As with all flu seasons, and especially this season, I think it is important to review the things that we can control. In our quest to be the healthiest we can be, we can do the following, get good sleep shooting for 8 hours a day. Give your body a chance to rejuvenate through restorative sleep. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Do everything the CDC and local authorities are advising. Fuel your body with the best foods possible.
Today we will look at foods that are great for your immune system. If you have a compromised immune system or an autoimmune disease, you are used to doing this. Let's look at those good foods to keep us healthy.
Before we get to the good stuff let's look the foods to avoid:
sugar and other sweeteners - read your labels - sugar hides in all kinds of foods like salad dressings, sauces, breads, condiments, pizza sauce, etc.
processed foods - you know these - long ingredient lists with words you cannot pronounce
hydrogenated oils - canola, vegetable, corn oils are highly inflammatory - go with coconut oil, EVOO, ghee
Here is the good stuff:
Get your slow cooker out and let it do its thing. If you don't have time try powdered bone broths like Ancient Nutrition, Jarrow Formulas or Great Lakes gelatin and collagen.
Whether you make your own, or buy it in a box or in a powder, bone broth will do you good. It is so good for you gut (where your immune system lives). A soothing cup will become your go-to drink.
4 pounds chicken necks/feet/wings
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium onions, peel on, sliced in half lengthwise and quartered
4 garlic cloves, peel on and smashed
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
5–6 sprigs parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
18–20 cups cold water
Place all ingredients in a 10-quart capacity slow cooker.
Add in water.
Simmer for 24–48 hours, skimming fat occasionally.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Discard solids and strain remainder in a bowl through a colander. Let stock cool to room temperature, cover and chill.
Use within a week or freeze up to three months.
Up your vitamin C along with fiber and antioxidants with citrus to boost your immunity. Try this smoothie along with lime juice in your water, lemon juice on your salad, grapefruit snack or in your salad.
1 cup frozen mango chunks
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1 small raw red beet, chopped
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cara cara orange, blood orange, or grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
honey to taste (optional)
In a blender, combine the mango, lemon juice, turmeric, cayenne, ginger, and orange juice. Blend until completely smooth, adding more honey if needed to sweeten. Pour into a tall glass
Rinse the blender out. Combine the beets, raspberries, orange, and pomegranate juice. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding more pomegranate juice if needed to reach your desired consistency. Pour over the mango mixture and stir gently to swirl. Top with seeds, if desired. Enjoy!
Cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kohl rabi, kale, turnip, Brussels sprouts. There are so many to choose from that you are bound to find a favorite. Cruciferous vegetables protect your gut from intestinal pathogens.
Enjoy them raw, roasted, pureed into soup, fritters, steamed.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow or white onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cubed (or other waxy potatoes)
16 oz kohlrabi peeled and cubed
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
fresh herbs (optional, for serving)
In a stockpot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook with occasional stirring until the onion is softened but not browning, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and cook for another 60 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the cubed potatoes and kohlrabi, stirring to combine, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the kohlrabi and potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth; or transfer to a blender or food processor and puree in batches. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and olive oil; serve warm.
SPINACH GARLIC GINGER
All three ingredients here pack a big benefit for your gut. Good gut good health.
2 small garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger root
1 pound spinach - hard stems removed
Put 1/2 inch water in a large, wide soup pot over high heat. When water boils, add garlic and ginger.
Add large handful spinach to the pot. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then twirl with tongs to barely wilt the spinach, about a minute or less. Using tongs, transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat until all the spinach is cooked.
PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS
There are a lot of varieties of probiotic foods to choose from and they are readily available. Look for varieties of sauerkraut and kimchi (different kinds of cabbage and spices). Check the store shelves and refrigerated aisles for the different flavors from tangy to spicy. If that is not your thing, try yogurt, cultured cottage cheese, or kefir. Drinks like kombucha are another great way to get the probiotic benefit.
Look for these brands or: make your own
YOGURT - COTTAGE CHEESE - KEFIR
Yogurt - Fage, Siggis, Maple Hill, Wallaby, Kite Hill
Kefir - Lifeway, Maple Hill, Redwood Hill Farm
Cottage Cheese - Good Culture, Horizon Organic
your local kombucha brewery
1/2 cabbage (use napa for traditional Korean)
6 large carrots
8 diakon radishes
3 green shallots
1 pkg. Eden Foods Pickled Daikon Radish
2 brown onions
1 tsp. Redmond Real Organic Onion Salt (or Simply Organic Onion Powder)
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
1 tsp. Vitacost Organic Ground Ginger
1 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organic Minced Garlic
2 tsp. Simple Truth Organic Ground Chili Powder
1 fresh Korean chili pepper
4 cups water
4 Tbsp. Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt
1 Tbsp. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Chop cabbage and shallots into long fine pieces and place in large bowl.
In food processor, blend daikon radishes and carrots. Add to bowl.
In food processor, blend kimchi paste ingredients to paste texture; mix paste into vegetables until well combined.
Transfer vegetables into a large jar.
In separate bowl, mix ingredients for brine until dissolved.
Pour brine over vegetables until well covered. Mixture will start to bubble almost immediately.
Place lid on jar and ensure it’s airtight. Set jar aside at room temperature for four to seven days. Periodically taste the kimchi; when you’ve reached the ideal flavor, move jar to fridge to slow-down fermentation.
Mushrooms are very high in antioxidants making them especially good for your gut. They enhance almost every system in the body and have strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. Try this recipe as a soup or a sauce/gravy.
2 tablespoons ghee
1 cup chopped onions
3 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
½ tablespoon paprika
½ tablespoon coconut aminos
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup coconut milk
1½ tablespoons arrowroot powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
⅛ cup chopped fresh parsley
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Saute the onions in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes. Stir in the dill, paprika, coconut amines and broth.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk and arrowroot powder together. Pour this into the soup and stir well to blend. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the salt, ground black pepper, lemon juice, and parsley.
Allow to heat through over low heat, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Keeping your immune system in tip top shape should always be a priority. Happy gut happy body! You have control of your food choices. Don't forget about the frozen section for fruits and veggies and things like avocados and broth. Dried options are good too plus they have long shelf lives (mushrooms, broth, soup mixes, spices). Shop online for free pickup and shipping when stores are running low on items. When you make your health a priority you will find what you need.
Most of all I believe that the key to each day is to look for the good in everything and show gratitude for the blessings each day brings. They are there if you look for them.
Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!