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  • 5 Flu-Fighting Foods You Should Be Eating

    Sick guy - flu

    Ug. Being sick with the flu is awful. Your energy is gone, your body is on fire, and those aches and pains just won’t go away! If that’s something you’re in to, then by all means, have at it. But if you’re like me and don’t appreciate being all kinds of sick, you’ll love learning about this little trick to overcoming the flu much faster.

    It’s called nutrition, and it’s going to help you kick that flu in the proverbial pants.

    As I’m sure you’re well aware, it’s important to eat healthily so as to keep your body in tip-top shape. But did you know that some foods will actually go out of their way to fend off the invading flu virus better than others? It’s true! In fact, Byron J. Richards’ Wellness Resources website states that “basic nutrition can make a profound difference in fighting the flu,” and if we as a nation were to improve our general nutrition, the severity and reach of the flu would be greatly diminished. Sounds about right, don't you think?

    So what can you eat to help fight the flu? I give you, fair reader, five foods that will help boost your immune system.

    1. Garlic

    Garlic on the wooden background - fluWe all know the main use of garlic is to ward off vampires, but did you know that the flu is related to those undead bat-people? OK, so that may not be entirely true (about the vampire relationship), but it is true that garlic is great at warding off the flu. If you’re feeling flu-like symptoms, garlic can “help destroy [the flu] before it becomes a full-blown flu in the body,” thanks to garlic’s flu-fighting properties, according to Best Health.

    Now for the unpleasant part: eating it. The most effective way to get garlic into your system is to chew on raw cloves. While this probably won’t be your favorite remedy as far as taste is concerned, it will help you more than if it’s just cooked (although cooked garlic will still help, just not as much). Just be warned that you might have some pretty bad garlic breath after this, which will not only keep away vampires, but your family and friends as well (at least until you brush your teeth).

     

    1. Dark Chocolate

    Dark Chocolate - fluDark chocolate is a surprisingly effective immunity booster. Mother Nature Network suggests that “high doses of cocoa support T-helper cells,” which are essentially the ones keeping your body healthy. Basically, eating dark chocolate is like supporting your internal troops. So the next time somebody calls you out on eating chocolate, just tell them you’re fighting the flu – and winning. Just…make sure it’s dark chocolate.

     

    1. Yogurt

    Yogurt - fluYogurt keeps your digestive tract functioning smoothly, which is “one of your biggest immune organs,” according to Mother Nature Network. So this flu season, why not start your mornings off with a bowl of yogurt, topped with fruit for extra fighting power. Because parfaits have to be the most delicious thing on the whole planet (as they say).

     

    1. Onions

    Onions - fluFlu-fighting food can’t all be sweet and delicious. While probably not your first choice to eat raw, having a serving of onions every couple of hours can really give your immune system that extra edge of support. If you’re not a huge fan of raw onion (I shudder just thinking about it), add some extra onions to your soup and other meals. At least that way you’re not chomping down on it like some sort of purple apple.

     

    1. Spices

    Cinnamon - fluWhile not what you might expect when you’re looking for food to fight the flu, spices can really…well, spice up that internal battle your body is fighting. Of course, certain spices are better than others, which include cinnamon and nutmeg. I wouldn’t recommend eating spices by the spoonful (in fact, I highly discourage it), but you can most certainly add spice to your meals. Eating oatmeal? Cinnamon would go nicely mixed in with that! Of if you’re still drinking eggnog, why not sprinkle in a little extra nutmeg?

     

    While doctors can certainly help with illness, prevention is the best way to deal with the flu in the first place. These are just five foods that will help your body fight the flu this – and every other – flu season. If you feel the flu coming on, go ahead and start adding more of these foods into your diet. You might not be able to avoid it completely, but it can most certainly lessen the time you’re lying around sick with a fever. And of course, if you aren’t sick yet, keep eating healthily and you might just make it through this flu season without ever getting sick.

     

    What are some other foods you have found that work great for fighting the flu?

     

    Health Banner - flu

     

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  • Oat Recipes to LOVE

    I received this guest post submission a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you ever since. It was submitted by Kate from Missouri, and I have to say, I can’t wait to put these recipes to use. I’ve been making wheat berries since Don Pectol taught me the easiest way to use wheat, and I think I can use the same method to cook some oat groats for these recipes.

    Thanks, Kate!

    --Sarah (aka, Urban Girl)

    Oatmeal is a staple storage food for many families, and for good reason. It's easy to prepare, inexpensive, has great nutritional value, and lasts for years when stored properly.  It is also extremely versatile: oatmeal is mild-tasting enough to act as a base for hundreds of other foods. Maintaining variety in your meals is an important part of your mental health and overall happiness during a survival situation.

    Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy a big bowl of oatmeal, adapted to include foods that you probably already have in your storage. Most of these ingredients are available on the Emergency Essentials web site.

    Note from the Editor: These recipes will all be equally delicious using whole Oat Groats if you don’t have a mill to turn your stored oats into oatmeal. Simply cook them in a rice cooker or on the stovetop as you would rice, with 3 parts water to 1 part Oat Groats. Our notes are included in italics below.

    Apple cinnamon - add some dehydrated apple slices and a dash of cinnamon sugar to your bowl of oatmeal. It tastes like those instant packets you can buy from the store...but BETTER. Use cinnamon apple chips if you want an extra punch of flavor.

    Brown sugar oats - this "recipe" is as simple as it sounds. Drop a big spoonful of brown sugar in the middle of your oatmeal and let it dissolve before eating.

    Creamy oats and honey - cook your oats with milk instead of water. Dissolve an additional tablespoon of milk powder into 1/4 cup of milk, then heat this "cream" until hot. Pour over your bowl of oatmeal, and add a drizzle of honey.

    Chocolate peanut butter - stir a packet of MRE chocolate peanut butter into your bowl of oatmeal. OR, if you want a very long-term storage option: mix together a scoop of powdered peanut butter, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, and a tablespoon of white sugar. Stir into your oatmeal.  This one is a hit with kids!

    Tropical oats - Rehydrate a few pieces each of freeze dried pineapplebananamango, and orange.  Stir into cooked oats, and top with a sprinkle of brown sugar. 

    Banana bread oats* - rehydrate 1/4 cup of freeze-dried banana slices. Mash them with a fork, and mix with 1/2 cup dry oats, 1tsp cinnamon, 2tsp white sugar, and 2/3 cup milk. Cook as usual.

    Mock Muesli* - Muesli is a breakfast food that is very popular in Europe. Mix together 1/2 cup dry oats, 2Tbsp raisins, and 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar. Add 1/2 cup of milk, and eat like cold cereal.

    * To adjust for oat groats, simply add the same ingredients to the cooked oats; start with 1/3 cup milk and add more as needed to achieve your desired consistency.

    Homemade granola** - mix together 2 cups of dry oats, 1/2 cup raisins, 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, and a dash of salt. In a separate bowl, mix together  1/3 cup oil and 1/3 cup honey. Pour liquids over the oat mixture, and stir well.  I usually bake the granola at 200 degrees for an hour and a half, but you could try using an alternative method. Campfire granola sounds pretty cool!  Eat with cold milk, or dry for an on-the-go snack.

    **This recipe is best with oatmeal, not groats.

     

    These are just ideas for oats you can eat in a bowl. You can also make pancakes, muffins, cookies, and breads from my favorite grain! Oats can be ground into flour and used in conjunction with wheat flour in many recipes.  As an example, here's my basic oatmeal pancake recipe (best made with oatmeal, not groats):

    Basic Oatmeal Pancakes 

    Ingredients:

    1/3 cup oats

    1/2 cup milk, reconstituted from powder

    1/3 cup oat flour

    1Tbsp brown sugar

    1/2 tsp baking powder

    Dash of salt

    1/4 tsp vanilla powder

    egg, reconstituted from powder

    Directions:

    Soak oats in 1/2 cup milk while you prepare the dry ingredients. Mix oat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla powder in a medium bowl. Stir the oats and milk into your flour mixture, and add the reconstituted egg. Place an oiled skillet over medium heat. Pour pancakes, and flip to brown both sides. Serve with honey or brown sugar.

    Optional:

    Try some variations! Mix dried fruits into the batter, use cocoa powder to make chocolate pancakes, boil some sugar to make homemade syrup….you're only limited by your imagination.

    Storing oatmeal and a few of these add-ins is an easy way to ensure that your food storage won't ever get boring. I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning for YEARS, and I still look forward to them because I change the ingredients so often. Experiment with your favorite flavor combinations now so that you can stock up, then enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have months of inexpensive breakfasts stored in your pantry. 

    --Kate, MO

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