Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vinegar, Oil & Chocolate Rx for Health Author's Sinus Woes

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

"Life is like a box of chocolates ... You never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump

It happened on cue. Odd that it struck right after stocking the pantry with get well foods. I'm sicker than a dog. Maybe I caught the ear infection from Simon, my Brittany. Just kidding. I am in bed with sinusitus. Read: ears throb (on a 1-10 pain scale 8.5) and pop when I swallow, post nasal drip, raspy sore throat, fever and chills (last night). It's embarrassing for a health author to fall victim to germs in the world. Worse, my article on natural swine flu prevention for Oracle 20-20 Magazine (November issue, online) is due in a few days and I feel terrible...

Blame it on the roller coaster temperature changes due to living in the Sierras, low humidity and high altitude at 6,500 feet, swimming, prone to change of season sinus-ear woes, and that is the formula to entering sinusland. And yes, Ms. Natural is now using antibiotic ear drops for safety's sake (I think I've been hanging out too much with my dog; his ear has healed) to not let this woe spin out of control and get the best of me--a boomer. And, of course, I'm also turning to natural remedies--vinegar, olive oil, and chocolate. So take a look at this at-home list of home cures--straight from my trilogy (The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, Vinegar, Chocolate)--to help soothe pesky sinus-ear trouble so you don't feel my pain...
  • Vinegar Rx: To clear up clogged respiratory congestion, inhale a vapor mist from a steaming pot containing water and several spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar. Why You'll Like It: It will help clear the air passages naturally and you'll be breathing easy again.
  • Olive Oil Rx: Put a few drops of olive oil in the ear canal. Repeat as needed. Why You'll Like It: For one, if it's a minor earache, olive oil, which is believed to have mild antibiotic properties, can and does get rid of the ache and heal the pain. It may help swimmer's ear, too--yep, it pays me a social call in the winter mountain months thanks to the water--my true love.
  • Chocolate Rx: Last but not to be forgotten, try a cup of quality dark European spicy hot chocolate--chock-full of disease-fighting antioxidants--made with water not milk (dairy products can add to congestion). Why You'll Like It: Hot spices taste amazing and help unblock sinuses. As one who does get sinus headaches, from time to time, and congestion (living in the high mountain altitude and lack of humidity doesn't help), I can tell you that hot foods stimulate nasal secretions and loosen up unwanted mucus. So spicy hot chocolate is both fun to drink and can help fight off a sinus infection. And note, chocolate can do so much more as I note in my new book The Healing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington, December 2009).
Meanwhile, I sit here (a Type-A go-getter) and fret as I sit and nurse my woes. I vow to drink plenty of water, fresh orange juice, hot herbal teas, and munch on vitamin-C rich fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-dense whole grains. Brown rice with veggies and herbs is on the menu for tonight or hot veggie soup--I'm not hungry or in the mood to cook or bake. On the upside, if I can get through this then if and only if I get the flu it may be a piece of cake (chocolate). I wonder if the romantic film hot Chocolat is on TV. I must be feeling better, huh?


  1. I am so sorry you got the seasons are changing sickness. At least 4 of us out of 6 will get it no matter where we live, does seem to worse here in El Paso, TX though. I hope you feel back to normal soon.

  2. Thx Ang. Yes, you can relate. Health Nuts aren't supposed to feel under the weather! How humiliating. My fur children are behaving beautifully. They must sense mom is not feeling her normal self.