Natural Flu Season Tonic

Flu Season Tonic

We are at the start of flu season and holiday binge eating. Bugs & calories are everywhere, and most of us will succumb to at least one of the two. I have to be honest – I’m not a big follower of natural remedies, but I’ve had this tea a few times in the last few days, and the sniffles I had  seem to have vanished. I also like the fact that it is refreshing, low calorie, and comes with a ton of health benefits.

Lemon juice is high in Vitamin C, which protects the immune system. Lemon juice is also known to help in fighting ulcer causing bacteria, and in aiding with elimination. WebMD also states that Vitamin C helps with cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.

Honey is a natural cough suppressant that soothes itchy throats. Plus, it tastes great!

Ginger is known as the powerhouse of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Used to treat gastro-intestinal problems, it is touted as a safe cure for stomach issues such as indigestion and nausea. Asian natural remedies consider ginger as a “heat” food, and this might alleviate cough, cold and flu symptoms.

Finally, Turmeric is famous for its anti-inflamatory, anti-septic qualities. I remember getting small cuts and scrapes as a kid, and running to the kitchen to pour some turmeric on the wound. Not sure if it helped, but it never hurt. (We kids loved that it stained everything yellow.)

The ‘tea’ recipe below is just a guide; you may add more or less of each ingredient, and steep as long as you like to suit your taste.

Natural Flu Season Tonic

(Makes 1 serving)

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (or 1 inch ginger sliced into thin slices)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 12 oz (1.5 cups) boiling water

1) Bring water to a boil in a non-reactive pan.

2) Add ginger and cover tightly to steep about 4-5 minutes.

3) Strain into a cup and add lemon juice, honey & turmeric. Mix well and sip, stirring as needed.

NOTE: I heard of and tried adding a pinch of cayenne powder to this tea to drink on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. It is supposed to provide all of the above benefits AND increase metabolism, enhance liver function, and assist elimination . It tastes pretty good, but I have stuck to my sweet, creamy chai for mornings. 

Flu Season Tonic

I’ve been reading  I Never Promised You  A Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg – a classic from the 1960s. It is the story of a 16-year old who voluntarily gets committed to a mental hospital to treat her schizophrenia. The child Deborah creates an imaginary kingdom whose characters she imagines dictate her every move, so that she can escape from the realities and harshness of her real life. It was difficult reading, but I was struck by the way the author was able to see perspectives of the patient(s), parents, sibling, and psychotherapist, given that it was a time that had so little insight into mental health, and the stigma was especially high for the mentally ill. Very insightful book, and I highly recommend reading it. I think I finally have some understanding – however little – of what it means when we hear on the news about people who heard voices telling them to do unspeakable things.

Spicy Cajun Pasta

Spicy Cajun Pasta


If there’s one thing I like almost as much as good food, it’s a good book. I didn’t get much reading in the past few months, and the list I keep on my phone kept growing and growing. Finally, I decided to put a few books on hold at the library, and as luck would have it, I got all five at the same time! Three of them kept me engrossed enough that I’ve neglected  chores around the house and emptied out the freezer come dinner time. The culprits for the big gap in posts on this blog are I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (more info below).

One of the books I just finished is a 2011 National Book Award winner titled Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. Set in rural Mississippi in the days just before and right after Hurricane Katrina, motherless teens deal with a drunk dad, poverty, hunger, uncertainty, birth, death, and the fury of the Hurricane. Yet, love and tenderness is evident through the book – between siblings, parent, pet, and friends – in unconventional ways. Each and every character – from the protagonist Esch to the dog China – is powerfully, yet beautifully described by Jesmyn Ward. The novel culminates in a chapter where the family is caught in the storm surge from the Hurricane, and it gave me the chills. I highly recommend reading this book.

Thoughts of Hurricane Katrina led to thoughts of spicy Cajun food. Since my husband has been making Sunday night dinners for the last few years, my request this week was for his spicy Cajun pasta. He has looked up recipes online, but this is his own version. (Adapted from   Enjoy! It’s delicious!!

Spicy Cajun Pasta


Spicy Cajun Pasta

(Serves 6-7)

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 extra large tomato
  • 1 (12oz) packet Aidells Habenero & Green Chilli Chicken Sausage (OR) about 12-16 oz smoked sausage of choice (slice into rings) *
  • 3 cups chicken broth / water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 16oz penne pasta (cooked, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • sliced green onions to garnish

1) Heat oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pan with lid.

2) Add minced garlic and saute till golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3) Add onions and saute till transparent.

4) Add tomato and saute for a few seconds. Cover lid and cook on medium -high till soft, and onion-tomato mixture blends together.

5) Add red pepper flakes and the sausage, cream & broth and bring to a boil.

6) Simmer 5 minutes till flavors meld. Add pasta and stir well. Season with salt to taste.

7) Heat thoroughly, and serve topped with some cheese and sliced green onion.

*NOTE : You may substitute the sausage with red, yellow, and green peppers to make a vegetarian version of the recipe.