1. Frequent hand washing is your best defense against germs - Use soap and warm water, frequently throughout the day and as soon as you get home. Each family member should have their own hand towel, and these should be changed frequently. (A great tip is to give each person their own color towel, so nobody gets mixed up!)
Also, avoid products that contain triclosan. The CDC says “Triclosan-containing products don't provide any disease protection beyond what you get from washing with soap and water...and research has shown that triclosan can disrupt the endocrine system.
5. Chicken Soup, also known as “Liquid Penicillin,” is not to be underestimated when you are under the weather! A bonafide study (by Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha) has shown that Chicken Soup inhibits the movement of neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cell that defends against infection.
Whatever your family recipe, it pays to have some in your freezer just in case you get a cold or the flu. As with any other recipe, the integrity of your ingredients will be reflected in the overall result. Free-range, pastured chicken is best (organic simply refers to feed). Organic vegetables are preferable, however studies tell us that any fruits and vegetables are better than having none at all. Fresh garlic added right before you eat the soup will serve as a natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent.
6. Vegan Hot and Sour Soup is my go-to soup whenever cold or flu hits. Full of warming herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger and hot pepper, you can just feel its soothing properties start to heal whatever ails you. Not as complicated as it looks; I’ve included all my shortcuts gleaned from years of making this soup (Note: my kids just call this “Yummy Soup”!)
Vegan Hot and Sour Soup
-1/2 cup shitakes (if dried, soak in boiling water for 20 minutes. These are best!) You can also use fresh shitakes or, if you prefer, another type of mushroom or a mix.
-1/2 can bamboo shoots - Buy pre-sliced bamboo shoots to save yourself the extra work! (You can freeze remainder in a ziplock bag for the next batch.)
-2 Tbsp. peanut oil
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1-2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
-4-8 oz. extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into small, thin strips (how much you want is up to you)
-6 cups vegetable stock (I use organic, available in most markets)
-3 Tbsp. organic tamari
-3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
-1/2 tsp. sugar
-2 tsp chili paste
-2 tsp. organic corn starch mixed in 4 tsp. water (do not mix until ready to use!)
-1 Tbsp sesame oil
-4 chopped scallions
-1 Tbsp. cilantro, or chopped fresh cilantro to taste
-salt and pepper to taste
Heat peanut oil. Add minced garlic and ginger. After one minute add stock, tamari, vinegar, sugar, chili paste and mushrooms, including mushroom liquid. (Mushrooms should be sliced thin! If using dried shitakes - preferable - I squeeze the liquid into the soup, then cut thin mushroom strips with a kitchen scissor. Very easy method!) Boil, then simmer.
Add pressed tofu and bamboo shoots. Simmer.
Add corn starch mixture down the side of the pot and cook for 5 minutes more to thicken. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh scallions and cilantro.