Monday, November 9, 2009

Kissing, Holding Hands, and the Swine

People handle germs and viruses in many different ways. I was raised by a mother who hates illness. She won't go near anyone who is sick, hands down. Still now, as my son is in day four of the flu, she chooses not to enter my home.

While I understand avoiding sick people, I won't limit myself from comforting my son, or my boyfriend's daughters when they are sick. I won't stop kissing my boyfriend just because he's got a cold. I don't share drinks, and I wash my hands before I eat or touch my face. I take logical precautions, but I won't put myself in a bubble.

As nearly half of my town is under the influence of the swine, or some other flu, I've decided to share with you the things that I am doing to keep myself healthy. And you know, it really isn't such a bad flu. It's messy, but manageable, and once it's over, you have a really strong immunity to it. So, take it all in stride, and if you get it, stay hydrated and please, stay in until your fever is gone for 48 hours (because it tends to return, and you stay contagious for a few days after the fever breaks).

I drink water all day long, as water helps to flush out the body. Moreover, it prevents dehydration and gives me energy. To me, water is life. Our bodies are made up, primarily, of water. We need it to survive.

I eat pretty well, but still, I don't believe that I am getting everything I need in my 1,800 cal/day diet. So I take supplements. Supplement means just that - they supplement a healthy diet, they don't replace it. While I was baking my apples this morning, I made myself a 12 oz. glass of seltzer, and added two packets of EmergenC to it (one orange flavor, one raspberry flavor - so yummy). Then I took my morning dose of Juice Plus+ (Juice Plus+ is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 17 different fruits and vegetables and grains). I will continue to take EmergenC packets throughout the day, about 5 packets a day while I have a sick child at home. On a normal day, I take just two per day. I also increase my Juice Plus+ from two of each (fruit and veggie) to three of each while I am in close quarters with someone who is sick.

All day long, I choose to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens and antioxidant-rich berries. Spinach is my favorite. I am limiting my sugars to naturally occurring sugar (as in fruit), or in otherwise healthy choices like yogurt. Sugar suppresses the immune system, so it's good to avoid it, especially during times like now.

People tend to use food for comfort or punishment, or to fill some emotional need. I know. I do it, too. When we look at food as fuel to support the body, then it becomes less of a game. No need to eat chocolate because we are upset, or to deprive ourselves of something we want because it's fattening. If we eat mostly for good health, and occasionally have something simply for enjoyment, it makes it much easier to decide what to eat.

Sleep is as important as eating well. Our bodies need to rest in order to stay strong. I shoot for eight hours of sleep a night, and rarely sacrifice those hours. Make sure you get the shuteye you need every night.

While I would be remiss in not mentioning exercise, I personally haven't been able to get out of the house for any exercise yet. I plan on going tonight, though, and I know it will help me to feel better (and stronger).

Lastly, I am impeccable with washing my hands. Every time I pick up my son's tissues (or his cup, or anything), I wash my hands with warm soap and water. I wash before I touch food, before I eat. I wash my hands if I sneeze or cough into them. They are a bit dry, and I do try to moisturize them, but I figure having dry hands isn't the biggest sacrifice.

I hug my son, kiss him, and let him fall asleep in my arms when he is sick. I give him as much comfort as he requires. And that helps my build my immune system, and lets my son feel loved.

For more info on Juice Plus+, visit

For more info on Emergen-C, visit

Tiffany Palisi is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Lifestyle Fitness Coach, and Group Fitness Instructor. She has extensive training in Pre- and Post-Natal Fitness, and is a Johnny G certified Spinning Instructor. She trains women in their home, and will be doing Lifestyle Fitness Coaching in her home office (and by telephone) beginning in September. She is currently working toward her Holistic Fitness Specialty certification. Palisi works exclusively with women. Visit her on the web at


  1. Good article.
    One fact: Yes, I have watched John Henry when he was sick, because I told my mind it would be okay. Re: the swine flu, or the flu is another case, entirely. My own self-care might model yet another paradigm for John Henry. I don't remember asking Nana or Granny to take care of you or Justin when you were sick. I wouldn't want to jeopardize their health.
    What befuddles me is that there are weeks & weekends that might pass when I don't see him at all because of your social activities. Yet when he gets sick, you feel it's very important for me to spend time with him. I don't get that.

  2. I am sorry that you read it that way. That is not how I intended it to be received.

    We are home and he's bored and wanted visitors. That's why he wanted you here.

    You not wanting to jeopardize Nana's and Granny's health is exactly the perspective I was referring to. There are people who think that exposure to illness is jeopardizing, and there are people who look at it as exposure, period. I tend to see it as exposure, believing that I am strong enough to handle the germs. I also believe that more exposure makes me stronger, and as I get older, I am building a big immune system that I might not have had if I avoided exposure. So that hopefully, when I get sick, it's just mild instead of being debilitating. It's two schools of thought. Since he is young, I prefer he not have unnecessary exposure, as he is bombarded in school as it is and his immune system is still young and not as strong as it needs to be. But kids get sick, people get sick. Most of the time, we all survive it.

    It isn't, nor was it, very important to me that you spend time with him. When he gets sick, if he asks for you, I call you. Know that when he is sick, he likes me with him. I guess he feels more comforted when I am around. Maybe he wants you around, when he is sick, for the same reason. You are free to ask him.

    The article, by the way, wasn't about you. I mentioned you to show that there are different schools of thought on germs and the like, but then proceeded to tell what I do to stay healthy. I am sorry that you chose to focus on the two sentences that mentioned you. It wasn't personal, just a comparison on how differently people protect their health.