Coming into the end of winter can be the toughest time for viruses and bugs but it is not a given that you have to get sick at this time of the year. Through a healthy diet, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and regular exercise (like a daily practice of yoga and meditation) you can build your immune system to fight off the bugs and keep you healthy and strong.
Many years ago a book was recommended to me by an acupuncturist I was seeing. That book was Healing with Wholefoods by Paul Pitchford (and he now has a website). This book made me realise that you really are what you eat and I have been working towards eating my way to good health ever since.
I am now blessed to live in a part of the world where the mantra “you are what you eat” is taken literally by the many small farmers who bring their organically grown, pesticide free produce to the local farmers markets in the region. Living here I have really seen the difference that comes from eating produce that is grown with love and without chemicals. For that reason I recommend eating organically grown (i.e. pesticide free) fresh produce whenever possible. Shopping at local farmers markets means the produce is fresher (picked within days of the market) and the vitality is still intact.
With that in mind I give you a couple of recipes for some great cold and flu busters. One is a medicine or tonic, the other is a regular food.
I got this recipe from an alternative health clinic where I used to get massage and acupuncture. It is simple to make and very effective as both a preventative and to speed up the healing when the bugs have got in. If you can, use organic ingredients and filtered water.
1 litre of water
1 cup of garlic cloves (skins on)
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of honey
Couple of small hot chilies or pinch of cayenne (optional)
Put the garlic, chilies and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to a low boil (a little more than a simmer) and boil the garlic until it is translucent (about 30-45 minutes). Add the cider vinegar and honey and continue to simmer a little longer, till the mix appears a little thick. Strain the mix and drink 1/2 to a full cup a day for a preventative or up to 3 cups a day when sick.
Asian style clear noodle soup
This is basically a stock recipe. Once you have the stock you can add any variety of noodles, veggies and protein source. I’m vegetarian so prefer tofu, however you could use small quantities of lean meat. As with the oxymel, organic ingredients and filtered water are best.
This is my favourite long work day quick dinner recipe and makes one big bowl of soup. It takes me about 15-20 minutes to make.
1 vegetarian stock cube
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1 or 2 star anise
1/2 inch of fresh ginger
1/2 inch of fresh turmeric
garlic (as many cloves as suits your taste)
Put cinnamon, star anise, ginger, turmeric and garlic in a dry pan and turn up the heat. You want to scorch them a little till the aroma starts to come out of them. Remove the ginger, turmeric and garlic and roughly chop. Add water to the pan and put the chopped spices back in with the cinnamon and star anise. Add the stock cube and boil the stock for 5 to 10 minutes.
Your stock is now ready to use. You can strain the solid ingredients out or just put your veggies in on top. I like to eat the garlic and turmeric so usually just leave it all in and pick out the bits I don’t want to eat as I go.
The following list gives some examples of soup ingredients you might like to try. Use in any combination to invent your own soup version (as I do every time I make it, depending on what veggies I have on hand). I use dry rice noodles because I don’t eat gluten, but you could use fresh hokkien style noodles if you prefer.
Firm tofu, cubed (add before the veggies and let it boil a little in the stock to take up some of the flavour)
Lean chicken (add before the veggies and let it boil a little in the stock as chicken needs to be cooked thoroughly to guard against bacteria)
Lean beef (thinly sliced and placed raw on the noodles immediately before the boiling soup is poured on, Vietnamese pho style)
Prawns (green prawns added at the same time as your veggies)
Whatever fresh veggies you have on hand, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, any Asian leafy greens, baby spinach, lettuce, onion/spring onion, mushrooms. A little bit goes a long way, especially if you are using lots of different veg.
Fresh coriander and mint.
Make sure your stock is at a rolling boil and add the tofu or chicken.
Pour boiling water over a serve of dry rice noodles in a bowl and let stand (I do this in the serving bowl, one lot of noodles for each serve).
Chop your veggies into chunky sized bits ready to go into the stock and prepare your fresh herbs, baby spinach and lettuce. Keep the herbs, spinach and lettuce separate from the soup veggies.
Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Drain well and put back in the bowl.
Add your veggies to the stock and let it come back to the boil.
While the soup is coming to the boil add the herbs and light greens on top of the noodles. If you are using lean beef add that to the top of the herbs.
When the soup has come to a rolling boil take it off the heat and pour over the noodle and herbs (and lean beef) and serve.
Viola! A quick, easy, immune boosting and delicious soup.
So eat well, stay warm and enjoy the health and vitality of the fruits of the earth
Blessings Siri Shakti 🙂