Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: Fitness And Clean Eating When You’re Feeling Sick?

Q&A Wednesday: Fitness And Clean Eating When You’re Feeling Sick?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Q: First, I just want to say that I really enjoy and appreciate your blog! So, THANK YOU. I wanted to send a question your way. I know a lot of us are struggling with illness during these winter months. As I was layed up on the couch this past weekend downing more than my share of OJ, I thought it would be great to hear about ways to stay on track fitness and diet-wise when you’re not feeling 100%.


I think there are many different ways to approach this, but I also have to tell you… the cleaner you eat and the longer you keep up those habits, the less often you find yourself feeling ill. You’re properly hydrated. Your body has all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it needs to help ward off illness. Your muscles have the macro-nutrients they need to heal properly. You don’t experience too much in the way of tummy troubles.

Truthfully, I can’t even remember the last time I came down with a cold. And I’m notorious for doing all the weird barefoot hippie stuff that should result in a cold.

But what about newbie clean eaters? What about, if you’re starting the boot camp under the weather? What about if you’re sneaking out and getting paninis at the uppity bodegas instead of listening to your fiance, and now you’ve found yourself unable to fight off a common cold?

Oh, my bad.

Well, for starters, it’s much cheaper and far more beneficial to eat the oranges, and not merely drink the juice. Any citrus fruit, for that matter. And a lot of it.

If you’re finding yourself under the weather with an infection, though… one of the best components to any get-well program is rest. Your most important concern, when under the weather, is to get yourself back to feeling like you can fight again. Eating clean doesn’t stop just because you feel sick – make yourself a giant pot of “get well soup,” a pot with some stock and a heaping helping of carrots, onions, kale, lentils and thyme and just leave it for a good 30 minutes or so – but if you’re feeling unwell, you certainly don’t want to be overexerting yourself and making it even harder for your body to come back to 100 after a rigorous workout session.

Remember, taking a day off because you’re sick isn’t the same thing as “taking a day off because you’re lazy.” Don’t be afraid to give your body some time to recover from whatever’s ailing it. Just remember to be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling; don’t bulljive yourself and fake “sickness” when you really just don’t want to go workout, and don’t under-report your illness to yourself just so you can go and burn those few hundred calories today. It’s just not worth it.

Mindfully give yourself time to rest, then as soon as you feel up to it, go into your workout with a little extra gusto. You might be surprised by just how much energy you’ve got and just how much stronger you may be!

Lastly, if you’re looking for some insight into natural cures for simple things that tend to ail us, then I’d check out Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Easily one of the most helpful resources for using food as the healing tool it was meant to be. Let your food be your medicine, and all that.

BGG2WL family, what are your favorite natural cures? What are your favorite resources? What did Granny pass down to you that you live by? Share!

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Dori January 9, 2013 - 5:45 PM

Wow, this came just in time. Am sick at the moment (third time in three months) and really down cause i can’t work out.

Savannah January 9, 2013 - 8:17 PM

Homemade soup with lots of veggies, garlic, and ginger; tea, and sleep!

Kim January 10, 2013 - 1:18 AM

I have found when I do tend to feel a little under the weather my recipe for wellness is lots of good fresh water, lots of good tea with a little honey and lemon, and tons of rest. I definitely do NOT exercise vigorously at all. I may go out for a short slow walk or sit out to get some fresh air instead of sitting in a sick room all day. But I’m not doing anything sweat inducing.

El January 11, 2013 - 4:44 AM

It’s not the best tasting thing in the world, but a “tea” of garlic, ginger, lemon, and a little honey really helps out when you’re not feeling too hot. Fresh ginger and fresh garlic are pretty awesome when you’re under the weather.

Joules July 18, 2013 - 10:12 AM


I caught mono a few weeks back. While, thankfully, the severe weakness faded after three weeks I’m still stuck fighting the fatigue. It’s constant, chronic, unending, and my doctor said it can last “up to” six months from original infection. It’s been about two months and I’m still taking 3-4 hour long naps a day while getting twice my usual amount of sleep at night.

I’m f’ing exhausted all the time!

Prior to the unending fatigue I had no problem hitting the gym for an hour on my days off (I’m a paramedic, I work 2 days a week for 24 hours each so I have five complete days off), cooking healthy meals from mostly scratch and force feeding myself fruits and vegetables before snacks.

Now I’m just tired. The gym is like a distant memory and all that grocery shopping needed to keep raw food in the house? HAHAHA! I’m lucky if I actually cook all three meals a day now.

Any advice? And yes, I gave it to my husband so we’re in the same boat.

Erika Nicole Kendall July 20, 2013 - 9:55 PM

I sincerely have no idea, since I don’t really have enough information to offer any insight or resources, but I will say this. I’d probably be eating very raw, or making big batches of soups whenever I had a small burst of energy, because those nutrients always contribute to helping you feel better… even if they can’t entirely cure you of what’s ailing you.

Get well, sis. Keep me posted. *hugs*

Simplefit December 28, 2013 - 1:36 PM

Erika, If you dont mind I like to recommend to Joules something that has saved my desperate soul more than a few times when I’m trying to eat healthy: Frozen veggies, and raw precut veggies. organic if possible. I not only stock up on them for emergency soups (I’m sick with a cold again second time this month! I’m making Erika’s healing soup TO-DAY!)
but many like peas, artichoke, and aparagus can be thawed out cold and eaten on top of salads like they serve in a salad bar. The other day I made a green pea salad with sunflower seeds, sun dried tomatoes and pre-slivered carrots with just a little salt no dressing required. O my word it was delish! (I’m strange I crave green peas…). So no it’s not the optimal way to eat our veggies but they last longer and and waaaaaaay better than resorting to fast food or unhealthy foods when we are too tired or sick (sign me up for both today!) to do any real chopping or cleaning for that matter (yes I do atleast check and re rinse my pre cooked veggies even when the bag they come in says it is not necessary, just an fyi to ya’ll). Btw: Back to Ericka: Can you please put your healing soup inyour recipe file so I can find it quick again later? It sounds like something I dont want to do without from here on. Thank you for all you do for us!!

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