Nutritionist Pantry — Warding Off The Winter Chill
- posted on: January 29, 2016
- posted by: 21 Acres
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Sneezing, aching, nose-running, snot-forming, cough coming on – yep that was my life over the latter part of last week and through the weekend. I’m sure many of you can relate. Tis’ the cold and flu season. There are many nourishing whole foods, however, that we can turn our focus toward this time of year. In fact, in case you missed it, the culinary education team at 21 Acres just provided a cooking class centered around this very topic. Rebecca Sorenson, a naturopathic doctoral student at Bastyr University, provided extremely useful information on how and why whole foods can provide us with germ fighting defenses. I was impressed with the knowledge and “work-ability” of the suggestions Rebecca presented and I thought it would be worth everyone’s while if I share similar information here. I can also attest to the effectiveness of the ingredients listed below and the recipes that follow. After 2 large bowls of the ginger chicken soup and a good dose of onion syrup that Rebecca graciously shared, my cold was well on its way to being history.
Foods for Boosting Immunity:
Ginger: One of the most anti-inflammatory herbs that we have, ginger is also anti-microbial, warming, and helps settle a nauseated stomach. And yes, ginger can grow in Washington state, but don’t linger on picking some up at the 21 Acres Market come fall harvest time: we source ginger from a farmer near Chelan and it sells out quickly.
Onions: Pungent and antimicrobial, onions act to modulate the immune system, helping it to become better at fighting disease. Onions are also super high in quercetin, a flavonoid that has powerful antioxidant actions in the body.
Garlic: Another great antimicrobial, garlic can fight bacteria, fungi, worms, and viruses. Raw garlic has strong antimicrobial actions. When garlic is cooked, the antimicrobial activity decreases, but it is still a powerful antioxidant.
Horseradish: Horseradish is very pungent like garlic and onions. It heats up the body, helping the body to fight invading microbes. It has been used for centuries as a remedy for colds and flu and as a digestive aid.
Raw Honey: Honey is one of the most healing substances on the planet. Highly antimicrobial, it also is antifungal and antioxidant. It is hydrating to the body –inside and out –and highly nutritious. It’s a great addition to a healing regimen. The 21 Acres Market offers local honey from our farm and several producers just a stones throw from us. (Our farm’s honey sells out quickly so always email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call ahead first, (425)398-0533, if you need to be certain that it’s in stock.)
Elderberry Syrup: Elderberries are immune modulating and antiviral allies which prevent or shorten the length of cold and flu viruses. They are known to be active against eight strains of influenza. Studies have found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. The market at 21 Acres locally sources a delightful elderberry syrup from Hierophant Meadery & Apothecary in Mead, Washington. The syrup pairs the powerful elderberries with astragalus root, an adaptogenic, immune enhancing plant.
Cranberries: Polyphenols, the healthy antioxidant in cranberries, prime your immune system to respond faster and better to germ invaders according to recent studies. To be most effective, the juice must be 100% without any added sugar. You can find local 100% cranberry juice from Starvation Alley in the 21 Acres Market.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Raw Apple Cider vinegar is packed with minerals and enzymes that benefit the body. The acidity of the vinegar gives the vinegar antimicrobial properties. Vinegar can also extract constituents of herbs and therefore makes a great vehicle for herbal medicines.
Chicken Stock: Highly nutritive, broths made with bones strengthen the body whenever it is depleted. (See my blog post about bone broths here, 21acresblog.org.) Soothing to the gut and anti-inflammatory, chicken broth is a great food for both preventing illness and treating it.
Gingered Chicken Soup
1 large onion or 2 small onions
2 stalks celery
1 small green cabbage
ginger- 2 inches, grated
8 cups chicken stock (recipe above)
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
sea salt to taste
Sauté chopped onion in olive oil gently until translucent. Add chopped celery, carrots, and beets. Salt a bit. Add rough chopped potatoes and cabbage. Salt a bit. Add grated ginger (about 2 tablespoons). Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until vegetables are cooked through. Add cooked chicken. Simmer for 15-20 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Healing Chicken Stock:
2 Tbs oil or butter
1 chicken carcass (with the meat removed)
1 onion (skin could be included)
2 carrots (ends could be included)
2 celery stalks (ends could be included)
1 bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, sage, parsley)
Clean vegetables. Chop onion into a dice. Gently melt butter in a large stockpot and add diced onion. Sauté slowly with a bit of salt. Add carrots and celery and sauté. Add chicken carcass. Add approximately 8 cups of water. Add bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 1-12 hours. Stock can be frozen for ease of future soup making.
1 onion, sliced as thin as possible
Organic cane sugar, to sprinkle
Choose a clean mason jar, the size that holds the amount of syrup that you would like to make. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on the bottom. Gently place a layer of super thin onion on top of the sugar. Sprinkle on a bit more sugar–just enough to give it a light coat. Continue like this until you have filled the jar with layered onion and sugar. Put a lid on the jar and let sit for 4-24 hours until most of the onion has turned to liquid. Strain out any remaining plant material, and put your syrup in a clean, fresh jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
If you’re really sick: Take a tablespoon every 3 hours
If you don’t want to get sick: Take a tablespoon 1x per day as a preventative tonic.
Resources for Making Your Own Herbal Medicines
Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health
Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: a Beginner’s Guide
Places to Buy Herbs and Herbal Medicine Making Supplies:
Herban Wellness in Kirkland
Dandelion Botanicals in Ballard
Mountain Rose Herbs (on-line)
Amanda Bullat MS RDN CD is a registered dietitian nutritionist with master’s degree from Bastyr University and a background in natural and sustainable food systems. Amanda has taught classes for Whole Foods Market, Keene State College in New Hampshire, Seattle Mountaineers, and various other community organizations. When she is not teaching or coordinating our culinary education program, Amanda supports and inspires clients through her private nutritional counseling practice.