What started out as an interest in eating 🙂 and led to my love of cooking was then followed by my weight loss journey. Through books like The China Study, documentaries like Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives, attending seminars, and following investigators like The Food Babe as well as physicians like Dr. Mercola and Dr. Weil as well as other personal research and experience, I’ve realized that my insides are far more important than my outside. Vanity is valued but even the thinnest and leanest of folks can have a lot of inflammation within. And this is what leads to stress and damage inviting viruses, infections, disease, and cancers. So having worked in healthcare for over 15 years now and my patient population primary including those with heart disease combined with my love of food and frustration with how both of those industries have evolved, I am thankful for modern medicine and do use it. I’m not a total naturalist. BUT I would prefer prevention with maintaining a strong immune system and edible remedies for boosting it when it is weakened with illness.
*These are some approaches we take in our family when someone is sick:
-Isolate the infected: Because of my nursing background, I cannot help but feel strongly about “nipping it in the bud” so to speak. We do not have any unnecessary close contact with anyone in our family who is under the weather. Everyone has the understanding that the sooner it is out of our house, the better! Not to mention a public obligation to play our part in it not increasing the chance of spreading it through the rest of the city!
-Rest as much as is realistically possible and more. This means laying around quite a bit, earlier bedtimes, allowing sleeping if able, and generally not overexerting. I have had the worst cold before only to stay in bed for a full day and recover SO much faster.
-Good old salt water gargles which break up bacterial cells
-Hydration: This is a tough one. Who wants to drink water or anything else for that matter when you have a post nasal drip? Yuck. And ouch. But even a sip (or spoonful for a younger child) every few minutes helps and avoids dehydration which can prolong the illness. No matter how low the appetite, I urge you not to reach for sugary juices or sports drinks containing artificial colors. These ingredients feed the “bug” and enhance inflammation. Coconut water, Ultima and EmergenC electrolyte packets, and homemade soups are my go-to for restoring vitamins.
-Probiotics and fermented foods like Kombucha
-Spices are endlessly beneficial with varying characteristics but all have antioxidant properties.
Turmeric is my main choice: For a tried and true daily to twice a day elixir during sickness (for those above the age of 1 year), mix 1/4 tsp turmeric with 1 tsp honey.
Turmeric has been found to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and overall immune boosting properties and so much more. The honey offsets the bitter flavor of the turmeric, coats the throat, and soothes coughs. It is the one “sugary” thing I allow during illness and the quantity is pretty small. The below rice recipe uses turmeric as well as my Best “Buttery” Popcorn Ever!
-Lots of colorful fruits and vegetables that have a low glycemic index as well as garlic, onions/scallions/leeks and especially greens.
-Roots and herbs: Ginger is helps calm inflammation and removes toxins. It is also known for quelling nausea and GI upset.
I grate it into recipes, blend a 1/2 inch slice into a smoothie, or put a few slices in my tea to steep. Herbs are greens with more flavor and medicinal profiles. I use them to my heart’s content during illness. A holistic health coach friend told me about lemon balm. She puts a leaf in her water bottle for a refreshing lemony taste and I also steep it with my tea bags.
Part of the mint family, it is a very easy and pretty plant to keep (in the sense that it will live easily but does spread a little wild). It is anti-viral and also helps soothe bug bites and work as a repellent. Avoid using if you have a thyroid condition.
-Zinc and Vitamin D supplements can help to both prevent and shorten a cold. These drops are better absorbed than the pill form.
-As alkaline a diet as possible because germs just can’t survive in this environment and plant based protein to aid in repair
-Minimize to eliminate gluten and dairy because both are foster mucus production and contribute to inflammation. There are dairy free and gluten free categories on this site.
All I have been hearing for the last 10 days or so is about friends and their loved ones having a go round with respiratory and stomach viruses. All that back to school excitement for this?! Ugh. And then it hit our house this past weekend. I grabbed as many colors, herbs, and spices as I could to concoct a wellness plate for our family dinner!
I cooked down some kale, one of the most nutritious greens out there, with miraculous coconut oil and a generous amount of garlic.
Cauliflower and sweet potato were chopped up and garnished with anti-viral, antioxidant herbs from my garden including thyme and rosemary. I can’t even tell you how complimentary these veggies were!
I toasted and the rice in coconut oil and spices including clove, cinnamon, and turmeric before adding water. The result was a taste infused with warm, floral notes. The rice was really lovely.
GF, DF, NF
The below recipes are easy and serve 4.
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large bunch any type of kale, chopped, washed, and drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Heat oil in a wide pan over medium high heat. Add in kale, garlic, and seasonings. Toss occasionally to stir, and cook for 10 minutes. Add in broth, stir, turn down heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes.
4-5 cups any chopped vegetables: I chose 1 head of cauliflower and 1 large sweet potato
2 tbsp chopped herbs: the woodier herbs like thyme and rosemary will hold up better in the oven. If you want to use more delicate herbs like basil, parsley, and such, I recommend garnishing the veggies after they have roasted.
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together all ingredients and spread out evenly on a large, parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes.
1.5 cups any type of rice
3 cups water
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Heat oil in a pot (that has a matching lid) over medium heat. Add rice and spices. Stir to combine and coat grains. When you can smell light hints of toasting, carefully add water. Turn up heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes if using white rice and 30 minutes if using brown rice. You can make this recipe using quinoa too!
*The content of this post is strictly opinion and not meant as official medical advice.