Frugal (Fun) Ways to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

A cold is bad enough to go through, but getting the flu is worse. So how can you stay healthy when everyone else seems to be getting sick?
It’s true your best defence begins by washing your hands frequently and getting a flu shot, that’s not all you can do to keep those winter germs at bay. Let’s look at the most effective ways to stay healthy during this year’s cold and flu season.

Sing

The Carpenters iconic hit, “sing” can do more for your health than you knew!

Yes, you read that right. I said sing.

Japanese researchers have found that singing helps boost your immune system. When you sing, cortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels drop, and immunoglobulin A (responsible for deflecting bacteria and viruses) amounts rise. When you sing, you’re actually strengthening your immune system against cold and flu bugs. So crank the radio and pick up that hair brush. Your audience awaits.

Yin Yoga for Health

Yin yoga, a gentle yoga practice, has been found to reduce the duration and the intensity of cold and flu symptoms almost 50%. And a recent study by Tufts University found Tai Chi had similar benefits. So before you get sick, get in the habit of practicing gentle yoga a couple of times per week.

40 Winks

Sleep is vital for good health and a healthy immune system. People who sleep fewer than seven hours each night are three times more likely to get sick! Studies have shown a reduced number of protective antibodies in individuals who received a flu shot and slept five or six hours a night when compared to flu-shot recipients who slept 8 hours.
A proper night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to arm yourself during the cold and flu season.

Probiotics

Probiotics can lessen cold and flu symptoms by reducing the body’s inflammatory response to respiratory viruses. Rutgers studies found that while people who regularly consumed the probiotics seemed to catch a cold with the same frequency as those who didn’t take probiotics; their symptoms were less severe and the duration of their symptoms significantly shorter. Liquids, powders, capsules, yogurt or other probiotic-rich foods can help keep you healthy.

Check out Dollar Tree for a great deal on probiotics ($1 for 30!)

Don’t hesitate to add fruit, springs of mint, or even frozen grapes to your water

Stay Hydrated

When you think of ways to avoid coming down with the flu, you may not automatically think of a glass of water. But drinking between 8-10 glasses of water each day can help you stay healthy year-round. When our bodies become dehydrated, they draw moisture from the air at a higher rate than usual, and that can pull airborne viruses directly into our body, increasing our chances of getting sick.

Don’t like drinking plain water? Try adding a slice of lemon or cucumber for a refreshing, flu-busting pick-me-up.

It’s no fun being sick, but by taking care of yourself before you get sick, you can make the most out of winter.

Toronto Top Five: Vegan Restaurants

Being vegan can mean challenges when it comes to finding really great frugal vegan places to eat. But thankfully, in Toronto, cruelty-free dining is becoming easier as more and more restaurants are upping their vegan game.

Image: https://twitter.com/BoltFreshBar

BOLT: Fresh Bar
1170 Queen Street West

Casual, friendly, and inviting, Bolt — Fresh Bar, offers some of the healthiest food choices in the city. Their cold-pressed fruit juice combos are as tasty as they are invigorating. Try a parfait, like Bolt’s Energy Parfait — made with raspberry, strawberry, banana, coconut milk, granola, and shredded coconut. It’s a definite treat for your taste-buds. And you won’t be hungry after eating one of their grain bowls or salads. Everything at BOLT is made-to-order fresh, with locally-sourced ingredients.

One Love Vegetarian
854 Bathurst Street

A tiny Caribbean take-out, with bright green walls, One Love offers vegan food with an island flair. What began as a soup kiosk in Harbourfront’s World Café, has grown into one of the quintessential dining establishments on the vegetarian landscape. Enjoy a Seasoned Jamaican Pumpkin Roti and a bowl of their famous corn soup, while sipping a traditionally brewed Jamaican Ginger Beer for a truly sinful experience that is 100% guilt-free.

https://twitter.com/liveorganicfood

Live
264 Dupont Street

Sustainable, vegan, and delicious. Live serves up cruelty-free dining at the peak of freshness. And the most popular dish on the menu? Their Pad Thai, made with sweet potato noodles, celery, red pepper, green onion, carrots, tofu, is a treat for the senses that can’t be beaten. Live menu is 100% plant-based, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, organic, and raw.

Urban Herbivore

The popular vegan restaurant is built around the philosophy that the best foods are made from scratch — whole food preparation that’s preservative and additive-free. Ingredients are local and organic. While not 100% gluten-free, Urban Herbivore boasts many tasty choices for gluten intolerant customers. Urban Herbivore is certified peanut-free. And with two locations to choose from —64 Oxford Street (Kensington Market), and 220 Yonge Street (Eaton Centre) — you have easy access to great vegan fare when you want it, no matter where you are.

https://twitter.com/Herbivore_TO

Hogtown Vegan
1056 Bloor Street West

Hogtown is one of Toronto’s most popular vegan restaurants, now with a second must-dine-at spot at 382 College Street. Go for lunch or dinner during the week, but on weekends try their brunch, that draws crowds from all ends of the city. This vegan dining spot it always packed! Their famous Pulled unPork sandwich — made from shredded soy and their house-made barbecue sauce — is a treat, but the Un-Chicken and Waffles at Hogtown Vegan is honest-to-goodness comfort food, done right.

https://twitter.com/hogtownvegan

Whether you’re a committed vegan, or simply interested in exploring healthier dining options, these five restaurants offer some of the tastiest food in the city, that just happens to be vegan.

Do you have a favourite vegan restaurant in Toronto? Tell me about in the comments below.