Sunday, January 20, 2013

Marley's Magic Soup and Other Healing Foods

Man, were we sick! We are just now starting to feel better. It has been a very long week. I decided to do a post on healing and immune boosting foods because that nasty flu is getting a lot of people down.

A few years ago when I got sick, my dear friend Marley made me some soup and left it on the porch so she didn't have to be exposed to my germs. It was delicious and made me feel so much better. I don't know if it was psychological or what, but I kind of think it was magic. There is actually some scientific evidence that soup heals the sick and you can read about it here.

I didn't think to ask her how she made it until we were already on the mend this time around, but hopefully it can help some of you. Here is what Marley said about her soup:

"Magic soup is different every time i make it because i just use whatever is available in my kitchen. I use herbs and veggies with protective/healing properties (I used lists in books I have, but you can find same info by googling) and/or that are recommended by traditional medicine/science because they're especially nutritious or helpful for sick people. Things you might have: onions and garlic (think of the circular layers protecting the inner sprout), sage (purifying), basil (strengthening/activating/enlivening), lavender (soothing/protecting and also antimicrobial!). The most important part isn't the ingredients you choose, though - the crucial thing is to wish it full of healing and love while you make it. See a big warm hug in the way the onion's layers fit together, think of all the love you have for the people youre making soup for and kinda feel it AT the soup, if that makes sense." 

Don't you just love her?

Up until about a year ago, I had never in my life made soup from scratch. I always bought canned soup (which, I'm sure you know by now, is nasty vile stuff you should never eat!). I don't know why it seemed like such a big task to make it myself. Now I make soup all the time. I don't even use boullion cubes anymore (they ALL have MSG in them!) and rarely use store bought broth (too expensive). I've read lots of info about saving all your veggie scraps in the freezer and making homemade broth, but so far I've been too lazy to attempt this.

Some tricks I've learned by experimenting with soup making:

  • Use lots of onion and garlic, and always saute them before adding other ingredients. It somehow improves the flavor. A few times I have just thrown them in to the pot without sauteing first and I ended up with some not so good soup. Same goes for cabbage! I haven't had trouble with any other veggies though. Corn, potatoes, green beans, peas, can just throw those right in to the water and let them all simmer.
  • Use a lot of spices. If you are not familiar with much other than salt, pepper, and garlic powder, get yourself to a bulk food store and experiment! Buy an assortment of spices and try them out. Spices can add a wonderful variety of flavors to your meals. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage are the ones I use most often in soup. I usually add them near the end of the garlic and onion sauteing and stir them around a bit. I'm not sure why, but the flavor seems better if the spices are sauteed instead of just added to the pot of water.
  • Save the left over liquid from cooking beans or steaming veggies to use as a base for your broth.
  • For more flavorful broth if you are just using water, add some nutritional yeast (not brewer's yeast or bread yeast) and Braggs Liquid Aminos. Nutritional yeast tastes slightly nutty or cheesy and has lots of B vitamins. Braggs is a healthy version of soy sauce.
  • If you like a thick soup and yours turns out thin, you can put about a cupful at a time in the blender, puree it, and then add it back to your soup until it thickens up to your liking.

Other than soup, honey and garlic are my top picks for the sick. Garlic is amazing, plain and simple. If you don't like it, you're just going to have to learn to like it! 

"Garlic has been used for centuries as an effective preventive treatment for colds and flu. Medical science considered the old folk tale a superstition and an 'old wives tale' of ignorant peasants. Finally, Dr J. Klosa, M.D. scientifically tested the effectiveness of garlic as a cold remedy, and reported in the Medical Monthly in March 1950. The report stated: 'cold symptoms like grippe, sore throats, runny nose, fever, cough, and rhinitis were cut short in every case'. All patients showed a distinct lessening of the period of the disease as well as of convalescence required." This article will tell you about all the wonderful properties of garlic. 

You can either be totally hardcore and eat it raw like my cousin Christi, or you can make garlic tea by chopping up one or two cloves per cup of boiling water, steeping for 20 minutes, and drinking. You can do this as often as you want. Even if you are well, garlic will boost your immune system to help keep you from getting sick!

What about honey? You can add it to your garlic tea if you want, or just drink a delicious spoonful. It is especially helpful with helping you sleep through the night if you have a cough that keeps waking you. Just remember not to give honey to children under one year old. 

"Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey may be an effective cough suppressant, too. In one study, children age 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of honey at bedtime. The honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep. In fact, in the study, honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses." -James M. Steckelberg, M.D., The Mayo Clinic

So that's all I have for you. Magic soup, garlic tea, and honey for everyone! If you have any home remedies or immune boosters, please share them below. Stay well.