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This post is a slight departure from what I typically share, but a topic that I have become quite interested in lately and field questions about frequently from private clients; Can I still drink wine on a healthy diet?

Must start here: Alcohol is a touchy topic. I have strong opinions about alcohol consumption in general. As a quick disclaimer if you are struggling with alcohol addiction please skip this post. Here are some of my favorite resources on addiction; I love Home podcast, the website Hip Sobriety, I also love and strongly recommend this book, and of course, AA is a fantastic resource (but in my unpopular opinion, it is not your only choice).

How you drink is more important than what you drink, so please give yourself the greatest gift ever and take a look at that. Then come back here and learn all you ever wanted to know (and way more than you ever thought you wanted to know) about wine.

How it all began

A few months ago I was walking through the Rioja region of Spain while on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. My sisters and I stopped around noon to make ourselves some sandwiches, eat about a bushel of olives, and take a break. We were probably somewhere around kilometer 9 or 10 and halfway to our destination for the day. We were in the vineyards of Rioja, literally, surrounded on all sides by grapes. Glorious, beautiful, magical, all of it. We walked a bit deeper into the vines and found the perfect spot to rest and eat our lunch. As we were getting started on our olive appetizer, a car pulled up, it was the vineyard owner. Little sis, Becky, ran over to the car (she’s our Spanish speaker) and graciously asked if it would be ok if we had our lunch there, “Here, in your beautiful vines? We promise to not touch any of the grapes”, she said. The elderly couple clapped in excitement and said, “Of course, you are welcome to enjoy our land, but you must, must! must! must! try our grapes!” Please, they said, take a handful, eat them, share them with your sisters. Becky giggled, are you sure?, Yes, yes! Eat some now in front of us, they said, we want to see your face when you taste them.


This is why I love wine.

This moment in Rioja, the pride of the grape growers, the love and generosity, and pure life that resides in a grape. The care, toil, and sweat that is required to create a truly beautiful wine. The people, the families, the joy. Wine, for me, is not about the buzz or the alcohol, it’s about that family in Rioja, and those grapes I shared with my sisters on a warm Spanish afternoon.

Now, sadly, I am about to burst that beautiful idyllic wine bubble. A large majority of wines grown today are not grown the traditional way, in fact, they are grown in ways that are deeply detrimental to our health – beyond just the toxicity of the alcohol.

I thought wine was good for me?

Most studies show that moderate wine consumption can be protective against cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. Moderate is defined as 1 (4 -ounce) glass of wine per day for women and 2 (4-ounce) glasses of wine per day for men. A U- shaped curve exists here, meaning, drinking a little is ok for you, drinking too much is not.

In recent research studying the blue zones around the world, the areas in the world where people live the longest, most fulfilling lives, researchers discovered something interesting. In nearly every blue zone region from the mountains of Barbagia in Southern Italy to the subtropical islands of Okinawa, Japan the regions with the longest – living people moderate wine consumption was part of the culture. (source)

Isn’t that good enough? Why dig deeper into wine research?

My personal relationship to wine started to go awry when I began to notice this strange feeling of anxiety and restlessness that would fill my body from head to toe on the nights that I drank wine. Racing heartbeat, restless legs, sometimes a dull headache or joint aches, it was just super uncomfortable. Next, I noticed my sleep was irregular and becoming challenging. I was struggling to fall asleep, and when I did fall asleep I would wake up in a few hours with that anxiety all over again. Even if I only drank a very small glass of wine (3 ounces).

Knowing what I know about the effects of food on the body I did what I do best – I investigated.

First step: I stopped drinking. Wouldn’t you know all of those strange symptoms went away? Sleep improved, anxiety improved, aches stopped.

Dammit, I thought, please not my wine!

Then I spent a few weeks in Europe and drank wine every day, most days 2 or more glasses. No anxiety. No issues with sleep. No aches (aside from the natural kind of aches that arise from walking 20 miles per day). Even on days, I wasn’t hiking I would drink wine and feel fine.

Hmm… was this a reaction to alcohol? If so, then why did the symptoms disappear when I was traveling?

I naturally have less anxiety on a trip, but the anxiety I was getting at home was different than stress-induced, it felt biological. It felt like something wasn’t agreeing with me.

The Deeper Investigation Began – 

In the midst of all this wine curiosity, I was back and forth with drinking. I would try wine again at home, weird feelings would come back. I would stop drinking, I felt better.

Stay away from wine, my body screamed. Back the H- off, my head screamed back!

And then the best Christmas present in the world arrived at my front door, from my BFF, Karen. It was a delivery from a company called, Dry Farm Wines, a case of wine. Hah! I can’t stop drinking now!

I had tasted Dry Farm Wines at Karens’ house a few months earlier and fell in love. Each bottle was exactly the kind of wine I loved; old world, a little stinky, dry, and complicated. Perfect.

What is Dry Farm Wine?

Dry Farm Wine is a wine club that curates dry-farmed (read below to see what that means), low-alcohol, low-sulfite, additive free, sugar-free wine.

Dry farm wines are:

  • Low in alcohol <12.5%
  • Are Sugar and Carb Free <1g/L
  • Low in Sulfites <75ppm
  • Are Mycotoxin Mold Free (Lab-Tested)
  • Doesn’t disrupt sleep
  • Are Bio-Certified Pure, Organic, Dry-farmed and free of all chemicals and additives

Wait a minute – could it be the KIND of wine I was drinking that was making me sick? Of course I deeply understand the impact of pesticides and herbicides in my food, but honestly, I never thought about my wine.

I even asked the owner of the really nice wine store in my neighborhood about biodynamic wines (I had tasted one at a restaurant and LOVED it), he replied, that doesn’t make any difference.


Why was wine making me sick?

As I started digging deeper into this mystery I was shocked to discover that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 76 chemical additives for use in winemaking. 76 chemicals! No!!!

Before I get too far down a rabbit hole here, let’s be clear that the United States is not alone in approving chemicals for winemaking. Overall, I’ve discovered that unless you are buying organic, biodynamic wine there is no guarantee that there might be some odd chemicals lurking in your pinot noir.

You see, what is happening in modern wine production is not much different from what is happening in all of agribusiness or big food. The goal is to make wine cheaper and faster, not better and healthier. The goal is also to produce a consistent product. Commerical wine producers are making millions of bottles and they want them all to look and taste the same. Which is completely irrational as wine is a natural product and for thousands of years we, as consumers, have accepted that each growing season will produce a very different product. I dare you to buy 10 bottles from a big conglomerate wine producer and see if you can detect any seasonal variance – you can’t – you won’t – there isn’t’ any. They are using chemicals and additives to produce a consistent product, bottle after bottle.

Here is a selective list of some of the concerning agents in conventional wine production:

  • Sulfur dioxide– Commonly known as “sulfites” this is what most people assume is the culprit causing that “red wine headache”. Sulfites are a preservative widely used in winemaking as it plays an important role in preventing oxidization and maintaining wine’s freshness. Essentially, sulfites are used to kill unwanted bacteria. A very small population of people (about 1% of the population) have sulfite sensitivity and thus have a reaction to the low levels of sulfites in wine.  Wine typically has about 150ppm of sulfur added, conventional wines in the United States can have up to 350ppm, dried fruit has around 1,000 ppm. So if you aren’t getting a headache from your dried apricots, your wine headache is likely not to be blamed on sulfites. Also, white wine typically contains more sulfites than red, an important point since most people I know think they are sensitive to red wine but not white wine.
  • Sugar – Yeast ferments the natural sugars found in grapes. When you taste a very “dry” wine that typically means that the yeasts have fully fermented all of the sugar into alcohol. It is a standard practice for some winemakers to add additional sugar before the fermentation process to alter the flavor and alcohol content of the wine. You don’t necessarily taste these added sugars, but they could be the reason that some wines make you feel worse than others. A process called “chaptalization” is used by many wine growers to appeal to the sweeter American palate, this process adds sugar or high fructose corn syrup to the wine.
  • Commerical Yeasts – As mentioned above, yeast is necessary to ferment the sugars in the grapes into wine. Traditionally all wines were fermented with naturally occurring yeast. To gain more control over the natural fermentation process many winemakers now opt for commercial yeasts, which are often genetically modified and can induce headaches in sensitive individuals.
  • Mega Purple – Mega purple is a super concentrated grape juice artificial coloring agent that is used to produce a consistent color in wine. Naturally, red wine isn’t supposed to stain your lips, clothing, or teeth, but mega purple certainly will. Mega purple is added to 25 million bottles of wine per year, virtually every red wine under $20 will contain this artificial coloring agent.
  • Mycotoxins – These are toxic substances produced by fungi and found in grains, wine, apple juice, and other natural products. Mycotoxins have been linked to diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease. The European Union has strict regulations on mycotoxin levels in wine. Organic and sustainably produced wines have been found to contain a much lower amount of mycotoxins.
  • Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fungicides – Wine is a naturally grown product, thus it has the same challenges as broccoli when it comes to the use of chemicals to improve growth potential. Glyphosate, the active chemical in Monsanto’s RoundUp is the #1 herbicide used in U.S. vineyards. Choosing organic wine over conventionally produced will help you avoid these toxic endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Wowzer – these chemicals and additives could be causing the problem for sure! In short modern wine production creates a product that is higher in alcohol, higher in sugar, and laden with harmful chemicals and additives in an attempt to “standardize the wine” (same taste and mouthfeel bottle after bottle), improve the color, texture, and flavor.

There are currently zero labeling laws in winemaking. Wine is the only major food group without a contents label. So you have no way of knowing how many of these 76 chemicals have ended up in your Chardonnay.

Winemakers have found techniques to mask their low-quality, poor-tasting grapes. Winemakers are also veering away from traditional dry-farming practices and using irrigation systems to further manipulate the sugar and alcohol content of wine.

The difference between dry farming and irrigation 

In most old world wine regions rainfall is the only source of water for the vineyard and the way in which a vineyard maintains it’s characteristics of terroir, the complete natural environment in which wine is produced. Dry farming (or farming without irrigation) is considered the gold standard. When a vine is “dry farmed” the roots tend to sink deeper into the soil in search of minerals and moisture. This deeper root of the vine provides more nutrients and character to the grape, and thus the wine, producing a more complex wine that reflects the soil in which it grew. France, Italy, Germany, and Spain have been dry farming for centuries. By in large the European wine industry forbids the practice of irrigation.

Irrigation, on the other hand, is viewed by many critics as manipulative and detrimental to wine quality. Meddling with wine’s terroir by artificially watering the vine is seen as unnatural and by in large is forbidden within the European wine industry.

American farmers discovered that irrigating vines produced more wine, and do you know what Americans like? more, more, more… of everything. More wine means more money, so it became a no-brainer. Irrigate the crops. Today the majority of California wineries irrigate their vineyards, even in areas that get plenty of rainfall.

How does dry farming and irrigation affect the taste?

This is where it gets interesting. When you water a vine or give a vine a bunch of water the result is that the grape tends to have more sugar. It produces a sweeter, bolder, heavier, fruit forward wine. It also increases the alcohol content, more sugar = more alcohol. Irrigation is the reason that alcohol levels in wine have climbed steadily over the past 30 years.

To be clear, there are some instances where levels of irrigation are necessary, like in a drought, for instance.  The general consensus is that an irrigated vineyard will produce a very different wine than a traditional dry farmed vineyard.

Back to me crying in my wine glass because drinking was making me sick…

What Happened When I Drank Dry Farm Wine?



No headache, no sleep disturbance, no weird anxiety. Nothing. I enjoyed each and every wine, shared most bottles with my family, and overall was pretty dang happy.

Dry Farm Wines are all naturally lower in alcohol, which I love and:

Sourced from small, organic vintners. This means no added pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or other harmful chemicals.

Cultivated through “dry-farming”.

Naturally low in sulfites. 

Sugar-free. Some modern wines have more sugar than a liter of cola! Fortunately, all Dry Farm Wines have less than 1 g/L. So you get all the antioxidants and nutrients without the sugar.

Made without artificial additives.

Dry Farm Wines is generously offering an additional bottle of wine for one penny with any purchase. I highly recommend trying their wine and seeing how you feel. Click here to claim your one penny bottle of wine.

How to know if your wine is natural, organic, and /or biodynamic?
  1. Look for third-party certifications – labels like organic or biodynamic is a start. My wine store just started putting a green sticker on all wines that are biodynamic. Ask your wine seller for suggestions.
  2. Look at the importer – when you find a great organic/ biodynamic wine that you love, look at the back of the bottle to see who the importer is. Typically great importers have a theme across their wine selection. This is a trick that was taught to me by Jordan years ago (there are some perks to working in the restaurant industry for over a decade). When we found a wine we loved we would check the importer and try more wines from their line.
  3. Pay attention to taste – if you find that your bottle of yellowtail (sorry to call out a specific label but — I’ve got to do it!) always tastes the exact same then most likely the winemakers are using farming and production practices that can cause health concerns. If it quacks like a duck…
  4. Pay attention to price – sort of. In the U.S. most organic/biodynamic wines are more expensive. In Europe, I was buying bottles of small- farm, biodynamic wines for a few dollars. If the bottle is under $10 in the U.S. most likely that wine has been doctored in some way. It’s better to fly to Europe and drink cheap wine than to drink cheap wine in the states.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Enter your email in the first box below to receive a free natural wine guide that summarizes this info (so when your Aunt Sue asks why your wine has changed you can just show her the natural wine guide).

Definitely, try Dry Farm Wines and claim your bottle for one penny! Click here to do that.



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Everything crusted tuna meal prep bowls with roasted Brussels sprouts, creamy cauliflower puree, and perfectly seared tuna coated in everything but the bagel seasoning.

I worked in a conventional office job for 4 weeks of my life. Although the time was short, I made the most of it by focusing solely on lunch 🤓I was always fascinated by the lunchtime routine of my office mates. I would peer into the employee fridge with utter fascination, “Oh, looks like Kerry brought a turkey on white again.” It was just all so incredible to me the diversity of food, or lack of diversity of food, the different preferences, and quirks. I loved it all. I was a little lunchtime anthropologist.

Then Jordan came home last week with a lunch tale that topped them all.

One of his co-workers, a 45-year-old grown man, eats hot pockets every day for lunch. Hot Pockets. Seriously. A grown up. A grown human, with a career and a life, eats hot pockets. Every. Single. Day. I am obsessed with this story.

I didn’t even know people ate hot pockets. Like truly didn’t even realize it. Aside from teenagers, maybe? This story reminds me of the first time I saw real drugs, I was 25 years old at a party in NYC, walked into the wrong room, ran out crying, “people really do that? Like really actually do that?”. Oh boy, you can take the girl out of the country…

Slightly naive? Yes. Still completely freaked out by hot pockets (and drugs)? YES!

This recipe is neither hot pockets nor drugs. It is perfectly delicious goodness in a little lunch container. Although I work from home, I still find I eat better if I have healthy food ready to go.

This everything crusted tuna meal prep bowl is so much more than just healthy food, ready to go, it is CRAZY TOWN delicious healthy food.

Let’s just start with the everything crusted tuna.

What is Everything Crusted Tuna?

Take the concept of an everything bagel; sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated onion and garlic, and use those flavors to make a crust on a deliciously buttery and tender tuna steak. Welcome to delicious town.

Confession: This isn’t really my idea. I worked at a restaurant in Greenwich Village for many many years that served a version of this an entree: everything crusted tuna with cream cheese and chive mashed potatoes, and it was soooooo good! I totally stole the idea and have been making it at home for years.

When Trader Joe’s started selling their “Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend” I thought… well I guess I’ll be eating a lot more of that tuna that I love!

I have always made my own blend so I included DIY instructions for an everything spice blend below, in case you aren’t near a Trader Joe’s.

Try this One Skillet Mediterranean Cod Recipe

I paired the tuna with creamy pureed cauliflower and roasted shredded brussels sprouts. You will want to sear the tuna quite rare so when you reheat it isn’t overcooked. A microwave (gasp!) does quite well here, alternatively, you can heat the tuna slices in a skillet or place the whole thing in the oven (as long as your containers are oven safe)

This is without a doubt the kind of lunch that will turn heads in your office, “Oh… what are you having??” and if you aren’t the kind of person that likes to draw attention to yourself or your food, book a conference room for 30 minutes. Solo. It’s totally worth it.

Everything Crusted Tuna Meal Prep Bowls

Everything Crusted Tuna Meal Prep Bowls with roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower puree. Paleo, Gluten Free, Easy lunch idea.

  • 2 lbs. ahi tuna Steaks (sushi grade)
  • 1/4 cup everything but the bagel seasoning (*DIY instructions in notes)
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil (divided)
Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Scallion Cauliflower Puree
  • 1 lb. cauliflower florets (I used a bag of frozen cauliflower)
  • 1 tbsp butter ((or vegan alternative, olive oil works well too))
  • 2 tbsp scallions, sliced ((eq. one scallion))
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  1. Spead everything but the bagel seasoning on a large plate. Coat the tuna in a little avocado oil (about 1/2 tsp per tuna steak) and coat in seasoning, being sure to cover all surfaces including sides.

  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat for several minutes. Pour remaining avocado oil (about 2 tsp.) into skillet and sear the tuna.

  3. Skillet should be quite hot so you hear a loud sizzle as the tuna hits the pan. For rare tuna cook for 2 minutes per side. I also (using tongs) gently sear all sides of the tuna to allow the seasoning to stick.

  4. When cool enough to handle slice and set aside.

Brussels Sprouts
  1. Shred brussels sprouts using a sharp knife. Alternatively, buy pre-shredded.

  2. Lay shredded sprouts on a large baking sheet. Coat brussels sprouts in oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, toss well to combine.

  3. Roast at 350° for 12 minutes, tossing once during cooking.

Cauliflower Puree
  1. Place cauliflower in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes until just tender.

  2. Drain and add to blender with butter and salt.

  3. Blend until creamy. Stir in scallions, or sprinkle scallions on top

Meal Prep Bowls
  1. Fill containers with cauliflower puree, Brussels sprouts, and top with sliced tuna. Sprinkle with scallions.

  2. When ready to reheat either microwave for 2 minutes or if your dish is oven-safe heat in oven until warm. 

  3. I cook my tuna extra rare so it can withstand a reheat.

  • I used a bag of organic frozen cauliflower for this recipe, but fresh works equally well.
  • If you can’t find everything but the bagel seasoning (Trader Joe’s sells it) here is a quick and easy recipe to make your own.

DIY Everything but the Bagel Seasoning:

  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 2 tbsp dried minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes (maldon is my favorite, or coarse salt will also work)

Combine together and store in an air-tight jar.

Pin this to your lunch board!!

Looking for more meal prep recipes? Try this:

Kale and Quinoa Greek Salad Meal Prep Bowls

The post Everything Crusted Tuna Meal Prep appeared first on Abra's Kitchen.

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This healthy creamy broccoli soup is quick, easy, and a delicious bowl of nourishing goodness. Filled with functional ingredients that supply a bounty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You will feel so good after you eat this soup you may just take flight!

This is one of those recipes that I’ve made so many times I could do it with my eyes closed. It’s the recipe I rely on when I want simple nourishing food around. Nothing too fussy or complicated, just warm, creamy, and delicious.

This is the green soup that is so green it is a stop-that-scrolling-and-pause-on-this-here-green-soup, kind of green. The OMG-I-would-feel-like-a-new-person-if-I-could-just-eat-that-soup, kind of green.

You get the picture, it’s a bowl of pure healthy goodness.

Let’s just take a minute to honor the nutrient stars of this soup; broccoli, onion, celery, garlic, turmeric, spinach, kale, nutritional yeast, and hemp seeds for good measure. Each and every ingredient designed by nature to provide you with the right balance of antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Hi, my name is super green detoxifying broccoli soup and I am your new best friend. We will go everywhere together and all of your current friends will totally dig me.

I originally created this recipe over 10 years ago in my personal chef days. It was a favorite, for all of my clients. Favorite to the point that I made it at least once a week for almost 2 years. I know you will love it too, it’s the type of recipe that is so easy to include in your repertoire and the health benefit is immensely impactful.

Tips For Making Delicious Broccoli Soup
  • Start with sauteeing onion, garlic, and celery in 1 tbsp olive oil. I reduced the amount of oil in this recipe because it’s simply not needed.
  • Add your broccoli stems. Simply chop off and discard the super tough bottom edge of the broccoli, and chop the remaining stems. Broccoli stems are delicious and add a deeper broccoli flavor to the soup.
  • Add turmeric, salt, and pepper. I kept the spices simple in this soup, adding turmeric for its incredible health properties and its peppery bite.

  • Add your broccoli florets and vegetable stock. Simmer until broccoli is tender. This recipe calls for 6 cups of vegetable stock and 1 large head of broccoli, or about 6 cups of broccoli florets. It’s important to not add too much liquid to the soup. Too much liquid = weird consistency. Perfect amount of liquid = creamy perfection. My rule of thumb is only to add enough liquid to the pot to hit 1/4″ below the tops of the broccoli. You can always add more liquid when you are blending if necessary, but it’s much harder to fix the problem if you have too much.
  • Add 4-6 cups of leafy greens in the last few minutes of cooking. For this batch, I added kale, swiss chard, and baby spinach, but you can add any combination you’d like.
  • When pureeing (I used my Vitamix) add a few Tbsp of nutritional yeast. This step is optional but nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor and a healthy dose of B12 (bam! energy blast!) and protein!
  • Top with a sprinkle of hemp seeds for healthy omega 3 fats, and a garnish of some of the greens from the soup (I just reserve a few broccoli florets and wilted greens). The green addition on top is totally optional as well, but I like a little bit of texture

Can we take just one minute to talk about the miracle that is broccoli?

I mean it is probably the most common vegetable. The easiest to find, the vegetable that most kids will eat, I have only met a small handful of people in my life that don’t actually like broccoli.

Here is the good news; broccoli is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Hang tight for one minute while I properly push my glasses slightly further up the bridge of my nose 🤓and let’s break down some of the exciting research around broccoli (even if you just skim this part it’s worth a quick look)

Health Benefits of Broccoli
  • Potent anti-inflammatory effects. Broccoli contains sulforaphane which is an isothiocyanate. Isothiocyanates have the ability to significantly suppress our inflammatory response. There are numerous well known anti-inflammatory mechanisms of sulforaphane including the inactivation of the NF-kappa B pathway which is an inflammatory pathway.
  • Helps to lower our risk of chronic inflammation – Broccoli contains kaempferol, a phytonutrient which has the ability to lessen the impact of an allergy-related substance by lowering the immune system’s production of IgE-antibodies. By lessening the impact the kaempferol in broccoli can help to lower our risk of chronic inflammation. I recommend regular consumption of broccoli to my clients that are suffering from food sensitivity related chronic inflammation.
  • Reduced inflammation in young smokers – A recent study evaluated the effects of 10-day broccoli intake on dietary markers and markers of inflammation in young male smokers. Results found that broccoli consumption reduced C-Reactive protein levels (a marker of inflammation, and an important indicator of cardiovascular disease risk) by 48%! This study is consistent with epidemiologic observations that fruit and vegetable intake is associated with lower circulating CRP concentrations.
  • Diets rich in high glucoraphanin in broccoli reduces plasma LDL cholesterol – A recent study found that a diet rich in broccoli helps to reduce plasma LDL-C levels.
  • Consumption of Broccoli Improves Detoxification – The glucosinates in broccoli activate phase 2 detoxification in our cells and helps to prepare potentially toxic substances for elimination from our body.
  • Consumption of Broccoli attenuates hormone metabolism – Broccoli contains two important compounds: diindolylmethane (DIM) and its precursor indole-3-carbinol (I3C), both of these compounds have a beneficial impact on the metabolism of estrogens. DIM and I3C have been associated with a reduction in cancer and tumor cell growth and seem to shift estrogen metabolism away from the toxic estrogenic metabolites to the more protective estrogen metabolites. I oftentimes recommend supplements containing these two compounds, but would always prefer for you to just eat more broccoli

I could literally continue for about 10 days listing the benefits of broccoli, but hopefully the above is enough to convince you. My recommendation is to just eat more broccoli. I aim for 4-6 cups per week, which is very easy to accomplish when I make my super green detoxifying broccoli soup. One pot of this soup provides ARDA (that’s Abra’s Recommended Daily Allowance).

I hope you totally love this super green detoxifying broccoli soup as much as I do!

Super Green Detoxifying Broccoli Soup

This healthy creamy broccoli soup is quick, easy, and a delicious bowl of nourishing goodness. Filled with functional ingredients that supply a bounty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large head broccoli (stems and tops separated. About 6 cups of florets and 2-3 cups of stems)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 4-6 cups leafy greens (spinach, kale, or swiss chard)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds ((optional, for garnish))
  1. In a large stockpot over medium heat saute onion, celery, and broccoli stems for 5 minutes in olive oil. Add turmeric, salt, and pepper. Saute additional 1 minute.

  2. Add stock and broccoli florets, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until broccoli is tender.  

  3. Add leafy greens and allow to wilt (about 1 minute). (optional: reserve a bit of the wilted greens and broccoli florets for garnish)

  4. Transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender directly in the pot) add nutritional yeast and puree until smooth and creamy.

  5. Serve topped with wilted greens and florets and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.

Pin this to your SOUP board!


Armah, C. N., Derdemezis, C., Traka, M. H., Dainty, J. R., Doleman, J. F., Saha, S., … & Mithen, R. F. (2015). Diet rich in high glucoraphanin broccoli reduces plasma LDL cholesterol: Evidence from randomised controlled trials. Molecular nutrition & food research59(5), 918-926.

Lin, J., Kamat, A., Gu, J., Chen, M., Dinney, C. P., Forman, M. R., & Wu, X. (2009). Dietary intake of vegetables and fruits and the modification effects of GSTM1 and NAT2 genotypes on bladder cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers18(7), 2090-2097.

Nettleton, J. A., Steffen, L. M., Mayer-Davis, E. J., Jenny, N. S., Jiang, R., Herrington, D. M., & Jacobs, D. R. (2006). Dietary patterns are associated with biochemical markers of inflammation and endothelial activation in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). The American journal of clinical nutrition83(6), 1369-1379.

Prawan, A., Saw, C. L. L., Khor, T. O., Keum, Y. S., Yu, S., Hu, L., & Kong, A. N. (2009). Anti-NF-κB and anti-inflammatory activities of synthetic isothiocyanates: effect of chemical structures and cellular signaling. Chemico-biological interactions179(2), 202-211.

Riso, P., Vendrame, S., Del Bo’, C., Martini, D., Martinetti, A., Seregni, E., … & Porrini, M. (2014). Effect of 10-day broccoli consumption on inflammatory status of young healthy smokers. International journal of food sciences and nutrition65(1), 106-111.

Vivar, O. I., Saunier, E. F., Leitman, D. C., Firestone, G. L., & Bjeldanes, L. F. (2010). Selective activation of estrogen receptor-β target genes by 3, 3′-diindolylmethane. Endocrinology151(4), 1662-1667.

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The crispiest oven baked chicken wings you have ever tasted. Coated with a (healthy) tangy turmeric and black pepper rub and served with an herbed Greek yogurt dipping sauce. You will make this recipe over and over and over again.

I am currently snuggled in bed with a turmeric latte watching what is most likely the last big snowfall of the season. New York City is my favorite in the snow, it’s peaceful and beautiful and the perfect excuse to stay in bed and chat about all the important things in life, primarily – how did I go 40 years without knowing how to make the crispiest oven baked wings?

I was introduced to this method of cooking chicken wings by my culinary magician of a sister, Erika. She always has secret cooking tricks up her sleeve. Erika is a Virgo, particular, exacting, and takes the time to truly perfect a recipe. She graciously made me her oven crispy wings (her version was with a honey sriracha sauce) last month and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since.

I was literally blown away by the deliciousness of these wings! How did it work? What did you do Erika? Why do they taste crispy like fried wings, but without the greasiness?

I needed to know it all!

She let me in on the secret, and now I get to share it with you! #Winning

How to Make Perfectly Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings:

  1. Start with good quality 0rganic chicken wings – When it comes to chicken I only eat organic. I find that the taste is far superior and I just feel much better knowing my chicken wasn’t pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. Ya know, it’s the little things
  2. Make sure the wings are super dry – I rinse them and then dry well with paper towels.
  3. Coat the chicken wings with your favorite spice mixture – I use turmeric, black pepper and salt.
  4. Toss spices with baking powder – This right here is the big secret. Baking powder creates a crispy exterior. I don’t know why you can ask Alton Brown, I’m sure he knows
  5. NOTE** – Baking Powder – Make sure to buy aluminum free baking powder. Aluminum has been shown to induce neuroinflammation and is thought to be a contributing factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline (source 1,  source2)
  6. Toss the wings with 1/2 the baking powder spice mixture in a bowl, and then toss with the other half. Doing this in stages ensures the baking powder won’t clump.
  7. In a single layer, place wings on a cookie sheet with a rack insert. This part is super important because you need air between the wings and the cookie sheet surface to create that crispy exterior.
  8. Flip wings every 20 minutes for 3 cycles (60 minutes cook time total).

The ingredients couldn’t be simpler:

  • Organic chicken wings
  • Turmeric – Only the healthiest spice on the planet
  • Black Pepper – The perfect hit of back of the mouth spice. Also, black pepper is necessary whenever you use turmeric you can get the quick download on that here
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt

The result – crispy delicious heaven.

Serve with a tangy cilantro lemon yogurt sauce for dipping.

This is a quick and easy weeknight dinner or weekend snack. Pair the crispy oven baked chicken wings with a big salad and you have a perfectly balanced, perfectly delicious meal.

I can’t wait for you to try this one!!

Crispy Baked Turmeric Black Pepper Wings with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

  • 2 lbs. Organic Chicken Wings
  • 2 tbsp baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and stems (chopped)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 425°

  2. Make sure wings are dry, in a small bowl combine baking powder, salt, pepper, and turmeric.

  3. Toss wings with 1/2 turmeric mixture, make sure wings are well coated. Toss with remaining 1/2. Doing this in stages ensures that the baking powder doesn’t clump.

  4. Place wings, in a single layer,  on a cookie sheet with a rack insert.

  5. Bake 20 minutes, turn. Bake 20 more minutes, turn. Bake 20 more minutes. 

  • I found 60 minutes was the perfect cook time for my wings. My little sister just tried the recipe and found that her wings were done and crispy at 50 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, check your wings, if they are done (a thermometer will read 165°) and looking crispy enough remove them. Cook time will vary slightly depending on the size of your wings.

While you have your turmeric out… My Top 5 Favorite Turmeric Recipes:

Turmeric Tahini Dressing

Anti-Inflammatory Tropical Turmeric Popsicles

Creamy Pumpkin Cauliflower Curry with Chickpeas

Vegan Turmeric Eggnog Latte

Fresh Turmeric Smoothie Bowl

The post Healthy Oven Crisp Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken Wings appeared first on Abra's Kitchen.

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Abra's Kitchen by Abrapappa - 1w ago

Super simple, healthy and delicious Korean Tuna Power Bowl. Brown rice, a rainbow of veggies, and Korean tuna salad, drizzled with a yummy sesame dressing. The perfect healthy lunch ready in 5 minutes!

This post is sponsored by Blue Harbor Fish Co. I only work with companies and products that I love and use in my own kitchen. The opinions are always my own.

I have been on a serious bowl kick lately. It is truly my favorite way to whip up a quick, healthy, and delicious meal. Loaded with a variety of textures and flavors and best of all, I can use what I have handy in my fridge and pantry!

What is a Power Bowl?

Sometimes called a Buddha bowl, bliss bowl, nourishment bowl, or a detox bowl, or just a “bowl”, it simply refers to a healthy assortment of ingredients served in a… yeah you guessed it, a bowl.

Here are the essential components to create a delicious and well-balanced power/Buddha/bliss/nourishment/detox bowl:

  1. Veggies are the star – Sometimes I like a combination of cooked and raw veggies, sometimes I just want raw. I always try to shoot for at least 3 different vegetables.
  2. High-quality fat – this is essential. Typically it’s in the form of avocado. Because… avocado, but sometimes it will be in the form of nuts or seeds.
  3. High-quality protein – Sometimes this is a vegan protein (like in my bbq tempeh bowl) or an animal protein (like in my za’atar spiced chicken detox bowl). Most often it is a quick clean protein from my pantry like my favorite tuna.
  4. Whole grain/complex carbohydrate/starchy vegetable – this part is optional, but I find adding either a whole grain like brown rice or a starchy veggie like sweet potato helps me feel full for hours and hours and hours!
  5. Pickled/fermented food – In addition to the gut health benefits of fermented food I absolutely LOVE the flavor kick! In this recipe, I used kimchi, in other recipes I’ve used quick pickled onions or a quick beet relish.
  6. A crazy delicious dressing – Don’t skip this part, trust me it’s essential.

I kicked up the deliciousness an extra 20 notches or so with this Korean Tuna Power Bowl! I have been all about the Korean flavors lately (Olympics obsessed!) and always have some basic Korean condiments in my pantry like; gochujang sauce, sesame oil, and soy sauce (or coconut aminos or tamari if you are soy and/or gluten-free).  Gochujang sauce it’s a spicy red pepper and garlic paste, when mixed with mayo, soy, Blue Harbor Wild Albacore Tuna, and celery it creates seriously the most delicious tuna salad you have ever had!

O to the M to the G! Delicious!

Reasons Why This Korean Tuna Power Bowl will Give You All The Feels:

Korean Tuna Power Bowl - YouTube

  • Quick and healthy clean eating protein – albacore tuna
  • Extra protein, fat, and brain healthy choline – hard boiled egg
  • Whole grain, sustainable energy – brown rice
  • Healthy fat – thank you avocado. No, really. THANK YOU avocado.
  • Minerals and antioxidants – Veggies! greens, carrots, and cucumber
  • Fermented food for extra gut health support – Kimchi

You see why this is potentially the worlds most perfect meal?

This bowl is all about the spicy Korean fresh albacore tuna salad surrounded by a party of healthy crunchy veggies.

You will always, always find tuna packets in my pantry. Quick and easy protein solutions are a must in my kitchen. When life gets chaotic and crazy I know I can whip up a quick, healthy, protein-packed meal.

Blue Harbor sustainably caught, wild albacore tuna is packed in convenient pouches with just a bit of water and sea salt or simply water (no salt added). Simple, clean ingredients. The flavor is mild, fresh, and delicious without any of that canned food taste.

There are a few standout points that I love about Blue Harbor;

  1. Convenience – Perfectly portioned protein, without having to drain anything. These packets would be perfect to travel with!
  2. Taste – I am extremely finicky when it comes to tuna. I absolutely LOVE The taste of Blue Harbor. It is clean, light, and fresh, and mixes so well with a variety of flavors.
  3. BPA Free – This is a really important point for me. BPA is a known endocrine disrupter and is often found in the internal lining of cans and foil pouches. Blue Harbor cans and pouches are BPA free.
  4. MSC Certified – The Marine Stewardship Council is an international nonprofit that addresses the problems of unsustainable fishing. The MSC label recognizes sustainable fishing practices and ensures that MSC-certified tuna is traceable from ocean to plate.
  5. Wild, line-caught premium quality fish – For nutritional/health purposes, I only eat wild fish, never farmed. Line-caught is an important distinction regarding the environmental impact of fisheries.
  6. Soy free, gluten-free – This seems as if it should be a given, but it isn’t always. I appreciate a brand that is conscious of fillers or additives that may contain soy or gluten. Blue Harbor has only 2 or 3 super clean, simple ingredients.

Overal, I love feeling good about the food I am eating and love knowing that Blue Harbor is a clean-living, sustainability conscious brand.

If you live in the northeast, like me, you can find Blue Harbor at Shoprite, KTM supermarkets, or Fresh Grocer.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Blue Harbor.

Korean Tuna Power Bowl

Super simple, healthy and delicious Korean Tuna Power Bowl. Brown rice, a rainbow of veggies, and Korean tuna salad, drizzled with a yummy sesame dressing. The perfect healthy lunch ready in 5 minutes!

Korean Tuna Salad
  • 8 ounces Blue Harbor Albacore Tuna
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp gochajung sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
Sesame Dressing
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch crushed red pepper
Bowl Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups leafy greens
  • 1/4 cup carrots
  • 1/4 cup cucumber
  • 1 large egg, hardboiled
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tbsp kimchi
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • crispy seaweed, crumbled
Korean Tuna Salad
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir together

Sesame Dressing
  1. Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside

Build your Bowl
  1. Arrange ingredients together in a bowl, top with tuna salad, drizzle with sesame dressing. Sprinkle sesame seeds and seaweed on top (optional)

  • You can substitute mashed avocado for the mayo
  • Use coconut aminos or tamari if you are soy or gluten sensitive

The post Korean Tuna Power Bowl appeared first on Abra's Kitchen.

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Quick and easy sheet pan meal! Perfectly roasted shrimp and cauliflower tossed with a bright and tangy Meyer lemon salsa. Dinner is done in 13 minutes! Paleo, gluten-free, healthy!

We are having a rare warm spell in NYC, it is absolutely glorious. Penelope (my pup, in case you are new here) and I were footloose and fancy-free in the park this morning practically skipping with joy in the sunshine.

Skipping so much in fact that both of us failed to notice the park police lumbering our way. Expletive, I thought, as they approached with a “Ma’am, do you have a leash for that dog?”

That dog? Ugh, I hated him already. Yes, it was after off-leash hours, yes, I should have had P on a leash but it’s 60 degrees outside in February! and we are SKIPPING! That’s what I wanted to say to the cop, but he had no sense of humor. Like none. Not even a little smile or nod when I tried to crack a, “do you need to read Penelope her Miranda rights?” joke.

A $100 fine later… we lost a little bit of our skip. More due to the cop with no personality than the ticket. I took a mugshot of P to commemorate the day.

Then to cheer us both up I got in the kitchen and whipped up something special. Super special.

One of the upsides to winter is the abundance of citrus, more accurately, the abundance of Meyer lemon. I become a bit crazed when they first appear in the markets, buying as many as I can, trying to savor the short but glorious season.

Meyer lemons, if you’ve never had them, are a cross between a lemon and a tangerine. They make literally every single dish 1000% better. I use them squeezed into dressings, or soups, or on top of sauteed greens. My very very very favorite way to treat a Meyer lemon is to use the entire fruit, skin and all, in a salsa. Meyer lemon, fresh parsley, shallot, capers, and crushed red pepper (or fresh chilis) combine to make the brightest, happiest condiment. So happy-making, you’ll forget that your dog just got a $100 ticket.

I whipped up this salsa (takes about 3 minutes) while I roasted cauliflower and shrimp on a sheet pan. So easy. I tossed the shrimp and cauliflower in olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, and Meyer lemon juice with just a pinch of crushed red pepper. 13 minutes later, fresh out of the oven, I topped the perfectly roasted shrimp and cauliflower with my salsa.

A quick pause to learn this crazy easy method for perfectly roasted shrimp.

How to Perfectly Roast Shrimp:
  1. Purchase wild caught shrimp (MUST), quality makes a huge difference here.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp. You can buy already peeled and deveined, I won’t tell.
  3. Toss shrimp in olive oil, and any spice blend you like. Just make sure you have at least 1 tbsp olive oil per pound of shrimp.
  4. Layout in a single layer on a sheet tray.
  5. Roast in a 400° oven for 8-1o minutes or until pink and curled. 8 minutes seems to work every time for me unless the shrimp are extra big.
  6. Revel in the perfection.


This dish is heaven.

I shared some shrimp with Penelope (I rinsed the garlic off), she had a tough day and needed a little treat. I put the leftovers in the fridge for lunch during the week. This would make an INCREDIBLE meal prep bowl!

So the lesson today was how to turn lemons into a Meyer lemon salsa and forget about a jerky cop and that you are $100 poorer

Also… it just occurred to me I’ve only received 2 tickets/citations in my entire life. Never for driving (although I’ve been pulled over plenty) but once for fishing, and now once for dog walking. I’m sure there is a lesson in there somewhere, but for now, I’m just going to sneak a few more bites of that Meyer lemon salsa and snuggle my jailbird pup.


Sheet Pan Roasted Shrimp and Cauliflower with a Meyer Lemon Salsa

Perfectly roasted shrimp and cauliflower tossed with a bright and tangy Meyer lemon salsa. Dinner is done in 13 minutes! Paleo, gluten-free, quick, healthy, and easy.

  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 4 cups florets)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp meyer lemon zest
Meyer Lemon Salsa
  • 1 meyer lemon
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 400°

  2. Prepare cauliflower by cutting in half and then slicing through the head lengthwise making 1/2″ thick slices of cauliflower (as you would if you were making cauliflower steaks)

  3. Toss cauliflower with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, 1 tsp lemon zest.

  4. Lay in a single layer on sheet tray. Roast for 5 minutes

  5. Prepare shrimp by tossing with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove crushed garlic, 2 tsp lemon zest, and a 1/4 tsp sea salt. 

  6. Remove cauliflower from oven after 5 minutes push to the side and add shrimp to the same sheet tray, making sure shrimp is in a single layer. Return to oven for an additional 8 minutes. 

Meyer Lemon Salsa
  1. While shrimp and cauliflower are cooking prepare Meyer lemon salsa by dicing your Meyer lemon (SKIN ON) and tossing together with all remaining ingredients

  2. Toss shrimp and cauliflower with salsa. Eat immediately or reserve in fridge for up to 4 days.

  • If you can’t find Meyer lemon you can substitute one small tangerine or mandarin orange and lemon juice. I wouldn’t use a regular lemon, it will be too tart
  • Since you are using the peel of the Meyer lemon it’s best to buy organic. If you can’t find organic, be sure to wash the Meyer lemon well.
  • At less than 1g carbohydrate per serving this is an excellent choice if you are on a low carbohydrate protocol

More 20 Minute Meal Inspiration:

Greek Kale and Quinoa Salad Meal Prep Bowls

Creamy Lemon Pasta (Vegan)

Southwestern Sweet Potato Skillet

Creamy Lemon Risotto

The post Sheet Pan Roasted Shrimp and Cauliflower with a Meyer Lemon Salsa appeared first on Abra's Kitchen.

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A rich and creamy superfood vegan hot chocolate recipe touched with a pinch of fragrant cardamom and nutty tahini. Hot chocolate that is loaded with good for you ingredients and easily prepared in 5 minutes!

You know how peanut butter and chocolate are made for each other? And hazelnut and chocolate, like in Nutella, is likely god’s gift to man? Well, let me introduce you to chocolates newest tryst, tahini.

Nutty goodness plus chocolate will always work, but there is something mind-blowing about the deep rich earthy nutty flavor of tahini plus chocolate. Pinch a little bit of cardamom into that mixture and Oh. My. Good. Graciousness. You’ve got yourself a major winner.

I have recently traded in my afternoon coffee (coffee and I are frequently on the outs) for a hot chocolate but, if I’m drinking hot chocolate each afternoon it has to be a superfood hot chocolate. Delicious, duh, but also loaded with functional, good for me, ingredients, and not loaded down with sugar.

How to Make Homemade Superfood Tahini Hot Chocolate:

  • Start with really good chocolate. I love using raw cacao powder, the purest form of chocolate. If you can’t find cacao powder you can use cocoa powder but be sure it’s a high quality.
  • Use a plant-based milk, almond/coconut blend works really well but I’ve also made this with homemade cashew milk or hazelnut milk. Make sure the plant-based milk is unsweetened.
  • Allow chocolate to be the dominant flavor, not sweet. You only need a small amount of sweetener either honey, maple syrup, or coconut palm sugar works.
  • Add in some superpowers, I love using chaga mushroom powder for an extra energy bump and antioxidant party, but I’ve also added adaptogens or maca powder.
  • Bring on the protein. Adding just a little bit of protein turns hot chocolate into a truly functional treat, tahini works in this case but I’ve also blended in collagen peptides (see this post about the benefits of collagen).
  • Finally, blend ingredients before warming on the stove. No one likes lumpy hot chocolate!

What’s with the mushroom powder?
  • I’ve had a mini love affair with my mushroom elixirs lately. I discovered Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixirs (this is not sponsored, just my opinion) a few years ago when I was looking for creative healthy foods to bring on my hike across Spain. I purchased the coffee+mushroom elixirs initially, as they were small enough to fit in my backpack and eased my anxiety about not finding coffee in the mornings at our Albergues (hostels).
  • Four Sigmatic is now all over Instagram wellness feeds, but I’d like to make it known that I knew about them first Jk.
  • Chaga is my afternoon choice, chaga is a mushroom with potent antioxidant activity that supports immune function.
  • I use Chaga as just another tool in my immune support kit.
  • What does it taste like? The mushroom powder on its own is earthy and slightly bitter and is the perfect complement to dark rich chocolate.

Put it all together and you have superfood tahini hot chocolate, perfect for an afternoon treat, or a superfood elixir to warm you up any time of the day.

Tahini Cardamom Hot Chocolate

A rich and creamy vegan hot chocolate recipe touched with a pinch of fragrant cardamom and nutty tahini. 

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder ((or cocoa powder))
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp raw honey (*see notes for vegan option)
  • 1 packet chaga mushroom powder (optional)
  • pinch sea salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth.

  2. Pour mixture into a small saucepan and warm over medium-high heat.

*For a vegan version replace honey with maple syrup or coconut palm sugar. Start with 1 tbsp of either and then taste for sweetness.

The post Superfood Tahini Cardamom Hot Chocolate appeared first on Abra's Kitchen.

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Buttery mashed rutabaga and turnips topped with easy BBQ tempeh, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a sweet and spicy beet relish. This vegan meal prep lunch will have your taste buds doing the happy dance!

I know there are a lot of funky words in this recipe (Rutabaga?? Tempeh?? Turnip?? Come again?) but you guys I am telling you it is worth it to step outside of your comfort zone and give some of these plant foods a try!

We are smack dab in the middle of winter, and here in the northeast, that means there is not an abundance of local fresh produce available. It is, however, officially root vegetable season, and I am now your self-appointed root vegetable guru.

Turnips, beets, and rutabaga may not be on your weekly grocery list, but after you try this recipe you may just be trading in your broccoli for a little turnip love!

Quick nutritional aside: variety in your diet is fundamental to optimal health. We all tend to get into food ruts, purchasing the same 5-10 fruits and veggies each week. Remember that each vegetable has a unique synergistic combination of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals. If you are always eating the same 5-10 fruits and vegetables you are always getting the same nutrients. Let’s mix it up a bit!

Starting with rutabaga and turnip.

What is a rutabaga?

  • Rutabagas are a root vegetable and a hybrid between a turnip and wild cabbage.
  • In most parts of the world a rutabaga is called a “swede”.
  • Rutabagas are in the brassica family of vegetables, commonly known as cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts (to name a few).
What are the Health Benefits of Rutabaga?
  • Cruciferous vegetables, rutabaga included, contain high amounts of antioxidants and anti-cancer compounds.
  • Sulforaphane, specifically, is a phytochemical found in abundance in cruciferous vegetables and is often referred to as an anticancer compound. Sulforaphane possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties not too dissimilar from turmeric. (study)
  • Rutabaga is an excellent source of vitamin C, one cup of rutabaga contains 53% of the daily recommended value of vit. C.
  • Rutabagas also contain postassium, manganse, fiber, calcium, magnesium, vit. B6, and phosphorus.
What Does Rutabaga Taste Like?
  • I grew up eating rutabaga, it is my dads’ favorite veggie (odd, I know). I find rutabaga to be nutty and sweet. A cross between a parsnip, a potato, and a turnip.
How do you Cook Rutabaga?
  • My favorite way to cook rutabaga is mashed, like in this recipe. I simply peel it, dice it and boil or steam it. Then mash with butter (or vegan butter), or coconut oil, salt, and pepper.
  • You can also roast rutabaga (amazing with Chinese five-spice powder) or add some diced to soups or stews. I’ve added it to beef stew and my 17 vegetable soup (recipe coming soon!).
What about Turnips?
  • Turnips have a similar nutritional profile to rutabaga as they are both in the brassica family.
  • Taste – I find turnips to be a bit spicier/ more peppery than a rutabaga. They taste like a cross between a radish and a potato

In this recipe, I mashed rutabaga and turnip together. You can certainly add 1 or 2 white potatoes to the mash to help introduce these new veggies to yourself and your family.

What is Tempeh?
  • Tempeh is a fermented soybean product, typically made from whole soybeans that have been cooked, fermented and formed into a firm patty or a block.
  • Tempeh can be made with any type of bean or grain but is most traditionally found as a soybean product.
  • Tempeh is firm and tastes nutty and earthy. I find it to be similar in taste to mushrooms (umami heaven) and is delightful when seared to crispy browned perfection.
  • Tempeh is an excellent source of plant-based protein.
Isn’t Soy Bad For Me?

In an attempt to not go too far into the weeds here I am just going to present you with a few soy facts:

  1. By 2012 over 94% of soy grown in the United States was Genetically Modified. This means that not all soy is created equal. First and foremost when you are buying soy products you must buy organic to ensure it is not Genetically Modified (source)
  2. Over 2000 soy research papers are published each year, but there is a great divide between research done on isolated soy supplements (isoflavone research) and soy foods. You cannot assume that research on the effects of soy foods can be generalized to isoflavone supplements. In other words, when soy is studied as a traditional food (i.e. tempeh, miso, tofu) some beneficial/protective effects have been found, including reduced risk of breast cancer (study). However, there is very little data to support the use of isolated soy phytochemicals (study).
  3. All of this to say that not all soy is created equal and soy is a highly debated topic. I am personally in favor of using some fermented soybean products (like tempeh) as fermented soy contains secondary metabolites that may have additional beneficial physiological effects beyond soy itself.
  4. I do not believe that soy has “estrogenic” effects (as often touted on the interweb) but rather contains cell regulating effects from brain health, to heart health, to prostate health and breast health.

Okay, enough science for today.

How to Make BBQ Tempeh Nourishment Bowls:
  • I love these bowls as meal prep lunches all week long.
  • Prepare your root veggie mash (rutabaga and turnip, or you can add potato as well)
  • Crisp up your tempeh – super easy peasy, just saute in a skillet with a little oil, and then add a bit of your favorite BBQ sauce at the end.
  • Roast some Brussels – because every nourishment bowl needs some Brussels!
  • Pile high with sweet and spicy beet relish – this is the easiest condiment. Just grate some beets, apple, and ginger and toss together with apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and honey. (I had leftover beets from my pink pancakes, perfect reason to make some quick relish!)

There you have it. I store everything separately and then load up my bowls when I am ready to dig in, which has been every single afternoon this week!

A few of my favorite nourishment bowl recipes:

Brussels Sprout and Quinoa Bowls

Cauliflower Rice Detox Bowls with Za’atar Spiced Chicken

Detoxifying Broth Bowls

Greek Kale and Quinoa Salad Meal Prep Bowls

Everything Crusted Tuna Meal Prep Bowls

BBQ Tempeh Nourishment Bowls with Buttery Mashed Rutabaga

Buttery mashed rutabaga and turnips topped with easy BBQ tempeh, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a sweet and spicy beet relish. This vegan meal prep lunch will have your taste buds doing the happy dance!

Mashed Rutabaga and Turnip
  • 2 medium rutabaga, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter ((or vegan substitute))
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
BBQ Tempeh
  • 8 ounce package organic tempeh
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
Beet, Apple, Ginger Relish
  • 2 medium beets, grated
  • 1 medium apple, grated
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
Mashed Rutabaga and Turnip
  1. Place rutabaga and turnip in a medium sized pot. Cover with water. Boil for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain. Add butter, salt and pepper to pot and mash using a masher or a handheld mixer. (alternatively place root veggies, butter, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth) I like a chunkier texture.

BBQ Tempeh
  1. Slice tempeh into 1 inch pieces. Heat a medium saucepan on the stovetop. Add avocado oil and saute the tempeh until crispy and brown, about 3 minutes per side. When browned add BBQ sauce and saute until well coated (about 2 minutes).

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  1. Trim ends off Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Spread out evenly on a large cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in 425° oven for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking.

Beet, Apple, Ginger Relish
  1. Combine grated beet, apple, and ginger in small bowl. Toss with apple cider vinegar, honey, lime juice and salt. Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to 10 days (I use a mason jar).

Bowl Assembly
  1. Add a generous portion of each ingredient in a bowl. Smile.

  • Beet relish is AMAZING on sandwiches! 

Meal Prep Inspiration Coming Your Way!

I have been making personalized meal plans for my private clients for over 13 years. I know that having a bit of structure around meals can be a supportive way to shift into a healthier way of eating. After a bit of a push (thank you to my clients and readers that have asked for this!) I put together a 30-day Real Food Meal Plan for you! A nutritionally balanced, delicious 30 day meal plan.

You can read all about it here:

A Month of Real Food 

The post BBQ Tempeh Nourishment Bowls with Buttery Mashed Rutabaga appeared first on Abra's Kitchen.

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Abra's Kitchen by Abrapappa - 1w ago

Super healthy real food pancakes, kissed with a touch of shredded beet to create gorgeous festive pink pancakes! Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and so yummy!

I have random recipe ideas that usually hit me first thing in the morning. Last week I kept thinking about a street corn salad with Cuban sandwiches croutons. Seriously random.

This week it was pink pancakes. It was all I could think about.

So you guys, do you know what I did?

I made some damn good pink pancakes!

I tried no less than 7 different versions until I reached pink perfection.

This is a straightforward, simple recipe, that uses only whole food, real ingredients. No creepy pink food coloring here. NEVER!

I tried this recipe using the 2 ingredient pancake method (1 banana + 2 eggs) but couldn’t get over the texture, wet sponge. I’m sure the 2 ingredient pancake is great for toddlers but this adult woman does not enjoy chewing on a wet sponge.

I settled on Bob’s Red Mill Paleo flour as the base. I love the simple ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, and arrowroot powder), and the texture of the final product was straight up fluffy pancakes perfection.

With one special addition. Collagen Powder.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, found in muscle, bone, skin, blood vessels, tendons, and our digestive system. Collagen provides our skin with strength and elasticity. Collagen is crucial to the body’s muscular structure.

Lifestyle factors (like smoking, a diet high in refined processed foods, and extreme exposure to the sun) contribute to collagen levels depleting in our bodies, as does aging.

Good news: collagen protein sources (also abundantly found in bone broth and these healthy gut gummies) are now readily available and certainly a wellness trend worth trying.

Benefits of Collagen:
  • Collagen contains 18 amino acids, including indispensable (previously referred to as essential) amino acids meaning they must be acquired by the diet.
  • Collagen has been touted as a supportive food for healing the gut lining as it can enhance gastric acid secretion and aid in restoring a healthy mucosal lining.
  • recent study has shown that ingestion of gelatin can reduce cellulite and improve wrinkles. Um yeah, you should try this stuff.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is flavorless but loaded with protein at 20g per scoop! It also helps make these pancakes super fluffy.

The perfect breakfast treat for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or just a Sunday pancake party.

I served them with whipped coconut cream, because it’s delicious, and a ton of fresh berries. You can certainly go traditional, butter and maple syrup, or almond butter and strawberry jam would be amazing!

Whatever you decide to top these pink pancakes with I promise they will be amazing.

Just throw all of the ingredients into your blender and get your pancake making station ready.

One note, as you cook your pancakes you will lose some of the pink color. Since I tested so many batches I can tell you that if you overcook them the tops will no longer be pink, but the center should retain that pink hue. You can always add a bit more beet to the batter to ensure higher pigmentation, but really the pink is just for fun.

Get ready to take a bite of these perfectly pink protein pancakes. Perfectly pink paleo protein pancakes, how many P words can I add to a sentence?

Wait one more.

Perfectly pink paleo protein pancakes that are officially approved by my pup, Penelope Pancake (actually legal name of my dog).

Pink Protein Pancakes

Super healthy real food pancakes, kissed with a touch of shredded beet to create gorgeous festive pink pancakes! Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and so yummy!

  • 1 cup Paleo Flour ((I use Bob's Red Mill Brand, see notes for alternatives))
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp red beet, grated
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • coconut oil ((for cooking))
  • Fresh Berries
  • Coconut Whipped Cream ((optional))
  1. Combine all ingredients (except coconut oil) in a blender. Blend until well combined and smooth (about 45 seconds to 1 minute).

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt coconut oil, using about 1/2 tsp at a time. Pour batter into hot pan, 1/4 cup at a time,  and cook on one side until bubbles begin to form. Flip and cook for several more minutes on the other side.

  3. Continue until all batter is used. Pancakes will lose some of their pretty pink color as they cook. 

  4. Top with coconut whipped cream (see notes for recipe) and fresh berries.

  • Coconut Whipped Cream – Place a can of full-fat coconut milk (or you can even find coconut milk that is labeled “coconut cream or coconut whipping cream”) in the refrigerator overnight. Open the can and scoop out the solid coconut from the top of the can, when you reach the liquid stop. Whip the coconut with a hand mixer for 2-4 minutes until it resembles whipped cream. Add a bit of powdered sugar, coconut palm sugar, a touch of honey, or no sweetener at all. (I find it doesn’t need any sweetener) 
  • If you double the recipe, don’t double the collagen peptides. For each “doubling” add an additional 1/2 scoop of collagen peptides.
  • You can certainly try this recipe with your favorite pancake base, just add a bit of shredded beets and some collagen peptides.

With your leftover beets try these recipes:

Beet, Pray, Love Smoothie Bowl

Dark Chocolate Beet Souffle

Beet and Berry Salad

Roasted Beet Panzanella Salad

Perfectly Pink Paleo Protein Pancakes. Say that 5 times fast!Click To Tweet

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A comprehensive guide on Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu including peer-reviewed literature on the efficacy of each treatment. DIY recipes, natural treatments, and easy to follow instructions to keep you healthy and strong during the cold and flu season

Tis the season, my friends, everyone is sick! Headlines read: “The Flu Season is the Worst in Decades”, “Flu Epidemic Intensifies!” New Yorkers are sporting the ever sexy medical mask fashion, and media is urging all of us to RUN to the nearest pharmacy for your flu shot.

The flu shot is not for me, for many reasons which I choose not to address in this post, but here is a great article that breaks that down a little from Dr. Kara Fitzgerald:

“The flu vaccine continues to be inadequate, and yet we put all of our medical eggs into this basket. Even in its best years, it may be about 60% effective. This year, it’s estimated that vaccine efficacy may be a woeful 10%.”

The vaccine effectiveness varies greatly depending on the influenza type or subtype. Even if you did get the flu shot you could be one of the thousands that still gets sick.

Going the natural route when it comes to both prevention and treatment feels normal to me. It may not to you, and that’s totally ok. My mom used natural remedies for my entire childhood and for a family of 6 we were rarely, to never, sick. I took my first antibiotic in my 20’s for a root canal. I am convinced my immune system is much stronger for it.

My hope is that you will walk away from this post with a few helpful tips and tools to feel more empowered when illness strikes.

By all means, do what’s right for you and please consult your physician, this post is by no means meant to be a replacement for medical care.

Natural Remedies vs. Over the Counter Medications

You will have to make your choice here, but I will say this. It is my belief that OTC medications can help with symptoms, which in turn can sometimes help shorten the duration of an illness. They also come with side effects.

If you are a parent it is worth mentioning that according to the FDA website:

“Most young children with a cough or cold do not need OTC medicine” The FDA also states that OTC cough and cold medicines are not effective for children under two, and can be potentially dangerous.Manufactures also voluntarily re-labeled these cough and cold products to state: “do not use in children under 4 years of age.” Some advocacy groups are campaigning to have OTC medication labeled for children 11 years of age and older.

Everything mentioned in this post is safe for children (it’s all food people!). Let’s get to it!

At The First Sign of Illness Take:

At the first sign of illness, chills, sniffles, just a general feeling of being unwell. You know that feeling the, “uh -oh, I’m coming down with something” feeling. This is when you have to seriously step into action.

1. Elderberry Extract

Black elderberries (sambucus nigra L.) are well known, and well studied, agents against the common cold and influenza virus. Hippocrates referred to the elder tree (gifting us with both potent elderberries and elderflowers) as his medicine chest.

So ya know, if it’s good for Hippocrates, it’s probably good for you too.

Elderberries are a rich source of vitamin C and anthocyanins and possess strong antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria. This means it has been shown to be an effective agent against human pathogenic bacteria as well as influenza viruses. Elderberries have also been shown to have an inhibitory effect on the propagation of the influenza virus.

In other words, elderberries can both prevent the flu and reduce the duration of the flu by inhibiting the replication of the flu virus.

This stuff is potent.

I am currently obsessed with Norm’s Farms Elderberry products. They are a small family owned farm in North Carolina that produces a phenomenal elderberry extract. I basically live on this extract from October through April. Norm’s Farms is generously gifting my readers with 20% off any of their products through next week (promotion ends 2/2/18) simply use code: “AbrasKitchen20” at checkout.

You can also check out my elderberry thumbprint cookie recipe because sometimes a cookie + flu prevention is kind of dope.

If you are a nutrition nerd (like me!) I included 3 more elderberry studies below including a really cool one that showed a significant reduction of cold duration and severity in air travelers using elderberry extract. 

For a homemade elderberry syrup recipe download my complete cold and flu guide below.

Dosage: I follow(ish) the dosage recommendation on the bottle, about 1-2 tbsp per day. If I am feeling extra wonky I will take more (Norm’s Farms also makes a children’s formula). My BFF swirls some elderberry extract into her toddlers’ oatmeal in the morning, and also makes these cute elderberry gummy candies. 

2. Garlic Candy

Garlic has powerful immune supportive properties. Specifically raw garlic. Obviously consuming raw garlic isn’t terribly appealing or easy, but I’ve got you covered. Welcome to the world of garlic candy!

Benefits of Garlic

In vitro and cell culture studies showed garlic to have antibacterial, antivirus, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties.  It is effective at fighting both pathogenic bacteria and harmful microbes including viruses. For this sole reason in some studies, it has been shown to outperform antibiotics for non-life threatening infections and illness. Recently, garlic has been suggested as a promising candidate for maintaining the homeostasis of the immune system. Garlic’s antiviral actions include the human rhinovirus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, and influenza.

Garlic has been shown to stimulate activation of the humoral and inert immune system, including the activation of macrophages by NO production and T and B cell production.

Clinical trials have shown garlic to have a beneficial effect in the prevention, duration, and severity of upper respiratory infections.

Garlic ear drops have been shown to be more effective than antibiotic treatment for an ear infection, according to this study.

I could go on and on, but I think you catch the drift. All this without side effects, I may add. Aside from the obvious side effect of perhaps some funky breath

This recipe for garlic candy was taught to me by an herbalist, many many years ago. It has become a staple in my kitchen during the entire cold and flu season. All you really need to know is this: it works. It seriously works. At the first sign of illness, or if I am around other people that are sick, I will eat 2-3 cloves of garlic per day. I have successfully used this independent of all other recipes/DIY/suggestions in this post. Garlic is my #1 BFF when it comes to prevention and reducing the duration of illness.

It does take a few weeks to ferment, so if it’s too late for you this year (it’s not. I eat this garlic all the way through spring) be sure to PIN THIS so you remember to make it next fall!

Honey Fermented Garlic

Easy fermented garlic with honey and apple cider vinegar. Your natural immunity booster.

  • 30-40 cloves garlic ((about 5 whole heads of garlic))
  • raw honey
  • raw apple cider vinegar
Tools Needed
  • 16 ounce mason jar
  1. Peel all garlic cloves. This is the part that takes the most time. You can use already peeled garlic but I’ve found this doesn’t produce the same quality product.  Fill your mason jar with the garlic cloves. 

  2. Fill the jar 1/2 to 1/3 of the way full with honey, and then the rest of the way full of apple cider vinegar. More honey if you think you’d like it sweeter (think of a bread and butter pickle). Leave a bit of room at the top of the jar. 

  3. Make sure the garlic is completely submerged in the liquid. You can use a “pickle pebble” (see notes) to completely submerge garlic. Place the lid on the jar and shake it well.

  4. Place your jar in a cool dry place (I leave it on my kitchen shelf) continue to shake the jar daily to mix all ingredients. You do not need to refrigerate at this stage. If the mixture begins to bubble simply open the lid to release some pressure and then replace lid.

  5. Allow garlic to ferment for at least 7-14 days. The longer it ferments the milder the flavor will be. I typically allow mine to ferment for almost a month.

  6. The colors of the garlic may change, do not worry this is normal.

  7. Once you are happy with the “potency” of the garlic you can refrigerate for up to 6 months.

  • Adults can eat several cloves per day, especially when feeling under the weather.
  • Children can eat 1/2 clove to a full clove per day during cold and flu season. 
  • You can also drink shots of the liquid for a bonus immunity boost.

 3. Kung Flu Fighter Tea

 3. Kung Flu Fighter Tea

This tea has some serious fighting power thanks to the following potent cold and flu heavyweights:

Echinacea –  A perennial plant indigenous to North America. Echinacea is typically taken in tea form or as a supplement. Studies have shown that echinacea reduces the severity of cold and flu and decreases the time you have it. This comprehensive meta-analysis concluded that in sixteen trials (eight prevention trials, and eight trials on treatment of upper respiratory tract infections) with a total of 3396 participants, that some Echinacea preparations may be better than placebo. Echinacea acts like a powerful shield blocking harmful bacteria from gaining access to healthy cells. Unlike antibiotics which directly attack bacteria, echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient. Evidence indicates that echinacea potently lowers the risk of recurrent respiratory infections and complications thereof. Immune modulatory, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory effects might contribute to the observed clinical benefits, which appear strongest in susceptible individuals. I buy dried echinacea in bulk here. 

Elderflower – Elderflower has been used medicinally for centuries to aid in swollen sinuses (sinusitis), colds, influenza (flu), swine flu, bronchitis, diabetes, and constipation.  This study which studied elderflower as a potential functional food in the management of diabetes found that most of the phenolic constituents and several of the metabolites showed high antioxidant activity. This antioxidant activity is purportedly what makes elderflower an excellent tool for our cold and flu arsenal. I buy dried elderflower from Norm’s Farm (don’t forget your 20% off code: “abraskitchen”)

This study which analyzed the antioxidant power (FRAP) assays revealed that the teas prepared from flowers had higher mean 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and FRAP activities than the teas prepared from berries. Therefore, elder beverages could be important dietary sources of natural antioxidants that contribute to the prevention of diseases caused by oxidative stress.

Turmeric – Potent anti-inflammatory effect (read all about it here)

Ginger – Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. In addition to treating cold and flu, ginger is excellent for nausea and vomiting. Ginger has also exhibited therapeutic antibacterial activity against respiratory pathogens (study).

Cinnamon – Has exhibited antiviral activity against various influenza viruses and has been shown to reduce inflammation.

Clove – Has been used traditionally to ease the pain of toothaches due to its anesthetic properties. Clove can also be used to soothe a sore throat. 

Cayenne – Increases circulation and supports bringing heat to the body, which can help dispel coldness.

Lemon – High in vitamin C.

Buckwheat Honey – Increases serum antioxidant capacity (study). One study investigated the use of buckwheat honey as a treatment for nighttime coughs in children due to respiratory infections, like colds. The study found that buckwheat honey was more effective than over the counter cough medicine.

Kung Flu Fighter Tea

A soothing delicious and potent tea to help combat cold and flu symptoms

  • 1/4 cup peeled and diced ginger root
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp dried elderflower
  • 1 tbsp dried echinacea root
  • 1/2 tsp dried cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp dried clove
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • fresh lemon juice
  • buckwheat honey ((to taste))
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large teapot (or a medium size pot will do) pour boiling water (I use about 20 ounces) over ingredients and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. 

  2. Pour tea into individual mugs add a squeeze of fresh lemon and honey to taste.

  • You can adjust this recipe to include items you have on hand, but I do recommend starting with a base of echinacea.
  • I tend to like more cinnamon and clove and oftentimes will just freehand pour those ingredients in.

If you aren’t into making your own tea my favorite medicinal teas, Abee Tea Company makes a Prevention and Under the Weather formula filled with functional ingredients similar to what’s found in my Kung Flu Fighter Tea. Use code: “stockup” for 60 % off through 1/30/18.

I Got Sick. Now What? 1. Thyme Steam

Thyme acts as an expectorant, loosening phlegm in the respiratory tract so it can be coughed up. Thymol, thymes active ingredient, has strong antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties (study).

This is another trick taught to me by an herbalist and it works! It couldn’t be simpler.


Add thyme to a medium size pot. Cover with water by about 2-3 inches. Stir well and cover. Remove the lid, make sure the steam isn’t too hot, and lean over the pot. Cover your head with a towel to create a little tent. Breathe deeply for 5-10 minutes.

If preparing steam for children (this is an EXCELLENT way to help kids get all of that phlegm out, especially if they are young enough that blowing their nose is challenging), I don’t recommend the tenting method. Simply place the pot near where they are playing (while supervised please) and allow them to breathe in the air.

Thyme and Buckwheat Cough Syrup

Using the benefits of both thyme and buckwheat you can simply whip up a homemade, all-natural,  DIY cough syrup.

DIY Thyme and Buckwheat Honey Cough Syrup

A simple (3 ingredient) DIY cough syrup

  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 organic lemon (*see notes)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat honey
  1. Place fresh thyme in a small pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce by half.

  2. In the meantime chop your lemon into 8 pieces and add to a mason jar. Pour honey on top and using the back of a wooden spoon macerate (read: smoosh) the lemon with the honey.

  3. Pour the reduced thyme liquid on top of the lemon and honey. Replace the lid of the mason jar and shake well to combine. 

  4. Store in your refrigerator for about a month.

  5. Dosage: Use a spoonful as needed

    *typically I will take several spoonfuls per day when feeling a sore throat (it tastes amazing!)

  • Organic is important here because you are using the potent lemon oil found in the skin. If you use a conventional lemon you will be adding yucky pesticides to your cough syrup.

3. Fire Immunity Shot

This is a quick version of the beloved fire cider, revered by herbalists for its ability to prevent cold and flu and reduce symptoms.

For the full fire cider recipe download my cold and flu ebook below (it’s a freebie).

For the quick version follow the recipe below.

Side note: This is my favorite recipe to sample at my corporate cold and flu prevention event. This past November, offices all over Manhattan were filled with garlic breath employees, this brings me immense joy!

Fire Cider Immunity Shot

A quick and potent shot of cold and flu prevention

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  1. Whisk together all ingredients and throw it back!

 A Few Favorite Supplements:

1. Probiotic – 80% of your immune system resides in your gut. You should be taking a probiotic daily. Which one depends on many factors (probiotics are strain specific meaning different strains for different conditions) as a generally good probiotic for immune health Prosynbiotic is my choice.

2. Vitamin D –  Is essential for good immune health. The hormonal form of vitamin D up-regulates anti-microbial peptides to..

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