Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Family Flu Prevention Action Plan

It's mid-winter and so far our family has come through this season without so much of a sniffle! Could this be attributed to our decision to put into a place a flu prevention strategy which did not involve racing off to the doctor's surgery to request a flu jab? When the swine flu hit the headlines earlier this year, my husband issued a request 'Is there a way of getting more garlic into us?' There was and it involved an awesome flu fighter.. chicken soup!

I have never cooked so much chicken soup before, we enjoy this at least 3 times a week!.. Yes, you have read that right, 3 times a week and we have not grown tired of this amazing super food, you could say it is close to becoming an addiction! I use a recipe similar to the one found in Sally Fallon's 'Nourishing Traditions'. You can find the recipe at Jordan Rubin's website www.biblicalhealthinstitute.com. The flavour in this soup is something else - it is packed with garlic. The other life giving ingredients that I never leave out are apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, celtic sea salt and ginger. It is on tonight's menu and is already in the slow cooker simmering away- slow cooking does something special to soups. I'm going to throw in some dark green leafy vegetables picked fresh from our garden, dark Tuscan kale and Chinese cabbage. Fresh chopped parsley will be added at the end.

We will enjoy our soup with crusty, authentic, homemade sourdough bread which is presently rising in a warm place. This truly is our daily bread and I've noticed an improvement in our health since I started using freshly milled flour (organic bio dynamic wheat flour). We purchased a grain mill at the start of 2009 and I use the flour in all of my baking. I find I have more energy these days and I have not suffered a cold (or any type of illness) since we made the switch to freshly milled flour. It was a worthwhile investment.

My Samson juicer sits alongside our grain mill and I'm sure it is getting jealous! The mill is having a daily workout and the juicer which has given us more than 5 years of loyal service was being neglected, especially over winter! I noticed the twins were sounding a little hoarse last week so it was time for a vitamin C boost. I did not reach for a plastic bottle of chewable tablets, rather I grabbed a pineapple and chopped it up, peeled some oranges and lemonades and fed these into the juicer together with some carrots.

I combined this juice with another super food - the life giving water of the young coconut. I buy one whenever I go into Woolworths; I wish more stores stocked them. I can drink the water straight using a straw but I tend to save it and add it to juices and smoothies for the whole family to enjoy.

I intend to catch every last drop of that amazing coconut water! I have to be quick to save the 'meat' inside the shell for desserts or smoothies, as my youngest son grabs a long handled, ice cream sundae spoon, ready to help himself to a very healthy snack!

The result of our juicing efforts is a tropical drink packed with vitamins. It is the colour of a sunset, so appealing to children and not a trace of anything artificial! After a glass of this juice I felt revitalized and recovered from the exertion of stabbing that young coconut repeatedly in order to extract its water! The twins croakiness soon subsided and no sore throat or cold eventuated.

The slow 'auger action' of a juicer such as a Samson ensures that all the enzymes are retained. Your everyday juicing machines may be faster and cheaper to purchase but the heat produced means that vital enzymes are destroyed. I'm so pleased we invested in a 'health' juicer. You can also make pasta and there is a special mincer attachment... did you see the 'Masterchef' contestants having fun with their 'mincers' (aka juicers) in the mystery box challenge? I'm not usually a fan of reality TV shows but I love Masterchef.. I have learned so much about food and cooking in recent weeks from this show. I'd love to see them tackle a young coconut though!

So there it is, our flu defence action plan which has brought us thus far, through winter, cold and flu free. There are people out and about coughing like crazy and one extra component of our action plan has been to avoid excessive amounts of time in crowded places, especially shopping malls. We have not become hermits; it just seemed sensible to minimize the risk, so it's a quick trip in to 'find what you need and leave!' It would be impossible to totally avoid exposure to sick people, even at the health food store! Beware of the supplement aisle where you will find people seeking out remedies! I was lingering in my local health food store recently, where I do enjoy browsing, when I noticed a lady asking about supplements. She looked sick, very sick and sounded terrible. In between coughing fits she told the assistant that her doctor was suspecting swine flu. That was it, I was out of there... I prayed a quick prayer on my way out for the poor assistant who had just been exposed to a potential case of swine flu and made a hasty exit! Guess what was for dinner that day? Chicken soup with extra garlic!

I've highlighted the foods throughout this post which are part of our flu prevention plan but here is a recap..
1. Chicken soup with lots of
2. Garlic
3.Apple cider vinegar (I use organic, naturally fermented)
4. Coconut oil (organic, cold pressed)
5.Dark, leafy green vegetables
6. Fruits high in vitamin C
7. Fresh juice
8.Young coconut water
9. Freshly milled flour

Even if you can only incorporate some of these foods into your family's meals, I am sure you will reap the benefits. I do believe for us, that it is combining all of these foods over winter which has made such a difference to our health and well being. I used to use my juicer on a daily basis, year round and had trays of wheat grass covering my bench top but still caught colds. This year I juiced less and milled more, so maybe there is truly something to be said for freshly milled flour. If you bake your own bread I would highly recommend a mill. Its taken us further along on the journey into health; its a journey which I'm so glad we decided to join and there's more exciting adventures to come...

We enjoy fresh eggs daily and plan to increase the number of chickens we keep, maybe some for meat for all those batches of chicken soup!

Bigger and better vegetable gardens. After the joys of last summer's harvest we are keen to grow more and enjoy greater success.

Our bananas ripening. Oh the joys of living in a semi tropical climate. Our bananas are small but sweet and grown without chemicals! I am already harvesting bananas and look forward to an ongoing supply. Also anticipating future harvests from all the other fruit trees we planted... apples, pears, citrus, mangoes and other tropical fruits.... willing these to grow!

And there's more....Bee keeping - something for my husband to learn all about! Discovering more super foods to incorporate into our diet. I'll keep you posted and I hope you haven't caught the flu this winter or if you are in the northern hemisphere, one of those annoying summer colds. It's time to finish this post, I can smell the aroma of chicken soup permeating through the house and the kale and parsley needs to be chopped up ready for adding to the pot.
Till next time,
With love and joy,


Kristen, pajama mama said...

Wow-so much information! I was just at the store yesterday with Belle looking at coconuts, but I didn't know the best way to actually open one without losing the milk...so we didn't pick one up...any tips?

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

I have the DVD 'Rejuvenate with Serene'(daughter of Above Rubie's Nancy Campbell). She shows you how to open a young coconut and makes it look easy (turning it as you insert the knife to make the cut)but it's not! I just stab the thing repeatedly to make a hole and upturn it over a jug to catch the water. Then I stab it some more, in order to get a spoon in to scrape out the 'meat' on the sides. I'm thinking of looking in my husband's tool box for a suitable power tool! Don't forget its the young coconut which is the one with the life giving water, the older, hairy ones have milk, still good for you but its the water of the young coconut which is the best!

Catherine (Alecat Music) said...

I so wish we could get coconuts here! If ever they do get them in, it's only for such a short time.

Thanks for your great post! I'll be back to re-read it a few time, I'm sure. :)

Jen said...

If I haven't got access to a flour mill yet (dehydrator is first on my wish list) what brand or type of flour would you recommend that is easily available in NSW, Australia?

Jen in NSW


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