what to do when you fail to fend off the beltway flu (5 natural alternatives to pepto bismol)

lemonI feel confident about my awareness and alertness surrounding the dreaded DMV winter flu. When someone is else is sick I strategically avoid physical contact. I wash my hands. I sanitize the counter tops. I increase fruits and vegetables. I’ve managed to go the last EIGHT years without a flu shot and only got sick once after very long week working in an office on a college campus with a co-worker so ill I periodically peeked my head in to say, “Just makin’ sure you’re still alive in there!” Ha. Ha. (No but seriously, ARE YOU OK?)

And then last Monday, IT HAPPENED. The stomach bug took me down, and got me GOOD. Desperate to get up and about after taking a 24-hour life hiatus, I started researching some of the best natural remedies and found this great flu-fighting guidebook (which I selected out of a handful of others for its depth AND brevity). When I woke up I drank alkaline water (ph level 9.5)  before anything else to ensure I was getting the maximum hydration with the least amount of liquid (you know when you’re so sick even WATER is a troublemaker first thing in the morning). Puree Juice’s Daily Green was the perfect afternoon pineapple supplement (and so refreshing!—nothing like a summery, cold pressed juice blend when you’re feeling down in the winter dumps), and a homemade lemon-ginger tea rounded out my natural remedy routine right before bed.

I felt so much better after each superfood-fueled hydration “station” and the relief wasn’t short term as I’ve experienced when taking over-the-counter medication. Instead of temporarily suppressing symptoms, these remedies actually put me one permanent step closer to being fully better. What are some of your natural flu-fighters? We wanna know!

ps. I’ve heard amazing things about the health benefits of bone broth and have also heard DC’s newest clean eating spot, Halsa, has got it!

hope floats – infrared sauna and floatation therapy


From reading countless health and wellness blogs, as well as hearing many customer questions and comments, I have really wanted to try an infrared sauna. I googled this specific type of sauna and as it turns out, there is an infrared sauna right here in Bethesda! I made my appointment, and then showed up 30 minutes early (I tend to be anxious about new things & also tend to overestimate how much time it takes me to get somewhere). Turns out it was a good thing I showed up early because I was able to talk to the owner, Kimmie. I was expecting to enjoy the infrared sauna, but when I arrived, she explained to me a little bit about the other part of their business: flotation therapy. When she first showed me the flotation tank, I was admittedly a little terrified. But like all things that scare me, of course I had to run at it head on. I decided to do the “Total Hope Floats Experience”, which includes a 30-minute infrared sauna experience, and is followed immediately by an hour inside of the flotation therapy tank. And so my Hope Floats Experience began… Continue reading

winter combat – salt caves for first timers


Today was a momentous occasion; I woke up feeling refreshed and energized – which has been rare for me as of late! With the drastic changes in temperature, as well as the expected changing of seasons, I have been extremely low on energy and seemingly in a constant battle with getting sick. I know I am not alone on these wintery symptoms since many customers have been coming in who have been experiencing the very same things. So what is the fix? Yes, getting your veggies into your diet is critical when your immune system is more susceptible. And yes, ginger and cayenne can help you fight your cold. But I was looking for something that could help heal my body, aside from nutrition.

So what to do? Well, I have wanted to go to the Bethesda Salt Caves for a while now, and when I got off of work yesterday, it felt like the right time to go try it out. When I first walked in, I was immediately relaxed. The beautiful aroma resonating from the handmade soaps, as well as the dim-lit entrance put me into an immediate trance. Since I had never been there before, I was asking a million questions and clearly needed a little handholding throughout the whole process, so it was a good thing that the staff there is so nice and eager to help. I was guided into the salt cave session room, which had even dimmer lighting than the entrance. I removed my shoes before entering since the floor of the room is covered in sea salt. I chose an open zero gravity chair, grabbed a blanket, and reclined back while I waited for the rest of the group to come in. Even just sitting there while waiting, I felt a massive amount of stress escape from my shoulders.

Finally, it was time for our session to begin and the nice man from the front turned down the lights completely, and turned on the salt blower. I was a little hesitant about the salt blower, thinking it would be blowing table salt out onto me, but alas it did not. The salt must be so miniscule that it is blown out into the air almost as if it just the essence of the salt. By breathing in the salt air, and having it touch your skin, it gets absorbed into your body and claims to heal a plethora of problems. Apparently it aids in the treatment of ailments such as arthritis, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, depression, migraines, sleep disorder, snoring, stress, and countless skin problems.

I know, I know, it sounds a little hokey, but now I totally buy into it. The peaceful sounds, the dim lighting, and the forced isolation for 45 minutes is healing in of itself, but when I left my session, I truly felt like I could breathe more clearly. I felt a calm throughout me that I have not felt in a very long time. And most importantly for me, I slept that night so soundly and woke up feeling truly refreshed. So yeah, maybe salt caves are not going to solve all of my problems. BUT, I do have to say, the next time I’m feeling exhausted, like I need a break from the stressors in my life, or like I am really trying to fight off a cold, I know exactly where I’ll be headed.

celebrating small successes, celebrating ALL successes.

progressnotperfectionquoteHappy hump day, ya’ll! Being that it’s Wednesday and all, it seems like the perfect halfway point to reflect on what we have already done, and furthermore what the rest of the week will look like.

When we reflect back on the beginning of the week, it is important to take inventory of our actions – all of them. Hopefully we were able to remain strong and consistent since Monday on our health regiment. If not, that is okay! We need to first pat ourselves on the back for all of our successes and positive actions that we have upheld. Simply pulling your dedicated hiney out of your warm cozy bed on these freezing mornings is reason enough for me to call you a hero. Successes are successes – no matter how big or small! Next, we must, must, must acknowledge the challenges that we have faced. These challenges are not failures – we are human and as such we are faced with challenges in our day-to-day lives – our path to health is no different. When we take inventory of what has happened thus far, we can then analyze what might have impacted us, in both good and bad ways this week. Becoming aware of these actions will allow us to adapt and change for next week.

Next, we mustn’t forget that we still have the rest of today, tomorrow, and Friday before the weekend begins. It is now time to plan ahead for the rest of the workweek. We all know that the weekends can be the most challenging time to stick to our health regiment, so it is crucial to finish the week on a strong note. Maybe try setting some goals for yourself: try pushing yourself a little harder on the treadmill, or refrain from dessert for the rest of the workweek because you know you might indulge a bit on the weekend. Setting a plan for these days is vital to your success. Your plan making does not need to stop here – sit down and create a plan for your weekend as well. This way you will know exactly what to expect of yourself, you can truly hold yourself accountable, and your chances of succeeding will be much greater.

So enjoy this beautiful Wednesday, reflect on what you have already accomplished, forgive yourself for any challenges you might have encountered, pat yourself on the back for your successes, and plan ahead for what is to come. You can do it… I know you can!