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.

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No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars

No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bar

If you are looking for a quick sweet treat that is not filled with preservatives, and is easy to make, then this is what you need. It serves as breakfast on the run, snack, and dessert at my house. The recipe is very adaptable – you can substitute the fruit, nuts and peanut butter  to suit your taste or to clear out your pantry :). Just keep the proportions close to what is below. You will get a gazillion results when you google this recipe – this version is a combination of many recipes that I have ‘personalized’.

No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars

(16 bars – 8X8 pan)

  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (NOT instant oats – it get too mushy)
  • 1 1/2 cup roasted almonds, walnuts, and/or cashews (coarsely chopped) – (use a combination or just one nut that you like)
  • 2/3 cup raisins, cranberries, and/or chopped dates (use a combination or just one fruit that you like)
  • 1/2 cup flax seed powder
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional) – I like to use mini chips

1) In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, dry fruit, chocolate chips (if using) and flax powder and mix well.

2) In another bowl, microwave the peanut butter for a few seconds till just melted, stirring regularly.

3) Mix honey / maple syrup with peanut butter and stir well.

4) Add to oatmeal mixture and mix till well incorporated.

5) Press into an 8X8 pan and refrigerate for an hour or two. Cut into 16 bars. Store in an air tight box in the refrigerator.

NOTE: If using a coated metal pan, you can prevent knife marks by lining it with a piece of foil or parchment paper with the edges overlapping the sides. Once the bars are set, hold the ends of the paper to remove from the pan, and then slice.