Eating to Build Our Immune Systems

As I was reading up on this topic I realized that eating to build your immune systems and an anti inflammatory diets are closely related, and in fact intertwined. Many immunity building foods also work as anti inflammatory foods. I have been sent, and have been seeing many concoctions that are said to ward off the Corona Virus. And I am looking closely at all of it, and that is what has sparked today’s blog.

I have added more citrus to my diet. I began drinking warm water with slices of lemon in it daily (thank you, Marcy for the home grown lemons). And today I bought a range of citrus fruits to keep in the house, after reading about the overall immunity and anti inflammatory benefits of them. And I love all citrus fruits, anyway.

Marcy’s lemons with limes, and a pink grapefruit ready to eat on my kitchen counter. Not shown are the mandarin oranges I also bought today (they are in the refrigerator)

I have also discovered Nutritional Yeast. Nutritional Yeast is a complete protein, contains all 9 amino acids, is high in B vitamins, and trace minerals. And it tastes good! It adds a nutty, cheesy, kind of an umami flavor to foods. So far I have added it to scrambled eggs, and today to my vegetable soup. Here is more about it: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nutritional-yeast.

Here is a short list of foods that are good for our immunity and for anti inflammatory diets: https://globalhealing.com/natural-health/8-foods-that-boost-your-immune-system/

I want to mention HOW I finally came to buy and try Nutritional Yeast, because it’s a lesson for us all – I was shopping at Trader Joe’s last week after the shelves had been stripped of almost everything. I found the 1 bag of Nutritional Yeast on the shelf, and picked it up. I realized I had heard good things about it, so I read the back of the package, noted the low calories (20 cal for 1 tblsp/ 0 points), and price :), then decided to give it a try. Yesterday during our WW virtual meetings, our coach, the great Amy B. was talking about finding new products on the empty grocery store shelves during this time. She talked about low calorie (low point) sauces that you might not normally try, for example. Keep an open mind while shopping these days. You never know what new treasures you will discover.

Like many of you, I won’t be going to work this week. What little work I have I will do from home, as I am in sales, and unfortunately, as all of the stores I sell to are closed, I am essentially out of business until this passes. Deep breaths…. (This might be a good time for me to try meditation).

I wasn’t really planning a meal prep today, but as I was continuing to read about building our immune systems against this virus, I decided to throw a vegetable soup together out of what I had in the house. I went to my freezer and pulled out a bag of mixed vegetables, a mostly used bag of frozen broccoli, and a partly used bag of spinach. I had most of a quart of chicken broth in the refrigerator, a bag of shirataki noodles, and the Nutritional yeast. I seasoned my soup with 2 cubes of Dorot frozen garlic, some freshly ground black pepper (no salt, as my broth was not low sodium), some ground coriander, and cumin. It came out great, and I want to tell you that the Nutritional Yeast did lend a new flavor that I really like. And it my soup has 0 points, I believe, on all 3 WW plans. I am very happy to have this in the house this week.

0 point pantry veggie soup with shirataki noodles and Nutritional Yeast

I want to share one more thing with you that I am going to make for my husband and I. I found it on Instagram this morning. It’s a ginger lime tea recipe. Great for both our immune systems and has all of the anti inflammatory properties: https://presleyspantry.com/2011/04/11/ginger-lime-tea/.

We are all in the same boat here. There is no end date on the quarantine. All we can do is keep ourselves healthy with the foods we eat, exercise, and staying rested. Worrying, stressing, and food binging are not going to help. Take care, my friends.

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Be Aware of Foods That Have That “Health Halo”

Eating Mindfully Part 2

Junk food disguised as healthy snacks is more common than we think. Between sugar-free, gluten-free, low-carb, low-fat, organic, all-natural, and more, there’s an overwhelming amount of terms that you see on food labels.  The confusion around reading these labels makes it easy to mistake something for “healthy”.

Here are just a few examples of “health halo” foods to avoid (hint: these are all processed foods):

  1. Flavored yogurt – Packed with protein and gut healthy probiotics, yogurt is an excellent weight loss food. But don’t be fooled by flavored yogurt, it is loaded with sugary fruit. Opt instead for 0 fat or 2% fat plain yogurt and mix in your own whole fruits.
  2. Veggie Chips – The “healthy” alternative to chips are just another processed food. Their bag might display photos of whole veggies, but these chips are actually pulverized vegetable flour mixed with oil and salt.
  3. Fruit smoothies – Replacing meals with protein shakes may help you reduce your daily calories, which can help you lose weight. Eventually you will need to start eating solid food again, which may cause excess weight to return if you don’t choose wisely. And if you rely too heavily on protein shakes to replace regular meals, you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefits of whole foods. As a general rule, it’s better to eat, not drink your fruits. Pair your fruit with a cup of low-fat plain cottage cheese or yogurt if you are craving something creamy.

The moral of this story is to READ THE LABELS. Take your time in the grocery store and really read the labels. Learn the synonyms for added sugars and fats. One of my rules of thumb is “if you can’t pronounce it, it is not a real food”. Also, note the serving sizees. The calories, fat, sugar, etc. shown are for the serving size, not the entire package or can. If you are a WW member, couple this with utilizing the scanner on your app to check the points. Many “light” foods will be deceivingly high in points.

Easy, veggie forward meal prep today. Even though the calendar is inching towards spring, it is still going to be cold and rainy in LA this coming week. Bring on the soup! I created an Asian veggie soup using unsalted chicken broth, seasoned with coconut aminos (my favorite is from Trader Joe’s), garlic, ginger (the frozen Dorot cubes), dry mustard, coriander, and cumin, salt & pepper. This is my own mix of seasonings. Use what you like. I used every veggie I could think of that rang as Asian to me: fresh bok choy, mushrooms, snow peas, scallions. I also added celery because I had it in my house, and a handful of frozen edamame that I had in the freezer. I would call this a Green Asian Veggie Soup if I was a recipe writer :).

Pairing my Green Asian Veggie Soup with chicken breast that I marinated in coconut aminos, garlic, ginger, mustard, coriander, and cumin then oven roasted, and roasted broccoli and red bell pepper.

This has been a hard week for all of us. I did not go out and “panic buy” supplies and shelf stable food. I did, however, cancel all of my social plans for the weekend, even my hair appointment. I did shop at Trader Joe’s today so I could complete my meal prep. I was greeted at the door by a lovely, smiling woman holding hand sanitizer, offering squirts. Thankfully, the store was stocked fairly well, and the vibe inside was comfortable. As I checked out, I was again offered a squirt of hand sanitizer, which I again accepted. Stay calm, stay well, and wash your hands.

A few shots from my walk today. I am lucky to live just a few blocks from Santa Monica Bay. It was quite crowded there this afternoon. Seemed a perfect place to be outside, in public, while still remaining “socially distant”. At least I got some exercise, and got in some great people watching.

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