In my last post I talked about cold and flu season. The grotty time of year when those of us with chronic illness navigate public spaces with ninja-like sneeze-detection skillz. We need to, because avoiding viruses can save our life. I am hugely appreciative of the support this post received and everyone’s enthusiasm for getting the message out there that it is so important not to sure your germs.
Amongst all of your awesome cold and flu prevention tips on my Facebook page I also received a few emails and comments asking for the recipes I mentioned. I have shared a couple of them before but I thought it might be useful to put them all in one spot on the blog. Even though I live in a warm climate, I am always amazed at how, what I would have once considered a warmish day is now reason to reach for a jumper a trackies! I find I really crave warm foods in the cooler months and that includes having warm, nourishing drinks to keep me feeling toasty as well as perhaps boosting my efforts to stay in tip-top shape!
Staying hydrated for me is also extra important and when its cooler outside, it’s so easy to forget to drink enough fluid which is another reason I find it helpful to have ways to supplement my water intake which is harder to get through when it’s cool! For those who are needing to gain weight, like many of my CF friends, these recipes can be an easy way to top up your calorie count and are easily fortified with your pick or coconut oil or organic cream. While the list below is a selection of my favourite winter beverages please just keep in mind none of these are by any means a treatment for the nasty symptoms of a virus and healthcare is all about finding the unique tools to equip your own wellness kit!
I was explaining this to someone the other day and they couldn’t believe that I would drink such a thing. This may sound dreadful however I find the earthy taste of the turmeric is soothing and certainly warming. Even my husband who was once a very conservative meat and three veg kind of guy loves it when I make this! Variations of this recipe are used in many cultures as a wellness elixir and I think you will be surprised how delicious it actually tastes!
How to make it:
Start small with the turmeric. This recipe really depends on your individual taste, but here is how I do it:
1 cup of milk (I think almond tastes best for this recipe but I also sometimes make it with organic cow’s milk)
1 medijool date (pip removed)
1 small piece of fresh turmeric (about a quarter of the size of the date is a good start but play with what works for you)
1 small piece of fresh ginger (half the size of the turmeric works for me)
½ teaspoon of vanilla powder
If you have a high-speed blender this recipe is super-duper simple. Just place all ingredients in and blend until warm. If you don’t, blend all ingredients in a regular blender or magic bullet until there are no chunks left and then heat gently on the stove. It is possible that you could use powdered turmeric however it’s messy and I don’t think it would taste quite the same!
Chai tea is super popular these days and every café seems to have their own way of making it. Some great, some not so much. For me they often tend to be far too sweet and I prefer mine to be really full of spiced flavour! For this reason, I also tend to steer clear of the powdered stuff. Things like cinnamon, star anise and cloves which are all found in a good tea mix can feel really great on a sore throat too.
To brew chai on the stove I generally follow the quantity suggested on the instructions plus a little extra. I use a mixture of about 1/3 water and 2/3 milk and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or even longer if you want it to be extra delicious and make your home smell amazing! I find it flavours better if you allow the tea to mix freely through but you can use a metal or silicone tea pod if you can’t be bothered with straining. My local organic markets make the most amazing chai. I have been told the secret is adding a bit of ground pepper! It tastes similar to this incredible recipe from Kripalu Centre For Yoga and Health where I spent some time earlier in the year! Other flavours you can try adding are grated ginger, vanilla pods or powder or a bit extra of the spice you like best!
Honey and Lemon With a Zing!
Lemon is one of my favourite flavours and I will add it to (almost) anything. I used to be a big drinker of soft drinks (pop) and when I decided to cut it out I needed to find something to have in its place when I was finding water hard to consume! In summer I put lemon in my water bottle for flavour but in winter I prefer it warm. I am cautious about he amounts of honey I use however because it can easily add up to a big sugar hit. I find just a cup is a great way to warm up or take the edge off a sore throat or tickly cough. Alternatively, for a bit of zing without the sweetness sometimes I add apple cider vinegar or fresh ginger and my tummy seems to always appreciate it!
How to make it:
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice or a generous wedge
½ teaspoon of honey or rice malt syrup (optional)
½ teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)
1 teaspoon of finely grated or sliced ginger (optional)
Place selected ingredients in a cup and cover with hot water! Allow to sit for a few minutes and then enjoy!
I seriously love this stuff and wow it packs a punch! Matcha is a powdered form of green tea, unique to Japan. Like green tea it has a high caffeine content so I like to substitute it for a coffee on the days I need a bit of a lift! Green tea is also high in antioxidants so it’s a way of still getting the caffeine I like to get me going some days but with some cheeky benefits thrown in! There are lots of Matcha’s on the market these days but this one from T2 is my pick!
How to make it:
½ teaspoon of Matcha powder
½ teaspoon of rice malt syrup
½ teaspoon of vanilla powder (Loving Earth is my pick)
¾ mug of your choice of milk warmed (My pick is soy for this one however organic cows milk or almond is also great, personally I don’t think it works with coconut but that’s just me!)
¼ cup of warm but not too hot water (you don’t want to ‘burn’ the Matcha)
Mix the Matcha, vanilla and sweetener in the bottom of the mug and gently stir with a plastic spoon, some people thing using a metallic spoon gives the Matcha a funny taste.
Once fully combined gently add the milk. I like to us frothed milk from my coffee machine for that extra luxe feel but again, that one is up to you! The Japanese use a special Matcha brush to prepare their drink and you can purchase these from most tea specialty stores. I find this to be a bit of fiddling around and don’t find it makes a big difference to the final product.
Let’s put trendy, food-hype aside. This stuff tastes delicious if done properly. Believe what you will about nutritional benefits but I think there is something to be said about the Grandma’s chicken soup theory (which generally uses bone broth as a base), whether it be for the body or for the soul. Sarah Wilson and her team write about broth and stock (which are actually the same thing) extensively and it just so happens that of all the recipes I have tried hers is my favourite. You can find it here! Broth is great because you can keep it light and drink it on its own with a bit of salt to taste (perfect for Cystic Fibrosis patients who need a higher salt intake) or you can add ingredients really easily for something a bit heartier. I suggest trying wakame, shredded chicken, grated veggies or even a good quality miso powder for a great alternative to ‘cup of soups’.
Lastly before you head for your kitchen to give one of these warmers a whirl, there is one thing I need to do! Along with my post about cold and flu on Facebook I promised a couple of Winter Wellness Packs for the best cold and flu prevention tips! There really were some fabulous ones and again, I am hugely appreciative for the support this post received. I wish I could send you all prizes for being so proactive about your health! Unfortunately doing so would send me broke but the two lucky winners who will be receiving a little something from me including their very own masks from Vog are Donna Emery and Kristy Blacker! Ladies please send an email with the size you would like (according to the Vog site) and your postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org! For those who would still like a Vog for winter you can purchase them here (their customer service is excellent) or through amazon.