This has been a busy month of lectures, lunch and learns, and cooking classes. The big question that is on everybody’s mind from children- to parents- to seniors is, how can we protect ourselves from the s flu naturally? Some of my best tips for STAYING HEALTHY this flu season are as follows:
Eat leafy greens every day. Kale, spinach, seaweed and algaes are excellent sources of vitamin D, the immunity-booster we usually get from sunshine in the summertime. Some other great sources we can supplement with in the winter include wild salmon, sardines, sweet potatoes, butter and Carlson’s cod liver oil. Vitamin C. Kiwis, Goji berries, grapefruits, oranges are great sources of vitamin C, the antioxidant we’ve known for decades to be powerful in fighting colds and flu. It is also found in cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, cayenne pepper, turmeric and broccoli. Snack on almonds and sunflower seeds. They not only supply vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights off free radicals and keeps skin soft and young looking, but also are a great source of essential fatty acids to keep body systems running smoothly. Enjoy your garlic! Garlic was once worn as a garland to ward off disease. This superstition actually has scientific basis as eating garlic can provide a variety of health benefits, including a boost to the immune system that can help defend against nasty bugs. Spike it with ginger. Ginger, long used as a folk remedy, can open nasal passages, soothe nausea and help the immune system work. Increase your omega 3 intake. My favorite sources of omega 3's are nuts, fish, avocados , olive oil and fish oil. Avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar suppreses the immune system almost immediately, and a strong immune system is key to fighting off flues and other illness. Get plenty of sleep. If your body is overly tired it will be harder for it to fight the flu and other viruses. Decrease stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illnesses. Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. Wash your hands and face. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other places. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this. Antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Complex carbohydrates. Finally, don‘t overlook the power of complex carbohydrates from whole grains, sweet potatoes to beans. Our bodies need complex carbs for energy!
Pumpkin has a nutritious dose of potassium and the cancer-fighting antioxidant beta-carotene. It also provides vitamins C, K, E and plenty of minerals, including magnesium and iron, as well as fiber.
Pumpkin Cranberry and Apple Crumble
1 pound pumpkin or butternut squash cubes 4 apples, peeled and chopped 2 apples 2 teaspoons butter (or cocunut oil) 1/4 cup agave nector or sugar. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1/4 cup dried cranberries For the crumble topping:
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour 1/4 cup almond meal 1 cup rolled oats ( 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave3-4 tablespoons butter (Put butter in the freezer when you start the recipe.)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 2. Cut pumpkin or butternut squash into same-size cubes, about 1/2 inch square. (About 4 cups cut cubes.) 3. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in large non-stick frying pan and sauté squash over low heat while you cut up apples. As you peel and cut apples into small pieces, add it to frying pan, then add agave, cinnamon, apple pie spice and cranberries. Cook the mixture until pumpkin or squash is soft, about 10 minutes. 4. While the mixture cooks, combine flour, almond meal, oatmeal and agave in a plastic bowl. Remove butter from freezer and using the large side of a metal grater, grate pieces of butter until you have 3-4 tablespoons, as measured by the markings on the side of the butter Then use a pastry blender or fork to combine the mixture until the butter is well distributed and the mixture looks crumbly. 5. Pour cooked pumpkin/apple mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. 6. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of apple/squash mixture in an even layer.
This soup works great for dinner, snack and thermos lunches! For a richer soup, feel free to add sweet potato to the mix. In my house, my kids love to add different shaped pastas to it. The final product will stay fresh for four days and can be kept in the freezer if needed.
Ingredients: 2 medium sweet potatoes 1/2 onion, peeled and sliced thinly 1 whole chicken 3-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled 4 cups spinach or kale leaves, or broccoli 4 carrots 4 stalks of celery 2 stalks turnips A handful of fresh dill 2 low sodium chicken bouillon cubes 2 teaspoons of turmeric Two ounces of fresh ginger, grated
1. Throw all ingredients into a pot of water.
2. Skim any fat off the top.
3. Bring to a boil and allow it to cook for a minimum of two hours.