By now we have all experienced a bit of Winter 2017 whether you live in “sunny” California or the Northeast, and for lack of a better word, it is chilly! Along with the addition of snow days and several layers, winter months also tend to bring about sniffles, coughs, or worse, a full-blown cold or the flu. If you’re like us, and lately many of your friends, family, and coworkers have been dropping like flies, now is a perfect time to ramp up that immunity, and diet is an excellent place to start.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a practice that originated thousands of years ago and is still relied upon today, there is a lot of importance placed on temperature as a pathogenic factor that can make you sick; in this case, if immunity is down, cold from the outside environment can enter the body and lead to illness. The goal of TCM is to maintain balance in the body as a whole, so when there is an excess of cold, you want to balance it with warmth, and food is an incredibly useful tool to apply this technique.
When you think of warming foods, you may think of soups or stews (we’ll get to those in just a minute), but warming foods don’t necessarily have to be hot in physical temperature to be considered warm. Spices such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, and pepper all have warming qualities that are said to have a medicinal effect on the body and combat cold pathogens. Incorporating these ingredients can help boost the immune system in winter months to protect against cold pathogens, and they also may help to reduce the length of a cold or flu and relieve symptoms.
In addition to spices, broth itself can have an incredibly positive medicinal effect on the body. We all know that chicken soup is a legendary cold remedy, and many of us have experienced its benefits first hand. Depending on the quality of the broth, the nutrients in the ingredients, which often include meat, bones, veggies, and spices, are absorbed by the broth, making it one powerful potion once ingested. In particular, bone broth, which is often cooked for several hours, is packed with dense nutrients and minerals from bones themselves, which can help to boost immunity and speed up healing time.
While all of these potential benefits sound great, possibly the best part of sipping on soup or broth in the winter months or while sick is that it is delicious and soothing. We could be wrong but something about a big raw salad in the winter, which is cold in nature, doesn’t quite jive. We encourage you to listen to your body and tune in to what it needs this winter, whether it be more rest, an extra scarf, or a vat of warming broth to warm you from the inside out. After all, taking care of yourself is the ultimate road to optimal immunity.
Here are a few of our favorite broths and soups to help keep you healthy through the winter months:
Spicy Szechuan Bone Broth
This powerhouse bone broth made from vegetable, beef, and chicken bones also packs a punch with warming traditional spices, including Szechuan peppers, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, and chili flakes to name a few. Just note: this one is not for the faint of heart; it is SPICY! This elixir cleared the sinuses of one of our own at Nona Lim who was suffering from a bad head cold just last week.
To serve: We recommend reheating the broth on the stovetop, blanch Nona Lim noodles of your choice in boiling water, then add to broth. Top with your favorite veggies (we like bok choy, shiitakes, and a few scallions) and enjoy!
Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth
This delicious Thai-inspired broth uses vegetable broth along with chicken bone broth, coconut cream and lime juice for a nourishing and hearty flavor. This broth doesn’t have quite as much heat as the Spicy Szechuan Bone Broth above, but it does incorporate a touch of spice with the addition of dried chili in the recipe. We also use lemongrass in this broth, which is said to ease digestion, relieve pain, reduce fever, and treat the common cold.
To Serve: Since this broth is a bit heartier with the addition of coconut cream, this broth is especially nice to sip on its own. You can also pair it with any of our noodles to create a noodle bowl. Prepare by using the same method described above.
Miso Ramen Broth
This vegetarian-friendly broth is our take on the traditional Japanese staple. Because miso is fermented, it is loaded with probiotics, which are great for boosting immunity. We also use garlic, ginger, and kombu, an edible seaweed that is used as a medicinal herb in TCM. Kombu is packed with nutrients and minerals absorbed from the ocean and can improve digestion, thyroid function, and may even help to prevent cancer.
To Serve: Like all of our broths, the Miso Ramen Broth can also be enjoyed on its own or simmer with soft tofu and seaweed for an authentic preparation.
Carrot Ginger Soup
Moving from broths to soup, this simple vegetarian combination is light and soothing. We use carrots, which are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, and pair them with both fresh and candied ginger, to warm and ease digestion, calm nausea, and enhance immune function by protecting against bacterial infection.
To Serve: Heat on the stove or in the microwave as directed on the package, and enjoy! This soup is also delicious with a dollop of plain yogurt, or for a vegan option, use coconut cream, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
Asian Lemongrass Soup
Another vegan and gluten-free option is this flavor-packed soup. Here we pair loads of diced veggies and some organic tofu for protein with lemongrass, lemon, and ginger, and jalapeño, for a bright, spicy-sour taste that is sure to knock out anything that is ailing you.
To Serve: Heat on the stove or microwave as directed, and you’re good to go!
Tomato & Thai Basil Soup
There’s absolutely something to be said for the healing power of comfort food. This soup is our take on the classic, but we add a bit of spice with the addition of ginger and jalapeño to give it an extra warming kick.
To Serve: Heat on the stove or microwave as directed. If you are really in need of extra comfort, pair with a grilled cheese for good measure.
Red Lentil Veggie Soup
This soup is packed with fresh veggies and beneficial fiber and highlights a particular superfood of the moment: turmeric. Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it an excellent protector against illness.
To Serve: Heat on the stove or microwave as directed, and enjoy as is or add coconut milk and some fresh cilantro to make red lentil curry.
Just in time for the height of cold and flu season, we’ve created the #BetterSoon Cold & Flu Care Package, so you can nourish your body with our nutrient-dense bone broths and vegan soups. Both packages, Bone Broth or Vegan (detailed below), come with 9 of our 10-oz heat and eat Soup Cups for extra convenience, which is especially key when you’re not feeling your best.
Even if you’ve managed to avoid what’s going around, #BetterSoon can help to boost immunity and stave off illness along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, and it’s the perfect gift to send a friend or loved-one who is feeling under the weather. Also, who doesn’t love a care package?
Bone Broth Care Package (non-vegan) Includes:
+ 3 Thai Curry & Lime Bone Broth Soup Cups
+ 3 Vietnamese Bone Broth Soup Cups
+ 3 Miso Broth Soup Cups (vegan)
Vegan Care Package Includes:
+ 3 Carrot Ginger Soup Cups (vegan)
+ 3 Tomato Thai Basil Soup Cups (vegan)
+ 3 Miso Broth Soup Cups (vegan)
*Special $5 flat rate shipping is available between January 15, 2017 to March 15, 2017. Limit 1 care package per address. Terms and Restrictions apply, please see our Promotions page for more information.
 Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-719-lemongrass.aspx?activeingredientid=719&activeingredientname=lemongrass
 Dr. Axe: https://draxe.com/miso-soup/
 Dr. Axe: https://draxe.com/kombu/