So it’s that time of the year, here in Canada anyway.. The noses are dripping, we are sneezing away and coughing up a storm. If you have kids, you know how hard it can be to try to protect your little ones from all the bugs and viruses floating around. Not to worry my friends, because getting sick every once in a while is not all bad news nor is it a sign of weakness. It can actually serve a purpose by building a strong immune system. The body is very intelligent and symptoms are a means of communication letting you know something needs to change. The best way to support this mechanism is to give the body what it needs, which is immune support from nourishing foods, herbs and lots of rest.
Here is my version of super healing immune boosting stock. Just like grandma used to make, with a little extra magic:) By adding astralagus root (Chinese herb), garlic, sage and turmeric, this stock really takes the immune boosting powers to the next level!
Immune Boosting Super Stock
1 whole chicken (organic free range)
4 celery stalks
2 yellow onions
1 astralagus strip (optional)
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sage
5 whole cloves
Handful each of fresh parsley and thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (helps to release the minerals from chicken bones)
Enough water to cover (about 5 liters)
How to make:
Rinse chicken and cut into pieces (about 4-5)
Add all ingredients into a big soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer on low for 2-3 hours. (You can periodically remove some of the foam from the broth that accumulates on top)
At this point the chicken is cooked. You can remove the chicken from the stock and de-bone the chicken once it has cooled enough to handle. Then you can either put the bones back in the stock and keep simmering for a few more hours to make your broth more mineral rich, or you can strain the broth and store it in glass jars once cool enough to handle.
I served up this soup for my family when we trying to fight off some cold and flu viruses that were creeping around. This is why it works:
Chicken stock – Lot’s of immune boosting vitamins and minerals, high in the anti-inflammatory and calming amino acids glycine and proline. The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and helps aid in the digestion of nutrients.
Astralagus – A Chinese super herb that is know for its immune boosting qualities. As an added bonus, it also helps to slow down the aging process!
Garlic – anti-microbial, acts as a natural antibiotic to fight infections.
Coconut oil – has natural anti-microbial and anti-viral properties
Turmeric – natural anti-inflammatory
Carrots – High in Beta-carotene, which the body uses to produce vitamin A. This essential antioxidant and immune booster is also important to help the mucous membranes heal.
Kale – also high in Beta-carotene and B vitamins, which help to increase white blood cell count in the body; these cells are the primary “killer cells” of the immune system.
Ginger – Acts as an antihistamine and decongestant, and increases perspiration to cleanse the body and reduce the intensity of the cold.
Cayenne pepper – Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne, beats congestion by thinning the mucus in your nasal passages so you can breathe freely again.
Pumpkin seeds – High in Zinc, which is an essential nutrient to boost the immune function.
Cold Busting Chicken Soup Kale and Root Veggies
4 cups homemade chicken stock (recipe above)
2-3 cups chicken, cooked
1 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
1 large carrot
1 small rutabaga (or parsnip)
1/2 yellow onion
3 cups kale
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger root, shredded
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp kelp powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked)
1-2 heaping Tbsp miso paste
How to make:
Scrub and wash your veggies and peel if using non-organic produce. Chop onion, rutabaga (or parsnip) and carrot into uniform sized little chunks. Slice kale into thin strips and dice chicken.
Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add onion, rutabaga (or parsnip) and carrot, along with sea salt. Sautee for 6-8 minutes, then add minced garlic clove, turmeric, oregano, thyme, cayenne, ginger and kelp powder. Stir for about a minute, then add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add kale and chicken and simmer for another 4-5 minutes. Once you remove the soup from heat, stir in miso paste (don’t over heat if you want to preserve the immune boosting healthy bacteria).
Rinse and drain pumpkin seeds and sprinkle on soup when serving.
Makes 3-4 servings
What are your favourite tips to fight off the cold and flu bugs? Leave a comment below!
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