When I was little and we would visit my grandma, the smell of whatever food she was cooking was an immediate comfort. In fact, to this day, when I make vegetable soup, the scent is like olfactory Xanax. Grandmas are wise, we all know it. They have home remedies, sayings and knowledge that get us through illness and heartache. Many of which we may not even realize we’ve adapted. Many of which are now scientifically proven.
There are a grillion websites and blogs right now that tout grandma’s natural remedies. But, rather than indulge in reading the ’10 ways I’m destroying my body’ or ‘5 things I should stop doing right now’ articles that pervade my social media feed unsolicited, I tend to focus on the positive, and hearken back to what used to work for grams that has served me well.
Without further ado, here are 10 things my grandma knew all along (before scientific journals):
Drink a cup of warm water with lemon in the am. She never got into the ayurvedic cleansing aspects of it, she just knew it was hydrating, got her digestive system working and cleared out her throat.
Use basic skin cream. The most expensive skin care line in the world is no substitute for a good diet, good hygiene and clean living.
Always carry Kleenex. I keep a packet in my purse in case of sneeze or to dry a friend’s tears. Unlike grandma, my tissues aren’t tucked in the sleeve of my shirt or in my bra.
Always have a reserve of homemade soup in the freezer. You never know when your power is going to go out, or a sick friend could use a hand. For me, I have tons Tupperware concoctions in the freezer. Who needs a preservative filled Lean Cuisine, when I can warm up a slice of homemade lasagne?
Eat real food. As Michael Pollan said (who was quite possibly paraphrasing his own grandmother), “Eat Food. Mostly Plants.” There’s no substitute for homemade grub nutritionally or flavorfully (is that even a word.) I’ve tried the trendy dietary things, but for the most part, my body likes it when I eat like an old Italian woman. The science on how eating a plant-based, unprocessed diet is infinite.
Love God. Whether it’s church, meditating, praying or going to a wiccan ritual, a spiritual practice is what brings us home. It’s what brings us peace.
Vinegar and borax clean just about anything. My grandmother used vinegar for everything — it was her ‘Windex’ (for those of you who have seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding.) Nana would use vinegar to clean the counter, and in the next moment stick some on a my lip if I had a fever blister. 20 Mule Team Borax is another wonder substance with tons of uses
Chicken noodle soup cures a cold. There is science that has proven that chicken noodle soup actually helps stop the inflammation that comes with having a virus. Google it.
Wrinkles merely indicate where smiles have been. This wasn’t exactly a saying of hers, but she had a little plaque with this saying on it, and it sticks with me to this day any time I see a sign of aging.
Family comes first. Whether it’s the family you were born with or one you’ve come to adopt, family will get you through anything. Treat your genetic and friend family with love, respect and loyalty. And you will be rewarded with the same.
These nuggets are actually stitchings of what two grandmas and my mom have taught me. There are dozens of habits I’ve picked up, and musings that regularly echo in my head from generations of wise women.
What did your mom or grandma pass along to you?
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