Top 5 Food Sources for Boosting Immunity

  1. Fermented and cultures foods, rich in probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. All which support a healthy gut flora and immune system. Great sources are yogurt without added sugar, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut or fermented vegetables and kimchi.

  2. Vitamin D3 the first line of defense for most types of infection: Found in pasture-raised eggs, salmon, sardines, cod liver oil and pasture-raised beef.

  3. Shiitake mushrooms, referred to as the “medicinal mushroom” active compound lentinan powers up the immune system, fighting infection and disease. High in selenium, vitamin b2, zinc. Great in soups, sauteéd with caramelized onions and garlic or in a frittata.

  4. Vitamin C best known as an antioxidant found hugely in parsley, oranges, grapefruit, red bell pepper, leafy green vegetables and broccoli amoung many other plant foods. Consuming fruits in the morning on an empty stomach allows for the most absorbtion and assimilation. Blending up an orange, some spinach and a frozen banana is a great way to get in good dose of vitamin C when you wake up in the morning.

  5. Garlic a member of the allium family, garlic has many therapeutic properties. An excellent source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Anti-everything - bacterial and viral, controlling infection from viruses and bad bacteria. When roasting use a lower temperture to preserve the health-protective compounds and well as allowing the chopped garlic to sit for 10 minutes before use will also protect it’s health benefits.

Ukrainian Red Beet Borscht

Thankfully, many years before my Grandmother passed away, I had the opportunity to watch her way of cooking this sweet, bright magenta soup first hand. Often cited as the Ukraine for it’s origin, (I think I’m bias ;) although it’s had it’s roots in most parts of eastern Europe. (no pun intended) Borscht, is slavic for borschevik or hogweed. What was originally used when making this hearty soup.

I commonly squished my face in disgust to this swampy looking vegetable soup as a child. This was before of course, I matured my palate and realized this stuff was pure goodness. 30 years of gathering with my Father’s large and ever-growing family on Christmas eve, at a dining room table (usually in an U or T shape to accommodate everyone). All this to enjoy and savor this once-a-year, 5-course Ukrainian meal. Two soups, a porridge, 2 varieties of cabbage rolls and perogies among other aperitifs and dessert treats. An experience to say the least, I think there’s butter in EVERY dish! A thick and fattening meal that leaves you wanting more while resenting what you already consumed!

The borscht soup I enjoyed cooking with my grandmother, is as authentic as she remembered learning from her mother - which I’m sure has been tweaked over the years. Her version contains a LOT of butter, oh and cream, lot’s of that as well! However, the authenticity and color of borscht is truly determined by the ingredients that go into making it. An true borscht recipe would ask for onions, beets, butter, carrots, beans, potatoes, dill, cream and lemon for balancing. Possibly cabbage and different varieties of meats are also commonly used.

Beets are a pure source of folic acid, fiber, iron, magnesium and potassium. Medicinally used for disorders of the liver - stimulating to the detoxification process. Betacyanin a cancer-flighting agent, gives them their bright pink pigment. (Murray,2005)


  • prep time

    25 minutes
  • cook time

    2-4 hours
  • yields

    five 16 oz. mason jars (maybe more depending on how long you cook it for)
  • inspired by

    My Grandmother’s traditional borscht
  • Night before

    Soak the dill weed by covering with the water and bring it to a boil before cooking.

Prep

  • one
    bunch dill (plus more for garnish)
  • two cups
    water for dill
  • five
    onions, or 6 cups diced and divided
  • 1 1/2 cups
    unsalted butter or ghee, divided
  • 1/2 cups
    olive oil
  • 3 tsp
    sea salt, divided
  • two
    large sweet potatoes, quartered
  • three
    beets, cleaned, peeled and quartered
  • one
    chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tsp
    ground pepper
  • two
    carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 10 oz.
    green beans, chopped into 1” pieces (about 11/2 cups)
  • 2 cups
    vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cups
    lemon, juiced
  • 10 oz.
    cremé fraîche
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Method

  1. Add 1 cup of the butter, olive oil and 5 cups onions and 1 tsp salt to a large pot and sauté slowly on medium heat until clear 10 minutes. Turn down to medium-low for another 15 minutes, it will increase in liquid almost by half when finished - pour into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Food process each separately, sweet potatoes, beets then remaining onions.
  3. In another pot, add potatoes and cover with water by 1” - add 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, turn off heat strain and reserve water.
  4. In the first large pot, add the remaining butter and the beets and salt and pepper. Stir to combine until the butter is melted.
  5. Add the potatoes and reserved potato water (add more water if neccessary), dill liquid, beans, carrots, chili pepper, stock, lemon juice and 1 cup of the reserved butter and onions mixture. Bring to a boil, very slowly over medium heat.
  6. Cover and turn down to a low simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occationally or until desired tenderness is reached on vegetables. They should be slightly squishy.
  7. To serve, remove from heat and stir in creme fraîche to create a bright pink hue. Garnish with a sprig of dill.

  • Sources: (1) Murray, Michael T., Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. 164-65. Print.
  • Crock Pot Chicken Stock

    image

    I’ve tried making homemade stock in the past, but failed miserably. It was
    a vegetable version with celery root and I don’t think I cooked it long enough. I make soups quite often and hate store-bought broth cubes that can be full of preservatives and added sodium. This time I made a super flavor-packed organic chicken stock made in my crock pot. I used this recipe as a guideline. This makes a lot of stock but can be froze up to 4 months.

    measure

    • one
      4-5 pound organic chicken
    • one
      medium onion quartered
    • two
      carrots quartered
    • two
      celery stalks quartered
    • four
      cloves of garlic roasted
    • four
      dry bay leaves
    • four
      fresh thyme twigs
    • 1/2 tsp
      sea salt (you’ll probably need more)
    1. Clean chicken and place into the crock pot, season with salt.
    2. Fold in chopped vegetables, garlic and bay leaves.
    3. Fill crock pot with water until it covers the chicken entirely.
    4. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 6 hours.
    5. Skim fat off the top, remove meat and refrigerate.
    6. Give it a taste to see if it needs more sea salt - mine did. Place the bones back in the pot and add in thyme. Put cover back on for 2 hours on low.
    7. In a large bowl, put a colander inside and pour the stock and filter the solids from the broth. Discard solids.
    8. (This is the key to smooth, clean stock. I used a large pot and tied some cheesecloth to the handles.) Gradually pour stock into the pot.

    Let the stock cool (no longer than 1/2 hour) before transferring to jars. The stock can keep in the freezer for about 4 months.

    Yummy Yam Soup

    image

    I made this soup from The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook. A great source for wholesome recipes based on the principals of Ayurvedic cooking. A sweet, rich and nutritious soup. Perfect for those cold winter nights - it’s warming qualities of cinnamon and clove are super comforting.


    measure

    • 2 tbsp
      ghee or butter
    • 2 tbsp
      olive oil
    • 3/4 cup
      onions sliced
    • two
      garlic cloves
    • 6 cups
      yams cubed
    • five cups
      vegetable broth
    • 1/2 tsp
      salt or to taste
    • one
      cinnamon stick
    • one
      clove
    • two
      whole peppercorns
    • 1/4 tsp
      turmeric
    1. In a large pot, heat ghee/butter and oil. Add onions, sauté until they start to soften.
    2. Add garlic. Continue sautéing until the onions are transparent.
    3. Add in remaining ingredients.
    4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20min.
    5. Check seasoning. Remove cinnamon stick, peppercorns and clove.
    6. Using an immersion blender, purée until smooth. Check consistency, if the soup is too thick add more water.

    Top with plain yogurt and serve with a fresh slice of bread.