12/06/2016: Holiday Recipes and Tips for the Cold & Flu Season

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Caryn highlights more great holiday recipes that are simple and delicious. She discusses tips to be prepared for the Cold and Flu season.

 

TRANSCRIPTION:

Caryn Hartglass: Hello, everybody. Hi, I’m Caryn Hartglass and it’s time for It’s All About Food. Thank you, thank you for joining me, thank you for caring about food. And don’t we all love eating good food? In fact, that’s what I want to talk about: eating good food.

The holidays are upon us. We got through Thanksgiving, and I hope you all got through happily and sanely. Now we’ve got the winter holidays coming up. It’s a good season for staying inside, cooking, making the kitchen smell really nice, and staying warm—for those of us who are in cold climates like we are here in New York City. For those of you who are on the warmer side of the Earth right now, well, you might keep some of these things in mind for when the chill comes on again for you.

Now you know how I feel about Thanksgiving. As I mentioned on an earlier program, we weren’t at home for Thanksgiving; we didn’t get to prepare any of our favorites. So last week, we had our delayed Thanksgiving and it was everything that I wanted it to be. Of course, we had our wonderful creamy mashed potatoes, the creamy sweet potatoes.

But here’s something that I wanted to share with you: has anyone tried our Healthy World Burger? Raise your hand. Healthy World Burger! I think it’s the best veggie burger out there. We created it earlier this year. It has great flavor and it has great chew. That’s one of the problems with vegetarian burgers; they tend to be on the mushy side, you know what I mean? But this particular burger has a great chew and great flavor. We do that using a combination of grains: millet, black rice, red rice. And we also use turanicum—which some people know as Kamut—which is a gluten containing grain and you can use brown rice instead. Brown rice works out perfectly fine. All right, so that makes a great burger and our burger recipe has some fun spices in it: chipotle powder and chili powder to give it a little extra kick.

We played with that burger batter—if you will—and used it for a number of things that just turned out spectacular. There are two things. One was a cooking squash, and I love for Thanksgiving to scoop out a squash and stuff it with something. If you have a really big squash, it makes a great centerpiece on the table. Or if you have little baby ones, they’re wonderful as individual dishes. I think that’s really fun when you get a small little stuffed squash and you put the top back on it. It’s fun and it’s good. This burger recipe works great as a filling. All we did was change up the spices and make it more like Thanksgiving spices with parsley, sage. Just like that, it was amazing.

But that’s not all. [chuckles] My partner Gary De Mattei is an amazing chef. He took this filling, and he filled them in little one-cup ramekins, pressed it down, and made what we call Tournedos. I don’t know if you’ve ever had Tournedos of beef, little round cuts. These are similar in that they’re similar size, similar color. They’re just fantastic. We cook them in these ramekins then they come out really easily and serve them in this creamy cashew based Dijon sauce, Dijonnaise.

You hungry? Fortunately, I was smart and I had a big bowl of soup before this show started because I knew if I was going to be talking about these foods, I was going to go nuts.

We haven’t tried it yet, but I have to do it soon because I’m so excited about it. Use this filling to make a meatloaf. Fill a loaf pan with this same burger batter—as I like to call it now, the same combination of grains (millet, black rice, red rice, and either brown rice or turanicum) and the vegetables, herbs, and spices that we use to flavor it. Press it into a pan and bake it that way. Then you’ve got this amazing vegan meatloaf. Stay tuned. That’s going to be awesome with some ketchup.

If you haven’t gotten into the cashew based cream sauces yet, folks—especially the people who are trying to get off dairy, trying to get off cheese, and really need that rich, full-bodied, full-flavored, really creamy feeling—, cashews are the way to go. Dijonnaise is so easy; it’s got a few ingredients but rich, delicious, and satisfying. I know my mother would like to say, “Oh, it’s so gourmet!” So we had this great Thanksgiving. Now I’m ready to move onto future holidays.

But if we’re going to do that, we have to be healthy. This is a time of great traditions, holiday foods, and holiday parties. But it’s also a time of colds and flus; they are not fun. I’ve been looking back on my calendar and notice that we seem to get particularly weak in December and March. Sure enough, Gary got a little cold last week. Fortunately, I haven’t succumbed to it. I really wanted to focus on preventing those things.

One of the big challenges that I have is the hands touching the face, specifically the mouth. This is one of the best ways for germs (especially the bad ones) to get inside and infect you. That’s something that I haven’t trained myself to do too well, although I’m working on it. So yeah, washing the hands but not having the hands touch the face, the mouth, the eyes, the nose. This is just the best vehicle; it kind of just brings it all right in there.

Meanwhile, there are things that we can do to stay safe from flu viruses and colds. I wanted to go over some of them because it may be obvious but it’s always good to remind ourselves, right? Okay.

We want to eat healthfully, and I talk about eating healthfully all the time, with a focus towards preventing chronic diseases because eating healthfully boosts our immune system, and it’s our immune system that helps fight off whatever it is we don’t want in our bodies. In addition to chronic disease, that also works for colds and flus. The same foods, the same micronutrients that we need to support the immune system, the same vital chemicals: they also can keep you strong and prevent colds and flus.

So what are they? Mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms. I love to call mushrooms “Nature’s chemotherapy”, and it’s really great to have a few mushrooms a day in any kind of form. If you heard of the company FungusAmongUs (it’s spelled f-u-n-g-u-s-a-m-o-n-g-u-s), fungusamongus.com; it’s a fun name. They sell dry mushrooms and they sell a lot of dried organic mushrooms. I highly recommend going there; I don’t get any kickback from recommending them. They’re just a company whose products I like. If you have access to fresh mushrooms that’s great. But I find mushrooms are expensive and I like to have a variety. There are certain kinds of mushrooms that I really like and the stores around me don’t always have them. So I buy big bags of FungusAmongUs dried mushrooms and I keep them in the freezer so that they last.

What do I do with them? I usually take maybe a half a cup to a cup. I rinse them. I was instructed by the people at the company FungusAmongUs that you should wash the mushrooms. Then I put them in a little pot with water and boil them. Let them simmer for about thirty minutes. Then those mushrooms I’ll use in anything, absolutely anything. That’s the way I keep eating mushrooms.

Mushrooms are great in a soup and we have a couple of wonderful mushroom recipes at ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com. One of my favorites is the Mineral Rich Mushroom Soup. It’s a very comforting broth. You can go to our site at ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com and check that out. It’s very simple. It’s made with miso and celery. Celery has got great minerals, and I like to add turmeric and black pepper. They work synergistically together; one helps the other in absorption. I like to put them all in the soup and that’s like my medicinal mineral mushroom soup.

Another thing that’s really come in handy is dehydrated ginger and dehydrated lemon peel. Now I don’t know if you have access to a dehydrator. That’s kind of important. I fortunately have a dehydrator option on my oven, which is something some of you may remember that I didn’t know I had for about ten years. So now I’m kind of trying to make up for lost time and use it. You can buy ginger, chop it up, dehydrate it until it’s dry, and use it as a tea. Which is spectacular, you just rehydrate it with hot water. The dry ginger will last forever.

I do the same thing with lemon peels and lime peels. We use a lot of lemons and limes, the juice primarily, for our salad dressings and occasionally for other dishes. Then I’m leftover with the rinds; a lot of times I will put the rinds in my juice extractor when I’m making my Green Juice. And why do I want to do that with the rind? The rinds are loaded with flavonoids and I don’t want to waste any one of those flavonoids. We need our flavonoids. So I dehydrate them. Again, it makes an excellent tea.

Why am I bringing up tea? Well, it’s wonderful to hydrate all the time. That’s one of the things that keeps us healthy and protected. Even if you feel a little under the weather, a soothing cup of ginger-lemon tea is wonderful. Maybe when you’re starting to feel under, you don’t have ginger and lemon in the refrigerator and you certainly don’t feel like going outside to get it. That’s why it’s great to have it dehydrated and ready for you when you may need it.

I don’t put a lot of sugar in things. It’s in our recipes for cakes, cookies, the treats for special occasions. I’m not someone who encourages adding sugar, but a little agave in a cup of ginger and lemon tea is very soothing and just may help lift your spirits if they’re going down from a cold or a flu.

I don’t have to tell you about the importance of greens, but I am going to tell you the importance of greens and phosphorus vegetables. Because not only are they wonderful for helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, but they are there for you. Boosting the immune system; they have antimicrobial properties and they’re going to help you with your body’s antiviral response. Lots of studies that show the power of greens doing so many wonderful things for our health, and that includes cold and flus.

And berries are up there too.

So all those same foods that we talk about all the time are the same foods that help treat cold and flu symptoms.

Now there are a few supplements that can also help. I recently added zinc to my diet. I already take Vitamin D and Vitamin B12; those are the only things I take. D and zinc are important for the immune system, and we need to have adequate amounts of them to help protect against colds and flus. Zinc is not as well absorbed from plant foods, especially for vegans. I think a supplementing thing is a good idea, so I do. I get zinc from some of my foods (nuts and seeds), but I have begun supplementing and we’ll see if that makes a difference. I hope so.

The thing that doesn’t work are those common cold remedies that you find in the stores and maybe some of the ones that are recommended that are considered natural. Some people may believe in Vitamin C, the mega doses. The science behind that is really mixed. If you feel it helps you, that’s great but I’m dubious about it.

The things that don’t really work are the ones that you can find in a pharmacy [chuckles] because what they tend to do is slow down your recovery. Isn’t that fascinating? You know, I understand: you work every day and you get a cold, you want to get back to work and you want to feel better; so you take one of these cold remedies and maybe or maybe not. Maybe it’ll help you. Most cold remedies are proven not to work. That’s all I can say. And the same for fever reducers.

I know fevers are scary. They’re especially scary with very young children or elderly. But, for the most part, the fever is our body’s mechanism to heal. So a little bit of a fever is actually a good thing when we are experiencing a cold or a flu. Of course, if it persists for more than three days and it goes above 103, then it’s something else and you need to check it out. See a doctor. Don’t be too afraid of a mild fever. It’s your body doing its job.

The last thing—don’t roll your eyes when I say this—rest. Rest is probably the most important thing. So much happens when we’re sleeping and our body uses that time to detox, to heal, to reenergize. That’s so many things. If we don’t get adequate rest, then our body’s health is compromised.

I may have mentioned this recently; this is one of my new discoveries. I started using an eye mask at night just to make the room darker. I found I have a profound improvement in the quality in my sleep. It’s just deeper; it’s darker! But it really makes a difference. So you might want to try it. I’m actually using a couple that I got on an airline once. I’d like to make them a little more—well, I have some work to do with them. There’s lots of interesting eye masks out there. I have another eye mask that I got about fifteen years ago, and it’s filled with buckwheat hulls. I’m a real big fan of buckwheat hulls because my bedroom pillow is filled with buckwheat hulls. So I’m like a sandwich [chuckles] with my buckwheat hull eye mask and my buckwheat hull pillow. [chuckles] It’s crunchy and noisy, but you get used to it. I find for me it’s really comfortable. I won’t use feathers because they’re not vegan friendly and plastic, any kind of synthetic—I don’t think that encourages good sleep. So I’ve come to really love my buckwheat hull pillows. So that’s it. Sleep is really, really, really important. Did I say it was really important? Good.

Now you know I’ve been moaning (ooh!) and sighing (aah!) about what’s gone on since the elections here in the United States. It’s a scary thing. I know we focus on food here and we’ll be talking a lot more about food. Our government has a great deal of impact on food issues. But I’ve been feeling a bit dejazzed and it’s really taking a lot of energy to stay inspired. I want to do things when you feel like our positive evolution is retreating.

I was invited to a lunch this week by the Pollination Project. Pollination Project is an organization that grants small organizations and people—I was going to say “small people” [chuckles], but no—and they started by giving away a thousand dollars a day. Isn’t that lovely? They’re a young organization; they haven’t been around too long. Responsible Eating and Living, my non-profit, has benefited from the Pollination Project. We’re one of their earlier grantees. They supported our transcription project, which got me started on getting all of these shows that I’ve been doing here on the Progressive Radio Network, for over seven and a half years, transcribed. This is a wonderful gift that we’re able to offer people for free. The Pollination Project got us started on that. I think they’re located out west, and their New York representative wanted to get together some of the grantees from the New York area. We met and had lunch; there were about nine of us.

And [chuckles] I was going for the food. I knew they would have some vegan food, and they had a nice spread from a company called The Hummus & Pita Company. It was falafel and a bunch of different flavored hummuses. It’s just nice to be able to go to an event and know that you can eat everything.

But what really surprised me was listening to the individual stories of the other people that were there that had received Pollination Project grants. I’ll tell you: listening to the wonderful things that individuals are doing just woke me up, reenergized me, and inspired me. I can’t tell you enough.

A couple of men were there and they work for the Citizens Against… Oh gosh. I’m going to get it right and I’m going to look at my What Vegans Eat blog where I listed the organizations. Because I want to give them all good credit. One was a guy who had been incarcerated, and he was working to help those that get out of prison stay out of prison, preventing recidivism, and also working to help keeping children out of going to prison. His organization is called Citizens Against Recidivism—I can’t say that word: recidivism—Among Youth In New York. So inspiring to hear his stories. We know that there are just way too many people that go to prison, and some of them shouldn’t even be there. Those that are, are there because they haven’t been given the right education or opportunity. It’s just very unfortunate.

When you hear about individuals making a difference, it’s so inspiring. Another young woman, single mother created this group called Chilies on Wheelshttp://www.chilisonwheels.org/, and she provides vegan meals to the homeless or anyone with food insecurity.

These are not people that are wealthy; these are not people of needs; these are people who have rich ideas and take action. Just some amazing projects. If you want to hear about the rest of them, please go to What Vegans Eat Day 662 and you can read all about them.

Now that we’re on the subject, I want to know what you are doing. I want to know what are you doing in your life to be of service, to help. Doesn’t have to be big. I’m just curious and I would love to hear about it because we need to support each other, we need to inspire each other. And I find hearing about these individual projects—this is a selfish request. I want to know what you’re doing so that I can get excited about it and know that there’s a lot of people working at the grassroots level that are going to move our civilization forward in a beautiful way. So I’m hoping that you’ll let me know at info@realmeals.org. You can do that.

Okay, before we go to the second part of our show, I just have to do this. It’s December; as I mentioned, it’s the holiday time. It’s also the giving time. At Responsible Eating and Living, we’re a 501(c) not for profit organization. We don’t ask for money very often, but the way we do the work is through donations from individuals, businesses, foundations, and grants. If you like this show, if you like what we do at Responsible Eating and Living, I hope that you will include us in your gift giving this season. You can go to ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com, you can go to our donate button. It’s easy and thank you. Thank you very much.

All right, let’s… let’s, let’s, let’s! [chuckles] Shall we? Let’s take a little break. When we come back, I’m going to introduce a woman that I met recently: Anisha Khanna. She’s the CEO of a company called Sonäge, and it’s a skin care company. We’re going to be learning a lot about it just in a moment, when we come back.

Transcribed by HT 12/23/2016

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