes and do it’s thing, it’s just as important to take away the things that create more work for the body — like foods that are hard to digest, or that contribute to inflammation.
For me that includes: wheat/gluten, dairy, sugar, refined grains/flours, animal protein (except bone broth), and alcohol.
It must be said — All of this is a lot easier said than done when you’re on day 15 of quarantine/no school. It definitely wasn’t perfect (let’s just say I found myself hiding in the pantry snacking more than once)… just remember – we do the best we can — focus on adding in the anti-viral stuff to crowd out the things you’re avoiding.
Other foods I’m adding in now (post virus)
Now that we’re past the virus, the foods I’m focused on adding in are the ones that support glutathione production (onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, healthy protein like grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon). And still keeping inflammatory foods (gluten, dairy, sugar) out.
Be sure to check out this post to understand more about why glutathione is so critical.
Here’s something you may find interesting… We know those with diabetes or metabolic syndrome are at higher risk for severe illness but you know what else folks with these conditions may have in common? Low glutathione levels.
Glutathione is the antioxidant your body produces on its own.
And it’s our no. 1 defense against oxidative stress… which fighting a virus produces a lot of.
Think of glutathione like water putting out a fire.
And then imagine what happens when you run out of water…
MORE oxidative stress.
MORE viral fall out.
MORE damage to the body.
Our body can make more glutathione BUT it needs the ingredients….
Which we can only get through diet.
If we don’t, glutathione remains depleted and other things that weren’t challenging before can become a problem…. like allergies.
I have a story about that, which I’ll save for Part II — coming next week.
In Part 2 I’ll address supplements, over the counter medications, and what I’d put up there that’s just as important (probably more) than food and supplements for healing.
In the meantime, here are some previous posts that may be helpful…
- Coronavirus Support Guide: How to Reduce Stress and Boost Your Immune system
- 10 Ways to Support Your Natural Immunity
- How to Kick a Cold Fast: Here’s Exactly What I Did to Kick a Cold Fast (in 23-36 hours)
Questions, Thoughts, Anything I Didn’t Do That Worked for You?
I want to know… what’s helped you recover from COVID-19 or any virus, really? What are your go-to foods, remedies? Share em with us in the comments.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is not medical advice. I am a health coach, not a physician or medical doctor, and the information in this post is based on my personal experience and is not in anyway a recommendation. Always check with your primary care physician before starting a new supplement.