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I did a short presentation last night on antigens, antibodies, and immunoglobulins (IgE mediated food allergies) and it reminded me that cold and flu season is right around the corner. It’s the same old story, someone shakes your hand and passes off nasty little critters that end up causing havoc to your system. Or (this one is my phobia), you run your hand along the “moving carpet/escalator” railing at the airport and collect funky stuff from all over the planet. Yuck – international viruses, bacteria, and other filthy microbes that have been busy mutating and have come to take residence in your respiratory system. Sniff, cough, snort.

Okay, so how do you boost your immunity and stay healthy at this time of year? Let thy food be thy medicine, as our friend Hippocrates would say.

Here’s my list of cold and flu fighting tips and nutrients, plus a yummy recipe for garlicky green beans.

immune booster tips
• wash your hands, especially when you’ve been in contact with icky things (that’s the scientific word for microbes)
• get plenty of sleep
• reduce stress levels (I know, easier said than done, but do the best you can as stress can depress healthy immune function.)
• stay hydrated
• cut back or avoid sugar, which has been found to reduce the ability of white blood cells to destroy microorganisms
• drink herbal teas
• eat immune boosting foods and herbs (Choose fresh fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants; the more colorful the better. Add Asian mushrooms, onions, garlic, echinacea, ginger root, and astragalus to your arsenal of cold and flu fighters.)

ginger root tea

Brew a one-inch piece of peeled and grated fresh ginger root in two cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes; add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and simmer one minute more. Remove from heat, strain and add fresh lemon juice and agave honey.

garlicky green beans

what you need
1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil (or whatever oil you saute with)
2 cloves garlic (or more), minced, pressed, or micro-planed*
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
* this is also good with sauteed mushrooms and/or onions

what you do
• blanch green beans in boiling salted water (3 to 4 minutes until tender), transfer with slotted spoon into cold water, drain and blot dry
• heat oil in wok or skillet over medium heat
• add garlic and saute for about a minute, stirring constantly (don’t let it brown too much)
• add green beans and stir
• add parsley, salt, and pepper and continue stirring for 3 to 4 minutes

serves 4
serve with broiled salmon and wild rice for an easy and healthy meal
*I love my microplane grater/zester. They’re ideal for hard cheeses, garlic, ginger, or lemon/orange zest. Every cook should have one.


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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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