Hello Friends. I am hoping you and your family are well. In this unprecedented time of a true viral pandemic, we are needing to be kind to our fellow man and to ourselves. I am suffering along with many of you in that my business is completely on hold, so I guess you could say, I am laid off! Cooking classes and one-on-one cooking programs and team-building events all qualify as high-risk activities during this time. But the blog must go on! So, I am offering this elixir I have made to keep myself and my family as healthy as we can. What we put into our bodies right now, can be so essential to our immune response if we were to get sick.
I know it is so tempting to eat comfort foods and drink “comfort” drinks – and I am no exception! But we have to crowd those out with the healthiest foods and drinks we can! My list of things to put in my body most everyday:
Greens, Herbs and Spices, Berries, Beans and Lentils, Cruciferous Vegetables, Citrus and Ginger
So many things we do not have control over right now, and it can feel overwhelming. But one thing we have a fair amount of control over (at least most of us do) is what we choose to put in our bodies. That doesn’t mean we are perfect. Believe me, I have succumbed to wine and (homemade) desserts lately. What can I say? I’m an imperfect human. But what I have been trying to do is make sure each day I get my share of the good things listed above first. That makes it less likely I’m going to over-indulge in the not-so-good things and that’s as good as it’s gonna get right now. #pandemiclogic
So let’s talk about this elixir! This drink has the holy trinity of cold and flu-buster ingredients. Ginger, lemon and honey.
First of all… GINGER. We all know ginger can ease nausea and even vomiting, but there is so much more. Ginger has been found to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and therefore may boost immune health. Many test-tube studies suggest that ginger can inhance immune response, and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. One study found that fresh ginger had antiviral effects against human respiratory synctial virus (HRSV) (1). Due to its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, ginger may boost immune health.
LEMONS. Make sure you have at least 3 lemons in case they are small or not so juicy. You want at least 1/2 cup if not more. Lemons are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, flavonoids and limonins. Vitamin C plays a role in immunity and helps neutralize free radicals in the body, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of white blood cells and may protect the integrity of immune cells, and protect leukocytes, which produce antiviral substances. Lemons can also be an effective exigent food, meaning that, in addition to their own nutritional properties, they can help to release benefits from other foods when combined with them.
HONEY. Honey is a potential natural antioxidant medicine. It also helps to trigger the improvement of antioxidant, anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory, immune regulatory and estrogenic responses to help abate different disease processes. I prefer to include local honey since it may help with allergies, but Manuka honey or buckwheat honey may have stronger effects, but they tend to be very expensive. Research on honey has shown evidence of everything from a decrease in tumor cell expression, to wound healing, antidiabetic, to cardiac health. What a sweet, sweet story that is! [Please remember: never give honey to a children less than a year old because their immune systems are not able to ward off infantile botulism, which is carried in the honey spores.]
MINT. What I forgot to include in my first round of this elixir was mint. Mint is a potent source of antioxidants and a good source of vitamin A. It is also a calming digestif, helping things like indigestion and IBS. Just take a few sprigs and rub, break, bend them a bit to help release the aromatics, then either let it steep a bit if serving this elixir hot, or just enjoy the menthol smell in a cool drink.
I hope you will find the time to make this amazing elixir. I think you will see how easy it is to make and will be keeping a pitcher in the fridge over the next few months.
I wish for us all to be fed, to be healed and to be loved. Hang in there!
Please let me know in the comments how you are dealing with the social and work restrictions, and what you are doing to feed yourself and your family during this stressful time! It would make my day to hear from you!
Ginger Lemonade Immunity Elixir
- Food processor or grater
- 8 ounces ginger root 230 grams
- 6-8 cups water almost 1.5 liters
- 2-3 medium lemons, juiced 120 mL (or more, if desired)
- 3-4 tablespoons honey 40-60 mL, or to taste (local if possible)
- 2-3 sprigs mint optional
- Peel off any bad parts of ginger. No need to peel all the skin off. Roughly chop.
- Pulse in food processor (or use a grater or just chop more finely) until chopped somewhat coarse. Don't make a paste.
- Combine in a saucepan with 6-8 cups of water. I used about 7 cups. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Add lemon juice and honey to taste. Serve warm or cold, but warm is best for virus fighting!
- If using mint, rub it a bit to release aromatics and place in cup before pouring hot elixir, or into glass before pouring cooled drink.