The Long, Parched Winter

November 11, 2007 at 11:03 pm 2 comments

Temps have dipped and the amount of heat pumped into Forest Hills apartments has spiked. It’s an unpleasant fact about NYC living: if the cold doesn’t make you sick, surely the heat will.

You have my sympathy, empathy, and a few tips for surviving the heat.

1. Break out the humidifier. I’ve owned around 6 over the years, from the super expensive to the cheapy drug store model that spits out steam. In the end, what matters is that there is humidity in your breathing air.

2. Heat valves. In our building, we were given the option of installing heat valves so that we can control how much heat comes into each room. I can’t recommend this enough because it works. Instead of sending expensive heat out the window, we just shut it off when it gets to be too much. It’s pricey (around $250/room) but well worth the one-time investment. Our heat valves are made by Honeywell and look something like this:


3. Skin care. I discovered virgin coconut oil two years ago and it has changed my thinking. It’s fine for all parts of the body, including your hair (it’s better than most conditioners). I use Barlean’s organic oil, which I bought at Organic Forever.

4. Drink like a fish. Start the day with a glass of water (filtered or distilled) or decaf tea. Then have your coffee. Eat soup whenever possible. If you don’t have time, Amy’s organic brand is fantastic. If you have a few minutes, the easiest one is carrot/vegetable soup: saute carrots, onions, yellow pepper, potato—basically all your old vegetables—for a few minutes and then cook them on medium heat in chicken stock. Puree all. You can add cream to it or spices like ginger or rosemary. All that vitamin A is wonderful for winter skin.

5. Take walks. Make up excuses to go out, create errands, find a walking partner. The important thing is to get out at least once a day to breathe unheated air.

Feel free to offer your own survival tips.

Stay warm. But not too warm.


Entry filed under: health.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tonic  |  November 14, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Re: humidifiers. They do improve the air quality yet those vinegar treatments they recommend to clean the filters have done ours in a few times. They discolored and we flung ours down the garbage chute.

    Facing another stuffy, airless winter –one spouse prefers window closed/the other window open–we are *preparing* to buy another. Short of taking the issue to divorce court, any humidifiers you might recommend?

  • 2. karbeth  |  November 14, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    Someone recommended Honeywell (second plug for them in this post–not intended), so that’s what I got. And they’re fine. Reasonably priced, not at all hard to clean. Those were my criteria this time around.

    If you really want to save your marriage, though, splurge for the valves so that you’ve got some options in between suffocation and popsicle toes.


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