Crikey! Another week passed, another week in isolation. And so continues our alphabet soup.
I have decided to write this weekly newsletter to reach out to you and hopefully give you some tips to get through this incredibly trying time. It is in no way designed to be preachy or diminish what you are currently experiencing. It does not take the place of medical advice, nor will it offer up cures and misinformation about corona. It’s alphabetical in nature. I am taking wagers to see which letter we reach (hopefully not very far). Any guesses as to what letter we’ll reach before life returns to ‘normal’?
‘C’ is for Cabin Fever
First up, I have to say how lucky I think we are in WA. I have never seen so many people walking around my ‘hood’ as during COVID-19. It’s quite lovely to see people out in the street, chatting with their neighbours (at a suitable distance of course). It doesn’t mean, however, that some of us aren’t experiencing ‘cabin fever’.
To be honest with you I have ‘Corona fatigue’ this week. I am finding it very hard to get motivated to do much (except binge watch ‘Tiger King’ – yikes), so I asked my friends to come up with some things to help combat the feelings of ‘cabin fever’. Herewith their excellent suggestions (plus a couple of my own).
- Check-in with someone via a phone call. This may be for your own sanity or theirs. Personally, I have never spent so much time chatting on the phone. (Make sure you use headphones to prevent brain your from overheating…)
- Get creative – do you knit, crochet, paint or perhaps you’re a drummer (one way to get to know your neighbours…)
- Cooking. I have to say I am so happy that Masterchef is back to help inspire in the kitchen. to help us get through, let’s use this time to eat nutritious food.
- Write a letter to a friend. This could be the chance to channel your inner Victorian (not the state..). Tell them about one of your best holiday experiences, or that time you embarrassed yourself, but made all your friends laugh (I have more than a few of those).
- Garden – even if you live in a small space, planting something and watching it grow is truly wonderful. As the Chinese proverb says, “life begins the day you start a garden”
- Cry – sometimes there’s nothing for it, but to have a good cry (it’s quite cathartic).
If you are struggling to find a routine or some sense of ‘normalcy’ please remember you are not alone. I highly recommend watching Brene Brown’s TEDtalk , then subscribing to her podcast, Unlocking Us. The episode from 27/3, ‘Brene on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball’ is, in my mind, essential listening for families in these ‘Covid times’.
‘C’ is for Vitamin C.
How hard is it to buy Vitamin C at the moment? Along with all the toilet paper and pasta, there has been a run on good ol’ vitamin C. Why? Because it’s good for your immune system. However… did you know that 70mg of vitamin C ingested in the form of parsley or broccoli (one cupful) may strengthen immunity more effectively than 700mg of synthetic vitamin C? Don’t get me wrong, I love vitamin C, but there is nothing like ‘eating your greens’.
As well as providing immune system support, vitamin C:
- May assist in reducing hayfever and allergies
- Plays a role in collagen production which helps skin repair (think botox in a bottle)
- Maintains a healthy cardiovascular system and cholesterol levels in normal healthy people
- Is critical for production of adrenal hormones – think healthy stress response
- And, is really important for the absorption of iron
|Blackberry||Red chilli peppers||Red peppers|
|Citrus fruits||Brocolli||Brussels sprouts|
‘C’ is for Cardamom
Just as pepper is known as the ‘king of spices’, here we have our queen.
Some of my fondest travel memories are of Turkish coffee with its undeniable aroma of cardamom. When I smell it now I am instantly transported back to the bazaars and markets of the Middle East.
*Bad breath anyone? In Roman times cardamom was used as ‘mother nature’s toothbrush’. It cleans the teeth and freshens the mouth. Along with parsely, it is one of only a few substances that will help get rid of garlic breath.
Calms the gut. If lentils and the like give you an upset belly, adding cardamom to your cooking may reduce those horrible muscle contractions.
Clears the sinuses. A couple of German studies show that the active constituent in cardamom, cineole, offers relief for sinus sufferers. Like the nigella seeds, perhaps you could try crushing the pods and inhaling their wonderful aroma.
- 10 cardamom pods
- 2.5cm cinnamon stick
- 2 peppercorns
- 1/4 tspn fennel seeds
- 2 cups of milk of your choice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups water
- 4 black tea bags
- Honey to taste
Remove the seeds from cardamom pods and discard pods. Dry roast cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and fennel seeds in hot pan until they release their fragrance. Transfer to plate to cool. Put in spice or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder
Put the milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the ground spices and ginger.
In another pot bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and steep the tea bags for three minutes. Pour the tea into the milk mixture and simmer one minute. Let the chai rest for a few minutes. Strain and serve. Add honey to taste.
*From Healing Spices, Bharat Aggarwal, PhD.
Until next week, I’ll leave you with this.
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. — Jane Howard
Yours in good health,
P.S If you’ve made it this far, well done! Can I ask a wee favour. If you don’t want to miss out on these weekly updates and you haven’t done so already, please sign up for my newsletter. I will never spam you (unless of course you want me to???)