Ugh, I caught a cold. That’s what I get for traveling and having a great time! I often get sick after being on airplanes, due to the recirculated air. Plus, it’s cold season, and this one got me. My mom used to give me chicken soup as a kid, and I remember that nothing made me feel better than chicken soup when I was sick.
This time around, I wanted to investigate just what I should be eating while I am ill. Turns out, when our bodies are having an immune response such as fevers, chills, coughs, etc, they are using all of their energy to mount an attack against invading cooties. It’s incredibly labor intensive, and can leave our energy zapped. Another labor intensive bodily function is digestion, so when we’re fighting off a cold, we don’t want to take our bodies’ focus off of healing and onto digestion.
A very simple regimen is in order! Less is more when we’re feeling under the weather. Some good, rich bone bone broth, some herbs, Vitamin C, tea, diluted fruit juice, and maybe a little fruit are really all we need to eat. I’m putting these together with rest, rest and more rest, and trust that I’ll be feeling better in no time.
A couple of herbs I choose to use are Echinacea and Elderberry.
Echinacea comes from purple coneflower and has traditionally been used to treat the common cold and upper respiratory infections. There is currently a great deal of scientific research going on to determine the true benefits of echinacea. Many believe that it will shorten the duration of a cold.
Another age-old cold and flu medicine is Elderberry. I stumbled upon this years ago when I had it growing it my yard! It is easily found in syrup form, but I chose the tincture because it has no added sugar. While the uses of Elderberry go back centuries, it is most famous for it’s appearance in Monty Python’s Holy Grail…
(“What a strange person?”)
Anyhow, In addition to these herbs, I’m getting some extra Vitamin C from food based supplements and lots of fresh squeezed lemon. You may have noticed a teabag in my original picture. This is a tea made by Yogi Tea called Breathe Deep. Let me tell you something about many of these Yogi Teas: They taste like you would imagine sweaty gym socks would taste, but they really work. This Breath Deep tea is a lifesaver when you’ve got an upper respiratory infection or a chest cold. Pro Tip: Add at least a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and maybe 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of raw local honey. It makes a massive difference, and actually makes the experience pleasant. And even better, you can breathe!
The final piece of this puzzle is the broth itself. I got into bone broths because they work magic on healing gut issues (which I have). I started making them a year ago, and now all of sudden, they’re all the rage. I’m all for health trends that are actually healthy! Bone broths are cooked long and slow with simple ingredients. They are incredibly rich, and nutrient dense. They can be sipped solo, or added to your favorite recipes. The long slow cooking includes a bit of vinegar to help get all of the minerals out of the bones. When these broths cool, they form a gel. This gelatin is the key to the health benefits of bone broths.
A word about the chickens: Find yourself a good quality chicken, and you will taste it in the broth. Out west, we have access to a great line of poultry called Mary’s Chickens (they also raise, hens, turkeys, ducks, and geese). These birds are raised and fed naturally – no factory farmed, battery chickens here. Because of the quality of their living conditions and diet, these birds are freaking delicious. These chickens make the best chicken soup – ever. For reasons I don’t wish to know, factory farmed birds do not produce the gelatin that is so crucial to bone broths. You will pay a bit extra up front, but I am able to get multiple meals off one chicken. Worth it.
Once I’ve got broth made, I make portions of chicken soup with simple veggies and some chicken added back in. If I’m sick, this is the extent of my food intake. This plus a piece of fruit here or there, and some diluted fruit juice, are my golden tickets back to health.
I’ve included a recipe for simple chicken bone broth below. I also regularly make and freeze beef bone broth with the bones from the grass-fed 1/4 cow I purchased this year. The trick is to roast the beef bones a bit first before slow cooking them in the broth. Beef also requires a bit more apple cider vinegar than the chicken, and cooks for a longer period of time. Check out the bone broth article below for more details on beef broth. Bone broths make wonderful additions to your favorite recipes. This chicken broth takes my coconut green curry to a whole new level – amazing.
Now it’s back to resting for me! May you all avoid the cold cooties as much as possible this season. And make yourselves some bone broth even if you do!