The combination of the weather changing, stress from grad-school midterms, and working with children brought my immune system down. Quick. It would be nice to say that I have an immune system of steel with being a teacher and you know, all the yoga. But I don’t. So here are a few things that help me bounce back almost as quickly as I went down…
Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup…
When you’re sick what’s the first thing you think of to eat? Soup. What kind? Chicken noodle soup. But when you’re a vegetarian the thought of chicken noodle soup without the chicken (aka. noodle water) doesn’t sound too appealing. I’ve been making this soup for a few years and it’s definitely my favorite homemade soup. This time of year butternut squash is in season and all over the place! I always buy some as soon as I see it in the store. There’s also just something about making homemade soup that instantly soothes your soul.
- 1 teaspoon organic expeller pressed canola oil (preferred) or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced (about 1 large onion)
- 4 cups butternut squash, skin removed, roughly diced into 3/4 inch cubes (about 3/4 large squash)
- 2 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
- 1 3/4 cup organic apple cider (also easy to find this time of year!)
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 star anise (whole)
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill whole grain rolled oats
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- Warm oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pot or dutch oven over low-medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, making sure not to brown.
- Add squash, stock, 1 1/4 cup cider, star anise, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Uncover, remove star anise, add oats, spices, and continue to simmer, covered for another 10 minutes. Or until squash softens and begins to fully dissolve.
- Turn off heat. Add water and remaining apple cider and immediately transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool for a few minutes.
- Transfer to a strong blender, and blend until creamy smooth. Blend in batches if necessary. Transfer back into sauce pot, add remaining salt (optional) and warm again as desired. Ladle into your favorite bowl and enjoy!
- Find the original recipe posting here: Holiday Menu 2011
HOLISTIC HEALTH ROUTINES…
Vitamins, vitamins, vitamins… In pill form my choices are Source Naturals Wellness Formula (2 or 3 a day) and Rainbow Light Women’s One. In powder form I like the Almased Synergy Diet Powder. This powder is packed with protein, and all your essential vitamins: A, C, E, B6, Calcium & iron. This can also be used as a meal replacement shake, but for the purposes of building my immune system, I only use it as a big kick of protein and vitamins.
Jala Neti… Break out your Neti Pot. It’s that time of year. Jala Neti is a nasal cleansing technique that rinses the sinuses with warm saline with the aid of a teapot-like vessel called a neti pot. According to yoga tradition, it equalizes the flow of breath between the nostrils and balances the ida and pingala nadis – the two energy channels that pave the way for inner exploration.
Pour a cup of warm water (sterilized by boiling the water or purchasing distilled water) into a neti pot. Add 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt (kosher or sea salt or I use over-the-counter mixtures that can be found in the pharmacy section of your grocery store), stirring until it dissolves. Insert the spout into your left nostril, lean over the sink, and tilt your head slightly to the right so the water flows through the sinus passages and out of the right nostril. Gently blow your nose and repeat on the other side.
Humidify your home… It’s no wonder we get sick in the more often in the winter. When the temperature goes down outdoors so does the moisture level (especially in Sweet Home Alabama), so what do we do? Pump our homes with dry heat. Our sinuses need moisture in the air to keep lubricated and stay healthy. The first thing I try to do is to resist turning on the heat until the last minute. This year, I caved when my little apartment hit 62 degrees. So I turned on my humidifier to keep moisture in the air. Of course, it probably would have helped if I started this before I got sick. Lesson learned.
Hot showers… Same concept as the humidifier. Hot showers generate steam which moisturizes your sinuses and allows you to breathe. They also just feel awesome.
Warm water with lemon… Before you brush your teeth, eat, or drink coffee, mix the juice of half a lemon in a cup of warm water (with an optional pinch of rock salt and 1/2 teaspoon of local honey), and drink up. This drink flushes the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract and stimulates your agni (digestive fire) so you’re ready to metabolize breakfast.
Herbal tea… When my throat hurts all I want are warm liquids. I have a pretty large stockpile of Yogi Tea & Tazo teas. Some with caffeine and some not. Some of my favorites are Awake English Breakfast made by Tazo (I add 1/2 teaspoon of local honey, yum) and Bedtime made by Yogi Tea.
Light yoga… And I mean light! No all out, sweaty, twisty, inverted yoga here. Take it easy, your body needs restorative poses when you’re sick. For my spine I lay on my back and do gentle twists and let my legs drop side to side, for my hamstrings I sit up and stretch forward over my legs in paschimottonasana (seated forward bend), for my legs and side-body I put the soles of my feet together in baddha konasana (butterfly) and stretch side to side and forward, and I’ll sit in virasana (hero pose) just because it’s my favorite pose and feels so good on my quads and knees. Think any pose that you could do from your bed… which is where I do all of the above poses! No yoga mat needed.
Happy Fall y’all,