For the past five days or so, I’ve had a nasty respiratory virus (either a very bad cold, or a not-so-bad flu).
If there is a positive side to this, it’s been that I’ve not been very hungry. Usually when I have a cold, it feels so good to have something going down my throat, that I tend to overeat, even if I can’t taste anything. I’ve been quasi-nauseous the whole time, so I really haven’t tried to eat anything very solid.
I have, however; eaten (more accurately drank) a few gallons (yep gallons) of soup. The first two days, I made and ate little more than my usual cold or flu cocktail – a huge soup pot of chicken broth, bouillon or soup base, and some seasonings, including a lot of garlic and hot peppers (about 10 to 20 calories a mug).
Then I made a real soup in the crockpot (I just added two raw chicken legs into the spicy chicken broth, cooked it overnight and in the morning added assorted veggies).
I make it as spicy as I can handle it (First, I add as many hot peppers as I’d like – and then add a few more).
Capsaicin (found in hot peppers) is chemically very similar to gaifenesin (the active ingredient in Mucinex and many cough medicines), and hot peppers are a whole lot cheaper (though I’ve been taking Mucinex too).
I haven’t resorted to cayenne lemonade yet (my bronchitis and pneumonia remedy). I didn’t invent the crazy treatment, I read about it in Chile Pepper magazine. Apparently chile peppers have been a folk remedy for respiratory infections for centuries, and there’ve been some research support for it’s healing and preventative effects for respiratory illnesses. I read some of the studies, and figured I had nothing to lose. Although I could not drink it hot as the article suggested, so my compromise is spicy broth and cold cayenne lemonade.
As much as I love spicy foods, I have to be pretty desperate to bring out the big guns of the cayenne lemonade (it’s very effective though, and relieves the pain of a sore throat too – although perhaps by being a counterirritant – the pain of the pepper distracts you from the pain of the sore throat).
I’ve read that capsaicin and other micronutrients in chile peppers can increase metabolism (usually only the most dedicated of chili heads would ever eat enough peppers to see any noticeable effects), but with the round-the-clock pepper-broth sipping, it could be helping.
I’m not sure that I’d want to stay on the chili pepper diet, though.
But after reading this article, maybe I should: