I arrived in Sweden a few days ago, a mere shadow of my normal self. With a pounding head, runny nose and the urge to pull a blanket over my face. This flu had a bad timing. I was hoping to meet up with old friends and celebrate a night that would have been remembered for years to come, but instead I curled up coughing and sipping teas in the shade of my mothers terrace in her summer house outside Stockholm.
You probably know already that the best strategy to get well quick is to wave a big white flag and surrender to bed rest. The good news is that you don't have to give up fully, with a bit of flu know-how you can manage a resistance coup from bed and get back into full vigor sooner by cooking up cold busting remedies. This will help you reset your energy and help rid of the zombiefying snot!
Late August is everything in terms of Swedish summer beauty. The apple trees are flaunting perfect little fruits while cows are frolicking in the sunshine next to rich wheat fields and birches. Everything is full of pure life and light, except me that is :). I'm sniveling into hankies and wishing for a fast forward into a flu-free future.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
The moment I spot the red currant bushes in my mothers garden I knew they were going to aid me. These power berries are packed with vitamin-C, so powerful flu fighters. Red Currant syrup with water has been slurped by sniveling Swedish kids for generations. I'm going for the red currants too. But I'm skipping the syrup and decide to make a cold pressed thick cream with honey and lemon instead.
Good honey, raw and unprocessed, is enjoying a steadily growing reputation as a natural healer. The queen of all good honey is Manuka! Anti viral and antibacterial, this super honey can be applied directly on wounds and is pro biotic. But don't waste it in boiling hot water as this will spoil some of the fine nutrition.
I've always been interested in nutrition and my kitchen also doubles as a natural pharmacy when it's well stocked. The saying, let food be your medicine, rings true to me and eating well during a cold and flu always seemed to make all a difference in the past.
The vividly red currant potion is delicious, like a sour sweet fruit dessert. Having a cold requires an easily digested hot soup too. I'm sticking with my go-to remedy soup. A steaming and simple bouillon with clean flavors that helps clearing up the sinus and comforts the throat. Being in my mums house I have to adjust to what she has in the kitchen and garden, I add some fresh dill and parsley and voila my savior soup gets a Scandinavian twist. I have a few other natural cares for when the cold get's a hold on you and I would love to hear your best home remedies in the comment fields. Here's mine:
Natural remedies against colds and flu:
Honey & Garlic: garlic is especially good in the beginning of a flu as it can milden the outcome. Crush two raw garlic cloves and mix it with a spoon of anti viral Manuka honey, it's a powerful combination.
Pineapple: Nibble on fresh pineapple, it's anti inflammatory and helps soothe sore throats.
Salt: Gurgle with sea salt to fight bacterial throat infections.:
Warm lemon & honey tea: Boil water and let it cool down a little, add a tsp raw honey and squeeze half the juice of a lemon. Drink straight away.
Green smoothies: When you're ill, it's nice for you body to not have to digest too much. A smoothie has the ingredients broken up already making the absorption of nutrients easier. Add good phyto nutrients like wheat grass and spinach to banana, lemon and manuka honey for a healing smoothie.
Carrot: Reduces slime production.
Fruit veg & berries: Enjoy small salads with Red paprika, citrus fruits, kiwi and other vitamin packed foods.
Water & teas: Is essential! Drink plenty of plain water and herbal teas.
Milk products: can cause slime production to increase.
Sugar: works for the other side. Feeds bad bacteria.
Heavy food: Let your digestive system rest so that your energy can go into flu fighting mode instead.
2 GREAT AND EASY PICK ME UPS FOR COLD'S AND FLU'S
A red currant flu fighter, based on the Swedish tradition of sipping warm red currant lemonade. Here's a more potent option, cold pressed to preserve the vitamins and served as cold fruit soup. Also tasty when you're not ill, can be served with yogurt or ice cream as a healthy treat.
Serves 1 (double for two)
1 cup fresh red currants
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp manuka honey
Optional: 1/2 cup almond milk, to serve
Clean the red currants, and remove stems. Add them to a bowl with lemon. Mash the berries well with a mashing tool (as you would use for potatoes), add and mix in the honey.
Serve and eat straight away. Tip: Serve with almond milk.
CLEAN TEAM SOUP
A classic for colds and detoxes. A clear bouillon soup that's light to digest and brings heat to the chest. In my usual home version I use coriander which gives the soup a light asian style. In today's version I added fresh dill instead a nordic touch. Both versions are tasty and good for you.
for 2-3 persons
4 cups of water
4 tbsp miso paste, or bouillon of choice (measured as instructed)
1/2 leek, finely chopped
2 medium sized carrots, finely cut into coins
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/5 cm of fresh ginger, crushed
one handful freshly cut herbs, coriander or dill
1-2 celery stalks, cut into fine pieces
Add a wee bit of chili if you like an extra steam!
For an extra vitamin boost, squeeze a lemon just before eating.
Have the energy to eat more add a healthy type of bread, like sourdough to dip into the soup.
Boil up the bouillon in a cooking pan. Let simmer on medium low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and let it cook together slowly for 10 minutes, with a lid slightly opened. Serve straight away.