The Healing Power of Food

A Doctor’s Journey from Disease to Health.

Originally posted on Sep 26, 2018, 10:36 am. Updated on Oct. 16, 2019.

If you’re doubtful of the healing power of food, just ask Brooke Goldner, M.D. When she was 16 and diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Nephritis with stage four kidney disease, she never thought she would reach the age of 40. Now she’s healed, healthy and was featured on the cover of Vegan Health & Fitness magazine’s Fit Over 40 issue in April 2018. That’s a transformation that she credits almost entirely to the way she eats. Today, as a best-selling author, the founder of VeganMedicalDoctor.com, GoodbyeLupus.com and creator of the Hyper-Nourishing Nutrition Protocol for Lupus Recovery, she’s helping others to heal themselves with food as well.

As I was interviewing Dr. Goldner for my post on Exploring a Plant-Based Diet, she shared her story with me. There was simply no way I could fit in all of the powerful information she gave me into that one post, so I decided to begin my new profile series on the Healing Power of Food with Dr. Goldner’s journey from disease to health. She reveals the not-so-secret way that she overcame her debilitating and potentially deadly disease and some things you can do to heal your body and feel your best.

** The end of this post was updated in October 2019 with information about the amount of nutrition training U.S. doctors get in medical school.

Photo of different types of greens on grocery store shelf that serve as healing foods
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10 Best Kitchen Gifts for Healthy Cooking

Kitchen Gifts That Make Healthy Cooking Easy.

Healthy cooking doesn’t require a lot of fancy gadgets, but it’s definitely made a lot easier with the help of a few essential items. Some of these things many people receive as wedding gifts but after 5-10 years, they may need to be replaced. Others are things that it’s easy to assume that everyone just has, but if they weren’t handed down or they haven’t been received as gifts, it may seem hard to spend money on them, even if they’re not that expensive. And still others are things that would either help us save money or leave less of an imprint on our environment, or both. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the 10 best kitchen gifts for healthy cooking.

Just when you think someone has everything, there’s almost always one or more of the items on this list that they could really use and that would make healthy cooking easier. They also range in price from $1.99 to $199, which means there’s something for all budgets. Whomever you’re buying for this year, if they’re cooking healthy, there’s something on this list that they could use.

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Seasonal Produce Spotlight: Brussels Sprouts

The brussels sprout is an extremely under-appreciated vegetable in my book. I had never even had it until a few years ago (I’m nearly 50 years old!) because all I knew growing up was that it was to be avoided. It was the stuff that threats were made of – “You’d better behave, or we’ll have brussels sprouts for dinner.” I didn’t even know what they were, and I’m fairly sure that my mother has never cooked them. 

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Money Saving Tip: Develop a Holiday Budget

5 Tips for Sticking With a Holiday Budget

Now that the holiday shopping season is here, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the “deals,” excitement and checking things off your list. That’s certainly understandable, but one major cause of stress this time of year is overspending on gifts. According to the 2019 Bankrate Holiday Gifting Survey, about half (51 percent) of the survey respondents told Bankrate that they feel pressure to spend more than they are comfortable with on gifts during the holidays. That’s why it’s so important to develop a holiday budget and stick with it.

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Best Soups for Cold and Flu

The 5 Best Homemade Soups for Easing Cold and Flu Symptoms

When we’re down and out with a cold or the flu, one of the only things we feel like eating is a nice, hot cup of soup. There’s an obvious reason for that – when our throat is sore or we’re coughing, we want something that’s easy to swallow and will go down nice and easy. There are definitely a lot of options for soups, but did you know that some stand out more than others? We’re going to look at 5 of the best soups for cold and flu and how they pack a healthy punch at a time when our bodies need it most. 

Photo of homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, one of the best soups for cold and flu

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup is hands-down one of the best soups for cold and flu. A study conducted by a researcher at Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup “may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity,” and that it’s mild anti-inflammatory effects could help relieve symptoms of upper respiratory infections1

One of the best homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipes I’ve found is this gluten-free 30-Minute Easy Chicken Noodle Soup from Evolving Table. It really is easy! The onions, carrots, garlic, chicken and pasta (I leave out the celery) make it a hearty meal that doesn’t leave you hungry while also not feeling like it’s too much. The herbs and salt and pepper also give it a good kick that will open your sinuses and help with congestion. Using lentil or chickpea rotini for your pasta will make sure that you’re getting as much protein as possible, which will help you to get your strength back. 

**Nut-free substitution: I use oat milk for this recipe instead of almond milk. 

Photo of Vegan Roasted Garlic and Lemon Soup in blue soup cup

Vegan Roasted Garlic and Lemon Soup

We know that garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to support the immune system2,3, so that makes this Vegan Roasted Garlic and Lemon Soup from The Spruce Eats perfect for easing cold and flu symptoms. As the recipe says, the part of the recipe that takes the longest is roasting the garlic, but it’s not active time involved at all. You can be preparing another soup recipe while you’re waiting for your garlic to cook. The soup has a great earthy flavor that’s not too heavy. If you want to give it a protein boost and make it heartier, the recipe suggests adding lentils, chickpeas or quinoa. 

The good news is that if you’re sick, you’re probably not going to be kissing anyone anyway, so slurp up! There’s no need to worry about garlic breath! 

**Soy-free substitution: I use oat milk for this recipe instead of soy milk. 

Photo of tomato soup in white bowl on colorful plate

Tomato Soup

There’s a reason that tomato soup is one of the best soups for cold and flu. It’s smooth, thick and comforting, and oh so easy on a raw throat. Tomatoes are also a great source of Vitamin C, which may not do much for helping to ease your suffering4, but it will offer numerous other health benefits5 whether you’re sick or not. 

As you’re prepping for cold and flu season, this Slow Cooker Tomato Soup from Delish Knowledge can be put together quickly in the slow cooker before you leave for the day and will be just about ready when you come home. Made with straightforward, simple ingredients, there’s no high fructose corn syrup or wheat flour that you usually find in the canned versions.

Once the soup is cooked, I still have large chunks of the whole tomatoes sitting in the liquid. I put the entire recipe into my food processor and it quickly becomes a soup consistency.

**Substitution notes: Instead of the sugar, I used powdered Stevia. I also used the cashew cream in half of the recipe and to make it nut-free for my son, I used oat milk for his half.

Photo of Miso Soup in blue soup cup, one of the best soups for cold and flu

Miso Soup

Miso soup is a godsend when you’re sick. It literally soothes you from the inside out (I had actually written that description and then read Karrie’s post over at Happy Money Saver. She said almost the same thing, so you know it’s true!!) 

Miso paste is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and a mold called koji. Karrie’s Freezer Friendly Loaded Miso Soupbuilds on that base by adding chicken breast, tofu, mushrooms, garlic and bok choy. In other words, it is loaded with goodness that may not cure you, but it will help you to join the land of the living at least for the few minutes that you’re eating it. While any miso soup can be frozen, this version was made with that function in mind. 

**Substitution note: In order to make this plant-based, I omit the chicken breasts and chicken broth, use vegetable broth instead and add more tofu than the recipe calls for. It works fine and includes plenty of protein. 

Photo of a pot of vegetable beef soup with wooden spoon sitting in the pot

Vegetable Beef Soup

When you’re sick, the last thing you usually feel like doing is eating a lot. That’s why it’s important that when you do eat, you fill up on all the things that are going to nourish you and help you to keep up your strength. This Vegetable Beef Soup from Cooking Classy will help you to do just that. Featuring beef, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, broth, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, corn, peas and herbs, this pot of comfort literally has it all. 

**Substitution note: If the idea of swallowing beef stew meat seems like it will be too much, you can easily substitute ground beef. You can also just make it a vegetable soup by leaving out the meat entirely and using vegetable broth instead of beef or chicken. 

Photo of soup prep in kitchen

Important Notes About Homemade Soup for Cold and Flu

You’re going to want to spend time early in cold and flu season making a couple of these types of soup and freezing them. Even the easiest of recipes can be too much to do when you’re feeling bad. Having them prepared ahead of time lets you maintain your habit of eating minimally processed food even when you’re feeling your worst. It also makes sure that you have what you need, when you need it, so that you don’t have to run to the store when you should really be in bed. 

All of the soups featured here are broth-based, which makes them easier on you than cream-based soups when your stomach may be feeling a little unsettled anyway because of congestion. 

To Freeze Soup

To freeze soup, let it cool completely and then measure into 1 to 1 ½ cup portions. Place the portions in a quarter freezer bag and press out as much air as possible. If you’re prepping a soup that includes noodles or pasta, just freeze the soup portion. The pasta will come out mushy if you try to freeze it. Simply heat the soup in a pot when you’re ready and then add the pasta at that point to cook for a few minutes. 

Lean on Your Community

These are the best soups for cold and flu as far as I’m concerned. What are your favorites? Feel free to share in the comments below so that we can all benefit from our collective unfortunate experiences and help to make cold and flu season a little more bearable this year. Of course, what’s best would be for none of us to get sick at all!

Sources

  1. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11035691
  2. Immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic compoundshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25961060
  3. Immunomodulatory Effects of Aged Garlic Extract. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11238820
  4. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin C Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/#en12
  5. Mayo Clinic. Vitamin C. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932

Stock Up for Cold and Flu: 7 Natural Supplies to Have on Hand

It’s cold and flu season, and that means it’s time to make sure that you’re fully stocked up on the supplies you may need. As we all know, viruses can hit seemingly out of the blue and by the time we realize that we’re actually sick, the last thing we want or need to do is to run to the store. That’s why it’s so important to stock up for cold and flu now. Tissues, pain reliever, disinfectant, a thermometer and hand soap are all a given. But did you know that there are 7 natural supplies that are helpful to have on hand and that may help to ease your suffering as well? We’re going to walk through each to find out why they belong on any cold and flu preparedness list. 

**Note: None of the supplies listed here should be considered as a true “treatment” for the cold or flu because while some things may help shorten the lifespan of a virus and may help ease the symptoms, there’s really no treatment other than time, rest and drinking plenty of liquids. 

Photo of hot tea which is good to stock up for cold and flu
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